CODY RIERSON – PRINICPAL AT USD 418 LINCOLN ELEMENTRARY

A PERSON MAKING MCPHERSON COUNTY EDUCATION TICK!

By William for www.mcpherson-county-ks.com

{Note: The information for this profile was done before the historic change of schooling caused by the coronavirus pandemic.}

MCPHERSON – With this profile of the People of Education in McPherson County – we focus on Cody Rierson, Principal of Lincoln Elementary School in McPherson USD 418!

So many folks work hard at making the educating of our future generations work, that we feel it is important to know who they are and get to know a little bit about them, their job, their background and what makes them tick in making their work within their school district tick.

WHO IS CODY RIERSON?

Cody Rierson is currently the Principal of Lincoln Elementary School in McPherson, a position he has now served for seven years. It is a dream position for Rierson as he himself at one time was a student and Lion at Lincoln Elementary while growing up in McPherson.

Even his family has ties to McPherson as Rierson is married to his middle school and high school sweetheart, the former Abbey Archer. Abbey is currently working as the Chief of Staff at McPherson College.

Being married to his long-time sweetheart and having four wonderful children is something which Rierson says he is most proud of.

The four children that make the Rierson family are:

  • Harper Rierson, the oldest is 10 and currently a fourth grader at Lincoln Elementary and she enjoys good party, creating, and designing.
  • Vivian Rierson is daughter number two. Vivian is eight, a second grader at Lincoln Elementary and enjoys chess club, art, writing, and building.
  • Jolie, or JoJo as the family calls her, his Rierson’s daughter number three. JoJo is currently six years old and in kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary. According to Rierson, JoJo looks like her Mom and acts like her Dad. She is charismatic and can make any one smile.
  • Child number four is John Rhodes Rierson. He is just two and enjoys working on the farm with Dad while hanging out with his grandparents is a plus as well.

PIC - CODY RIERSON with the family

Rierson also points out that the family has an animal menagerie at home with three dogs (Millie, Padfoot, and Luna), two lizards (Joe and Choe), plus one fish that goes by the name of Sprinkles.

As for himself, Rierson admits that he is very close to his parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces and nephews, nearly all of which live within the McPherson area.

He notes that he has always wanted to live in McPherson so that he and Abbey could raise their children surrounded by the extended family of cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and all.

Relaxing for Rierson means spending time with his family, traveling, playing sports with the kids, and reading which he explains means mostly research articles and children’s books plus drinking coffee and fizzy water while tinkering on the farm with the kids.

WHAT DID CODY RIERSON DO BEFORE ARRIVING HERE?

Before arriving in McPherson to become the Principal at Lincoln Elementary, Rierson graduated from McPherson High School in 2001 and then graduated from McPherson College in 2005.

While attending high school and college in his hometown, Rierson had already begun working with kids as he volunteered at the elementary schools while still in high school along with coaching, umpiring and substitute teaching as well. Rierson also spent time helping with youth camps.

After graduating from McPherson College, Rierson began his career in education by teaching in Kansas City before moving back to McPherson to teach at Eisenhower Elementary for a couple of years.

With his families blessing, Rierson took the chance for a step up and moved to Caldwell, Kansas to gain his first experience as an elementary school principal.

When he heard that Jana Koehn was retiring as Principal of Lincoln Elementary, his home school in McPherson, Rierson immediately jumped at the opportunity and returned to his hometown to continue his work with the future generations.

WHAT DOES CODY RIERSON’S CURRENT POSITION REQUIRE OF HIM?

One of those things that Rierson points at first as being a main requirement of his as principal is to constantly be keeping focused on supporting both his teachers and his staff.

According to Rierson, that is what dictates his leadership style and helps create a collaborative environment and shared vision for all at Lincoln Elementary.

While that is one of the main requirements, Rierson also points out that the most important aspect of everything is TRUST and notes that he works every day to develop trusting relationships at all levels.

WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THE CURRENT AND FUTURE OF LINCOLN ELEMENTRARY (in his words)?

Recognizing that the rhetoric across the country towards education can be challenging, Rierson noted, “It’s incredibly difficult to be an educator in the year 2020 and the previous note impacts the hiring and retention of good educators. As I have said in the past, we have an amazing staff at Lincoln Elementary School, and this is because we’ve created a trusting and collaborative environment where we place the needs of the students above all. It’s because of this that we’ve had little to no turnover with certified teachers the past several years.

“Finding and retaining great classified staff, such as custodians, aides, paras, cooks and more, is also important to our school environment,” continued Rierson. “Every employee is a vital stakeholder to our success at Lincoln Elementary. We are proud of our culture and environment that students and staff want to be a part of. A place where student learning and needs come first, followed by innovative and impactful leadership demonstrated by the amazing staff.”

Rierson does not hide one bit from how he feels, saying, “I’m in love with Lincoln Elementary. The students, staff and environment are what makes me happy to go to work every day. I also get to bring my three daughters with me to Lincoln. I strive to not only know, but build a relationship with all 315 students and their families at Lincoln Elementary. I work with an incredible staff that works extremely hard to meet the needs of every student. Our team is constantly focused on our strategic vision to move forward in an innovative way and we have focused on school as a community while trying to implement programming that is meaningful to our Lincoln Elementary families and builds relationships as well.”

PIC - CODY RIERSON with the kids of Lincoln Elementary

When asked about what he finds the most rewarding about working within USD 418, Rierson talks about the collaborative relationships he has built with so many people.

“This starts with the amazing students and staff at Lincoln Elementary,” explained Rierson. “Then, works its way up to the other amazing administrators. Jill Beam, the current Principal at Washington Elementary, has mentored me since she was my teacher, and then teaching together at Eisenhower Elementary. We are a close group, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without leaders like them. There are so many incredible educators that work for USD 418 and I could tell thousands of stories of individuals working hard out of the spotlight for students.”

One specific example that Rierson discussed was that of Karen Holman whom numerous years ago was mentioned in an email sent to the entire district asking if anyone would like to have her volunteer her time with some students. Rierson mentioned how he jumped on that idea and now, years later, Karen Holman still volunteers around 20 hour per week at Lincoln Elementary, where she does the little things like making ketchup happy faces on the hamburger buns and having reward tea parties for students with good behavior.

“She is always willing to help and has a great attitude,” Rierson added when talking about Mrs. Holman. “Annually, I offer her a paid, full-time position at Lincoln Elementary and annually, she declines because she’s passionate and rewarded with what she is currently doing.”

Rierson concluded his reflections on the rewards of his job and position within the district by adding, “People like Mrs. Holman create such a beautiful place to work. Again, I could tell hundreds of stories of staff that come in early, stay late, work into the night, and put blood, sweat and tears into helping our USD 418 students. They all love their students as if they were their own children. To these people, education is a calling and teachers deserve immense respect.”

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR CODY RIERSON?

When the question came up about his future plans, Rierson listed but three very important points that he aims for when looking toward the tomorrows ahead.

  • Work hard every day to support my students and staff at Lincoln Elementary while continuing to grow as a principal.
  • Work hard to be the best father/husband he can possible be.
  • Work hard to eventually become a district-wide leader.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

There you have it folks, an introduction and insight to another of our many strong, faithful and positive administrative leaders found within the many fine and outstanding school districts of the McPherson County area.

Cody Rierson, Principal at Lincoln Elementary in McPherson, personifies a man that finds total enjoyment and wonder at the opportunity to lead an elementary school for the sake and future of each and every student that he has the opportunity to teach and reach.

If you get the chance, like with any other district leaders, give Cody Rierson a greeting next you see or talk with him. Give him a smile and a sincere thank you for being willing to push himself, as well as the Lincoln Elementary staff and students to the next levels of education and life success.

(Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)

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