P. Kirk Kuxhausen

Mitchell Elementary School
Mitchell Public Schools
Mitchell, Nebraska

P. Kirk Kuxhausen began his education career in 1986 and has served as a principal for the last 23 years. In that time, Kuxhausen has learned his greatest leadership asset is his ability to build and sustain meaningful relationships that strengthen the school community. As principal of Mitchell Elementary School since 2004, Kuxhausen prioritizes connecting with students through his active presence, with teachers as a respectful and communicative instructional leader, and with parents as a receptive listener who understands the parent experience from having raised three Mitchell students. This people-centered leadership style has proven effective at increasing achievement by guiding necessary changes to curriculum, culture, and school structure. In 2004, Kuxhausen’s first year as principal, Mitchell was identified by the state’s Department of Education as the only school to exist in both categories for “needing to  improve the quality of assessments” and “must raise students’ math scores.” Under Kuxhausen’s leadership, the school’s teachers shifted toward an embrace of assessments as a tool for accountability and, as a result, Mitchell was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School only two years later. The impact of these efforts have been so great that Mitchell now sees option enrollment averaging 30 percent, despite being located in a rural area with a struggling local economy. Kuxhausen holds an Education Specialist credential and a B.A. from the University at Nebraska at Kearney, an M.A. from Chadron State College, and an Associate of Applied Science from Western Nebraska Community College.