Cherokee Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom recommended Phipps, and the Cherokee Board of Education approved the recommendation in a special meeting Monday night in closed session at WHS. The Board will officially act on the matter, and a contract will be offered, at the next regularly scheduled meeting Monday night June 18th.
According to Chalstrom, after advertising for the position upon Hunecke's announced retirement, the District received a "limited" (due to the timing involved) number of applicants.
"There were cases where experienced applicants were under contract in their current District for next year, and there was reluctance by other school boards to release them from their obligations," explained Chalstrom.
"There also were inquiries from applicants who ultimately withdrew potential candidacy because of the perceived late timing of the vacancy."
This led he and the Board to "explore other options," said Chalstrom.
A Cherokee native and certified administrator, Phipps has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Northern Iowa. He has served as a teacher and coach in Holstein, Terril, Aurelia, and the Price Lab School at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, returning to Cherokee in 2002 to serve as Athletic Director/PE Teacher/Coach at WHS.
"Neil is highly respected by students and staff," said Chalstrom. "He is known as a motivational leader whose strengths include a positive attitude and enthusiasm. This will be beneficial during a time of transition at Washington High School."
The search for a WHS Principal will be "potentially reopened" next year, according to Chalstrom,to enable the District to cast a "wider net" to get the best possible person for the job.
Hunecke served as WHS Prinicpal for 10 years.