COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools selected Mark Maus as Rock Bridge High School’s next principal Monday.
Maus currently serves as Oak Park High School’s assistant principal in Kansas City. He will replace Rock Bridge Principal Kathy Ritter, who will retire in July.
Columbia Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher said Maus will be offered a one-year contract effective in July. Maus was one of four finalists. The list was narrowed to three by Friday.
“The (interview) process was wonderful,” Belcher said. “We included parents and staff, and at the end we listened and found the consensus.”
Belcher said he tended to have the same opinions of Maus as the committees formed to select a principal.
“Mark was very communicative and very easy to relate to,” Belcher said. He said he thought Maus "could work with Rock Bridge staff in the way they would want to be dealt with. He’s very positive and upbeat – a younger, male version of Kathy Ritter.”
Spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said Maus has been assistant principal at Oak Park for three years. He had also previously served as achievement coordinator and algebra teacher at the school. Oak Park has 1,530 students, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Baumstark said it is important to have the best candidate who can use his skills and experience to be able to run an approximately 1,800-student school.
“It takes somebody with a strong combination of background and experience,” she said. “I’m impressed with how Maus discussed his vision and how that fit with the vision at Rock Bridge.”
According to a news release from Columbia Public Schools, Maus has a master’s degree in educational leadership and is currently earning his educational specialist degree in education administration. He plans to then complete his doctorate in education.
The release also said Maus will spend time with Ritter to work on the transition and will visit Rock Bridge to meet with faculty and students over the next several months.
Maus was not available for comment.
“It’s change, so there will be people who think we made the wrong choice,” Belcher said. “People are fearful of the unknown. But once you get to know him the level of uncertainty decreases.”
“You have to earn your stripes,” Belcher said. “Then you start to get your support because you’re part of the team.”