Westside High School’s reputation for high academic achievement and personalized learning attracted Jay Opperman to the principal job.

Last week the Westside Community Schools board unanimously approved Opperman as the successor to retiring Westside Principal Maryanne Ricketts.

Opperman, the principal of Hastings High School, will start July 1, pending approval of his resignation by the Hastings Public Schools board.

Opperman was one of four finalists who were interviewed by three committees of high school teachers and high school and district administrators.

“Jay emerged as a top candidate from the consensus of these groups,” Superintendent Blane McCann wrote in a letter to parents.

Opperman, 51, has worked at Hastings for roughly 25 years and has been principal since 2004.

His first mission is to build strong relationships within the district and to make students a priority.

“I really want to communicate with not only the staff but also students and the community,” he said. “I believe that I keep students at the center of our decisions.”

He is a member of the Nebraska Educational Technology Association and his wife, Tiffany Opperman, is an English teacher at Hastings Middle School.

Ricketts, who will retire in May, has served as Westside’s principal for nearly five years and worked in the district for nearly 37 years.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1068, alia.conley@owh.com

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