Newly Hired Principal Excited for Future

Gereon Methner

The first thing the new principal of Gibraltar High School would like everyone to know is the pronunciation of his first name.

“It is kind of unique. It’s an old German family name,” said Gereon Methner.

Gereon is pronounced with a hard G and long second E, rather than Jerryon or any other variation.

The Gibraltar School Board at its April 27 meeting approved Methner’s hiring. Gibraltar Elementary School Principal Brian Annen has been pulling double duty since the abrupt resignation of high school Principal Kirk Knutson last November.

Asked how Methner stood out from the four other candidates considered for the position, Gibraltar School Board President Fred Anderson said, “It’s very simple. His level of enthusiasm, his education background at both high school and college level, and his personality, in my opinion, just seems to be what I believe will be a great fit for Gibraltar moving forward.”

“This is kind of a culminating experience for me. It’s very exciting,” said Methner, who currently serves as At-Risk Coordinator/LEADS Charter School Administrator in the Shawano School District.

Methner said he learned a lot serving in the LEADS Charter School.

“LEADS is an enquiry-based learning model that is very innovative. Our kids do very well here,” he said. “I was primarily a middle and high school teacher, so having the opportunity to work with primary school teachers was a great growth period for me. It kind of took me out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself and teaching, working with some great teachers. My job here is very interesting and is a very dynamic position. I’m thankful to the Shawano School District for the opportunity they gave me. That’s not me politicking, Shawano is a great school district. I’m not leaving because I didn’t want to be there any longer. The Gibraltar position is such a great opportunity for me.”

Methner said he comes from a long line of educators.

“We’re a family dedicated to education and have been for multiple generations,” he said. “My father was a school administrator, a principal and superintendent. I’ve seen all ends of the spectrum when it comes to administrative teams, communities, and school boards growing up. This feels awfully good, and that’s a good feeling. And I’m just excited to get in and really dig into the community and make some positive contributions.”

So what attracted him to the position?

“Number one, everybody knows that Door County is a naturally beautiful location to be. And I’m at a point in my life right now where that kind of stuff is starting to matter a lot more,” he said. “I spent a lot of years in graduate school, living in studio apartments. Being in a great location was very attractive. I also know that Door County has an appreciation for the arts, but it’s still located in northern Wisconsin. That’s a big deal for me, too. Geographically, I’m a Michigander originally. I graduated high school in Wauskauee, which is kind of straight west from you. My mother’s family is from Menominee County, Mich. So geographically it’s a great location for me and it packs the punch of being an area that has a great appreciation for the arts. And from what I understand and what I could gather from my research, it’s a community that supports its schools. I know that’s a powerful thing.”

Methner said he also feels he hit it off with Gibraltar administration, the staff he has met so far and the school board members.

“I feel like I’m on the same page,” he said. “For me, relationships are everything in the education world. I very much look forward to becoming a member of the community there. I’ve had a great experience becoming a member of the community here in Shawano. I believe very strongly in service organizations. I’m a Rotarian here in Shawano.”

Methner said he is not the kind of person who comes in and turns everything upside down.

“There is going to be a lot of listening that goes on,” he said. “When I hit the ground running [his term begins July 1], my focus initially is getting to know the community and the stakeholders in the community. I just know from my experience in other places I’ve worked that those relationships are critical to understanding how well things are going and then trying to figure out solutions to improve any situation. I will spend a lot of energy in my first couple months getting out into the community and meeting the folks, community leaders, the school board, and then doing everything I can to kick off the school year on a positive note. It’s a fresh start for Gibraltar School District and a great opportunity for me, so I am eager. I plan to find a place to live as close as I can to Fish Creek, preferably in it, if at all possible. I’m hoping there are some folks in the community who can point me in the right direction.”