The decision to return to the Kamiah School District was not made lightly by Steve Higgins, who considers it an honor to serve as the new superintendent. “This job is exactly what I thought it was going to be, it’s the challenge I was looking for,” said Higgins.
Having spent four years as the Kamiah High School principal and another nine years as the Grangeville principal, Higgins is looking forward to this next level of educational leadership.
“There are so many good things coming out of this community,” said Higgins, who will also serve as the principal for grades K-3. “I’m SO excited to work with the little kids!”
His vast experiences at several schools in the area have been the foundation Higgins needs to run a tight ship in Kamiah. “Some people say the ship is sinking. It’s not sinking, there’s just no wind in the sails,” added Higgins.
While many in the community may be convinced that the schools in Kamiah will only continue to see a decline in the number of students, Higgins explained that small schools go through cycles. “I see it coming back up, I see the cycle hitting on an upper slope. That was a lot of the reason I chose to come back here, I think the opportunities in this district are amazing.
“I’m excited about our numbers based on enrollment figures throughout the years. If numbers hold, we’re gonna see about the same size of high school in the Kamiah School District as when I was in school. Yes, we’ve lost numbers over the years which effects money, but we’re seeing bigger classes coming in. We’re always in contact with new families and families that are moving in.”
Higgins is incredibly positive about the future of Kamiah’s schools and urges people to focus on the many good things the district has to offer. “The group of teachers we have, the group of administrators, support staff, everything. If you take a look at the way the janitors have got these buildings glowing, if you take a look at the effort that’s going on around here, people need to understand that it is not a bad place, it’s no different than all the other schools around here. It’s a mindset. I see this place taking off.
“Problem solving, that’s basically all this is,” said Higgins. “Putting the puzzle pieces together to make it work, all the while keeping the focus of giving the best opportunity to the kids that we possibly can.”
Higgins says he is already having a lot of fun since he made the move to Kamiah. “There’s obviously going to be difficult times, but the opportunity is here, we can always go from good to great or from great to greater.
“This school is a representation of the community, and our community is a representation of this school. One hand feeds the other.”
Communication is key for any position involving leadership and Higgins brings an open mind and a knack for listening to the table. “It’s not about me, it’s about our district teaming up with our community that teams up with our kids, it’s all those entities together.”
When the subject of Kub Pride was addressed, Higgins voiced a strong reminder that words are not nearly as important as actions. “We’ve just got to get back on track. It’s too easy [to say] Kub Pride. Live it. That’s a lesson for me too, we get into that rut. It’s too easy to just go through the motions. We can’t ALL do everything; you and I both know that the majority of the work falls on the hands of a few,” added Higgins.
“I’m a 1982 graduate of Kamiah High School. I had tremendous teachers, coaches, and support staff. But those people are no different than the ones we already have in place right now and as a past graduate, I’m saying step up and live it,” said Higgins.
“There isn’t going to be massive change overnight, but I’ve had an opportunity to sit back and evaluate, kinda take a look at some of the things we’re doing and know how they’re doing it in other communities. If they’re doing it in other communities and it’s positive, let’s give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, we’ll find something else.”
With his positive outlook, Higgins hopes to alter the mindset of the community and effectively put some wind into the sails again.