VANDALIA — With the new school year came a significant change at Butler High School as Thomas Luebbe was named the Principal. With any leadership change comes a difference in style, and it’s apparent that the Butler student body has embraced their new principal.
Examples are easy to find.
Luebbe can usually be found each morning greeting students on their way into the building. Then there were chants of “Mr. Luebbe, Mr. Luebbe” that greeted him as he paced the sideline like an anxious father at a recent football game. Not to be outdone, there was the hilariously ridiculous, over the top purple cape he wore, on television, the morning of Fox 45’s visit to campus.
Luebbe says all of those things are meant to show one thing – he cares about the students.
“It’s about building relationships,” he said. “Kids need relationships with their teachers and they need a relationship with their principal and the other administrators. They need relationships with their parents, their families, and their community. Those are the people who are influencing them and helping them grow. We all play our part in helping these kids become whatever their future holds.”
Luebbe said his support for students cuts across the board – academics, athletics, arts, and personally.
“I want to show the kids that I authentically care about them, that I’m willing to support what they are doing,” he said. “I’m going to go to their events – not because I have to, because there’s nothing saying I have to do any of these things – I go because I want to show the staff [and] the students that they mean the world to me. If you don’t show a kid or a student first and foremost that you care about them, that you are truly concerned with who they are, both in the present and in the future, then how will they believe in what you are trying to say?”
Luebbe started his 41st year in education this fall after spending most of his career at his alma mater, LaSalle High School in Cincinnati.
He began his teaching career as a fill-in for his former band director who was ill with cancer. Luebbe started helping at LaSalle while he was finishing the six-year master’s program at Xavier University in four years.
Luebbe’s mentor at LaSalle lost his fight with cancer and Luebbe was hired as a math teacher and band director. Other than a brief stint at Moeller High School, Luebbe spent the next 40 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal.
Luebbe had high praise for the Vandalia-Butler school district and Butler High School. He said the district’s reputation is what made him apply for the open position created when former Principal Chad Hill took a new position in a neighboring school district.
“I didn’t know a lot about Vandalia or Butler High School, but in Southwest Ohio it (the district) is one that always stood out,” said Luebbe. “We have a great staff here. This community is truly blessed to have the people who work in this building and in this school district.”
Luebbe said despite that reputation of excellence, he isn’t content to let Butler rest on its laurels.
“Excellence is already here, but I am always one to say that it’s never good to be satisfied with where you are because if you feel like you have reached that pinnacle the next step you are going to take is downward,” he said. “I’m not content to just sit still and be happy with where we are. The world changes, as do the needs of community, the needs of society. We must constantly evolve and improve to meet those ever-changing realities.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.