Shaun Fanger will start his 15th year in education as the new St. Clair Junior High principal.
Fanger was the junior high assistant principal and athletic director for three years before accepting his new role.
Former principal Eric Lause stepped down at the end of the 2018-19 school year. He is returning to his alma mater, Union High School, to be a wood shop teacher.
For nine years of his career, Fanger taught math and coached basketball and tennis at Eureka High School, and was the assistant principal and athletics director at St. Clair High School for two years before transferring to the junior high.
“Transitioning from high school to middle school, I completely fell in love with this age group right away,” he said.
His favorite things about being an educator are the relationships he makes with the students.
“The kids come in here so excited and I high-five and handshake them right as they walk into the building,” he said. “They are really just looking for someone to care for them and someone to teach them.”
Fanger added that he enjoys working with the teachers and staff.
“They are an amazing group of people. We have a great culture and climate that I’m very proud of,” he said.
As the junior high principal, Fanger said he’s looking forward to continuing the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) program, which was implemented in the eighth grade last school year. For the 2019-20 school year, the program will be in full swing for sixth through eighth grades.
There will be more support systems within the ICU program for the upcoming year including guided studies classes where students can complete assignments and teachers helping students stay on track. Due to the ICU program, Fanger said he noticed students’ grades were stronger and benchmark tests were better.
The new school year also will incorporate a new English language curriculum and the continuation of the Go Math curriculum, which was implemented two years ago.
“We have definitely grown as a building. Our staff and our students are improving and our data is supporting that,” he said.
Fanger expressed gratitude to the central office and the school board for his promotion.
“I feel very blessed that they are entrusting me with this opportunity. They’re very excited about what we’re already doing and where we’re moving forward,” he said. “It’s an honor and it’s a privilege, and I’m going to do the best I can for our kids and our community.”
His passion for teaching comes from his time running summer school camps in high school and college, as well as basketball camps, he said.
“It’s all about the kids. I love the children. I love doing what I do,” Fanger said. “I truly enjoy going to work each and every day and have for the last 15 years. I have a passion for what we do and really feel like we’re doing great things for kids.”
For the first few years of his teaching career, he stepped into leadership roles, which put him on the path toward administration.
“Going from the classroom to administration, I could have a larger impact on more students than just the students in my classroom,” he said.
His motto for the upcoming school year is “Every child, every day.”
“I’m going to do everything in my power to keep kids safe and offer an environment conducive to learning and keep kids engaged in the classrooms, and wanting them to come to school each and every day excited about learning,” he said. “I feel like we have been doing that and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Fanger lives in Eureka with his wife Alison of 13 years. Together they have five children: Lincoln, 10, triplets Grayson, Devon and Campbell, 6, and Sloan, 3. Some of his hobbies include playing golf, working out and playing sports with his children.
He played high school basketball and was on a Final Four team and earned a basketball scholarship to Central Methodist University in Fayette.
Fanger said he played basketball all four years of college and earned his undergraduate degree in math education. He also received his administration degree through Missouri Baptist University. He hopes to earn his doctorate in the future.