Small school atmosphere provides welcomed change
Whether you want to talk sports, family, school or just the small-town chitter chatter, Nick Mumm made it clear his office door is always open.
Mumm, Giltner’s new superintendent effective July 1, has spent the last couple weeks becoming acclimated with his new career change and immersing himself in the Hornet community.
It’s only been a couple weeks since moving west, but Mumm has had no shortage of traffic welcoming he and his family to Giltner.
“I’ve had a few stop by the house, some come walking by and others have come into the office,” Mumm said. “I just love to visit with them and learn about the history of the community and school. It’s been real enjoyable so far.”
Two things drive Mumm in his life and make him happy -- the first of which is his family. Mumm met his wife, Elizabeth, when the two of them lived in the Elkhorn area. They now have a 3-1/2-year-old son, Meredith.
“The most important part about me is my family,” Mumm said.
After his family, Mumm takes his work to heart and strives to be as involved as possible in both the school and community.
“I love to be a part of the school community and the community of Giltner,” Mumm said. “I love to be involved and finding that balance of home and work. I enjoy coming to work every day.”
Giltner’s newest leader enjoys every chance he gets to go back to the family farm and visit. With the move to Giltner, it makes for a quick road trip either way.
Mumm grew up on a farm between Alexandria and Belvidere and graduated from Bruning-Davenport before attending UNK, where he picked up his undergrad and masters.
Right now, Mumm is working on finishing his doctorate, which has brought a couple challenges of late due to the coronavirus.
However, he is hoping for a graduation date in December from UNL to finish out his doctorate.
Growing up, Mumm had two potential career paths to follow -- education or farming. Thanks in part to his mother, Holly, working at Thayer Central for the past 43 years, Mumm chose the education route.
“My mom had a big influence,” Mumm said. “I also had an aunt that teaches. We’re a teaching and farming family. The two things that led me to teaching were the relationships and the community part of being in a school. I love just being a part of the school. The school is the community and the community is the school.”
Mumm most recently worked at Elkhorn-St. Patrick’s, where he was the director of academic services for seven years. Before that, he held teaching jobs at Sandhills in Dunning as well as Superior. His first school administrator job came at Santee.
Mumm is a big supporter of not only the athletic programs, but all of the extracurricular activities. Not only did he play every sport he could growing up, he tried to be involved in every activity as well.
Graduating from a small school similar to Giltner, Mumm has seen and experienced first-hand how that works and wants to give students every chance to be involved.
“You had the opportunity to be involved in them all, even if you weren’t good at them all,” Mumm said with a smile. “They’re all important and they’re all great experiences for kids. I have a great appreciation for it and think it can be the biggest piece to bring everyone together.”
While Mumm enjoyed his position in Elkhorn, he had aspirations of becoming a superintendent and being part of a smaller school and community.
When the position in Giltner came up last winter, the stars just seemed to align for Mumm, who jumped on the opportunity to apply.
“We were strategically looking for opportunities,” Mumm noted. “Graduating from Bruning-Davenport, we came to Giltner for activities so I’ve always known it is a great place.
“The thing that peaked my interest the most was it’s a smaller district and I loved the community and feeling here. It just felt like home.”
It makes for an interesting time to take control of a new school district as those involved work through strategies to deal with COVID-19.
Mumm pointed out that he began working with several committees within the school around the first of June to design a revised school calendar that fits the needs of everyone involved.
“You are successful when you have great people around you and we have great people here,” Mumm said. “We started real early with a few committees so we can get our arms wrapped around the COVID situation and doing what’s best for students, staff and their education.”
It’s his hope that those plans will be finalized in the coming week or so and will be announced shortly. Mumm pointed out that
Mumm pointed out that those committees decided right away on moving up the start date for school.
Teachers will report Aug. 3 in preparation for students’ first day, which will be Aug. 6.
“We talked a lot about getting as many contact days with kids face-to-face in case if, or when, we have to go to home learning,” Mumm said. “That was important.”
After dealing with the school closures at his previous position during the spring, Mumm pointed out several lessons learned that are easily applied now to make things run more smoothly.
The biggest of those lessons was to effectively communicate, being consistent and having a plan. He reported that Giltner Public Schools is now putting together a plan to have students in school as much as possible.
While all that sounds extremely stressful, Mumm swears he’s having a good time and is ready to get the school year started.
“I’m extremely excited. It’s really not that stressful,” he said. “It’s super organized and we have put a lot of work in. We are in a good spot and we are taking every day to its fullest and will be ready to hit the ground running Aug. 3.”
‘You are successful when you have great people around you and we have great people here.’
Nick Mumm, Giltner Superintendent