Goral reflects on decade at SFHS

SFHS principal preps to become Denmark superintendent
by Jeff Pederson
Sheboygan Falls News Editor

LUKE GORAL, who has served in an administrative role at Sheboygan Falls High School since 2008, including the last seven as principal, is set to end his 10-year tenure on June 30 to become the new Denmark School District superintendent. - Submitted photo LUKE GORAL, who has served in an administrative role at Sheboygan Falls High School since 2008, including the last seven as principal, is set to end his 10-year tenure on June 30 to become the new Denmark School District superintendent. - Submitted photo After 10 years on the administrative staff at Sheboygan Falls High School, current SFHS Principal Luke Goral will soon bid adieu to the school he has had a hand in leading since 2008.

Goral, who has served as SFHS principal since 2011, is set to leave the district at the end of June to become the new school district superintendent in his hometown of Denmark.

In reflecting on his decadelong tenure at SFHS, Goral recalled fondly his outlook upon accepting the SFHS assistant principal-athletic director position in the summer of 2008.

“Ten years ago, my personal goal was to become an athletic director at a high school to support an athletic program,” Goral said. “The assistant principal athletic director position gave me that opportunity and the opportunity to understand the workings of the school and district.

“Never did I think of being a principal or a superintendent at that time,” he said.

Goral who came to SFHS after teaching social studies and serving as the athletic director at Southern Door High School from 2006 to 2008, says the warm reception and lasting connections he formed early on in his tenure convinced him to stay in Sheboygan Falls for an extended period of time.

“I wouldn’t say that I thought I would stay for 10 years at the start, but after being here for a couple years, I developed strong relationships and partnerships,” Goral said. “It took me three years to assure the ladies in the office that I wasn’t leaving to put my name on the door.

“In the first couple years you also get a good idea of the direction of the district and that is what attracted me to stay and become principal,” he said. “I have had great mentors at Falls and as a district we have consistently moved in a progressive direction.”

The Denmark native, who holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and secondary education certification from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside and a master’s degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse, says he is pleased that the majority of the wide reaching goals he established for SFHS have been reached.

“My goals have always been to support every student and every staff member anyway I can,” Goral said. “Any business or organization is only as good as its people and their passion to succeed. Over the past few years, our goal as a high school is to ensure that every student is college and career ready.

“Our current data has seen steady increases in students taking advantage of educational and work-based activities offered in our district,” Goral said. “This includes CAPP and AP Courses, job shadows, CTE experiences, youth apprenticeships, community service, ACT prep and others. With the switch to the laude system three years ago and now implementing an academic and career ready credentialing system, I only see students being more prepared than ever for the path they choose after high school.”

Goral, whose diverse educational background includes teaching social studies and coaching wrestling and football at San Luis high School in San Luis, Ariz., as well as serving as a lecturer and assistant wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, says SFHS is loaded with many strong points that set it a apart from other area high school.

“Sheboygan Falls High School has several strengths, including numerous rigorous and innovative opportunities and a wide variety of course options, as well as several strong partnerships with local business, colleges and civic organizations,” Goral said. “Most importantly, Sheboygan Falls has a student-centered staff, administration and School Board.”

Goral, who lives in Denmark with his wife and two children, says he has taken a wide-angle approach to growth and improvement at SFHS.

“I was never looking to improve a certain area,” Goral said. “As an individual with a growth mind set, I am always looking to improve in all areas. We have taken advantage of several opportunities to improve our facilities, improve our programing and add exceptional staff.”

In analyzing the many ways education has changed over the years, Goral feels two specific areas have provided the biggest challenges.

“I think there are two main changes that have really shifted how and what we do in education,” Goral said. “One is that as the employment opportunities and technology changes, it is our job not only to prepare students academically, but to also ensure that they are able to be creative, collaborative, critical thinkers and excellent communicators.

“The second is that we are seeing an increase of mental illness, trauma and poverty in our schools and as a district we are continually educating our selves to help support the whole student,” he said.

Looking back on the memories created during his tenure, Goral’s fondest reflections involve witnessing student success.

“Most of my standout memories have to do with students reaching goals, seeing success, graduating high school and earning opportunities after high school,” Goral said. “Other memories that will stand out over time are of committed staff members and partners doing whatever it takes to challenge, guide and help students succeed.”

While SFHS and the city of Sheboygan Falls will always be special to Goral, he admits he could not pass up an opportunity to elevate his career in his hometown.

“The Denmark superintendent position was all about timing and location,” Goral said. “My family is my number one priority. My oldest will be in first grade next year and my youngest will be in 5-year-old kindergarten. This was an opportunity for me to be the best dad and husband while taking the next step in my career.

“Just like during the other transitions I have encountered in my career, my own expectations and goals won’t really change as far as supporting students and staff,” he said. “My expectations of myself are to develop synergistic relationships and utilize my knowledge and experience to ensure the mission and vision of the Denmark School District are lived and met”

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