As the new school year begins, there is a changing of the guard at Custer County District High School, as Larry “Beez” Lucero takes the reins as school principal.
“Everybody here has been very friendly, and have helped me get adjusted to the job,” Lucero said. “Everything has gone as smooth as it possibly could; it’s been great for me and my family.”
Lucero takes over for longtime administrator Jamie Ogolin, who resigned the position earlier this summer.
Superintendent Keith Campbell said he’s confident the transition will be a smooth one.
“Mr. Lucero has a very dynamic personality, and is motivated to come in and work with the other administrators, faculty and staff at learning, and came across as a leader they all wanted to work with,” Campbell said in June. “He’s a people person, and wants to build relationships. He came across as energetic, but humble, and we were very impressed. He doesn’t have a ton of experience, but we think he has the right kind of experience to lead CCDHS going forward.”
Lucero has been working in education for 12 years, first as a social studies teacher and coach, later as an administrator. He was assistant principal and activities director in Harrison, Mont., before becoming the principal in Townsend, a position he held for two years. The son of teachers, Lucero grew up in Great Falls. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Montana, and has two master’s degrees, one in Education Administration and one in Sports Management. Lucero’s wife, Sara, is also a teacher, and will be teaching the 3rd grade at Lincoln Elementary this fall. Though Lucero said he enjoys the challenges of being an administrator, one thing he does miss is coaching.
“I like being a principal, but the hardest part about it is you don’t have those relationships with the kids that you do when you’re teaching or coaching,” he said. “With coaching, you would get to know the kids even better, and that’s hard to give up.”
Lucero said what appealed to him most about the position at CCDHS was the opportunity for him and his wife to both have jobs within the district. After asking around and hearing nothing but positives about the district and the community, he decided to give it a shot.
“The more and more we dug into it, the more and more we decided that it was something we wanted to pursue,” he explained. “We’re really glad we did, that’s for sure.”
With the start of school just a week away, Lucero thanks the staff he’s been working with for helping him get up to speed on his new responsibilities.
“I’ve just had a ton of help, which has been great,” he said. “Vince [Gundlach, vice principal], Mike [Ryan, activities director], the ladies in the office, they’ve just all been awesome. They’ve helped me get acclimated, telling me what I need to do, what I need to focus on. I think we’re ready to go. The first year is always the toughest, but I think it will be a great year.”