Sheridan High School Principal Dirlene Wheeler will wrap up 14 years in the job – and 35 years as an educator – at the end of the academic year next June. The principal has submitted a letter of resignation to the Sheridan County School District 2 board of trustees, announcing her official retirement date as June 30, the end of summer school.
A former science teacher in Nebraska, Wheeler came to Sheridan in 1997 as assistant high school principal. When then-principal Terry Burgess left the job in 2000, Wheeler was named to replace him.
She described her thoughts as she prepares to retire – and her hopes for the future of Sheridan High School.
The principal said she has no particular reason for retiring now. She simply felt that, with her 60th birthday coming up in June, it was time to do something else. She added she is looking forward to going back to school. She plans to take classes in woodcarving and painting. She already does both, and samples of her work decorate her office at the high school. She said she's been a woodcarver since 1993, and has won competitions.
She also describes herself as an avid hiker, biker and skier, and she enjoys traveling. Sheridan will remain her home, though. She said, “I love this town. It's a fantastic place to live.”
She said she will miss the day-to-day interaction with high school students and staff, adding that “I love this school. And I have a fantastic teaching staff.”
The principal said she has been involved in the community during her years here, and she expects that to continue. Wheeler is proud that during her tenure as principal, the high school expanded its advanced placement courses and improved its technology education program, including a partnership with Sheridan College.
She added, “I couldn't do any of this without my staff.”
Another recent innovation of which she is proud is the new secure entrance to the high school.
She said, “I have had opportunities in Sheridan that never would have happened if I had stayed in Nebraska.”