CLINTON — In a sense, Gary Lueders is returning to his roots.

Lueders, who has been activities director at Northeast High School for the past 20 years, will take over the same job at Clinton High School pending board approval.

Lueders is quite familiar with Clinton High, having graduated from there in 1973.

After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 1978, he taught two years at Colfax before going to Northeast.

He taught social studies and coached wrestling until 1986 when he became a physical education teacher while also accepting the role of activities director.

In 1996 he became a full-time administrator, taking the transportation director job to go along with the activities director position.

He added another job in 1999 when he was named principal of Northeast’s alternative school.

“Obviously I have some allegiance to Clinton High since I graduated from there and my kids went through there,” said Lueders. “The activities director job at Clinton was always in the back of my mind, but whenever it’s come open the timing never seemed to be right.

“This year when (current activities director) Dan Knight announced he was leaving, the timing seemed right for me,” Lueders added. “I decided that I’d pursue it. Fortunately I got an interview and they selected me.”

Lueders cited two former Clinton activities directors for helping him over the years.

“Bill Holmstrom had a great influence on me,” said Lueders. “And I always looked up to Lenny Weih since I consider him a mentor.”

Lueders said being a native and current resident of Clinton will be helpful.

“I have familiarity with the community and I’ve developed relationships with coaches and others in the school through the years,” he said. “I’ve also become familiar with some of the boosters and have gotten to know many people throughout the Mississippi Athletic Conference. That gives me a head start.”

Lueders admits it will be difficult leaving Northeast.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished here,” he said. “I’ve had great support from the board of education and administration. It is hard to leave — I’ve spent 26 years here with nothing but great memories of those I’ve worked with. I’ve had two wonderful principals in Bob Paul and Joe Jarvis. They’ve been very supportive over the years.”

Clinton High Principal Karinne Tharaldson is excited to have Lueders on board.

“He brings experience to this job and a sense of what needs to be done,” she said. “Gary has fantastic vision for the school and community. He appreciates Clinton and loves Clinton High. He’s a natural fit for what we need.”

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