Since his first day will be Wednesday, Aug. 11, the same day Challis school board members meet, new Challis Junior and Senior High School Principal Tyler Gaston will get a chance to introduce himself to trustees.
Originally from Boise, Gaston told the Messenger he “was looking for a pathway back home, and Challis hit all the requirements.” Working in Iowa as the athletic director for Southeastern Community College, Gaston expects to arrive in Challis Aug. 2, according to Superintendent Lani Rembelski. Gaston will be paid $65,000 a year. The school board approved a two-year contract for Gaston.
Gaston began his education career in his home state. A Boise State University graduate, Gaston taught and coached in Idaho for six years. In the Castleford and New Plymouth school districts, Gaston taught history, social studies and physical education, pivoted between high school and elementary grade levels and coached basketball and football.
“In smaller districts, you have to wear multiple hats,” Gaston said.
In 2008, Gaston became the athletic director at Grays Harbor College in Washington before moving to Iowa. Gaston said he loves being involved with athletics, “but I think I can provide more as a public school principal.”
He first heard about the open position in Challis last month from a friend in Stanley. He wanted to transition away from athletics and move closer to his parents in Boise, he said. Gaston grew up visiting and still loves the Salmon River area, he said, so when he found out Challis needed a new principal he applied for the post.
Based on his teaching experience in the Gem State, his administrative background as an athletic director and the knowledge he has of Challis, Gaston said he’s prepared for the challenges. In fact, he looks forward to addressing them. With this being his first principal position, Gaston said he specifically looked for a small school district to get his bearings.
“Not to say small is bad,” Gaston said. “I was looking for a K-12, rural district where I can learn the job and still make the most impact on the community.”
An outdoorsman as well as an educator, Gaston joked there is a “high possibility” he’ll fall in love with the Challis area and district and never leave.