Dodge City superintendent earns honor.

Fred Dierksen hasn’t even been the USD 443 superintendent for month, yet he is already giving the Dodge City community a reason to be proud.

Last Thursday in Lawrence, Dierksen was named School Administrator of the Year at the 2017 Annual Kansas Juvenile Officer’s Association Awards Banquet.

“I just consider it an honor,” said Dierksen. “I believe first and foremost that to have great schools, you have to have safe schools. It’s always been a pentacle of what I’ve tried to accomplish, that we have to have a great partnership with the law enforcement.”

Dierksen’s nomination came from an old friend and affiliate, Justin Carter, who is the D.A.R.E. officer at Sterling Public Schools, the same district that Dierksen spent his past 20 years at as an administrator.

According to Sterling Chief of Police and previous D.A.R.E. officer at Sterling schools, Mary Davis, Dierksen has always been avid on establishing a strong relationship between the law enforcement and schools.

“He has been a huge supporter of the D.A.R.E. program and the police department for as long as he’d been here,” said Davis. “He would do just about anything we wanted him to do for us or help us with, he was always on board. He allowed us to be in and out of our schools, he would let us eat with the kids whenever we wanted to, we could go in and spend half a day with the kids if we wanted to.

“We’ve had a great working relationship with Fred, the school district and the Sterling Police Department.”

Dierksen says that this award is a real honor to him because of how important this topic has been to him over the years.

“When I was at Jetmore, we of course did not have the resources for that kind of support when it came to our D.A.R.E. program. I had contacted him back in my Jetmore days, about 7 years ago, and asked him to present to the kids,” said Dierksen. “Even back then I tried to have police officers come to build what I believe is most important about the program, other than the curriculum, which is relationships. Knowing that police officers can be your friend, they can help, they can be funny and they can be a normal person you can trust, I really believe in establishing that with kids in our schools.”

Davis, who was a D.A.R.E. officer in training during Dierksen’s first year as principal of Sterling Elementary, says that Dierksen is more than deserving of this award because of how often he went above and beyond for law enforcement.

“When he was here he actually patrolled the school zones with us,” she said. “Every morning and every afternoon he would start about 7:30 a.m. and just make sure that all the kids are going and coming to school without any problems. We’re going to miss him, he was a great asset to our community.”

Though Dierksen is in a larger community, he says that this will not change much in Dodge.

“I’m the guy that goes around in the morning or after school to make sure that everything is working well,” he said. “Of course, I’m in a much larger community now, so I’m sure it’s going to be harder, but in some form I’m going to be doing that.”

Honored and humbled, Dierksen plans on continuing to build the relationship between the USD 443 schools and local authorities.

“Fred is a phenomenal guy,” said Davis. “He is a huge loss for Sterling but a major gain for Dodge City.”

To contact the writer of this story, email egarcia@dodgeglobe.com.