One walk around campus was all Scott Dill needed to become excited about being Houston’s next middle school principal.

“It was a real treat to walk around the facilities and see everything on campus,” Dill said after his first visit last week. “I saw fantastic things going on in all the classrooms – just fantastic, fun stuff.”

Dill and Ben Yocom, the recently selected high school principal, were both on the Houston Schools campus last week to become acquainted with the area and their soon-to-be colleagues. Both said the visit was extremely positive.

Yocom, who is leaving his position as principal at Cuba High School, was especially impressed with the high school teachers he met.

“They’re all student centered and want to do what’s best for kids. That’s my philosophy in education,” he said.

A Reeds Spring native, Yocom said coming to Houston offered him the opportunity to move closer to home. His career, which began in 2001 as a middle school track coach in Iowa, has taken him from Reeds Spring to Greenfield and Cuba as a basketball coach before he entered administration. After a two-year stint as athletic director, Yocom served one year as Cuba’s assistant principal before assuming his current post last summer.

Yocom, 28, said Houston’s A+ designation and accreditation with distinction made the job appealing.

“I’ve always heard good things about the district – they have strong academics and extra-curricular activities – and I felt real strong about the way they do things,” he said.

Yocom replaces Audrey Kell, who becomes curriculum director next year.

Dill, a California native who moved with his family to Missouri in 1979, will assume his first administration duties when he begins Aug. 1. He has spent his first 10 years in education as library media specialist and technology director at Macks Creek Schools.

Dill said the decision to leave his first and only employer was difficult. But the transition should be smoother under Houston Superintendent Clinton Waters, where held the same position at Macks Creek.

“I just think the world of him and am very excited at the chance to work with him again,” Dill said of Waters.

Dill said he was impressed by Houston’s data, including MAP scores, after closely analyzing it.

“I’m very excited to work with such an experienced staff that has done such great work in the past,” he said. “I think this is a tremendous opportunity for me to get my feet wet as an administrator and be part of just a fantastic district.”

Dill, 32, has been married to his wife, Amy, for 12 years. They have two daughters: Caroline, 6, and Maura, 2. Both were born on St. Patrick’s Day.

Dill replaces Charlie Malam, who accepted a similar position at Willow Springs.

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