Purchase photos

Position takes former principal to northeast Kansas





One thing the John Linn family won't have to worry about in their new community is investing in an entirely new wardrobe.

Linn, principal at Victoria High School the past five years, resigned this summer to take a similar position at Royal Valley Middle School in Mayetta, a small town 17 miles north of Topeka.

School colors at both the Panthers' middle and senior high schools are purple and white, a stark contrast to the maroon and gold of Victoria.

"We're K-State fans, so we have a lot of purple anyway," Linn said of the signature colors of Kansas State University.

Linn -- who taught at VHS for six years before taking over the head job after long-time principal Mike Kreller retired in 2008 -- said he had been keeping an eye on jobs in eastern Kansas with thoughts of moving to that area someday, but not necessarily at this time.

"Every once in a while, I'd just peek and see what was out there," said Linn, who ran across the opening in Hoyt in late June.

"I knew that some point in time in my career, I'd like to be closer," Linn said of the Kansas City area; his wife's dad still lives in Shawnee and her sister in nearby Lee's Summit, Mo. And his first job out of college was in Bonner Springs, a suburb of Kansas City.

"But it's all about timing," Linn said.

Linn's wife, Sonya, is an elementary school teacher, and there happened to be an opening at the third-grade level in Hoyt, the site of the Royal Valley elementary and high schools 8 miles south of Mayetta.

Although Hoyt's population is only about half the size of Victoria (1,220), Royal Valley is a consolidated school district that serves approximately 1,000 students, and the high school is a Class 4A school, at least four times larger than 1A Victoria.

"Derek went from a class of 23 to 80," Linn said of his son, who is a sophomore in high school. The Linns have one other child, Erika, a third-grader.

"They were OK with a move," Linn said. "You never know when those things are going to come around like that again, so we decided to go for it. Everything kind of fell into place, really."