Fritz excited for new possibilities in store as Glenrock Junior/Senior High School Principal

Mike Moore photo
New Glenrock Junior/Senior High School Principal Mark Fritz helps freshman Adelaide Williams optimize her schedule Oct. 25. Fritz brings numerous years of education experience and working as a principal elsewhere to his new position.

Mike Moore

New Glenrock Junior/Senior High School Principal Mark Fritz never would have guessed he would be starting a new chapter of his life leading the student body of Glenrock teens when he, himself, was earning his initial education.
At that time, he was looking to head into a life of law enforcement, or so he thought, after earning his criminal justice degree from Minot State University.
Life had other plans, however, as his girlfriend and soon to be wife, Christie, was teaching in Rapid City, South Dakota and he was in search of his first cop job after attending a police academy in Minnesota. Fritz wasn’t having much luck with finding a job initially, and Christie told him that he could substitute teach in her building since he has a four-year degree.
“I had always wanted to be a coach, I think, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” he said. “I started substitute teaching and went, ‘Why am I not teaching and why am I not coaching, because that is what I really want to do?’”
With a newfound direction in life, Fritz enrolled at Black Hills State University in nearby Spearfish, South Dakota for two years to take education-centered courses.
Fritz and Christie then moved east to Mishicot, Wisconsin, where Fritz worked as both a teacher and a coach for a number of sports in the small town. From there, he moved to western Minnesota to take on a middle school math teaching position, but also wore a number of hats as he served as athletic director, bus driver and coach for a few sport programs at the same time.
As he got more familiar with education, he learned that it was his passion and true calling. Because of this, he headed to the University of North Dakota to earn his Masters in educational leadership.
The westward move allowed Fritz and his wife to be closer to where she grew up in Colstrip, Montana, and they opted to place roots out west and have never looked back since.
He took a principal job just south of Colstrip in Lame Deer, Montana on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation for a year before heading to Greybull for a high school principal job.
He and his family hunkered down in Greybull for the better part of five years before moving over the mountain to take a job in Tongue River as high school principal for seven years.
While in Tongue River, former Greybull principal Coley Shadrick, who had moved on to take the CCSD#2 superintendent job, called him up with a request. It just so happened that Shadrick was looking to fill a principal position, for which Fritz applied.
“Mr. Shadrick is an upbeat, personable guy and puts kids first,” Fritz said. “That’s the kinda guy you want to work for and make Glenrock the best school district we possibly can.”
Overall, he has in the neighborhood of nine years of teaching experience and 14 years of principal knowledge as he starts a new chapter with the Herders.
“Where have all the years gone,” he chuckled in his office  Oct. 25.
Since Christie works for the Wyoming Department of Education as a deaf education consultant, her location within the state doesn’t have to be set in stone, allowing the pair to move with their son, Jaren, as he finishes out his senior year.
“For us, it was a pretty good move,” he said.
Working in small communities has been a big part of his principal experience over the years. In fact, Fritz noted how Glenrock is the first town his family has lived in for quite some time that had a grocery store a few blocks away. For him, moving to Glenrock was an opportunity to upgrade to a slightly larger community.
Along with a core group of good kids to work with and talented athletic programs, Fritz believes he is just where he needs to be at this stage of his career.
“It’s been great; everyone is so welcoming,” he said.
One of the first things he tackled as the new principal was a little redecorating of the administrative office area. When he came to the school and saw orange paint, he opted to bring a little more school spirit to areas by paining purple stripes, the school’s flagship color. Above his desk, the words “Pride Starts Here” was added, also in purple, to serve as a reminder of why he, and the student body, are there.
“We are painting some purple stripes and getting some purple pride,” he said. “We’re going to have a good school. Our school motto is to walk, talk and act like a champion.”
For Fritz, that means for students to take their educations seriously, exude proper school behavior and want to be involved.
“We had a pep rally the other day and we haven’t had a pep rally in years, the students told me,” he said. “We want to do that. It’s part of the high school experience.”
To build up a great school takes great teachers and Fritz says his staff has been very receptive to small changes. His goal is to have teachers do what is in the best interest of the student body and allowing them the chance at a positive high school experience .
“Sometimes kids have tough lives and this is a safe place,” he said. “They want to be here and I want them to want to be here.”
One area Fritz would like to bring additional opportunities for students is in the area of college courses they can provide. Teachers need a Masters in subject areas to teach those courses, so he and Shadrick have been discussing ways to encourage staff to get the proper education to make it all happen.
“We want Glenrock to stand apart,” he said.
Another new change this year is the shift to a four-day school week, which the new principal says has been working out very well for students and staff alike. They started Friday school, along Herder Time where students can retake tests they didn’t do so well on or relearn something they struggle with as long as certain parameters are met.
Outside of being a principal, Fritz enjoys any time he can open up in his busy schedule to get out into the great outdoors searching for horns, hunting for wild game and fishing.
“I like going out and being outside even if I just go for a walk,” he said. “I was a big trap shooter in my day. When I was a kid I went to the Junior Olympics for trap shooting. When I go visit my dad, we’ll go out shooting because he loves it.”
Overall, Fritz says he looks forward to working to help students achieve their true potential and thinks Glenrock is a great move for him at this stage in his career.
“It’s been great; everyone is so welcoming,” he said.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

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