Shon Hocker, superintendent of Dickinson Public Schools, is no stranger to growing school districts.
He comes from a smaller school district in Wyoming, where he was named 2016 Wyoming Superintendent of the Year. That district, like Dickinson, experienced growth.
"In my former district, we built new schools and did new add-ons and maintenance to facilities and infrastructures," Hocker said. "We're gonna have the same challenges here, in the district-lots of growth and lots of need for physical building improvements and very likely a significant remodel of a high school-or a new high school-- very soon."
Prior to his career in education, Hocker owned a drafting and design company. In 1995, he began teaching vocational classes such as technology and business in his home state of Idaho.
"I'm a big supporter of vocational programs," he said. "They're awesome for kids. All of our vocational programs are outstanding. Students are winning awesome awards. It's very impressive."
He realizes that education isn't one-size-fits-all.
"I'm a big proponent of personalized learning," he said. "Just trying to meet kids' needs where they are, and take them to where they need to be, and allow them some say-so in that process so it's they that own it."
He moved from Cowley, Wyoming, where he worked as superintendent since 2007, to Dickinson this summer.
So far, he seems to be finding Dickinson a good fit for himself and his family. He loves the outdoors and looks forward to fishing and golfing in his new home.
"The town's just nice," he said. "It's clean. The kids seem super happy and polite."
Hocker himself has four kids, only one of which still lives at home. His son is a sophomore at Dickinson High School.
"He's had a good transition so far," Hocker said. "I think that's really helped me as a father, not just as a superintendent, to really appreciate Dickinson. When a new move-in comes in and feels good about it and is welcomed by the kids ... He speaks very highly of the school. That makes me as a dad and as a superintendent super happy and proud of the district."