A warm smile, a hearty handshake and a positive vibe that simply echoes off the walls of his corner office at Blue Springs High School.
Welcome to the world of the Wildcats new principal, Tom Alderman.
“I love my new boss,” Wildcats activities director and head football coach Kelly Donohoe said. “Tom is a Wildcat through and through. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
And the feeling is mutual.
“I love being a Wildcat, I love being a part of this school, I love being a part of the legacy – of the great men who have sat in that chair. This is a special place, and I am so honored to be the new principal,” said Alderman, an associate principal at Blue Springs the past 11 years.
Alderman is just eight days into his new role at the high school. Former assistant principal Wendall Fuimaono is the new associate principal. Former Wildcat Dustin Spencer, who was an assistant principal at Lee’s Summit North High School, steps in to to take over Fuimaono’s former role.
“When I talk with folks here – the teachers, the administrators, the coaches, the students – I see such pride in their school,” Alderman said. “I remember a conversation I had with the late Slade Morlang (a former associate principal) back in the first or second year I was at Blue Springs High School.
“People familiar with the high school will recognize his saying that we have on the walls of the high school: ‘Winning At Everything We Do.’ And that doesn’t just relate to the final score of a sporting event, although we have had many outstanding, championship teams over the years.”
“We talked about many things, and one thing I remember was this question: ‘What will we do when the pillars of Blue Springs High School retire?’ It was at a time when many of the well-respected teachers were retiring and I wondered how the legacy would continue.”
As it turned out, Alderman had nothing to worry about.
“That was 10 or 11 years ago,” he said, grinning, “and look at the new group of teachers, coaches and administrators we have. They have learned from the past, they are continuing the legacy the pillars began at this high school many years ago, and I believe that is one reason Blue Springs High School has been so successful across the board – no matter what activity you are talking about.”
Many years ago, Alderman was a teacher and assistant football coach at Harrisonville High School, where he coached alongside former Wildcats defensive coordinator Tim Dade, the architect of many championship defensive units.
“Tim came to Blue Springs, and I followed him,” said Alderman, who taught at Moreland Ridge and Brittany Hill middle schools before coming to Blue Springs High School.
“I was an assistant wrestling coach with Mike Hagerty that first year (at Blue Springs High School),” Alderman said, “and you talk about one of the pillars of this high school. That was Mike Hagerty (who recently retired). When you’re around someone like Mike, you find out quickly how special this staff really is.”
When asked about what he would like to accomplish from his corner office, Alderman paused for a moment.
“That’s a great question,” he said. “I want this school to continue to get better. That is a real challenge, because we have been successful in so many aspects. But we can get better, and I believe we will get better.”
“Like Slade said, ‘Win at everything you do.’ We talk about at the start of the school year with our seniors, our juniors and our sophomore classes. We want them to know it is more than just a slogan or a saying.”
“And it’s not pompous. You can win and accept challenges in so many different ways, and that’s what I want to see everyone here at the high school, including me, do on a daily basis.”