Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mill Valley’s Novak looking at State House run

October 25, 2007

Mill Valley High School principal Joe Novak is considering a run for Kansas Legislature.

In his weekly newsletter to parents, "Sunday Chat," Novak said he was "seriously considering" running as a Democrat for the 39th District, which covers a portion of western Shawnee, Bonner Springs and Basehor.

Although Novak, who was principal at De Soto High School before the opening of Mill Valley in 2000, has not made an official announcement, he is informing parents that he is looking at his options.

"I'm trying to gradually let people know so they hear it from me and not from rumors," he said.

Novak revealed his desire to run for office in response to rumors that he would be retiring at the end of the 2007-08 school year. In his newsletter, he said he would not be eligible for retirement until 2009, but is considering his post-retirement options -- one of them being politics.

In 2004, Novak took a sabbatical to work with an organization called Freedom's Answer, a non-profit initiative to get young people involved in voting. Novak served as the education coordinator and traveled 55,000 miles, crossing the country several times.

His work with Freedom's Answer influenced Novak's consideration for running for office, he said.

"I just became very excited about those politicians across the United States who work so beautifully with people," he said. "Over half the politicians I met were in it for the right reasons."

Novak said if he were to run he would be concerned with bringing both Democrats and Republicans to the table and listening to all sides of an issue -- something he said is not unfamiliar after his work as a high school principal.

"I have never shied away from a challenge," he said. "I have always had a deep desire to serve people."

Novak said if he did decide to run for office, his first priority would be to the students at Mill Valley.

"I have a primary and full responsibility to these kids and this community while I am principal," he said.

If Novak were to run for election and win the 39th District seat in November 2008, it still is unclear what would become of his position.

"I have had a couple of conversations with (Superintendent) Dr. (Sharon) Zoellner," he said. "Any kind of adjustment that will have to be made will be determined by the board of education.

"Should I win then we will cross that bridge. And I fully expect that I am going to get in this to win."

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