FHPS Superintendent Dan Behm dips his toe in a different position


Friday, Dec. 8 was a typical day in the athletic office. Students passed through as they pleased, grabbing forms or fun-sized candies throughout the day. Everything was normal; that is, except for the person working the desk. Rather than Athletic Secretary Carol Sprys greeting students, FHPS Superintendent Dan Behm sat in her place.

Through the region-wide charity United Way, Forest Hills staff members have the opportunity to donate part of their compensation to assist in the advocation of education and health across the world. To add a bit of an incentive, each FHPS faculty member who donates gets their name put in a hat for a chance to win various prizes. The grand prize just so happens to be a half-day off, courtesy of Behm. This year, Sprys was the one who hit the jackpot.

“I got to do some Christmas shopping,” Sprys said. “It was nice to do when the stores were less crowded.”

Although a nice perk, checking a few things off the to-do list was not the only benefit to Sprys’ half-day off.

“[The best part] was having Behm fill in at the different positions so he could see the day-to-day workings of the different jobs throughout FHPS,” Sprys said. “I hope he saw what FHC Athletics goes through on a daily basis and what we do to make our athletes’ experiences some of the best.”

Behm has worked a variety of positions over the years, ranging from a third-grade teacher, to a custodian, to a high-school secretary. With each year, however, Behm is able to recognize the incredible staff throughout Forest Hills.

“This is not the first year I’ve filled in for other staff members,” Behm said. “Whether it’s for Carol’s position or others, it always reminds me that we are so fortunate to have hundreds of amazing people who work in this school district to help kids learn and allow everything to run smoothly. Specifically in this role, I can see all the behind-the-scenes organization that it takes to bring about quality experiences for kids in extracurricular activities.”

One of the jobs Sprys passed on to Behm was organizing previous FHC teams’ pictures by season and by sport into binders. A seemingly simple task proved to be somewhat difficult, however.

“This should not be hard,” Behm said. “But I’m having a dilemma: [the picture] doesn’t quite fit in the cover; I’m kind of struggling. The job isn’t critically important so she hasn’t gotten to it yet, but I think it was something she was confident I could do.”

Behm truly enjoyed his half-day at the athletic office, and he was welcomed by the other faculty there as well.

“It was fun having Mr. Behm as a guest athletic secretary,” Athletic Director Clark Udell said. “Mr. Behm and I don’t get a chance to work side-by-side with each other often, so even though there wasn’t a whole lot of work for him to do, it was great to just share an office with him.”

Udell, along with Sprys, sees the importance of Behm expanding his horizons across the district.

“I think [the substituting] is a great thing to do,” Udell said. “It gets Mr. Behm into the district, and it allows him to spend some time building relationships and fully understanding the different roles that Forest Hills employees play.”

Behm agrees that the ability to understand the jobs of a variety of employees is vital to a successful district, and this experience contributed to his previous understanding.

“One of the most important skills for any human being is empathy,” Behm said. “I think any time that we can figuratively- or literally- put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, it’s a good thing. It gives me a deep appreciation for the people in our district that help us allow all kids to learn and grow and follow their dreams.”