BALLINGER — On Thursday, July 5, Ryan Knickerbocker was hired as the new principal of Ballinger High School.

Knickerbocker, who will turn 36 on July 29, is a graduate of Bangs High School, where his teaching and coaching careers began. After a four-year stint at his alma mater, Knickerbocker and his family moved on to the Frisco ISD where he served as a teacher and coach at Griffin Middle School before becoming assistant principal at Pearson Middle School.

“It was a natural progression in my career. I was ready to take the next step to be a principal after having been an assistant principal,” Knickerbocker said of his decision to pursue the Ballinger opening. “Also, being up in the Dallas area we were ready to get back closer to home and closer to family. Things just started falling into place, I happened to get a chance to interview for the position at Ballinger and everything felt good.

“Ballinger is a great community with great people. I like the family atmosphere. Everybody that I’ve met has been real helpful. It feels like home.”

Knickerbocker stated it was his time at Griffin Middle School that opened his eyes to pursuing an administrative role.

“I started taking on some leadership roles on my campus, such as new teacher mentor, and that progressed into me going back to school to get my masters and getting into administration,” Knickerbocker said. “After all that I ended up at a brand new middle school in Frisco, Pearson Middle School, as an assistant principal and I’ve been there the last three years. During that time, I’ve been with a great principal who gave me a lot of leadership opportunities and experiences that got me into positions and roles where I was ready to be a principal.”

The principal job at Ballinger High School will be Knickerbocker’s first in that role, but he believes his time in Frisco has equipped him for the task at hand.

“It’s all kind of the same, you’re always doing what’s best for kids,” Knickerbocker said. “I feel like as long as you’re making your choices based on that, whether you’re a principal, an assistant principal, a teacher or a coach, whatever the role is, as long as you keep that your No. 1 priority you’re going to be doing the right things. The responsibility of the role is probably the biggest difference, but it’s all about keeping your priorities straight with doing what’s best for the kids, the teachers and the community.”

In regard to his vision for Ballinger High School, Knickerbocker said, “My goal is to create a campus culture of growth for the kids, the teachers and anybody involved. We are all students and we always need to be pushing ourselves to grow, so I want to create that for our teachers and that trickles down to the kids. It’s all about the kids, so as teachers we have to model that growth mindset for them so that they’re encouraged to do the same and feel safe to do the same.”

Knickerbocker and his wife Tessa have two children — Avery, a 15-year sophomore, and Drew, a 10-year-old fifth-grader.

Tessa Knickerbocker will also be joining Ballinger ISD in a yet to be determined facet, Knickerbocker confirmed.