South Callaway Superintendent Kevin Hillman seemed at ease in the quiet, central office break room.
It was the calm before the storm. Today, about 770 students will arrive for the 2017-18 school year. Hillman said several years of hard work and steady progress has set the district up for success.
"Let's just take a deep breath and be good at what we do," he said.
Hillman said while the school had its biggest graduating class ever last year, enrollment held steady due to the unexpected arrival of 50 new students.
"We had 14 years of small declines, but it seems to have leveled out," he said.
Arriving students won't be seeing many changes in the buildings, just a couple licks of fresh paint.
"The buildings are in tremendous shape," Hillman said.
However, by the end of this fall, the district plans to update its playgrounds. Details will be revealed during the September board meeting. Hillman said the middle and elementary school building's windows, electricity and draining will be revamped next year.
There will be some new faces. Hillman said the district is adding 10 new teachers this year.
The district needed the new teachers after losing an unusually high number to retirement.
While relatively little is changing at the district this year, Hillman said he's fine with that.
"We've had a lot change over the last four years," he said. "Most of those changes have been positive."
He pointed to improved test scores, ship-shape facilities and efficient use of money as some of those changes. The previous year's standardized testing scores will arrive in September, and Hillman is expecting solid results. They'll be presented at the Sept. 13 board meeting.
"Our goal for this year is to bring all this together and have a really solid and efficient year," he said.
He wants to remind drivers to be careful as school starts up.
"There's going to be a lot more students on the roads and in the roadways," Hillman said.
And he had this advice for students: "Come with a good attitude and be ready to learn."