The student news site of Clayton High School.

Lily Kleinhenz

New Interim Assistant Principal, Buddy Sodemann.

Buddy Sodemann

One of the biggest announcements in the school district this summer was the appointment of the new Interim Assistant Principal of Clayton High School, Buddy Sodemann. Sodemann has taught physical education at the high school for the past four years. He has also been head coach of the boy’s basketball team throughout his time here and will be continuing at least for this school year. 

Both of Sodemann’s parents and brothers were teachers, fostering a love for education within him. “I had a really great educational experience and so I wanted to try and give that back to students,” said Sodemann on why he became a teacher. 

Sodemann grew up in St. Louis and went to high school at Parkway West. He then went on to Westminster College in Fulton and graduated with a degree in physical education alongside a K through 12 teaching certificate. Sodemann also received a master’s degree in sports management from Illinois State University and another master’s in Educational Administration from Southwest Baptist University. His first teaching job was at Northwest high school. Sodemann’s depth of knowledge and experience surrounding education made him a great candidate for his new position. 

Outside of education, basketball is Sodemann’s passion. He played throughout high school and college then went on to coach at the collegiate level at the age of twenty-two. His love for the sport also began through his family, with both his parents being coaches. 

“I loved the interaction and the connection that they were making with their students and student-athletes and staff,” said Sodemann regarding what he took away from watching his parents coach. 

Despite still dedicating his winters to Clayton’s varsity boy’s basketball team, Sodemann has no desire to go back to playing himself. When he began coaching he was younger than two of the players on the team. “I had to really make the philosophical switch in my head really early. Like you’re not a player anymore,” he said regarding his first position as a coach.

Changing from physical education teacher to administrator has changed Sodemann’s interactions with students, which he has always valued. “I love working with them and seeing them succeed. My biggest love was working with the students in the weight room and seeing where they started and where they finished and seeing the growth that they had,” he said.

My biggest love was working with the students in the weight room and seeing where they started and where they finished and seeing the growth that they had.

— Buddy Sodemann

With his new position Sodemann’s wardrobe also had to change from his recognizable athletic shorts and shirts to khakis and button-downs. When asked about the change in wardrobe Sodemann said “I’ve had to change my wardrobe a little bit. I had to buy some shirts and some slacks, but I enjoy it. It’s a good change for me. And you know, it’s, I think my wife enjoys me putting on different clothes each day.”

Even though he may not be teaching classes anymore or wearing his usual attire, Sodemann has been incredibly proactive in interacting with the student body. Just within the first week of school Sodemann could be found everywhere around the school, checking in on students’ days and making sure they were enjoying their first week. 

Sodemann has found lots of things to be excited about in his new position, especially the new Greyhound Scholars initiative. The idea of being a scholar and what graduates took with them leaving Clayton was key in creating the initiative. When asked about what changes he would like to see in the coming years at the high school he discussed how Greyhound Scholars would be used. “My goal for a change is that every student in the building feels like they’re connected to something whether it be a teacher or a student or a club or activity or sport. I want to make sure that there’s a connection for every student,” said Sodemann. 

Another change in the school that Sodemann is excited to see is the negative stigma surrounding what principals represent. “What I want to bring as an administrator at the high school level is a comfortability of not seeing a principal like, I can only talk to him when I’m in trouble, right? We are the biggest supporters of teachers and students in this building. We want everyone to be successful. And our goal is to provide avenues and paths to help students do that,” said Sodemann.

A personal goal Sodemann wants to include in his legacy is what students take away from Clayton. “My biggest thing that I want to try to impart on people is the ability to give to others, right to serve others, and to give your energy to other people,” said Sodemann.

My biggest thing that I want to try to impart on people is the ability to give to others, right to serve others, and to give your energy to other people.

— Buddy Sodemann

Sodemann has goals and dreams for the high school that can already be seen taking place throughout the building. As we head into the new year and the Greyhound Scholars program, Sodemann will be found around the halls and on the basketball court this winter, showing leadership in all aspects of education

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