"Reading, writing, spelling; that's all wonderful stuff, but there's still room for other things," Tom Kirk said Tuesday.


Kirk is a man without a school. Until Thursday, he was the assistant principal for Lime Street Elementary School. Now he's the principal of the Hesperia Unified School District's next elementary school. But Krystal Elementary School won't be open for business until August 2009 -- Kirk doesn't even have an office on the site he can work out of yet.


But that doesn't mean he doesn't have big plans.


"Space is going to be a big theme of the school."


That's because Krystal is going to be the HUSD's second "school of choice": themed schools that include a focus on a subject, or subjects, in addition to the essential core subjects. In the case of Krystal, it's a three-pronged theme of science, technology and math.


"We want to be a competitive school, where parents want their kids to attend the school."


The students -- kindergarteners through sixth grade -- will find a curriculum that works in a bit more science, technology and math than their counterparts in other schools might, said Kirk. History classes might well talk about great thinkers and scientists, for instance, or class presentations might require more from students than simply typing up a paper.


"Our goal is to get kids excited about science, math and technology and then let Ranchero [Middle School] feed the fire," Kirk said.


These are tough times to open a new school, particularly one that could use expensive tools like extra computers, scientific tools and more. A proposed fold-out planetarium ceiling screen for the school's multipurpose room was shot down at a recent school board meeting, and Kirk knows that some of his more ambitious plans might be a little too pricy for the school's first year in business.


"We're looking at grants and building partnerships" with private business, he said. "This is a difficult time to be purchasing things."


But one thing is free: The right attitude and an excitement about the school's concept.


"We're going to be bringing on teachers who have a focus on science, math and technology," Kirk said. "Every school has a real focus, even if the [official] name's not there. Where do you spend your extra money, or spend your time?"


Although Kirk won't hold his first meetings with prospective parents until March or April, he's already been hearing from parents curious about what Krystal will have to offer.


"Technology is the future. They want their kids to be prepared."


Visit the HUSD's official site -- Hesperia.org -- to participate in a poll that will help determine Krystal Elementary School's colors and mascot.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.