ARCANUM — Arcanum Butler Physical Education (PE) teacher Joni Pechie said she never thought she would pursue the position of school principal.
“About five years ago, people started saying I would be good in a leadership role,” she said. “The opportunity presented itself, and I thought it was a good step to take.”
Pechie is not alone in her thinking. March 20, the Arcanum-Butler Local School Board appointed Pechie as the new principal for Arcanum Elementary School at a Special Board Meeting. In August, she will assume her new duties in the school district for the 2017-18 school year.
“I am honored to be given this opportunity,” Pechie said. “Arcanum Elementary has a dedicated staff and amazing students and families that I am excited to work with in a leadership role. I look forward to the many great things the future holds for Arcanum Elementary.”
Pechie is in her 11th year as a Physical Education teacher. She taught at Arcanum – Butler Middle school for two years and has been at the Elementary School for eight. According to Arcanum-Butler School Superintendent John Stephens, Pechie has established herself as a teacher leader in many ways during her tenure at Arcanum-Butler, and has many attributes the district is looking for in a principal candidate.
“First and foremost she has a passion for students and student learning, devoting her career to making a difference in the lives of her students,” Supt. Stephens said. “As an educator at Arcanum-Butler she consistently exhibited excellence in her teaching and has been very involved in activities outside of the classroom setting. In addition to her passion for students, she has developed positive relationships with students, families and her peers making for a smooth transition from teacher to principal.
“Mrs. Pechie has strong communication and organizational skills as well as a strong attention to detail,” Supt. Stephens added. “I believe she will be able to effectively lead with a clear vision, purpose and with integrity. During her career, she has served on multiple committees within the district and the elementary building. Most recently, she has served as a member of the District Leadership Team, Chair of the PBIS Building Committee, Student Council Advisor and Response to Intervention Core Team member just to name a few. Mrs. Pechie’s passion to serve and her abilities to lead, provide Arcanum-Butler an individual who has shown her commitment to the district and I believe can effectively lead the elementary building for many years to come.”
According to Pechie, as principal, the first step is getting to know the school and to establish a rapport with the staff.
“I have that to my advantage, as I have known all of the teachers and have worked with them the last 10 years,” she said. “Knowing them personally, I feel I have that connection. If they need something professionally, they are not afraid to come to me.”
In addition, her preparation has included spending some time shadowing current Principal Jason Clark, for a smooth transition. A new challenge for Pechie is to learn all of the roles of a principal, such as overseeing faculty and staff, discipline, becoming a community liaison and making decisions that impact the overall educational success of the school.
“The biggest challenge will be organizing my time between all these roles. I know there are days when the principals don’t eat lunch,” Pechie said.
Pechie received her B.S in Physical Education from Miami University and will complete her Master’s Degree in School Leadership from Concordia University along with her Principal Licensure, in July. When she was in college, her career path was originally in Physical Therapy.
“I took a class with special needs students in Physical Therapy and I knew then that I wanted to be with kids,” she said.
Fifth-grader Kaylee Elliott thinks Pechie is right for the job.
“She’s going to be a good principal because she is good at keeping things organized,” Elliott said.
In addition to her credentials and skills, Pechie brings a real sense of appreciation to her new position.
“I like the small town and community that Arcanum offers,” she said. “The families in this community value the education here and are passing that down to the students. They are motivated to learn – they want to be here.”
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