Arcanum BOE welcomes Cates as HS Principal Stephan resigns


By Dawn Hatfield

ARCANUM — The Arcanum-Butler Board of Education met Thursday, April 13, 2023, where the resignation of current Principal Jason Stephan was accepted and a two-year contract for Tyler Cates to assume the position in August 2023 was approved. Other items of interest included recognition of student artists by their teacher Heather Wackler, 2017 OAEA Outstanding Art Teacher, the installation of access-control door mechanisms and emergency door release controls utilizing school safety grant funds, and the total insurance reimbursement to replace pole vault pit, mats, standards, and other wind-damaged equipment.

There was no public participation although many members of the community were in attendance.

New Business began with a report from each of the district’s three principals. Mr. Jason Vince, Arcanum-Butler Middle School Principal, updated the board on a new history tradition implemented this year, “America Madness,” where middle school students voted each morning to determine the winner of two historical figures pitted against one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harriet Tubman were finalists in this first year of the competition.

Ms. Joni Pechie, principal of Arcanum-Butler Elementary school, stated Consumer Days, where elementary students are able to practice shopping and other real-world skills, was a huge success thanks, especially, to the parents who went “above and beyond” with their donations.

Arcanum-Butler High School Principal Jason Stephan updated the board on the success of the second Real Life Wednesday, where professionals visit the school to share their skills in cooking, sewing, finances, and more real-world necessities with the high-school students.

Upcoming events were also noted, such as Prom at the end of the month and the Art Show on May 18.

Under personnel considerations, the board unanimously accepted the resignation of Jason Stephan and approved Tyler (Ty) Cates as the incoming Arcanum High School principal.

An April 14 press release reported Cates received his BA and MS in Integrated Social Studies 7-12 from Wright State University in 2011 and 2012, respectively. He completed the Principal Licensure Program from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2020. Cates has successfully taught Social Studies at the high school level and has been an intervention specialist, most recently at Vandalia Butler High School. He has served in various leadership positions during his career, including as a head football coach, member of building and district leadership teams, and on PBIS and IAT committees.

Superintendent Stephens noted, “Ty [Cates] exemplifies the qualities that Arcanum-Butler Local Schools has looked for in our staff and administrative team. He believes strongly in being a servant leader, caring for students, and providing opportunities for students and staff to be successful. As an AHS alumnus, Ty is passionate about taking AHS to greater heights, encompassing the Trojan Way and Loyal & True spirit. I look forward to Ty leading the AHS staff, joining a talented administrative team, and providing care and guidance for our students.”

When asked about his return to Arcanum, Cates shared, “I am excited, honored, blessed and humbled for the opportunity to be the new principal at Arcanum High School. I look forward to building relationships and working with the staff and students. I am excited to continue to raise my own children in such a great community that offers the small town tight-knit atmosphere that I love. I can’t wait to lead and impact the school and community I grew up in. Additionally, I look forward to taking an already great school with a great vision to even greater heights. Loyal & True, Go Trojans!”

Cates and his wife, Becky, reside in Arcanum with their children, Khloe (17), a junior at Vandalia High School, Emma (4), who attends Arcanum Early Learning Center, and Luke (2).

Jason Stephan, who will become high school principal at Brookville in 2023, acknowledged his decision to resign was a difficult one. Recalling his time at Arcanum High School, he said, “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

It is worth nothing that Stephan and Cates have an existing relationship as Stephan was once Cates’ coach. There is little doubt the transition between these two principals will be a smooth one.

Superintendent of schools, John Stephens, said, “Words can’t express what Jason [Stephan] has done here over the last 12.5 years… what we have to offer, the great job this is to walk into, that’s what he’s done.” With a slight crack of emotion in his voice, Stephens finished, “It’s a legacy, and we appreciate you. I get to look good because of the people who work for us.”

The community can keep up to date with Arcanum Schools on Twitter @ArcanumHS, Instagram @arcanumhs_trojans, or Facebook Arcanum Butler Local Schools. Please see the sports schedule on the district website at

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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