When the school year starts on Wednesday, Aug. 14, two Huntington County schools will have new principals at the helm.
Aimee Lunsford has been hired as principal of Flint Springs Elementary, while Chris Tillett takes over for Paul Roth who retired from Roanoke Elementary at the end of last school year.
Lunsford is a Manchester University graduate and no stranger to the classroom.
"I taught for 14 years in the classroom for K through fourth grade," she says. "I taught special education, high ability and looping."
Lunsford come to Flint Springs after a 10-year stint with Rochester Community Schools and Tippecanoe Valley.
"I found the job opening through the D.O.E. (Department of Education)," she explains. "After much research on different communities, Huntington was my first choice."
Lunsford adds that she had heard positive comments about the community as well as school district from friends and acquaintances and says she is excited to get started.
"I think I bring a lot of good ideas," she says. "I'm fresh from the classroom and I think the teachers appreciate that I know exactly what they're going through. It gives me added credibility with them."
Lunsford says the demographics of the Flint Springs student body is similar to that of her last school, which is a plus.
"I hope I can implement some of the programs that we had," she notes. "That includes opportunities for students on the free/reduced plans."
Lunsford says the key to starting the year off right is having a plan.
"The theme we have is ‘Prescription for a Good Year,'" she says. "It was a philosophy that came from struggles that my family faced last year and were able to pull together and work through."
Lunsford says the aim is to make connections with students, some of whom find school a new and scary territory, and fulfilling the school's mission of creating world-class learners.
"It's all about equipping the students, regardless of background, with the tools to be successful," she adds.
"And that takes everyone - the village - to raise these children. So we welcome the community to partner with us in whatever aspect, including volunteering."
As Tillett joins Roanoke, he is entering his 15th year in education.
"I taught third grade for five years and have been a principal for the last 10," he says. "I was most recently the principal at New Castle."
He earned both his master's degree and principal's
license through Indiana Wesleyan University.
He adds that his approach to the school year is simple and practical.
"I've had the chance to meet with all the teachers at the different grade levels," Tillett says. "I listened to what I can do to help them do their job better and save them any unnecessary stress."
He adds that his plan is not to come in and make any huge overhauls.
"I've gotten a sense for how much the teachers love their jobs and working with the students," Tillett notes. "I'm excited to be a part of that environment. I want to serve the teachers as they serve the students and give them all the opportunity to love on them and take care of their classes."
He adds that his recent hire at Huntington University as head coach of the women's soccer program has afforded him the opportunity to do two things that he is passionate about and enjoys doing.
"I'm just excited to be a part of the community and help the teachers in any way I can," he says.