EATON — Hollingsworth East Elementary’s new principal is Joe Mergler, a former third grade teacher with Englewood Hills Elementary. Mergler is a lifelong resident of Englewood, who graduated and then taught at Northmont School District. He is excited to begin his principal career with Eaton Community Schools.
He graduated with his Masters, before he was hired by Englewood Hill Elementary. He just finished 21 years of teaching in the same building. In addition to third grade, he has also taught fifth, six, and first grade. Last year he taught math and science.
He is married with two children and they reside in the Englewood area, where they will stay until their youngest child graduates high school. He is a lifelong native of the Englewood area.
“Every principal that I’ve had, and I’ve had four, have encouraged me to go into the leadership role,” he said. “My third principal, during her time at the building, is when I started my classes, but the current principal was great about giving me true leadership opportunities.
“Once I started having those opportunities is when I really felt the draw to look for jobs of my own. I am a big relationships person, Englewood Hills was like my family. I am hopeful to create that same atmosphere here. Not just with staff, but with the kids as well. If the kids know this is their safe place and they know they have people who care for them, they will want to come [to school] and will want to work hard for you.”
He added, interviewing for the position he felt a connection with former Superintendent Barbara Curry and other Eaton Community Schools staff. He found himself with “like minded” people and felt at “home.”
He added, “This is my first principal’s job. It is truly a mix of excitement and nervousness at the same time. Northmont had a program called Grow our Own Leaders. They would hand select those people they thought had leadership qualities and would work on growing those qualities. I have some experience, but it is not official.
“It is trying to learn all the pieces and parts. I think coming in and trying to change a whole lot is never idea. It is a learning process before school starts and I’m trying to get my feet on the ground. I hope to help foster a safe, lovable school environment, where the kids can come in at any level they are at and provide an area for them to grow.
“The way I see it is, our building needs to have kids who are ready for the transition to the next building. Obviously, we will focus on our reading and our math, but one of my top priorities is to foster a love of learning. I want parents to know that I truly have an open door policy.
“I want them to talk to me about any of their concerns. Not even just their concerns, but any time they are happy with our teachers. I want parents to feel part of our school.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH