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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Northview's principal resigns

Thursday, June 1, 2006

If you were offered a job within walking distance from your house, doing the same type of work for more money, less hassles and better benefits - but you'd have to leave behind people that you have come to admire and respect to do it - would you take it?

Northview High School Principal Jim Church did just that Wednesday night when he accepted a principal's position at Greencastle High School.

Church had hoped to finish his career at Northview, but now he's returning "home" to work the remaining "good years" he has before retirement.

"I've got a few good years left in me yet," he said, laughing. "I'll finish out my career at Greencastle."

It was an agonizing decision for Church.

"(Greencastle High School) was my first principalship back in the 1980s, so I'm familiar with it," he said. "I'm going to miss the kids the most, the staff a close second. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work at Northview. In my 40-year career, I have never worked with a student body or staff as great as that at Northview."

His new high school is five minutes away from his home in Greencastle, which allows Church to spend more time at home.

"I've always had to drive a distance to go to work. We moved to Greencastle in 1999 and I've been driving to Northview," he said. "Now I'll be able to pop home for a quick shower and change before going to after school activities. Before, I was always stuck at school."

Knowing that people will think this is a sudden decision, Church insists it isn't.

"I prayed for a long time about what to do. I was supposed to retire before I took this job. I've known for a long time it was going to be retirement or another job," he said. "This was such a great opportunity for me, and it came at just the right time."

At times, being principal at Northview has not been easy for Church, who refuses to chose sides on the issues.

If he had to choose, Church is always on the students side.

"We're all here for the kids. We can't loose sight of that," he said. "My job isn't to pick sides. It's hard to work in an environment where a group of people don't respect each other. Sooner or later that will trickle down to the kids. That level of bitterness won't help anyone or solve anything. I refuse to teacher bash. I refuse to Board bash."

But Church does admit the current school board's management style is a problem he's glad to be rid of.

"I can not support the direction the Board is taking by micro-managing everything," he said, then added some parting advice for the school board members. "Go to the first day of school, say how much you appreciate everyone. The Board really needs to show they care about what's happening at the schools, with the students and with the teachers."

Church cited Senior Honor Day during the last week of school as an example for everyone to remember.

"When I saw those seniors walking through a tunnel of their teachers standing on both sides, applauding their success - to see them shaking hands, hugging and crying with each other - I admit, I lost it," Church said, trying not to cry again at the memory. "I've never seen anything like it before. That connection between teacher and student, don't loose it."

When given the opportunity to say good-bye to his students, Church paused a moment before continuing.

"I love you all," he said. "It may sound really hokey, but I really do. I'm going to miss every one of you."

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