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Yellow Springs High School
Photo by Carol Simmons Jack Hatert, interim principal for the past year at Yellow Springs High School and McKinney Middle School, is expected to be approved as the new principal by the school board during a special meeting Thursday morning, March 21.

Photo by Carol Simmons Jack Hatert, interim principal for the past year at Yellow Springs High School and McKinney Middle School, is expected to be approved as the new principal by the school board during a special meeting Thursday morning, March 21.

New YSHS McKinney Middle School principal to be approved

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In a special meeting Thursday, March 21, the Yellow Springs school board was expected to approve Jack Hatert as the new principal at Yellow Springs High School/McKinney Middle School for the 2019–20 school year.

Superintendent Mario Basora confirmed earlier this week that he would be recommending Hatert for the position.

Hatert, 36, has been serving as interim principal at the school since March of last year, when former Principal Tim Krier went on leave in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct against a family member enrolled at the high school.

“I’m really excited to get to continue to work with the students, staff and community,” Hatert said Tuesday afternoon.

“I think we started a good thing, and I want to support continuing that.”

During the final interview last week, Hatert told community members that while he knew the interim appointment was temporary, he was determined to approach the job as though it were permanent.

“I committed to being principal until 2044,” he said, referring to his projected retirement year.

Assistant principal for three years before stepping in as interim, Hartert has spent his 13-year educational career in Yellow Springs Schools.

Hired upon completion of his first master’s degree in 2006, he spent his first two years teaching fifth and sixth grade at Mills Lawn before moving up to McKinney Middle School. After teaching middle school math for three years, he spent a year as half-time assistant to the principal and half-time math teacher.

He said last week that he realized, however, that he wasn’t yet ready for the administrative position, and so returned to the classroom full time for another three years.

Throughout the interview process, teachers, staff and administrators all spoke highly of Hatert’s effectiveness as an educator and leader.

Basora said he has never worked with a more ethical administrator.

“He always puts kids’ needs first,” he said.

The valedictorian of his class at Ansonia High School, Hatert secured a full scholarship to Wright State University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in middle childhood education, in 2005 and 2006, respectively. He later earned a master’s in educational leadership, in 2011, and principal licensure in 2017, also from Wright State.

Hatert and his wife, Renee, an intervention specialist with Cedarville Schools, live with their two children, Carson and Adley, in the countryside between Wilberforce and Cedarville.

The other two finalists for the principal’s position were Julie Taylor, currently curriculum supervisor for secondary education at Beavercreek City Schools, and Ejovwokoghene Odje, assistant principal at Thurgood Marshall STEM High School in Dayton.

While Hatert’s appointment offers a sense of consistent stability in the school, Basora said not to expect everything to stay the same.

“He’s going to bring some changes,” Basora said.

Some of his stated goals for the school include engaging in more restorative justice work with students, introducing more experiential learning experiences and initiating deeper relationships with the community.

A champion of the district’s project-based learning model, Hatert nevertheless believes there is room for growth.

“When it’s hitting all cylinders,” all students are served, he said during his public presentation last week. “The work is to develop more inspiring projects and more inspiring instruction.”

He said he measures educational success less by test scores, and more by “what our kids are doing five years after graduation.”

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