“All kids want to learn,” says AJ Hoffman, the new principal at Hylen Souders Elementary School. “It’s our job to give them the tools they need to succeed.”
As part of the Big Walnut Local School District’s 2015-16 administrative realignment, former Hylen Souders Elementary School Principal Megan Forman moved to General Rosecrans Elementary. GRE’s principal seat became vacant when Jen Young moved to the district central office to become director of academic achievement.
Hoffman, who had served the past three school years as a Licking Valley Elementary School assistant principal, was hired to replace Forman at Hylen Souders.
“This is a pretty neat opportunity for me because I knew from day one that everybody at Big Walnut is here for the right reason,” Hoffman said.
Originally from Miller City, Ohio, near Defiance, Hoffman graduated from Miller City High School in 2002 where he played baseball and golf. He attended The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education administration.
During an interview at Souders last Friday afternoon, Hoffman said there are many parallels between the Big Walnut and Licking Valley school districts: Both serve a closely knit community, and both have a strong educational philosophy that values the individual learner.
“It was clear to me when I first interviewed for this position that Big Walnut has a clear vision of where it’s going and an understanding that every student is an individual,” Hoffman said. “There’s a hometown feel, a community feeling, and a determination to keep that feeling as the Big Walnut community grows.”
Hoffman said Big Walnut’s administration provides one of the best possible learning environment students can have. He said the central office ensures that all Big Walnut students get a similar learning experience, while also valuing each elementary building’s unique character.
Hoffman said there are no big changes he plans to make at Souders; that he listens to all stakeholders trying to find a balance between the district’s philosophy and students’ needs.
“My doors are always open for feedback,” Hoffman said. “Education is all about growth, and one of the ways to grow is to listen to people so that we know how we can continuously get better. I encourage people to call me or stop in if they have any questions or concerns.”
Hoffman said Hylen Souders Elementary would hold a curriculum night from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25.
“I’m excited to get started,” Hoffman added. “It’s exciting to be a part of this district with a great philosophy of inspiring and guiding each and every student to his or her maximum potential. I know the Big Walnut School District is clearly moving in the right direction.”
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.