New leaders: BV welcoming


The three new principals at Buckeye Valley Local Schools said their first experiences at the district have been positive.

Over the summer, three new building administrators were approved by the Buckeye Valley Board of Education: Michelle Howard was named the new principal at Buckeye Valley West Elementary; Leah Ann Childers was named the new principal at Buckeye Valley East Elementary; and Zachary Riggs was named the principal at Buckeye Valley High School.

At West Elementary, Howard said the start of the school year has been “a wonderful experience.”

“The parents, students, and staff have all been so welcoming and supportive,” Howard said. “This has made my transition to BV West a smooth one.”

Howard said she’s had two favorite days so far: convocation and the first day of school.

“In 18 years of being an educator, convocation remains one of my most favorite days as it brings the entire staff together and is always inspirational,” Howard said. “My other (favorite) was our opening day of school. Since I was a child, I was always excited about the first day of school. With the help of our amazing PTO, we were able to roll out the red carpet for our students complete with some music, bubbles and balloons! Just seeing the smiles of our students as they entered the doors on the first day was simply priceless!”

Howard added she’s excited for what lies ahead this school year.

“I am looking forward to continuing to build relationships with our students, staff, and families and to watching our students grow academically,” Howard said. “I am looking forward to seeing our students achieve their goals. I want to help them through that process.”

At East Elementary, Childers said the start of the school year has been “nothing short of amazing.”

“As a lifelong educator, I’ve always found that the beginning of school is an extra special time,” Childers said. “Students, staff, and families have the opportunity for a fresh start. This year is no exception to this excitement.”

Childers said based on the start of the school year, she anticipates the rest of the year is going to be “wonderful.”

“The Buckeye Valley East community has been incredibly welcoming,” she said. “Our staff has been graciously dedicated to a smooth transition for our students. Our students are here and ready to learn each day, which is fulfilling to see. I can already see that we are going to have a wonderful school year.”

Childers said forming relationships at the school has been the best part of the year so far.

“I have enjoyed experiencing Buckeye Valley 30 years after my high school graduation,” she said. “The district is so deeply rooted in tradition and connections that have existed for generations. We also have many new families in the district, bringing fresh ideas and opportunities with them.”

Childers, an Ostrander native, said she’s enjoyed being part of the Buckeye Valley community again.

“The experience of reacquainting with families I’ve known for years as well as connecting with families that I am just meeting is one that is uniquely BV for me,” Childers said. “There is a T-shirt that many people wear in the community. It says, ‘Once a Baron, Always a Baron.’ … I feel like I am truly living by this statement each day. This is home for me.”

Childers said she’s looking forward to the “personal growth” that students will experience this year.

“Our mission sounds simple,” Childers said. “We are going to be making sure that each student gets what they need in the best possible way that we can serve them so they can achieve their personal best. The growth that we will see in our kids will be immense.”

At Buckeye Valley High School, Riggs said the first two weeks of school have been “wonderful.”

“I have had the opportunity to meet with many of our students and families,” Riggs said. “I have been so impressed with the level of pride and community that exists in BV. I am looking forward to continuing to meet all the wonderful members of the Buckeye Valley community!”

Riggs said there have been “many things” he’s enjoyed so with his favorite experience being the high school football game last week.

“I was blown away by the support for our students at the Delaware Hayes vs. Buckeye Valley game this past Friday night,” Riggs said. “Our student section, band, and fans made the environment one to remember. It was great to see the parents, volunteers, and community members who worked to make our home opener a great environment.”

Riggs said another positive experience this school year has been meeting with students and student groups at Buckeye Valley High School.

“I have spent time meeting with each class, student council, and our student section leaders,” Riggs said. “The future is bright at Buckeye Valley High School.”

Riggs said he’s excited to “be engaged in the learning that is taking place” at the high school.

“I have met so many talented educators in my first two weeks and cannot wait to see how they engage our students in authentic learning that prepares them for life beyond high school,” Riggs said. “Buckeye Valley is a special place, and I am honored to be a part of the 901 family. Go Barons!”

Students at Buckeye Valley West had the red carpet rolled out for them last week on the first day of school. at Buckeye Valley West had the red carpet rolled out for them last week on the first day of school. Courtesy photo | Michelle Howard

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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