Jody Kerchal is the new Clarke Elementary Principal and she is ready to take on the role and engage with students, parents and community members.
Kerchal is from Milligan, Nebraska and because of her second grade teacher has always wanted to be in education.
“She understood the importance of building relationships, empowering young learners and guiding us to fulfill our hopes and dreams,” said Kerchal.
Kerchal has come a long way since the second grade where dreamed of becoming a teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, early childhood education, special education and early childhood special education from Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Doane College in Lincoln Nebraska in 2001, and later in 2010 earned her administration degree from Viterbo.
Her career began as a teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1998 supporting Kindergarten through fifth graders until her family moved to Urbandale in 2007. She worked for Heartland AEA as a Special education Consultant in the Waukee school district until she completed her administration degree. In 2012 She became Dean of Students at Edmunds Elementary for Des Moines Public Schools and in 2015 accepted the role of school improvement leader at Ruby Van Meter and Smouse Opportunity School. For the past two years Kerchal has been the Dean of Students at Lovejoy Elementary.
“I chose Clarke Because I felt the school’s mission and vision of empowering students to be life-long learners, believing every person is unique and valued, and putting the kids first aligned with my own,” said Kerchal. “Clarke is a close-knit community and wants what’s best for their children. I have met so many wonderful people in the community and look forward to building deep connections with them.”
Kerchal will be in attendance at the Tuesday meetings the Superintendent Seid and the CCP. She will be contacting every parent and introducing herself before school starts on Aug. 23.
With the strong behavior background that Kerchal has she viewed and made some changes to the behavior matrix that will be implemented in the 2019-20 school year.
“I want them to build that foundation where the students know the teacher, the teacher knows the students and the students get to know each other because if that trust is there, kids aren’t as willing to act out when they know their needs are being met in the classroom and they’re getting what they need,” said Kerchal.
Feeling ready and excited for the school year, Kerchal wants to recognize the supportive administrative team that she has been working with as well as the custodians at the elementary, who she calls “the hardest working group” taking pride in ensuring that the school will be ready for students Aug. 23.