New Fennville Principal Loving Her Job
Kelly Eckhardt sat behind her desk and laughed. She laughs a lot.
“I feel very grateful for what I get to do in this high school every day,” she says.
Kelly has 18 years of experience as a high school principal. She worked at Everett Public Schools near Big Rapids as a principal in middle school and high school which were alternative schools for 6th through 12th graders. An alternative school is for students who have a problem connecting to people and learning.
“Students did not connect in regular school. Some were failing or having poor attendance or acting out,” says Kelly, “but at at alternative school students feel more connected to projects and teachers who can connect one-on-one with the students. It is more challenging and more rewarding,” Kelly continues.
Kelly grew up in Long Island, New York and graduated from Lindenhurst High School. She moved to Virginia Beach and attended Tidewater Community College for two years. Then she attended Baker College in Cadillac, Michigan for her Bachelor’s degree. She received her Master’s in Education Specifics in Education Leadership at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
She is married lives in Allegan and two of her children are grown, two step-children in college and one child in 10th grade at Fennville High School.
“My husband and I love to go golfing and we do Karachi at home,” she notes. “We play board games and I make jewelry which I sometimes sell and give as gifts.”
One of the stories she tells about her students is about the Fennville soccer team which was on its way home from a game and stopped at McDonald’s. The manager messaged Kelly that the team left everything so neat, cleaned up after themselves and left the bathroom clean. He said he and his staff were ‘blown away.’
She mentioned that Fennville Police Chief Greg Rekucki has visited the school and helps with discipline when necessary.
“Chief Greg works very well with us,” she notes.
Another story she tells: “Judge Bill Baillargeon was giving a demo of court procedure at school. The bell rang and not a student jumped up or left. After a few minutes Judge Baillargeon dismissed the class. He was impressed they were so well behaved.”
Every morning Kelly speaks some words of wisdom that is sent to all the classrooms. Her assistant, Nadia Allen, reads the daily announcements afterwards.
“I’m so glad to be here,” she adds.