Mr. Capehart fills big shoes, takes position as elementary principal


Christopher Denkovich

Mr. Capehart works hard at his desk after taking a position as elementary principal. On Tuesday, February 23rd.

Christopher Denkovich, Editor in Chief

Freedom Area Elementary School recently filled the principal position with the former Dean of students, Mr. John Capehart. Capehart started his first official day as the elementary principal on Monday, February first. Although a change in leadership can be hard for anybody, especially young students, the elementary faculty are making this change as smooth as possible. The change is a lot easier on students since most of the students know Capehart and already have a student teacher relationship opposed to it being an outside person.  Capehart believes that the change in leadership will also be smooth due to the fact that he and the former principal, Mrs. Emily Mather, have “a similar mindset and way of thinking.” Capehart is excited to introduce the hybrid model to students so that they can continue building a student teacher relationship and get back to some sort of normality.

 Capehart started as a substitute teacher in various school districts. Then he shuffled to a position as a learning support paraprofessional at Conway Elementary.  From that position, he became a math coach at Conway, then he was hired as a third grade teacher at Conway.  When the schools moved into the new merged elementary he taught fourth grade.  For two years he shuffled between third and fourth grade.  When Mather was hired as Elementary Principal, he was interviewed and was hired as Dean of Students. A  Dean of Students is essentially the voice of the student when it comes to managing academic and personal issues. When Mather left for another position, he interviewed and was hired as Elementary Principal.

 Elementary students are still on pace for the year in terms of learning all the material but the faculty believes that once students are back in the building they will continue to see growth and to see the students excel. The biggest setback for most students is their attention span. The average attention span of students during a lecture is 10 – 15 minutes according to the American Physiological Society, but it can be even less for elementary students with lots of distractions at home. A 10 minute attention span with lots of distractions and a 38 minute class can make it hard for lots of students to focus and can be even harder on elementary students.   Being in the principal position, Capehart can continue his goal of building strong and lasting relationships with students. Even when faced with some challenges, the district has placed their trust into Capehart to lead Freedom’s elementary into the future.