The new principal of Seymour-Redding Elementary School won’t be a new face to students, parents and faculty members.
That’s because Jake Shaffner is no stranger, having served as assistant principal under Dylan Purlee for the past year. Purlee announced his resignation in April to become principal at Needham Elementary in Franklin.
In a year’s time, Shaffner said he has come to appreciate the quality of people with whom he has worked at Redding.
“I decided to go for the principal position because of the great parents, students and staff we have,” he said. “Also knowing that Seymour Community Schools are fortunate to have a great administrative staff made the decision all the easier.”
Before coming to Seymour, Shaffner taught third and fourth grade at Northeast Elementary School in Greenwood.
He decided to pursue a job in administration because of the opportunity to build more relationships, he said.
“Being an administrator has allowed me to build stronger relationships with a larger group of students, parents and teachers,” he said. “I’m excited to continue to grow these relationships.”
His working relationship with Purlee also helped him feel confident in applying for the position, he said.
“Mr. Purlee was an incredible mentor for me,” Shaffner said. “His example and advice has been a great resource for me this year. We have worked closely on some big initiatives that I’m excited to continue.”
He plans to continue the tradition of excellence and involvement that Purlee upheld during his tenure
“He set the bar really high,” Shaffner said of Purlee. “He’s set a great example of how important the surrounding community is for Redding. I’ve worked really hard to develop those relationships with nonprofits, businesses and individuals and I plan to further those relationships.”
Shaffner said the most important quality he brings to Redding is his ability to serve others as a leader.
“My prayer each day is to put my students, staff and community before myself,” he said. “My goal is to put my school’s needs first each day.”
Not only does Shaffner lead, but he is focused on creating future leaders.
This past school year, he introduced The Leader in Me framework at the school, teaching the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to students.
“By providing students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, we’ve seen some amazing growth,” he said. “Students have come out of their shells and become more involved in school. I’m really excited to further this initiative to see students grow into community leaders.”
No matter what happens in the course of the day, Shaffner said his utmost priority as principal is his students.
“Again, building those relationships is key,” he said. “I interact with students arriving at school, in the classroom, in the cafeteria, out at recess and throughout the school day.”
But he knows he can’t do it alone.
“Supporting staff members is also very important and something I’ve worked hard to build,” he said. “Redding has incredible teachers, instructional assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians, secretaries, counselors and nurses. Building relationships with these key stakeholders is imperative and an ongoing process.”
Thanks to all those involved with the school, Shaffner said there is no place he would rather be.
“Redding is a special place. What’s not to love?” he said. “The students, staff and families are strong and motivating. It’s a positive and student-centered school.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Jake Shaffner” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Hometown: Greenwood, but now resides in Columbus
Family: Married and expecting his first child, a daughter, this summer.
Education: Graduated from Purdue University
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden