Zion Lutheran School welcomes new principal


Settling into her first year as principal at Zion Lutheran School, Kim Sullivan said it is always great to see the faces of all of her students.

“These kids come in and they’re cheery and happy to be in school,” she said.

Born and raised in Seymour, Sullivan was previously a fifth through eighthgrade teacher at St. John’s Sauers Lutheran School. She also has taught at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School and with Jennings County School Corp.

Becoming a school principal was something Sullivan ultimately wanted to do because of her love for children. She said it also was a way to help adults with their teaching careers.

“It has been super fun,” Sullivan said of her start at Zion. “I like being able to take a program and mold it into an engaging community.”

Zion Lutheran School, located at 1501 Gaiser Drive in Seymour at Zion Lutheran Church, offers preschool classes for 2-year-olds through 4-year-olds and full-day kindergarten. Extend Care services, similar to day care, also are available.

The school is accredited through National Lutheran School Accreditation.

Stacy Wright, who teaches kindergarten at Zion, was the principal before Sullivan took the position.

Sullivan said even though she has taught students up to eighth grade, the age range of the children at Zion is the kind she likes to work with the most.

Her main focus for Zion is to strengthen the school’s learning program and grow enrollment.

She’s also focused on creating an engaging learning environment for the students.

“We’re trying to implement more hands-on and engaging lessons so kids are entertained all day and learning at the same time,” Sullivan said.

Creating an environment surrounded by faith is an important priority for Sullivan, too.

“Teaching kids about Jesus Christ is a wonderful aspect that our school has to offer, and I want to continue to grow that portion of the children’s learning,” she said.

Johnni Hoene, the Extend Care coordinator for Zion and also a Seymour native, is another person working in a new role at the school this year.

Even though she has been with Zion for 17 years, this is her first year in her new position.

Her job entails placing students in the correct room for Extend Care, putting staff where they need to be, making sure student-to-staff ratios are correct and planning out each Extend Care room’s day.

Hoene said she has been trying to bring more art, hands-on activities, science experiments, scavenger hunts and music to Extend Care lessons to keep students engaged.

STREAM activities, a learning curriculum similar to STEM that also incorporates reading and arts, also have been used in Zion’s schooling to maximize learning. The school has been combining preschool and Extend Care to create a more structured day care setting.

One challenge for Sullivan this year has been finding enough staff for Extend Care. Staffing issues have been a problem for other schools, she said.

A goal for the new principal is to have two kindergarten classrooms at the school. Another is having an information night for parents so they can learn more about what the school has to offer, ask questions and give feedback.

“I want parents to feel confident about our program, and part of that confidence comes from knowing their child’s program inside and out,” Sullivan said.

Registration night for Zion will be in February.

While only months into her new job, Sullivan said a highlight of this school year was a recent fall party that had crafts, activities and games for kids.

This holiday season, Zion is having students sing Christmas carols at the nearby Lutheran Community Home.

“I know those people that are staying there really need to see the children’s faces to really brighten their days,” Sullivan said.

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