by Geoff Fox
When students at Hancock Middle-Senior High School return the beginning of the school year on Monday, August 29, there will be a new principal to greet them, but it will be a familiar face to Hancock.
Jennifer Ruppenthal officially became the principal at Hancock Middle-Senior High School on July 1, but it isn’t the first time she’s been at the school. It’s the third.
Ruppenthal graduated in 1988 from Hancock High School and returned to teach in 1992
“It’ s pretty exciting, very exciting,” she said about returning to her home town and alma mater.
Coming back to Hancock, Ruppenthal has started seeing people she grew up with as well as their children as well.
After graduating from Hancock, Ruppenthal said she graduated from Frostburg University in 1992 and took the job in Hancock.
While at Hancock, Ruppenthal was a coach and earned her masters.
After leaving Hancock, Ruppenthal spent time as an assistant principal and principal at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, Western Heights Middle School, and Springfield Middle School.
Ruppenthal now starts her 31st year in education coming home as principal at HancockMiddle-SeniorHigh School.
When Ruppenthal stepped back into the hallways of Hancock, there were a few familiar faces to greet her.
While not saying exactly who they were, Ruppenthal said three current teachers at the school were teaching there when she was there teaching.
“There were a few other that I knew just from experiences in the county,” she said.
There have been a few meetings in the time since taking over as principal where Ruppenthal has gotten to meet the other teachers on her staff as well.
Ruppenthal also got a chance to meet with the staff in the spring when she was introduced.
At that time, she asked staff what the school should stop doing, continue doing, and start doing.
With that information and putting it all together, Ruppenthal said she is coming up with plans and moving for- ward with that information provided.
Hancock will be a PBIS school, which means Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports school, which provides a lot of structure.
Ruppenthal said they decide on three to five things that are important to the learners – respectful, responsible, and ready. That is defined in what it looks like in the learning environment.
Teachers would then teach formal lessons as to what it looks like in all the areas. There would also be schoolwide rewards as well.
Ruppenthal is also about serving the community and has already had one project take place.
She said members of the community and teachers who came up to the school and cleared some of the flowerbeds around the school that had become overgrown.
There are also other projects lined up to clear overgrown areas around the school.
As for the outlook of the coming school year, Ruppenthal said she is excited to have success for the school year. It’ s also the first time since she taught at Hancock where she’ s dealt with high school students.
She’ s also excited to see students graduate, the upcoming sports seasons, and what the band has in store.
Ruppenthal also plans to survey students to see what their interests are and also bring in more clubs, things that will meet their needs.
The school theme this year is to engage students with the goal the students would be empowered and educated.
The school will be having a back to school night on September 8 from 5 to 6 p.m. in a tailgate type atmosphere with various yard games and food, along with the Lions Club and other groups. The Hancock Panthers volleyball game follows.
Ruppenthal said she is excited to be back in Hancock and wants the community and students to be part of what’ s going on at the school.
She added if anyone has any ideas or anything they want her to know, to call her and let her know.