Dublin Villager

Glacier Ridge Elementary School

New principal Kurty already building relationships


Pete Kurty spent some time with Glacier Ridge Elementary School students at field day and in a dunk tank before he started working for Dublin City Schools.

The new Glacier Ridge principal who will take over for the retiring Karen Szymysiak said he is excited to build relationships with staff, students and families.

"I think the real reason I love education in general is the relationships I develop," Kurty said.

"In the classroom you develop closer relationships and know students well. As principal you develop relationships with families and get to know the entire family. You have relationships with staff."

Kurty started out teaching fourth and third grades and loved being in the classroom.

"Both of my parents had been teachers forever," he said.

"I only taught about five years, but I wanted to continue to grow and took master's classes in administration and they promoted me to the leadership program. I still really enjoyed teaching, but I wanted to take the opportunity."

From there Kurty went onto be an assistant principal and for the past six years was principal of West Broad Elementary School in Columbus.

"In a classroom you're able to influence 25 kids," he said. "In administration you can impact all the kids. You can help and support adults to grow as professionals as well as develop strong relationships with families. You can make a greater impact on more people than in the classroom."

Being part of Dublin City Schools has been a goal for Kurty for about six years.

"First of all we moved to Dublin probably six years ago before we had kids, knowing we would have kids and Dublin is one of those districts that provided good education for children," Kurty said.

"It's very innovative, very progressive (and) always striving for excellence."

Kurty and his wife have two children, ages 5 and 2. His oldest daughter will start at Pinney Elementary School this fall.

Pinney Principal Troy Ehrsam has been mentoring Kurty.

As Kurty opens Glacier Ridge this fall for another year of school, he'll focus mostly on getting to know students and staff.

"I can't do my job effectively unless I know what makes them tick, the way students learn best and the best way to support families. I'll get to know the school, stakeholders and the climate of the school," Kurty said.

"That's my first goal," he said.

"Second from there is to develop a sense of collaboration with all the stakeholders and find out how can they influence greater growth of the school and the school community."

Kurty was able to get a jump on getting to know students and has used the summer to learn from Szymysiak.

"I was able to get into the building four times before school was out," he said.

"I met with all the grade levels and went into classrooms and met kids.

"I went to field day and got in the dunk tank for field day. I was lucky enough to see how the school ran."

Dublin City Schools start the 2013-14 school year Aug. 21.