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Mike Abell, 41, of Springfield has been an educator for 19 years, and becoming a principal has always been one of his aspirations.
He fulfilled that dream Monday, which was his first day at Marion County High School as its new principal.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity,” Abell said last week after the SBDM council unanimously hired him for the position. “As a principal, you have such an opportunity to influence more students on a larger scale.”
Abell, who comes from a family of educators, was born and raised in Springfield. He graduated from Washington County High School in 1989, and went to Eastern Kentucky University where he earned his bachelors degree. He then earned his masters degree at Western Kentucky University. He’s spent the last 15 years at North Bullitt High School where he taught social studies for 10 years and then became the assistant principal.
As a new principal in a new community, Abell said he understands that good communication is going to be critical.
“While the principal sets the tone, it takes team work,” Abell said. “I understand there are great people in the building and I want to help identify needs and put a plan into action to promote student learning.”
Abell said he is looking forward to getting input from the staff, as well as students and parents.
“I’m not going to pretend I know everything,” he said. “I think that there are people who can give valuable insight, and you have to get that input.”
As far as his goals for MCHS, he has three. One, he expects every student to be college and career ready. Two, he expects all students to have access to research based classroom instruction. Abell said it’s important for students to be able to apply what they’ve learned.
“The more they can connect it to the real world the more powerful that learning is going to be for them,” he said.
Abell’s third goal is for MCHS to have a system in place that will allow the faculty to monitor and assess individual student performance.
An avid sports fan, Abell has followed Marion County’s success when it comes to athletics, and he hopes that the same sort of enthusiasm will be put toward academics.
“I feel like we can carry over some of that excitement and commitment into the classroom,” he said.
Marion County Superintendent Taylora Schlosser said Abell’s years as an assistant principal will benefit him in his new position, along with his passion for student achievement.
“I believe that he will work well with the current principals and the staff,” Schlosser said. “I am excited for the future of Marion County High School.”
Abell’s former superintendent in Bullitt County, Keith Davis, said Marion County has made the right decision in hiring Abell.
“Great decision MCHS!” Davis wrote in an email. “Mike is very excited to be joining your team and I am thrilled that he will get the opportunity to lead his own school. I am sorry to lose him, but I’m confident he will make his Bullitt County friends proud.”
Abell has been married to Gina, a nurse in the ICU at Spring View Hospital, for 15 years. They have four children: Luke, 13, Noah, 12, Ava, 9, and Addison, 2. They live on a family farm in Springfield, but Abell said he would like to move closer to Marion County.
“I want to be involved,” he said. “I want to make myself available to the community.”