The next school year will bring both a new principal and a new assistant principal to Goshen High School, both of whom have very long histories serving as educators and leaders within the Goshen Community Schools system.
The news was announced during a meeting of the Goshen Board of School Trustees Monday evening, where GCS Assistant Superintendent Barry Younghans was named as the official replacement of current GHS Principal Jim Kirkton, who will be retiring effective June 30 following a 40-year career in education.
Joining Younghans at the high school next fall will be current Goshen Middle School Principal Ann Eaton, who was officially named as assistant principal of the school during Monday’s meeting.
Younghans is currently entering his 26th year in education, all but four of which has been spent with Goshen Community Schools.
“I started here in 1987,” Younghans said. “My wife taught here at the time, and I was going to graduate school. So I went to graduate school, came back, and realized that a guy with a master’s degree and no experience wasn’t a whole lot of help to anyone. So I started subbing and really just kind of fell in love with it.”
Younghans ended up subbing for a year before being hired on to the athletic department at what today would be know as Goshen Middle School.
“At the time it was actually two separate middle schools,” Younghans said. “So I basically subbed and worked in those areas for a year.”
Younghans would continue teaching at the middle school level for the next four years before beginning a four year stint as Director of Athletics at Fairfield High School from 1993 to 1997.
“Then I came back and was assistant principal at GMS for four years, and then became principal at Chandler Elementary for two years,” Younghans said. “After that is when I came up to central office as Executive Director of Support Services. Then the last four years or so I’ve been working as Executive Director of Secondary Education, and most recently as Assistant Superintendant in charge of education.”
When asked about the move to GHS, Younghans said he couldn’t be more thrilled, noting that while he has enjoyed his time with the central office, his true passion has always been working with students.
“There’s a certain amount of energy you get working with kids,” Younghans said. “This is a great place to work, but it’s a business office. You don’t have a lot of interaction with kids. So yeah, I’m really looking forward to being around the kids all the time.”
In addition to the students, Younghans said he is also excited about getting to work with the staff at GHS.
“They are great teachers,” Younghans said. “I’m really anxious to watch them instruct students, because they’re just really great at their jobs.”
Younghans currently lives in Goshen with his wife, Lisa, a math teacher at GMS. Together they have four children.
“My daughter is a junior at Valparaiso University studying education, and my oldest son will be a freshman at Valparaiso University in the fall, where he’ll also be studying education,” Younghans said. “Then next year I’ll have a junior and a sophomore at Goshen High School.”
So how are the kids feeling about having their dad as their high school principal?
“They’re OK actually. I’ve talked to them about it,” Younghans said. “I’m pretty visible in their building right now anyway, and actually one of the nice things for me is that I know a lot of their friends, and I know a lot of kids from Goshen High School from coaching. I know a fair number of kids, so that also will be a nice connection for me.”
Eaton is currently entering her 43rd year as an educator, the last 15 of which have been spent under the Goshen Community Schools banner.
“I started in Goshen as the eighth-grade assistant principal at Goshen Middle School in August 1997, and I was promoted to principal in 2005,” Eaton said. “Barry was actually seventh-grade assistant principal at the same time, so we have a long history of working together.”
While she admits that she will miss the energy inherent in working with middle school students, Eaton said she can’t help but be excited about the prospect of something new.
“I’m very excited about it,” Eaton said of the change. “I know a lot of the kids already, because 99 percent of them came through Goshen Middle School. So that will help. And then I also know a lot of the staff members, and I’m very excited about working with Barry, because he and I, we have a great working relationship.”
Jane Troup, vice president of the school board, couldn’t agree more.
“I think it’s awesome,” Troup said of the pairing of Younghans and Eaton following the announcement of their appointments Monday night. “I think they’re going to make a great team.”
Eaton currently lives in Elkhart with her husband, Jim. Together they have five children.