2014-07-06 / News

NL elementary principal leaves for superintendent’s position in Martin

By Mandilee Loomis
Staff Reporter

Dr. David Harnish, elementary principal and curriculum director in New Lothrop, left the district June 30 for a new superintendent’s position in Martin. (Courtesy Photo) Dr. David Harnish, elementary principal and curriculum director in New Lothrop, left the district June 30 for a new superintendent’s position in Martin. (Courtesy Photo) NEW LOTHROP – It’s been 11 years since Dr. David Harnish first stepped foot into New Lothrop Elementary as principal. Now, as he prepares to leave the district for a new superintendent’s position at Martin Public Schools, it’s truly bitter-sweet. Harnish stated to the Citizen that emotions are running high as he ends his time at New Lothrop Area Public Schools.

“I’ve been here for so many years, some of the children only know me (as the principal.) I’ve hired the majority of the staff here as well. The children, the teachers, and even the parents in this community – they’re family to me. That’s hard,” he said.

Harnish served the district as elementary school principal and director of curriculum for special education, Title I, and preschool. His last day was June 30 and he officially began in Martin for Martin Public Schools July 1.

“When I made the choice to move to the next level, it’s like you’re leaving your family. When you’ve been intertwined so much with the community and you have to make that move, it’s hard. I will greatly miss the relationships I’ve developed and the family atmosphere I’ve helped to create here in New Lothrop, it’s certainly true and it’s real.”

Harnish’s new district is near his Alma Mater at Western Michigan University – the college his son Benjamin will be attending in the fall. Ben Harnish graduated June 1 from New Lothrop with honors. He is enrolled at Western with a major in elementary education, with minors in english language arts and mathematics.

“Ben will be able to commute to Western and stay at home with us,” Harnish explained.

The principal added that his father and step-mother live about ten minutes from Martin.

“Being near my family for the first time in 20 years is important to me,” Harnish continued.

During his 11 year career at the NL school district, Harnish’s achievements included K-12 Curriculum alignment; helping the district to achieve the highest MEAP and MME scores in Shiawassee County; and coaching Odyssey of the Mind into five state championships and 13 teams to the world finals. During his 20 year career, Harnish mentored 38 Odyssey of the Mind teams, including 32 to the state finals, and 14 teams to the world finals. Harnish was also a New Lothrop Lions Club member; co-chair of the annual NL Candle walk; co-leader of the New Lothrop Aviation Flying Club; Boy Scout Leader for Troop 90; and served as both a Emergency Medical Technician (E.M.T.) for Twin Township Ambulance and on the Board of Directors.”

“Serving at New Lothrop was not a stepping stone, as I have served here for 11 years,” he noted.

“New Lothrop has been a great place to raise our son Benjamin. Having Benjamin experience a consistent education in one place was important to our family. With Benjamin completing his high school education at New Lothrop, It was a golden opportunity for me to consider my options and take my career to the next level. Martin is a natural fit and I am excited about this new adventure.”

Anthony Berthiaume sang his praises for Harnish and superintendent Dr. John Strycker, who will also be departing from the district this year after taking a position at Algonac Community Schools. Berthiaume has been named the new superintendent for New Lothrop Area Public Schools.

“John and Dave both taught me the value of the New Lothrop way. Stability at the top goes a long way into the success of our district, close to 20 years between the two of them. It was a pleasure to work and learn from both men,” Berthiaume said.

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