Upper left: Emerson Principal Chris Poynter shoots some baskets with his students during recess at lunch. Upper right: Hanby Principal Megan Rose Forman-McCaulla greets youngsters as they get off the bus first thing Wednesday morning. Lower left: After giving his staff a pep talk, Pointview Principal David Bennett heads outside to meet the children. Lower center: Whittier Principal Andrew “AJ” Hoffman high-fives a pupil headed for class. Lower right: Assistant Principal Kristen Millet and new Principal Ernest Clinkscale visited each room at Hawthorne to introduce themselves and encourage youngsters to serve as good role models and excel to their greatest potential.
Children are not the only ones who might have experienced a few butterflies on Tuesday morning, August 13, the first day of school. Five new principals have been hired by the Westerville City School District to lead students and staff in the pursuit of educational excellence – David Bennett, Pointview Elementary; Ernest Clinkscale, Hawthorne Elementary; Megan Rose Forman-McCaulla, Hanby Magnet School; Andrew “AJ” Hoffman, Whittier Elementary; and Chris Poynter, Emerson and Longfellow Magnet Schools.
Bennett joins the district from Chillicothe City Schools, where he was Principal of Worthington Elementary School. His previous administrative experience includes serving as an elementary Principal in Indianapolis Public Schools and Albuquerque Public Schools. Bennett also brings 19 years of classroom teaching experience, primarily in vocal music and general music. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from The Ohio State University; a Master of Music from Illinois State University; and a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton.
Former Walnut Springs assistant principal Ernest Clinkscale is the new principal at Hawthorne Elementary School. This marks his 22nd year in education, most of which was spent in Columbus City Schools. In Columbus, he served as a middle school teacher, a math intervention curriculum specialist, coach, and vice principal at Monroe Middle School/Champion Middle School. He also worked for two years as vice principal of Samuel Kennedy Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District in California, and completed a Leadership Internship program with Columbus City Schools in 2006-07. The Youngstown native graduated from Ohio University in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He has a Master’s degree from Ashland University in curriculum and instruction. Clinkscale’s administrative graduate work was completed at California State University in Sacramento.
Forman-McCaulla served as an interim principal with Westerville three months last year while Annehurst Elementary School’s principal was out on maternity leave. She taught kindergarten, first and third grades in Big Walnut Local Schools for more than nine years before accepting a principal’s role at Hylen Souders Elementary School, where she stayed for three years. She then transitioned to General Rosecrans Elementary School, where she was principal for the next three years. Outside the public education sector, Forman-McCaulla has taught English in Japan, played soccer in Europe, spent time in India and Thailand and assisted in developing an early-childhood program in Park City, Utah. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2002 with a degree in early-childhood education and a minor in psychology. Forman-McCaulla also has a Master’s degree in educational administration from Ashland University.
Former Huber Ridge Elementary School assistant principal Andrew (AJ) Hoffman is the new principal at Whittier Elementary School. He has been with the district since 2017 and previously served as principal of Hylen Souders Elementary School in Big Walnut Local Schools. Hoffman brings nine years of educational leadership experience to the role and holds a Master’s degree in educational administration, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in teacher education from The Ohio State University.
Former Genoa Middle School assistant principal Chris Poynter is the new principal at Longfellow and Emerson magnet schools. He has been with the Westerville City School District since 2007, when he taught health and physical education at Westerville North. In 2012, Poynter moved to Hawthorne to teach English as a Second Language. He served as assistant principal at Genoa Middle School for the past two years. Poynter, a Marine Corps veteran, holds a Bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Wright State University; a Master’s degree in the art of teaching from Marygrove College; a Master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Ohio Dominican University; and special-education license/endorsements from Otterbein University.