Principal Changes Announced for 2013-14 - May 20, 2013

Record Number: 9962
Displayed from: May 20, 2013 , until: Jul 31, 2013

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees on Monday, May 20, approved several principal appointments for the 2013-14 school year.

Elementary School

Justin Arkkelin, Waynedale Principal Justin Arkkelin joined FWCS in 2003 as a substitute teacher. He became a fifth-grade teacher at Study in 2004, where he stayed for two years before moving to Forest Park Elementary to teach fifth grade. In 2011, he became an administrative intern at Haley Elementary, and this year, he has served as the assistant principal at Harrison Hill Elementary. At Waynedale, he replaces Sara Wertman, who is moving to Brentwood Latin Grammar Academy.

DeeDee Larkey, Washington Center Principal DeeDee Larkey joined FWCS in 2012 after 14 years in Southwest Allen County Schools. For the 2012-13 school year, she was appointed assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary. At Washington Center, she replaces Richelle Miller.

Mary Kinniry, Lindley International Spanish Academy Principal Mary Kinniry first joined FWCS in 1989 as a substitute teacher and then worked as a teacher at Lincoln, Irwin and Bloomingdale elementary schools until 1998 when she took a leave of absence. She returned to FWCS in 2007 as a teacher at Lincoln Elementary. In 2009, she became a building coach at Lincoln, and the following year, she moved to assistant principal at Forest Park Elementary. This year, she served several months as acting principal at Lindley. She replaces Trudy Grafton.

Robin Peterman, Forest Park Principal Robin Peterman joined FWCS in 2006 as a language arts instructional facilitator at Scott Academy. She became an administrative intern for the 2008-09 school year, serving at Towles Montessori Intermediate School and Waynedale Elementary. She has served as principal of Abbett Elementary since 2009. She joined FWCS with 28 years of education experience. Prior to joining FWCS she served as an adult education teacher in Elkhart Community Schools and an elementary teacher at Smith-Greene Community Schools. At Forest Park, she replaces Jay Peters, who is moving to Indian Village Elementary.

Jay Peters, Indian Village Principal Jay Peters began his career in education in 1980 at Huntington County Community Schools. He started as a fifth-grade teacher and after eight years became an assistant principal and then principal, a position he held for 16 years. In 2007, he joined FWCS as principal of Forest Park Elementary, his current position. At Indian Village, he replaces Stephany Bourne, who is retiring after 37 years in education.

Joseph Rodgers, Abbett Principal Joseph Rodgers began his education career as a first-grade teacher in Griffin, Ga., in 2006. He later worked in Frankfort, Ky., before joining FWCS in 2010 as a fourth-grade teacher at Bloomingdale Elementary. In 2011, he served as an administrative intern at Kekionga and Lakeside middle schools. In 2012, he was appointed assistant principal at Jefferson Middle School. At Abbett, he replaces Robin Peterman, who is moving to Forest Park.

Sara Wertman, Brentwood Latin Grammar Academy Principal Sara Wertman started her education career in Garrett as a special education teacher in 1992. The following year, she was hired by FWCS as a special education teacher at Weisser Park Elementary where she stayed until the 2009-10 school year, when she served as an administrative intern at Haley Elementary. In 2011, she was appointed principal of Waynedale Elementary. At Brentwood, she replaces Dianna Chadd.

Brandon White, Haley Principal Brandon White began his teaching career with FWCS in 2004 as a fifth-grade teacher at Croninger Elementary. In 2009, he became an instructional coach at Harrison Hill Elementary, and for the 2010-11 school year, he participated in the administrative intern program, spending half the year at Forest Park Elementary and half the year at Harrison Hill. In the fall of 2011, he took over as principal at Study Elementary. At Haley, he replaces Rebecca Dennis.

Middle School

Michael Christner, Portage Principal Michael Christner began his education career in 2000 at Central Noble as a middle school science teacher for three years. He then spent nine years as the high school and middle school principal at Lakewood Park Christian School in Auburn. In 2012, he joined FWCS as assistant principal at Memorial Park Middle School. At Portage, he replaces Jane Rentschler.

Austin Couch, Northwood Principal Austin Couch first joined FWCS in 2000 as a substitute teacher. He then left for a position in Smith-Green Community Schools, and later became the principal of Churubusco Junior-Senior High School. He returned to FWCS for the 2012-13 school year as assistant principal of Lakeside Middle School. At Northwood, he replaces Adam Swinford, who is moving to Miami Middle School.

Kara Froning, Blackhawk Principal Kara Froning began her education career as an English teacher in East Noble Schools. She joined FWCS in 2004 as an assistant principal at Blackhawk Middle School, and in 2009, she became assistant principal at Northwood Middle School. In the fall, she will return to Blackhawk as principal where she replaces Patrick Hubler.

Adam Swinford, Miami Principal Adam Swinford joined FWCS in 1998 as a substitute teacher. In 2000, he was hired as a physical education teacher at Indian Village Elementary and a year later moved to then Geyer Middle School (now Towles Montessori). In 2005, he became the athletic director at Wayne High School. In 2008, he moved to Northwood Middle School as the assistant principal and took over as principal the following year. At Miami, he replaces Hal Stevens, who left the position earlier this school year.

High School

John Houser, Wayne Principal John Houser started his career in education as an English teacher at Lake Central High School in St. John in 1984. In 1987, he joined FWCS as an English teacher at Elmhurst High School in 1987, where he stayed for 10 years before moving to Snider High School to teach English and U.S. History. In 2009, he returned to Elmhurst as an administrative intern, and a year later he became an assistant principal at South Side High School. At Wayne, he replaces Kyle Kirby.


With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.