By Leah Sander
AKRON — Being an educator wasn’t an early dream of Scott Sterk’s.
He didn’t really consider it until he had teacher Mike Miller for world geography class at Tippecanoe Valley High School.
“He and I connected and he had a way of correcting people, especially me, but building them up while doing it,” said Sterk. “And even after high school, I saw him sometimes and he would check in with me. Something just clicked and I thought, ‘Boy if he can kind of help get me on the right path, I’d like to do that for someone else someday.'”
Sterk has the opportunity now to influence many students through his role as Akron Elementary School principal. He started in that role on July 1.
He comes to the position having obtained his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University Kokomo, his master’s in curriculum and instruction from Olivet Nazarene University and his principal licensure through Ball State University.
He previously taught sixth grade for 17 years at Lincoln Elementary School in Warsaw.
“I’ve always enjoyed being around younger kids, whether it be working with them in Sunday school at church or just within my own family. I’ve just always been drawn to that age,” said Sterk of why he chose to teach at the elementary level.
Sterk has five children of his own with his wife Stephanie: Eli, Anna, Katie, Jack and Zoe.
His kids as well as his family history helped influenced his move to the Tippecanoe Valley school system.
“There’s a lot of kind of neat connections for me here,” he said. “My grandfather (Joe Wildermuth) was a 1940 Akron High School graduate. My mom (Theressa Wildermuth Sterk) was the Akron High School valedictorian in 1965. My dad (Bert Sterk) graduated from here, aunts and uncles and a lot of family. And those are all kind of neat little stories, but the thing that really drew me here was my children going to school here at Tippecanoe Valley have just had a phenomenal experience.”
“The academics are good, but the teachers and the staff just take care of them as people and genuinely care about them,” he continued. “As a dad watching that happen and seeing the experience my kids have had, especially the last few years, I’ve just been watching that and thinking, ‘Wow, I’d really like to be part of that.'”
Sterk hasn’t been the only educator in his family. His cousin Jim Wildermuth teaches agriculture in Miami County, and grandfather Joe Wildermuth was a teacher, also in Miami County.
Family ties into Sterk’s hobbies. He’s working on restoring his grandfather Cornelius Sterk’s Farmall Super C antique tractor. Sterk said his family enjoys being outdoors and camping.
Sterk said he’s received a warm welcome from the community and intends to do his best as principal.
“I hope to just bring positive energy every day,” he said.