By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Effective July 1, Madison Elementary School Principal Ben Barkey will be Warsaw Area Career Center’s new director and principal.
Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of Trustees approved Barkey’s appointment to the director’s position during a March 15 work session.
Barkey, who has been the principal at Madison for five years, is replacing Ronna Kawsky, who taught at Warsaw Community High School since 1998 and became the director and principal of WACC in 2010. Kawsky will retire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year.
Barkey graduated from Manchester College with a bachelor’s degree in biology and an education endorsement. He continued his education at Ball State University, where he earned his Master of Arts in Education degree in the field of educational administration and supervision. In addition to his degrees, Barkey obtained an Indiana Administrative License in administration and supervision, K-12. In May, Barkey will complete his Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration: Superintendent Licnese.
Barkey’s experience at WCS began in 2002, when he accepted a position at Edgewood Middle School teaching science, science plus and pre-algebra. In 2012, he was selected to serve as the STEM instructional coach at Washington STEM Academy, where he acted as lead facilitator in transforming Washington into an Indiana Certified STEM School. In 2016, Barkey took on the position of assistant principal at Warsaw Community High School.
“She (Kawsky) is leaving us after a storied career, at the top of her game,” said WCS Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert following the announcement. “We look forward to celebrating her over the coming weeks. Warsaw Area Career Center (staff) said they wanted someone like Ronna in many ways. They also said they wanted someone that could interact with the business, education and state communities; we understand how much the career readiness impacts where the state is going as well. Ben did an amazing job in the interview process, showcasing all three of those areas.”
Hoffert said the district plans to look into hiring a new principal at Madison immediately.
“I feel severely blessed by all the great people I get to work with and continue to work with,” said Barkey. “I’m really excited. July can’t come soon enough.”
Hoffert also informed the public that free meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program will no longer be available, as the program is currently set to expire on July 1. The federal program, which was established in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed for all public school students to receive free meals.
“The way we understand it, the program will expire,” said Hoffert. “There will be meal charges for the 2022-23 school year, unless there are changes in the next couple weeks.”
The board’s next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, at The Blue Apron in Warsaw Area Career Center.