7 Questions with Gabe Pethtel
Name: Gabe Pethtel
Current title: High School Principal
Current organisation: Dayton Christian School
A Christian school educator with 17 years of administrative experience. Has administered all levels of Christian school from preschool through 12th grade.
all levels of
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
The most challenging aspect of Christian school leadership is maintaining the importance of multiple daily aspects of school life required to promote excellence in academics and culture while prioritizing and pursuing growth opportunities.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up early around 5 a.m. and begin the day with coffee and alone time in prayer and God's word. I answer morning texts and emails that are priority then wish my family well before going to the office. I review my calendar for the day. Greet teachers and students in the halls, then begin morning meetings. I return to the office or a private space to complete necessary projects. After this, I run open office hours followed by afternoon meetings. I finish the day with planned staff or leadership meetings and return to the office for afternoon projects. Three nights each week, I head to the local YMCA to do cardio for 30-40 minutes followed by lifting for 20-30 minutes. After this, I eat dinner with family and either spend the evening home or return to school for meetings or sporting events.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I have learned the board presentation planning should be an exercise in carefully considering the most succinct manner in which to present your most necessary administrative projects. The more complete and concise you can make your written presentation, the better. Leave room in your spoken presentation for board members to ask you plenty of questions.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan wrote a book called "Chosen Sacrifice". The premise of the book is that God allows suffering in our lives that is not chosen by us. This may bring grief and pain which brings us closer to God. Chosen sacrifice includes our pursuit of goals and dreams in an effort to make an impact and leave a lasting legacy through vocation, family, faith, and service or community impact. Chosen sacrifice is necessary and requires grit, determination, and perseverance beyond what most are willing to give. Those who chose sacrifice are the only individuals who make a great impact in life.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
Network with other Christian school educators so you can share any unused resumes. Remain close with local and regional colleges and universities so they can share information about your school and you can review their available teaching candidates.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Careful planning and focus must be placed on Chapel and Advisory groups. Students and teachers must be engaged to help consider Chapel topics as well as topics to discuss within Advisory groups. In addition to this, regularly walking the halls as a school leader and visiting classrooms regularly.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
All students are capable of growth and development beyond what may be currently seen. Encouraging and disciplining a student who was suspended for a violation of the school policy allowed the student to see God's grace in action. Once they realized, faith was not just for the best students in school, and Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. This student then began attending prayer meetings, playing the bass in our worship band, and working with younger children in the school.