Kegler talks new role at Brook Hill

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There will be a new face in the hallways at The Brook Hill School’s Lower School campus to greet both young students and parents beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.

Jonathan Kegler, previously the principal at Peete Elementary School in the Tyler Independent School District, has become the new leader on campus. He was announced by the school in April as the school’s new principal, filling the role after the retirement of former principal Sandra Fritcher.

“It’s amazing to be a part of the Brook Hill family,” said Kegler. “I’ve been officially working for about a month now and I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with almost every teacher and aide that works integrally at the Lower School. I’ve also been able to reach out to the parents’ association we have here, just to talk to them and listen to their concerns and ideas. They’ve all been very welcoming and accepting towards me, with open arms, and have shared with me about the great things that are going on. I am very excited about serving as principal and excited for the new school year.”

According to Kegler, he was drawn to the opening created in the school’s front office by Fritcher’s retirement through divine intervention.

“When you truly believe and pray for opportunities and doors to open up, different things come to you, and it was almost like a perfect storm,” said Kegler. “Through mutual parties and the internet, I was led to find the opening. I feel like finding The Brook Hill School was a blessing from God and in line with the ordered steps that He has planned for my life, as well as my family. We prayed about the decision long and hard, but through divine intervention, I feel like I’m at the right place.”

Kegler credited the Christian environment surrounding The Brook Hill School as one of the stand-out factors in accepting his new position.

“The atmosphere and environment at Brook Hill are definitely second-to-none,” said Kegler. “I’ve been on the grounds for a number of different occasions, and I’ve seen almost all of the different things the school has to offer. From the moment you walk into Brook Hill, you just feel it come on you. Truthfully, the environment sucked me in immediately. When I was introduced by Mrs. Fritcher late last school year during their last chapel day, one of the second grade girls stood up and prayed for both her current and incoming principals, which absolutely floored me.”

When asked about an opportunity that excited him in the new role as principal, Kegler pointed to the chance to not only reach students through education, but also impacting the lives of students spiritually.

“I’m used to having to talk in parables at a non-Christian public school,” said Kegler. “Here at Brook Hill, I’m able to use scripture as a reference, which is an aspect I love. I’m able to truly dig deep and mentor a kid. Being able to come here and impact students on a spiritual level is something I’m excited about.”

Kegler said the value of a Christian education is high, citing Proverbs 22:6 in his response –“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

“I believe Proverbs 22:6 is the perfect example of the foundation we want to lay for these students at the Lower School,” said Kegler. “If we do a good job here at this school, it makes the pathway for the student easier as they move on to the Middle School and Upper School. Our job is the most difficult, but it’s the most rewarding as well – we’re able to experience those ‘light bulb moments‘ with our students. We’re embedding and planting the seeds of promise, growth, and potential in their lives.”

According to Kegler, interest in Christian education has increased so much that The Brook Hill Lower School will increase all grade levels (Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade) to three classes each next school year.

“Christian education is definitely trending upwards,” said Kegler. “I believe the reason behind that is the environment that’s been created around all of our campuses that’s been established by fidelity – our teachers and administrators do a fantastic job being invested and pouring into their students. They feel that this is not just a job, but also a calling.”

Kelger said his hope for the first year on the job at the Brook Hill Lower School is to be able to impact the lives of his students.

“I want to be able to inspire the students like never before – to challenge them to go to a higher level than they’ve ever been to,” said Kegler. “I’ve been reading a book called Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace, and one of the quotes from the introductory is ‘Greatness usually is found in a person because another calls it out of them.’ I want to use the gifts God has given me to inspire these students to own their learning environment and challenge them like never before. A lot of times, we get complacent where we are, but in actuality, we can go higher that we’re at now, and there’s so much more we can do.”

Kegler graduated from Lufkin High School with the Class of 2001. Afterwards, he attended Stephen F. Austin State University, where he played cornerback for the Lumberjack football team. He holds an undergraduate degree from SFA in kinesiology, as well as a Master’s Degree in science and educational leadership. Currently, Kegler is also working towards his Doctoral degree.

Throughout his career, Kegler has coached and taught within Nacogdoches Independent School District, then became the assistant principal at Bricks-Quinn-Jones Elementary School and later Carpenter Elementary School before becoming the principal at Peete Elementary School in Tyler.

Aside from his new responsibilities as Brook Hill Lower School principal, Kegler is also an ordained Baptist minister and author of five books: The Time is Now, a four-part series including The Time is Now, The Grind is Real, Finding Your Voice, and The New Normal; and No Box Thinking. Copies of Kelger’s books are available through Kindle.

Kegler is married to his high school sweetheart, Tangela, and has one son, Jameson, who will enter the sixth grade at Brook Hill this school year.

In the press release announcing the hiring of Kegler, the Brook Hill administration cited his passion and vision as the characteristics that stood out, making him the right candidate for the job.

“It is no easy task to find a visionary leader like Jonathan, and we are thankful to have found someone who not only has a passion for innovation and discovery, but also for cultivating a love for Christ in students,” said Brook Hill, in a press release. “As we interviewed educators and researched their backgrounds and experience, we identified Jonathan as our top candidate - one who possesses the skills and the qualities necessary to lead our lower school into the future.”

The first day of school for The Brook Hill School in the 2018-2019 school year will be Wednesday, Aug. 15. Students attending Brook Hill are encouraged to visit Academy School Uniforms (105 E. 8th St., Unit 105 Bergfeld Center, Tyler) to purchase their Brook Hill uniforms.

The Brook Hill School is offering parents of Lower School students an opportunity to meet Kegler at a Meet the New LS Principal dessert reception event slated for 7 p.m. Monday, July 16, at the Dietz Family Home (7813 CR. 137, Flint). Parents can RSVP for the event by visiting https://www.punchbowl.com/parties/27fa47d4c6b00acbb0cd/rsvp or emailing Laurie Humphries at lhumphries@brookhill.org.

For more information about Brook Hill’s 2018-2019 school year, visit www.brookhill.org. To contact Kegler, call (903) 894-5000 or email jkegler@brookhill.org.

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