Hancock Schools announces new principal


HANCOCK — Jesse Kentala, former English teacher and guidance counselor at Dollar Bay – Tamarack City Area Schools, has been selected as the new principal of the Hancock Middle School, according to a release from the school.

Kentala, who was with Dollar Bay-Tamarack Schools for 15 years, received his bachelor’s degree in English education from Michigan Technological University and his master’s in guidance counseling from Northern Michigan University. He is also certified in educational leadership.

Hancock Superintendent Steve Patchin said that while there was a large cross-section of people to choose from, Kentala was the best for the position at the proper time.

“We had a really good pool of candidates, which is amazing for mid-year,” said Patchin. “I had them from all over the place. I had one from Florida, a few from downstate, a couple of locals.”

Of the candidates interviewed, Patchin said Kentala possesses so many of the skill sets that will complement many of the things the district is doing.

“He brought so much to the table,” said Patchin, “things that we’re looking at. He’s very committed to what they call Tier II and Tier III Interventions, for some kids who might be struggling, and he has a counseling background, and when you’re looking at this middle school model that we’re working on, it’s really a valuable component, because each student you’re treating as a unique person that you’re trying to develop and give tools to, because it’s right in between elementary and high school. In elementary school, everything is very structured and in high school, you’re on your own.”

Patchin said students transitioning into high school had not been given enough tools to be truly successful in high school.

“And this is a huge developmental phase, and Jesse’s got all the tools to make that happen. Plus, people with coaching backgrounds, that’s another skill set. They’re able to motivate the students to adapt to conditions that are going on in the moment, and making the team pivot, and building them up.” A 2000 graduate of Dollar Bay High School, Kentala has coached boys basketball at his alma mater for the past 14 years, taking his team to the state semifinals in 2018 and 2019.

Kentala is replacing Steve Aho, who resigned as middle school principal to take a position with a new charter school organizing in the area.

Kentala will start his new position on Nov. 30, 2020.


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