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Hatling selected as Belle Fourche elementary principal

August 18, 2018 GMT

BELLE FOURCHE — After a dozen years with the Belle Fourche School District, Julie Hatling has been selected as the Belle Fourche elementary principal.

“I was really excited,” Hatling said of being selected for the position. “I’ve had really good opportunities in this district the whole 12 years that I’ve been here, and I feel like all of them have led me to where I am.”

On Aug. 2, the Belle Fourche School Board officially accepted the request from Ryan Young, who served as the elementary principal for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, to be released from his 2018-19 contract, effective immediately. Immediately after, the board unanimously voted to approve the intent to hire Hatling as elementary principal, pending her release from a contract with Black Hills Special Services Cooperative.

“From the beginning, working with Mr. Young, I learned so much from him, and a lot of the pieces that I was working on as curriculum director already applied to this (elementary) building,” Hatling said. “It actually was pretty seamless in a lot of ways. Everyone has been so supportive.”

Hatling grew up on a ranch north of Alzada, Mont., where she and her two brothers were homeschooled. She later moved to Spearfish to attend college.

After her third year at Black Hills State University, the music major shifted her professional focus to elementary education and said sheís never looked back.

Hatling’s husband, Brandon Hatling, originally from Aberdeen, works for natural gas transmission company, WBI Energy transmission.

Together, they live in Belle Fourche with their two children, Reagan, who is going into fifth-grade, and Owen, who is going into second.

The 12-year veteran to the district started as substitute teacher and paraprofessional at South Park Elementary and later jumped into math instruction at the middle school, where she had been until the fall of 2016, when she switched gears a bit and undertook the districtís curriculum director and testing coordinator position. Hatlingís work as a curriculum director and testing coordinator for the district was contracted through Black Hills Special Services Cooperative.

“That job was a lot of coordinating curriculum pieces K-12 at all the content levels, and I was also starting to work on the federal grant side of things with Title allocations,” she said. “It’s (the new position is) going to be more focused on this level (elementary) now instead of a district-wide scope.”

Although Hatling said sheíd miss performing the duties related to her former position, she looks forward to her new challenge.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to be a school leader,” she said. “So it was kind of timely in a way.”

Having been in the classroom for 10 years in Belle Fourche, knowing most of the staff and many of the families, Hatling said, also makes for a more uniform transition to her new position.

“A lot of it will be the relationships Iíve already built and how that comes into play will end up being one of the biggest benefits,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to things just continuing to run as they were running because the teachers here, the staff here, they’re doing such a fabulous job already, there wouldnít be any need for me to come in and try and make a bunch of changes to any of the way things are going,” she said. “When I think about a focus for the year to add to what theyíre already doing well, I think it would just be building relationships with students and staff and amongst each other; just really focus on the people part of organizations and building those relationships.”

Hatling, who is currently pursuing her doctorate, said she wants students and parents to know that she loves school.

“I just can’t get away from it,” she said. “The love that I have for learning and being at school is something that I just want to be able to pass onto others.”

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