First-time top principals: Student-first approach connects Day with pupils

Daily visits to every classroom have become a routine for Schmitt Elementary School’s new principal, who knows each student by name.

Kaity Day took over as the top administrator at Schmitt in August after four years as assistant principal. She was promoted to the school’s top job after Brett Boezeman was named director of operations for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

Schmitt — located at 2675 California St. — has become a special place in Day’s career as an educator.

“I love this building and what we’re all about here,” Day said. “We value relationships very much.”

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Day credited Boezeman for instilling a strong foundation in how relationships are built among students and teachers, something she intends to continue.

“He, from the very beginning, showed me how important it was to be student-first always,” said Day, whose daughter Emma is a kindergartener and son Tucker a second-grader at Schmitt.

Being student-first is why she visits each of the school’s classrooms each day, in addition to overseeing bus duty in the morning and afternoon. She also can be found among the 640 Schmitt students during their lunch hour and at recess.

“It’s important to have the kids see I’m a part of what they’re learning,” Day said.

Day also said she particularly enjoys seeing smiles on children’s faces, especially when they learn something new.

“I’m very passionate and student-centered,” Day said. “I’m not behind the desk very often … and I like being very personable.”

Day, a native of Columbus, has been with the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. since 2008 and has taught kindergarten, third, fourth and sixth grades.

Career choice

Being an educator is a career path Day always wanted to pursue.

She credited Millicent Harden, a former teacher who taught at Petersville, Taylorsville, Mt. Healthy, Parkside and Richards elementary schools for 37 years, as being among the educators who inspired her the most.

“I knew I wanted to come back where I was raised,” Day said.

While Day admits she that misses being in the classroom as an instructor, she enjoys working alongside “fantastic teachers,” she said.

“The staff is a family and that’s important to me, too,” Day said.

Teachers are also praising Day’s work as principal, particularly in how she works with those around her.

“She’s very empathetic for students and the staff,” said Kathy Denniston, a fifth-grade teacher at Schmitt.

“She really makes it a point to get to know families and the students,” instructional coach Jill Bless said.

Deneen Hennig, an administrative assistant in Schmitt’s main office, said Day’s approach has connected with students and their parents.

“She’s always very positive, always with a smile on her face,” she said. “I think the kids feel that.”

As for Day, she hopes the school’s appeal becomes contageous.

“I want family members and the community to know we’re a great place to be,” she said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Kaity Day” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Age: 32

Education: Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University; master’s degree in administration from Ball State University

Work history: Hired by the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. in 2008 and has taught kindergarten, third, fourth and sixth grades. She had been assistant principal at Schmitt Elementary School since 2014 before being promoted to principal this school year.

Family: Husband Devin; sons Tucker and Rowen and a daughter Emma