Jitter takes same position in Greenfield
By Bert Lehman
After 10 years, Jerry Jiter has stepped down as principal of St. Martin Lutheran School in Clintonville.
He accepted a principal position at Our Father’s Lutheran School in Greenfield. His first day at Our Father’s Lutheran School was June 20.
“I’ve been here 10 years in ministry. We have gone through quite a bit,” said Jiter on his last day at St. Martin.
He said he was proud of the fact the new school was built, and that the church was able to recently make its final payment for the new school.
“We’ve had a lot of history between the congregation and the school, who worked very hard together to put this together,” Jiter said.
When asked why he decided to seek a new opportunity, Jiter replied, “With my years of experience, and I have 30-plus years in being a principal and a teacher in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and some in public school, it seemed like it may be the right time for me to look for other places or to go someplace else if there should be an opportunity for this particular juncture in my life,” Jiter said.
As it turned out, there were several opportunities for Jiter, including one in Missouri and one in Illinois.
“It just seemed like the Lord was opening doors and giving me opportunities to go someplace else, that I thought I needed to take a look at these,” Jiter said.
He added that Our Father’s Lutheran School in Greenfield seemed like the best fit for his skills.
“It’s a small school, smaller than St. Martin. A lot of times people go to bigger schools,” Jiter said.
Our Father’s Lutheran School has around 60 students. St. Martin has around 180 students, he said.
“They were a bigger school at one time and they’ve had a decline in their enrollment, a decline in funding,” Jiter said. “I looked at this as a challenge that I’m going to go down there and maybe the Lord can use me and help increase enrollment once again to get back on financial stability.”
Jiter said he is looking forward to the challenge.
“A lot of times these small schools that are struggling don’t usually get experienced principals to come to those schools,” Jiter said. “They get maybe a new principal that’s cheaper and with less experience.”
He added that with his experience he will be able to avoid making the mistakes that young principals make.
Jiter added that he is leaving St. Martin in a good position.
“I think the next principal will step in and do a good job here and find it’s a good place to be,” Jiter said.
The congregation of St. Martin coming together to build the new St. Martin school building is the memory that he will remember the most.
“That was the highlight because we all had a common goal, a common purpose. I got to know a lot more people that way in the congregation,” Jiter said.
He said it took around one year to build the new building, with everything transferred from the old building to the new building during a weekend in the middle of the school year.
“The kids on Friday went to the old school, and on Monday they went to the new school,” Jiter said. “I never had that experience. That was pretty neat. Usually you move into a new school in September, and we moved mid-year.”
The staff at St. Martin will always be remembered by Jiter.
“Basically we had the same staff,” Jiter said. “We’ve kept the staff together for the last 10 years [with a few exceptions].”
He added, “It’s been a pleasure serving here. The people of Clintonville have been so nice and welcoming. We’ve had a good relationship with the school system here. And the parents and the kids have been so wonderful here. We’ll miss this very much.
“We’re hopeful for the future and look to build new relationships down there, but we are leaving a lot of good friends and a good community back here in Clintonville.”