By: Kimberly Bryden and Micah Mullen/Junior Writer and Staff Artist

When Blue Ridge High School principal Peter Supko said his summer farewell to the school’s students this year, it was his last.

Supko, who was recently hired by the Susquehanna Community School District as its new elementary principal, says a combination of things drew him to Susquehanna, including the chance to expand his leadership experience.

“Having two small children and the opportunity to further my knowledge of teaching and learning drew my attention to the job opening,” says Supko.

Although Supko is moving to a school district with faces new to him, his bigger challenge may be in dealing with a much younger student population than he is used to. At Blue Ridge, Supko was principal to high school and middle school students for three years. Now, he will be working with students from preschool through grade six.

“For sure, I will need to adjust how I communicate with students as they will be quite younger,” he states.

Even so, says Supko, one of the things he most looks forward to is “the change of roles from the secondary to the elementary level.”

As for Blue Ridge, Supko says: “I will miss the activities that our students are involved in, all the great things happening at BR from the volunteering and community service to the increase in the rigor of courses that are preparing students for life beyond high school.  I will also miss the collaborative effort of the staff at Blue Ridge. We moved the needle together in many respects.”

In return, the administration and staff at Blue Ridge were quick to point out that Supko is appreciated for his contributions to the district.

The Blue Ridge District’s superintendent, Matthew Button, says: “His efficiency, work ethic, and vision to continually improve opportunities for students of BRHS will be missed. I would like to wish Mr. Supko the best of luck as he transitions to his new position as the elementary principal at Susquehanna Community School District. It has been a pleasure working with Mr. Supko over the last three years. ”

Sixth grade teacher Ashley Goff says she is thankful for Mr. Supko’s inclination to support the middle school teachers.

“Mr. Supko has been instrumental in returning the middle school program back to its former self.  We will miss his support of our sometimes crazy ideas and his willingness to think outside of the box.  I wish him good luck at Susquehanna,” states Goff.

Meanwhile, office clerk Joan Haskell says she appreciated Supko’s sense of reason.

“Mr. Supko was a very fair person.  He always considered what the children were going through.  He was easy to work for, very considerate and caring,” she says.

In addition to administration and staff, students also recognize Supko’s contributions to the management of their education.

Senior Charlie Randall comments, “Determination and drive are his finest characteristics. He focuses on getting a job done and doesn’t let what anyone thinks or what anyone says sway him.”

Most students seem to agree with Randall.

Eighth grader Haylee Sansky states, “Supko knows how to get things done. I think Susquehanna will be lucky to have him.”

Another quality that students mentioned when describing Supko is fairness.

Tenth grader Hunter Chase says: “Even though he was strict with us, he actually enforced the rules. He makes things fair, and I like that.”

When asked about memories of Supko, one student was quick to point out something she personally appreciated about her principal.

That student, eighth grader Ashley Tomassacci, says, “Fun fact, Mr. Supko can actually pronounce my last name. Of course that took him three years, but I will miss him.”

For Supko, while his departure may be bittersweet, he wants the community to know he really cared about his job at Blue Ridge.

“One thing I hope Blue Ridge parents and students know is that I worked as hard as I could, on all that I could.”

Supko will be at Blue Ridge until June 30, 2018 and begin his new job at Susquehanna on July 1, 2018.