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April 14, 2021

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Bluffton's next elementary principal needs very little introduction

Bluffton University grad, taught at Grove, is principal at Cory-Rawson

Bluffton’s soon-to-be elementary principal, Ben Thiel, needs very little introduction.

A 2009 Bluffton University graduate, he is currently elementary principal at Cory-Rawson, a position he has held since 2018-19 school year. And, from 2014 to 2018 he was a junior high and high school social studies teacher and assistant football coach at Columbus Grove.

He is a Lincoln Hall alum, played on the Beaver football team, and became acquainted with Jeff Richards during college.

Ben married Sarah Amstutz, whose father, Steve, (Mr. A) was a long-time Bluffton middle school teacher.

He and Sarah now live on Township Road 51 and are parents of three children, Emery, 8, Isaiah, 7 and Jack 4.

In addition to his Bluffton University undergraduate degree, which included a major in middle childhood education, with licensures math, social studies and reading, he obtained a master’s of education in leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas in 2016. In June, 2019, he obtained his principal licensure from University of Findlay.

At Cory-Rawson, Thiel developed C-R’s virtual learning academy, an option for students during covid-19. He managed Google workspace for students and staff. He is a Google certified educator, Level 1.

Talking about his interest in elementary school administration, he told the Icon:

“There were several administrators in Texas as well as many of my colleagues who invited me into a mentorship for future leaders. 

“This inspired me to pursue my master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

“Our mentorship group did a book study and performed administrative tasks with the guidance of leadership within our school. 

“Over the next few years Sarah and I moved back to Ohio, started our family, and found ourselves back in Bluffton while I accepted a position at Columbus Grove as a teacher and coach.”

"I would also like to take the time to thank the students, staff, and community of Cory-Rawson who have given me their very best over the last three years," said Thiel.

"While I am extremely excited about the new challenge I am taking on at Bluffton, I am heartbroken to say goodbye to the students and staff whom I have spent the last three years serving and leading. 

"Cory-Rawson is an elite place because of its people and I am truly blessed to have been a part of that family for the last three years."

Thiel will become Bluffton’s elementary principal upon the retirement of Bluffton native Tim Closson, who will retire at the end of June after serving as principal for the last 14 years.