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Meet Kori Bernal, Bluffton's new elementary school principal

By Paula Pyzik Scott

Kori Bernal was born and raised in Fostoria and–until now–has worked her whole career there, too. But in May 2024 she was chosen by the Bluffton Exempted Village Schools to be the new Elementary School principal beginning fall 2024. 

Ben Thiel, who has served as Bluffton Elementary principal since Fall 2021, has become the first pastor of Bluffton Community.

Bernal told the Icon she has vivid memories of playing school as a child and always wanted to be a teacher and to be in education. She now has eleven years of experience as a principal, as well as pre-K through 12th grade experience, including as an administrator, as an intervention specialist and as a gen ed teacher. 

Bernal notes she’s been able to “see everything on every level” and that as a “big picture person, I enjoy making all of those connections to help staff and help students.” She will be downsizing from an elementary school with about 1,100 students and about 120 staff members. “This is going to be a big change coming to a smaller building.”

She is very excited to be coming to Bluffton: “The way they made me feel, the energy around everybody is really what brought me here. I haven’t stopped smiling since I got the offer!”

Kori is married to Nate; their children are Antonio and Marisol.

What keeps Bernal busy outside of school? Her hobbies include acrylic pouring and listening to audio books. She notes that this summer travel softball with her daughter will be a big focus. Her daughter will be a freshman at Bluffton University in the fall and will play softball there.