Kemp named new BMS principal

Standard photo/Marisa Patwa

Boonville Middle School principal Julie Kemp enjoying her newly decorated office on Friday, Aug. 3.

Julie Kemp is the new Boonville Middle School principal.

Kemp comes to Warrick County from Chrisney Elementary in Spencer County, where she was the principal. She replaced Abbie Redmon, who took on the role of Director of Primary Curriculum/Instruction K-5 after Jane Wilhelmus retired earlier this year.

"I've been with Spencer County for 25 years," she said. "They raised me."

Kemp went to Heritage Hills High School, graduated from Marian College in Indianapolis, got her master's degree at the University of Southern Indiana and got her license in administration supervision from Indiana University.

Kemp said she originally wanted to be a nurse.

"I actually started college day one as a nursing major," she said. "I went up for orientation and and we did some volunteering in inner city Indianapolis and I absolutely fell in love with children."

Kemp said she had done some cadette teaching in high school, but she was never really certain what she wanted to do.

"The kindergarten teacher I was with [during orientation] said, 'Oh, my gosh, Julie, you should be a teacher," she said. "I thought, 'No, I need to save lives and be a nurse,' but I really found that you can save lives and be a teacher as well."

Kemp started her educational career off as a fourth-grade special education teacher at Chrisney Elementary.

"My first year, I had 36 fourth-graders all over the place, and I didn't know any better," she said. "So, it was great."

Kemp said she developed a great fondness for language arts while working as an educator.

"Which led me to at the time saying, 'OK, what can we do to help develop kids as readers?'" she said. "So I became the district literacy consultant and then just really coached up teachers."

Kemp has also served on the state ISTEP committee to help make changes to the new testing standard ILEARN which will be implemented this spring.

"I was the only educator from southern Indiana on that panel, so I spent a year going to hearings at the statehouse," she said. "I'm an incredibly optimistic person and I am going to hope it is better and believe it is until proven otherwise."

Kemp said the main difference in testing is that ILEARN will only require one testing time instead of two.

"We've been testing in March and at the end of April," she said. "So we're going to one-time testing and there's pros and cons to that, but at least it's more time for teachers to get finished and close to standards and caught up and then less time testing is my hope. So, again, I'm incredibly optimistic about the changes."

Kemp said although she loves Spencer County, she jumped at the opportunity to become the principal of BMS because it was a change.

"Last October, I was diagnosed with melanoma, which caused me to just really take a look at, 'what do I really want to be when I grow up, what do I really want to be doing? Is this my forever place?' And then it was, 'don't leave your blinders on. Don't look at opportunities. Take opportunities. Take chances.'"

Kemp said the change isn't too big though, as she and her family have always lived on the Spencer/Warrick border.

"We actually have a Boonville address," she said. "Boonville Middle School is literally seven and a half miles from my home. And Chrisney was about eight and a half. But just a change in life can be exciting."

Kemp said although she has mostly taught elementary age students, she is loving working with middle school students.

"I love this age of kid," she said. "I am excited to just get to interact with that age of kid."

Kemp said she is already so happy with her new home.

"I have yet to meet a teacher that is not just almost overly passionate about doing what's best for these kids," she said. "These teachers are saying, 'I want to make a difference in their lives.' I love that. So if I can take that and what they're already doing, and enhance it with some of the experiences I have had with curriculum, then I'm doing my job right."

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