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Chillicothe Intermediate School principal puts passion into practice as an educator

Chillicothe Intermediate School Principal Joshua Tripp is proof that you don’t have to leave your community to find your future and build a meaningful career.

A Ross County native, Tripp prepared for his career as an educator and school administrator in his community, earning a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree at Ohio University Chillicothe. Tripp later earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Ohio University’s Patton College of Education.

Tripp's journey in education began with a dream and a commitment to his community. He chose Ohio University Chillicothe because he wanted to learn in the area he grew up in, and he saw it as an opportunity to start his career while building essential relationships. This decision allowed him to study in local schools, an experience that continues to serve him in his daily work.

While still a student at OHIO Chillicothe, Tripp began working as an aide at the Pioneer School and was able to leverage his experience and connections to secure a job there as an intervention specialist after graduating.

Tripp's passion for education and his aspiration to create a positive impact on students' lives eventually led him to pursue a career in school administration. His inspiration came from watching the principal in the school where his mother served as a school secretary.

“I grew up in a school office,” Tripp said. “I watched her principal (Dorothy Smith) lead with compassion and excitement and I saw the significant role a principal plays in the learning and culture of a school.”

Now Tripp gets to lead and shape the culture of Chillicothe Intermediate School. His primary goal is to make the lives of teachers easier, so they can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning. He acknowledges that some days are more successful than others, but his driving force is ensuring that he does what's best for the children each day.

“My goal is to make it easier for the teachers to teach and students to learn,” Tripp said. “Some days I’m better at that than others, but if I can say I did what was best for children that day, then I’ve done my job.”

Before taking on the role of principal at Chillicothe Intermediate School, Tripp served as a principal of Vinton County High School. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Southern State Community College and now serves on OHIO Chillicothe’s Education Advisory Committee.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Tripp's work is running into former students. He enjoys hearing what they remember about their time in the school and the impact their experiences in school had on them. He emphasizes the importance of always striving to be at one's best, as educators have a profound influence, even in moments they may not realize.

He believes educators should never become complacent and should continuously seek new knowledge and innovative approaches, echoing Henry Ford's words: “If You Always Do What You've Always Done, You'll Always Get What You've Always Got.”

“I have the introspection to know that I don’t know more than I do, but I’m always wanting to know more and do things differently,” Tripp said.

Tripp's education at Ohio University Chillicothe played an indispensable role in preparing him for the career he holds today. The contacts he made and the foundational knowledge he acquired were instrumental in shaping his path and he is grateful for the educators who left a lasting impact on him. He said he learned from Jamie Harmount that you cannot be a good educator without a genuine love for children. Maryjo Flamm-Miller emphasized the importance of intentionality, urging Tripp and other future teachers to be purposeful in their lessons and language. Lori Woods taught him that building a respectful and nurturing relationship with students motivates them to learn.

Maryjo Flamm-Miller, an adjunct professor at OHIO Chillicothe who leads the Discovery Garden Family Playgroup at the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library, recalls Tripp as an excellent student and said she is proud of him and the positive impact he makes as an educator.

“Middle school youth grapple with their identity and relationships with peers, all while studying and exploring their talents and interests,” Flamm-Miller said. “Josh is there as a role model of perseverance and personal integrity. I hope the students take advantage of opportunities to learn from him about leadership and being a scholar.”

Tripp fondly remembers his time at Ohio University and the camaraderie of his cohort in the Early Childhood Education program. Their close-knit group supported each other through the challenges of their education and remains in touch to this day, all making significant contributions to the lives of children.

Teaching is one of the most difficult careers students can choose, according to Tripp, who wants education students to follow their fire and passion for working with children with an understanding of the demands of the profession.

"Teach because you love it!” Tripp exclaimed. “Teach because it’s important! Teach because you want to give children the best thing you could ever give them: a love for learning!"

Tripp is now working on completing a second master’s degree and his Superintendent’s Licensure.

November 8, 2023
Staff reports