Pioneer's elementary principal to retire

ROYAL CENTER — Pioneer Elementary School’s principal has decided to retire from the corporation and seek out another position in education.

Beth Dean, who’s been principal of the Royal Center elementary school for the last seven years and has spent the past 22 years as an administrator with the corporation, will retire effective June 30. The school board approved her retirement at the Tuesday, June 12 meeting.

Over the past several weeks, many parents and elementary school teachers have expressed their disagreement with Pioneer Superintendent Chuck Grable’s reassignment of Dean to a teacher position for the coming fall. Many spoke out against it at last month’s board meeting.

Dean had previously said she would fight Grable’s decision with the guidance of her attorney. On Tuesday, Dean said retiring allows her to leave Pioneer and look for other jobs.

“I think it’s in the best interest of everybody for me to move on, best for the kids and for the community, and we’ll just see how things go,” Dean said after the meeting.

Dean said she’s appreciated the support she’s received over the past 22 years from a “great community and great school.”

“My heart will always be here,” she said. “I enjoyed my time here. It’s more than a job.”

In a June 13 letter addressed to Pioneer elementary parents, Grable wrote that a retired elementary principal from Peru, Ron Mullett, has agreed to serve as the elementary’s interim principal. He’s hired through Administrator Assistance, an organization of retired Indiana school administrators.

Mullett begins July 23 and will work there for as long as the corporation needs for the 2018-2019 school year, Grable said, until Pioneer officials find a “long-term fit” for the school.

Grable wrote in the letter that the corporation hasn’t received any applications for the elementary principal position that fit the corporation’s criteria. The job opening was posted May 18.

“We are looking for an excellent instructional leader with a strong understanding and background in elementary reading and math instruction, positive discipline approaches, and proven experience as an elementary principal,” Grable wrote.

Reach Ben Middelkamp at or 574-732-5117.

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Ben Middelkamp is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He covers local education news as well as weekend events. He can be reached at or by phone at 574-732-5117.