East Canton Elementary School Principal Becky Carter has never strayed much from the area where she was born and raised.
“I’ve always lived in Osnaburg Township,” said the daughter of Denny and Brenda Griffith and the wife of Kacy Carter. “We live a couple of blocks away from my parents.”
A graduate of East Canton High School, now her four children—Annie, 14; Ella, 11; Kaitlin, 8; and John “Jack,” 4—are going through the Osnaburg Local School District, as well.
Carter said she is “one of those people who always knew I wanted to be in education.” She chose music as a subject because “I thought it would give me a little more opportunity to teach students life skills.”
Becoming an administrator was part of her plan.
“I always knew that at some point, I would move on to principal because it would give me an opportunity to have a bigger impact on the student body and the staff as a whole,” she explained. “Instead of being confined to a classroom, I get to interact with teachers and students in the whole building.”
Indeed, as she goes about her duties as principal, she most often can be found outside of the four walls of her office.
“I want to make sure I’m visible throughout the building,” she explained. “It’s easy to get caught up in the paperwork and emails and desk work. I want to make sure I have the interaction with students and staff. I save the paperwork for after school and before school.”
So, Carter’s is the smiling face that pupils and teachers see during the day.
“I try to smile and greet as many students as possible and give them compliments. I like to let them know that I’m happy that they’re there—that they’re loved.”
Over the years, those students have included her own children.
“They get to ride to school with me and ride home,” she noted. “This job takes a lot of time, so being able to spend that time with them and pass them in the hall is a positive.”
Also a blessing, she said, is her ability to share her working life with her spouse.
“We spend most of our conversations at night focusing on our jobs,” she said. “I’m glad to have someone to talk to about it, sharing ideas and experiences and learning from each other and from people who have taught us. We’ve both been blessed with great mentors at every step of our careers.”
For nearly their entire lives, whenever Jackson Local School District administrator Kacy Carter has looked, his wife and fellow educator, Becky Carter, has almost always been at his side.
The personal and professional connection goes back to the years that the Osnaburg Township couple attended East Canton High School together. And, the relationship progressed through their years of education at the University of Mount Union.
“We’ve kind of progressed through our careers together,” said Carter, the 36-year-old son of Gene and Mary Carter of East Canton, who now is principal at Jackson Memorial Middle School. “We went through our masters degree program together. We both graduated with a masters in educational leadership—that allows us to be principals—from the University of Cincinnati in 2012. We were both working as teachers at the same time. And in the 2015-16 school year, when she became principal at East Canton Elementary School, I became assistant principal at Jackson High School. We’ve always gone through things together and have been able to help each other out with problems as they came up.”
This is Carter’s second year as principal at Jackson Memorial. Before going into administration, teaching and coaching was “kind of a natural fit” for Carter, he said.
“What I like about teaching is the relationships you can build with kids,” he explained. “You can get really close to the students you have in your classrooms.”
Still, Carter appreciates the contribution he can make to student development from his position as principal.
“We have 1,450 students in our building, and as an administrator, I can’t get as close to each and every one of them,” he said. “But I think I’m able to do things to problem-solve to help support teachers and to help support kids.”
Certainly, “I get a lot more steps in as principal,” said Carter, not one to stay hidden in an office.
Then, when the day is done, Carter can return home to his family of four children, and to his wife, who remains at his side and offers a fellow administrator’s view of each day of their professional lives.
“A typical evening is we get home, try to figure out what to have for supper and then break down the day. We’re there to give each other support.”
1. How did you meet?
Becky: “We were in school together, and we both went to a friend’s birthday in the fall of 1998. I walked in, and he said, ‘Hey, gorgeous.’ We started dating not long after that.”
Kacy: “We had grown up together in East Canton, so we knew each other through school. In high school, we went to a friend’s birthday party, and that’s kind of how we eventually caught each other’s eye.”
2. When did you know he/she was the one?
Becky: “I knew right away. We had been friends before, and when we started dating, I knew he was the one I wanted to marry. It was the way he treated me. He always was very cognizant of making me feel comfortable.”
Kacy: “I knew she was the one pretty much from when we started dating. That would have been during my junior year and her senior year. We’ve been a couple ever since. We went to college together at Mount Union and got married when we were in college.”
3. What’s your favorite thing to do together?
Becky: “The two main things we like to do together are watch movies and travel as a family. We go to a cabin that is the same cabin that my grandparents stayed in when they were in high school. It’s a family tradition.”
Kacy: “I like going to movies, and we go on a lot of trips together.”
4. What do you admire most about your partner?
Becky: “I don’t know if you want to call it faithfulness or devotion, but he has an unfailing love for God, for me, for our family and for his school. He’s very devoted to the things that mean the most to him.”
Kacy: “She is very determined. When she puts her mind to something, she gets it done, and she carries everyone else along with her. She’s done that with our family more times than I can count.”