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Durham living dream at early age as principal of Lebanon Junction

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By Mary Barczak

 March 22 was a momentous day in Patrick Durham's life, he turned 30 and also became the new principal of Lebanon Junction Elementary.

For Durham it was a dream come true.

“It has been fast-paced, but I love what I do,” he said.

Durham previously was an instructional coach, which mitigated between the principal and teachers, at Overdale Elementary for about two years and a special education teacher Pleasant Grove Elementary for six years, but he was always working towards being a principal.

The hardest part of the job so far, he said, was coming in at the end of the year and having to address all of the last-minute decisions and concerns, in addition to getting the budget in order.

Durham said he has relied on his staff to help him “meet all of the goals to the best of (his) abilities.”

The Louisville resident said his overall goals for the school at this time, is to continue in growth that his predecessor, Staci Goedde, achieved. Though he said the school ranks in the 83 percentile in K-Prep testing, it's more than just about that.

“It's also about individual growth,” Durham said. “I want to maintain that mentality. We can only go up from here.”

Even though he is not a teacher anymore, he still thinks a principal's role is essential to a student's education by leading by example.

“Educators have to have a life-long thirst for education,” Durham said.

In taking this position, he did not think he would have been able to interact with students as much as he has but he is glad he has gotten the opportunity to.

“I want every student to leave my office with a good outlook whether they come in here for negative reasons or not,” he said.

A few new developments at the school he is excited about are the start of an archery club due to the success it has been in Bullitt County and the class garden the kindergarten planted.

A couple of little known facts most people might not know about Durham are: he played basketball at Union College and he grew up on a farm in the small town of Waynesburg, Ind.

“Small communities have always appealed to me,” he said.

Durham currently has a bachelor's in learning and behavioral disorders from Union College, a master's in instructional leadership (school principal) for grades kindergarten through 12 and a certification for director of pupil personnel. He is working on obtaining his education specialist degree for school superintendent.

Durham said he thinks his years of experience both as a teacher and working with principals will help him in his position.

“This summer I hope to sit back, plan and start putting my fingerprints on the school,” he said.