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story.lead_photo.caption RACHEL DICKERSON/MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Kevin Benish is the new principal at Pineville Elementary School. He hopes to be a role model for students.

Kevin Benish, the new principal at Pineville Elementary School, says he wants to be a role model for students.

Part of his strategy for doing this includes wearing a suit and tie to school every day. This is his 11th year as an educator, and he has always had students, both boys and girls, come to school dressed like him. He has plenty of photos of him posing with dressed up students.

Benish originally went to school to become a pharmacist, but "it seemed like a very boring job," he said.

"I've always enjoyed working with students and children, so it just made sense to become an educator. There's not been a dull moment since," he said.

He attended Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, Ark., where he had an excellent history teacher who inspired him to become a teacher, he said.

"History was always a boring subject growing up until I got into Mr. Martin's class," he said.

Benish earned his associate's degree at Pulaski Technical College, then moved to Northwest Arkansas and attended the University of Arkansas, where he earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Then he earned a master of arts degree in teaching and, in 2008, got a job teaching first grade at Anderson Elementary School. The next three years he taught second grade at Anderson, and then for four years, he taught kindergarten. The first year he taught kindergarten, in the 2012-2013 school year, he was a teacher of the year.

In his third year of teaching kindergarten, his administrator asked him if he had ever thought about getting a degree in administration. In 2016 he completed an educational specialist degree in educational leadership at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. He just completed his director of student services certificate from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.

He plans on going back to school for a doctorate at some point, but right now he wants to focus on his two young daughters, Abigail, 3, and Claire, 18 months. He and his wife, Lindsy, and two girls live in Bentonville. Lindsy works for Tyson corporate headquarters in Springdale.

Benish grew up in southwest Little Rock, Ark., on an 80-acre farm.

"We had chickens, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys. We planted a five-acre garden that we worked in all summer," he said.

He said he can relate to students in McDonald County because of his similar upbringing.

"I grew up hunting and fishing, and that was the main meal. I grew up with the same background and past as a lot of the students here in McDonald County. I still enjoy hunting and fishing today."

Asked why he wanted to become an administrator, he said, "I wanted to become an administrator to do the greatest good. I would be able to influence all the teachers in the building and have an impact on the students as well."

He also noted he enjoys building relationships with students and making a difference every single day.

As for how things are going so far, he said this year has been "the smoothest start I've had in 11 years of education. I have an excellent staff of teachers that do a wonderful job each and every day working with our students."

General News on 09/20/2018

Print Headline: Principal Wants To Be A Role Model For Students

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