Bridge Street Middle School Assistant Principal Karin Butyn felt a special connection to the school two years before she ever worked there.
Bridge Street was one of the base locations for the 2018 Wheeling Veterans Day 10-K in which Butyn was taking part. She decided to take a walk around school’s hallways, and she liked what she saw.
“I want to work here,” Butyn said she remembers thinking.
Butyn is serving in her first year as Bridge Street’s assistant principal, but she knew that she would pursue a career in education as a student at Wheeling Central Catholic High School. Butyn graduated from West Liberty University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education and a minor in Music. She earned her master’s degree in Educational Administration from Wheeling University in 2019.
“I wanted to change the world,” Butyn said. “I made the decision (to become a teacher) in my later high school years because I liked helping friends (with their school work). It’s seemed natural to me. My mother was a teacher as well, and that was influential.”
Butyn began her education career in 2013 at Wheeling Jesuit University’s English Language Institute where she taught English as a Second Language. In 2014, she became a teacher at Weir Middle School, and she quickly made her presence felt. In 2016, she was named the as the “Weir Middle School Teacher of the Year.” That same year, she was nominated for the West Virginia Arch Coal Teacher of the Year award.
Butyn said she was passionate about teaching. She said she became Bridge Street’s assistant principal because she was confident she could make a broader educational impact.
“I loved teaching – I lived it,” Butyn said. “That’s why I became an administrator. I loved teaching so much, and I wanted to be in a position to actively share that passion. I am excited I get to work with amazing teachers who love it as much as I do.”
Butyn said she is enjoying her time at Bridge Street, but she admits that COVID-19 has impacted the morale of the school and its staff members. However, she said Bridge Staff members are determined to do what is in the best interest of the school’s students.
“I came in during an uncertain time,” Butyn said. “Ohio County Schools and the Bridge Street staff have gone above and beyond to make me feel at home and to guide and mentor me. It is a humbling learning experience. We are all doing our best to create what’s best for our students.
“I’m looking forward to walking down the halls and giving a student a high five again,” she added. “We are trying to engage and empower from afar. We are looking to see what we can do for our kids even if we can’t see them in person. We’re trying to do what’s best for our teachers too. Where it seems dim, we’re trying to keep it bright.”
Butyn said Bridge Street Principal Jessica Broski-Birch is an excellent administrator, and she commended her leadership. She said Bridge Street teachers are true professionals who truly care for their students. Butyn said Bridge Street Middle School is a wonderful place.
“It feels like a family,” she said. “I think it’s awesome. It’s a place I want to be, and I want to be a part of what’s being created. It’s beautiful here.”
Butyn and her husband, T.J., live in Wheeling. The couple’s son, Finn, just turned two years old.