Barren County Schools names Pniewski as newest elementary principal

Pniewski began her first teaching job at North Jackson Elementary as a fifth grade teacher.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 11:32 AM CDT
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GLASGOW, Ky. (WBKO) – Leah Kate Pniewski was named Friday morning as the newest principal at North Jackson Elementary in Barren County.

Friends, family and school staff gathered at the Barren County Board of Education along Trojan Way to hear from Pniewski and other school officials. She will become the third principal of Barren County Schools’ youngest elementary school.

“The school is such a part of me professionally and personally that the two just can’t be separated,” she said.

Pniewski is a Barren County native. She attended Eastern Elementary and went on to graduate from Barren County High School in 2001. She later graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in elementary education.

While she originally pursued another pathway in college, she endeavored to become an educator like her husband. As a pre-service education block student, she found the confirmation she needed after she was spent a week inside the classroom of Jeannie London, the school’s current principal.

“She literally was jumping on desks and dropping Barbie dolls from the roof my first week there,” she said. “I thought: this is it. I can use my creativity and education can be fun. We can make a difference in the lives of kids not only academically but the whole child.”

Pniewski began her first teaching job at North Jackson Elementary as a fifth grade teacher. She taught reading, writing, and social studies.

No stranger to school administration, Pniewski began working in 2017 as NJE’s assistant principal and preschool coordinator.

“She has always maintained a standard of excellence for herself,” said Bo Matthews, Barren County Schools superintendent. “She’s intellectual. She maintains a tremendous work ethic. She has a heart for all those she serves.”

Pniewski said she hopes to continue a tradition of “leading with a heart.” She credited London and Anthony Frazier, the school’s first principal, for creating a tradition of excellence and innovation/

Pniewski begins work in her new role on July 1.