Okawville Welcomes Mrs. Emrick

Adysen Harre, Staff Writer

Okawville Junior-Senior High School has officially welcomed Kimberly (Hayden) Emrick as its new Principal, and it’s safe to say she is a perfect fit for the role. Emrick, a Hoyleton native and current resident of Nashville, is a lifelong local to Washington County where small-town ideals and tight-knit relationships are prioritized, much like Okawville. She says, “I truly value community and the support and friendships that come with it.” Emrick also has two biological sons, Blane and Kamdyn, who are both students in Nashville’s district schools. She is happily married to Jeff Dirty and has two bonus children, Madeline and Dean. Her values of education, community involvement, and family will seamlessly fit in with the existing staff.

Additionally, Emrick has played sports all her life and prides herself in beating Okawville to go to state. She furthered her athletic and academic career at Southwestern Illinois College on a volleyball scholarship. She then went to SIUE for her Bachelor’s degree and finally McKendree for her Master’s. Emrick graduated with an LBS 1, Special Education, as well as an Administrative and Leadership degree. 

Her qualifications make Emrick a standout; however, she did not always know she wanted to be a principal. In her freshman year of high school, she wanted to be a physical therapist, but after her first job shadow, everything changed. Upon passing out while shadowing, she realized physical therapy was not right for her. She then decided to shift her passion and shadow the Nashville Community High School special education class and fell in love with the idea of helping children reach their full potential.

Emrick was ready for this opportunity because it is closer to home and is a community similar to the one she grew up in. When asked what most excites her about this position she answers, “I am beyond excited to be in a smaller school where I can get to know everybody and build relationships with all the students.” Emrick also mentions how everyone is extremely friendly at Okawville Junior-Senior High School, even explaining how numerous students greeted her as she entered the building for the first time. While her first official day is not until July 1st,  the Okawville community welcomes Kimberly Emrick as part of the community with open arms.