New Prairie Trace principal eager to return to Carmel Clay Schools


New Prairie Trace Elementary School Principal Kim Piper is familiar with many aspects of Carmel Clay Schools.

CIC COM 0727 New Principals Piper

“My husband works in the school district and my three kids are students in the district,” said Piper, a former Towne Meadow assistant principal in 2007 and 2008. “I loved my time at Towne Meadow. Since I was assistant principal there, I would look when openings came up and the timing might be right.”

Piper’s husband, Jared Piper, is an autism behavior counselor for CCS. Their three daughters, Maryn, 10, Elyse, 7, and Kate, 5, all attend Woodbrook Elementary.

When Piper heard about the elementary principal opening, she felt the time was right. Piper replaces Prairie Trace Principal Jill Shipp, who became principal of West Clay Elementary following the retirement of Jennifer Szuhaj.

“This is perfect for our family,” Piper said. “The academic excellence here is wonderful and the high expectations. I really appreciate the leadership and opportunities that are in Carmel and what the community offers to the students and families. When you talk to the staff, they truly appreciate the family feel with the school of educators and also with the families that come into the school. That’s something every leader will love to maintain. We are all coming from a time in the district with redistricting and with students coming back from virtual (learning) with COVID (and) it will be a time to bring people back together again.”

Piper, 45, said Prairie Trace is receiving 100 new students through redistricting.

“It’s important for me, the assistant principals and the teachers to make sure everyone feels welcome,” Piper said. “A main goal is to make sure everyone is acclimated, especially our virtual students coming back to a school setting.”

Piper spent the past seven years as director of elementary education for seven Washington Township Schools. Prior to that, she was the principal of Crooked Creek Elementary for 6 1/2 years in Washington Township.

“One thing you gain as a director is you get to see all the awesome things other principals are doing and take those with you,” she said. “But you are away from kids, and we all go into education with the desire to be around children, see them thrive daily and make a difference in the lives of kids. What gives me the most positive energy is kids will be walking through the door and I’ll be able to engage with them daily. I’m very excited to see the love of learning daily and be able to help teachers in any way that they need.”