After five years of serving as a high school principal, Jeff Plunk has decided to step down to become the head of Ascension Episcopal School located in Lafayette, LA.
Plunk began his first year at Wesleyan 12 years ago. Plunk said, “I fell in love with the Christian mission, mission trips, coaching and teaching, but truth be told, I originally came to Wesleyan to be the head wrestling coach. Once I got here, I realized there is a lot more than just wrestling.”
During his time at Wesleyan, Plunk has experienced many favorite memories on campus, but he really enjoys seeing his students, who struggle with a lesson, suddenly realize they understand the concept.
Dean of Students Joseph Koch said, “At the end of my first school year at Wesleyan, Mr. Plunk, Mr. Casey and I went out to play a Home Run Derby competition on the baseball field. It was a ton of fun because my kids and their kids were out playing too.”
Senior Ashwin Gidwani said, “I have so many good memories with Mr. Plunk, but one that I will always remember is when he gave me a tank top for my birthday. He’s the man.”
For many teachers and students, Plunk has been more than a high school principal. He has been a coach, a mentor and served as a mission trip leader for many students during his time at Wesleyan.
Koch said, “From Plunk, I learned that you can be relational with students, but you can also be professional and hold everyone to a high standard.”
Head of School, Chris Cleveland, said, “Mr. Plunk brings a rare combination of gifts to his work. He is extremely intelligent and a terrific solver of problems; however, he is also outstanding at establishing and maintaining relationships with the people around him. That balance of intellect and interpersonal skills is rare.”
Initially, Plunk was not sure about moving to Lafayette. “For a while, I was looking for a new opportunity and this school [Ascension Episcopal School] was not one I was initially pursuing,” Plunk said.
However, Plunk went to visit Ascension in the fall and that was when he fell in love with the school.
Plunk said, “Ascension was attached to a church and moved onto a piece of property. They have just started to grow and add a high school which is what Wesleyan did 23 years ago. I just felt like our story and their story paralleled each other which is what convinced me that this school was a good fit.”
Because Plunk is leaving the school, this opened the position as principal for a new or returning faculty member. After a long process, Koch has been chosen by the administration to serve as high school principal. He is set to begin in August for the 2019-2020 school year.
Plunk said, “My word of encouragement for Koch is that it is not all on him. There is a team of people that will help him to be successful and do several things for him.”
Sophomore Elsah James said, “I would just like to tell Mr. Plunk and the entire Plunk family thank you for being such sweet lights in my life these past two years. From Mr. Plunk giving me a music-filled ride to dance class on Wednesday afternoons, to Mrs. Plunk’s comforting hugs and hellos in the hallway, the Plunks are always there for me. I am so grateful for all of the joy they have given me, and I cannot wait to see how they continue to make people smile in Louisiana.”
Cleveland said, “It is difficult to convey in words just how much I will miss Mr. Plunk. Not only is he an excellent administrator in every regard, he is a good friend. The combination of his experience, wisdom, and keen sense of humor is rare, and virtually impossible to replace. Wesleyan will be forever impacted by his leadership and will forever feel a void in his absence. He will do great things as a head of school in Louisiana, and I wish him every happiness and success!”
Plunk is grateful for the Wesleyan community. He said, “I will always remember the twelve years I spent here and the relationships I formed here, both with the students and faculty. I have had so much fun just to see the school grow. I look forward to coming back and still become part of the community.”