"I had a lot of good teachers along the way - elementary, junior high, high school and then college," Bechtel
"Knowing what they had done for me in my life, that all kind of came together."
Bechtel entered the classroom in the late 70s, beginning with the third grade at Matoaca Elementary School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
He received his master's in the summer and quickly joined the administrative side as an assistant principal.
"The name of the school was Matoaca and that is one of Pocahontas's first names," he
had a couple of names so now to end up here - full circle - is really special."
After seven years as an assistant, Bechtel became a principal in 1986.
"I was good with discipline," he
"Classroom discipline, bus discipline and I've always felt that I can connect with parents, I was able to connect with the parents and help the kids be successful."
Last year, Bechtel
found a listing for a principal to finish the year at Hillsboro Elementary School
The posting intrigued him and, well, the rest is history.
"When I saw that it was kind of a transitional placement, that's what intrigued me," he
"I didn't know much about Pocahontas County, but when I saw the vacancy, I felt like I could help the faculty."
Bechtel finished the 2012-2013 school year as principal at HES and had nine weeks into 2013-2014 when the board of education approached him about becoming the interim superintendent after C.C. Lester resigned the post in mid October.
As interim superintendent, Bechtel is unsure how long his term will be, but while he is in the office, he plans to make the best of it.
"It's personalization of leadership," he
reached out to all the teachers in the county with a personalized letter, giving them a chance to know what his
expectations and plans are for the future of education in the county.
"I feel like we have an energized school board," Bechtel
"They want to support the teachers and all other personnel in their work.
As I told them, we're instruction and support professionals.
We can't have ten goals because sometimes you say 'I can't do ten things well.' I just want each goal to take a look at data and drill down we're doing really well in these areas and these are the areas where we need to improve."
Most schools analyze data by the semester or nine weeks.
feels it is better to analyze weekly, to ensure the students are retaining what they have learned.
"What gets measured gets done," he
talks about the three things that today's worker is seeking," Bechtel
takes a different approach to the students, altering the old adage, "The three Rs.
believes in "The three Cs" - Capable, Connection and Contribute.
"Every day in school you get a lot of satisfaction and pride," he
To show the students how important they all are to him, Bechtel
first week as interim superintendent visiting each classroom in the county.
"That was my goal," he
As superintendent, Bechtel said his job is to assist the teachers with their style of teaching.
"One hundred-ninety spirits," he
"Just to say from a superintendent standpoint, 'I saw you do this' and be specific with feedback. 'Good' and 'nice' - I can be a little more specific there.
What we're trying to do, the teacher should not be the 'sage on the stage' anymore, talking for thirty minutes.
The teacher should be talking for about ten minutes and then engaging the children because then you can really hear what is their level of understanding."
realizes that, although there is an 'I' in superintendent, he
can't do it on his
"I can't do it all but together we can do it all," he