A love for education, a deep devotion to the Catholic faith, and an altruistic spirit brought Rachel Ottenweller to Most Precious Blood School in Fort Wayne this academic year as the school’s new principal.
“I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in third grade,” Ottenweller said. “I was blessed with wonderful elementary school teachers and wanted to emulate them and their joy in the classroom. I knew from a young age that I loved to help others and watch them succeed or try something new that I had taught.”
Ottenweller received a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Ball State University in 2013 and taught second grade in the public school system for three years. She then spent six years as a first-grade teacher at St. Louis Academy in New Haven. While teaching first grade, she earned a master’s degree in educational leadership in 2022.
At Precious Blood, Ottenweller has goals for her first year on campus and hopes to have a positive impact on the school and her staff.
“I hope to be a positive role model and mentor to my team of educators and students in the building. I want to help everyone grow in their love and knowledge of God and their formation as a Catholic member of the community,” Ottenweller said. “I hope to still be a teacher like Christ. I understand that this is a new role, and I will face a new set of challenges and successes that I will have to grow and learn from. I may not have a class of students anymore, but I do have a ‘class’ of educators that I hope to continue to teach and help them grow in their ability
as professional educators. I knew that in my classroom I could only affect the education in my room, but it is my hope that by being an administrator I can help grow all the students in every room by providing my teachers with best practices, knowledge, and classroom strategies.”
Even though she won’t be in front of a class in her new role, she wants to continue working closely with students to help them achieve success.
“I hope that my students can see me and find joy,” Ottenweller said. “I want them to know of my high expectations not only academically but also in their faith and in them as a person in our community. I want them to feel excited to come to school and to look back on their experience here at Precious Blood with great fondness.”
Ottenweller said one of her priorities is to make sure the students at Precious Blood know that they are valued and loved by Christ despite society too often telling them otherwise.
“I am very optimistic about the school year and all the successes we are going to be achieving,” she said. “I also understand that while we are growing our students to be Christ-like, there is a whole world out there on the news and social media who are trying to tear down what we are trying to build up. I believe the biggest challenge for any Christian school is to teach the students the word of the Lord in a society that is more concerned with the word of man. In order to overcome these challenges, we are going to have to maintain our light of the Lord and let that shine through to our students in everything we do.”
Ottenweller has had many amazing, memorable, and impactful moments during her teaching career.
“In teaching, every day is something new and exciting.
I taught first grade for six years, but not a single day was ever the same. The students brought with them different challenges and successes, and watching them overcome a mountain they thought was going to be impossible is one of the greatest joys,” Ottenweller said. “However, some of my most memorable moments are with my St. Louis family. It was hard to have a bad day at that school. Not only are the students and their families some of the best that I have ever encountered, but the staff that I was able to work with and grow alongside are some of the best people that I know. I could not have asked God for a better staff to walk alongside me in my journey as an educator. I am excited to continue my professional career here at Precious Blood and create new memorable moments.”
Ottenweller said the Most Precious Blood community has been welcoming and gracious to her, and she appreciates the history of so many generations
attending the school. She finds the sense of family and community overflows into every aspect of the position, something that makes it unique in today’s culture.
“Also, I am very excited to see my first Most Precious Blood school play. I have heard so many wonderful things about the theater here, and I cannot wait to see it for myself,” she said. “We have a wonderful new director this year who has deep ties to the theater community, and I am looking forward to seeing the production and what he is able to create with our students.”
Ottenweller said the school year is off to a strong start, and she is overjoyed at the opportunity to join and embrace her new community.
“I pray that the students know just how loved and cherished they truly are by their families and the staff here at Precious Blood. I was coming to school this summer trying to get myself ready for the school year, and the number of teachers I saw working through the summer to prepare just blew me away,” Ottenweller said. “The dedication the staff has to students and this community in helping to build it up is immeasurable. I also pray that the staff have peace throughout the school year and that they always feel supported by me and the Precious Blood families. The sense of community in this area is something that I hope everyone feels.”
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