It was only a matter of time really.
When Zack Cline and his family moved across the street from Bellbrook High School, he had his sights set. But that doesn’t mean leaving Miamisburg Schools after 25 years was easy.
Cline became the first-ever assistant principal of Bell Creek Intermediate and has a smile on his face every day he walks into the building.
A 1998 UD grad, Cline majored in Elementary Education and played football for the Flyers. After graduation, Cline started his career in Miamisburg as a teacher and took over as principal for the high school for two years before coming to the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District.
“I loved Miamisburg, and ran to work every day,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to get there and do all the things. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision. It was easy in the fact that I’m with my family and I get to be in my community. I get to give back to the people who are giving back to my kids and to be a part of all the great things my wife (Mrs. Emily Cline) has been a part of for the last few years.”
That sense of community is what gets Cline up in the morning. For him it’s inescapable.
“It’s the best thing ever. Literally every day when I wake up the first thing I see is Bellbrook High School,” Cline said. “BCI is right here, my wife’s school is across the street. It’s awesome to be a part of this school system and to be able to walk to work and see all the great things the kids are doing in this district.”
Cline gets to be a pioneer at BCI. As it’s a first run at the position, he and principal Donnie Phelps have the opportunity to shape the role in the way that fits them.
“The neat part about this role never being done before is that Mr. Phelps and I, over the summer, got to know each other quite a bit and really figured out where our strengths are,” Cline said. Cline mentioned he and Phelps knew each other previously, when Phelps was a student in the Miamisburg district.
Cline will take on the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) side of things while Phelps’ concentration lies on the academic side. However, Cline is still a leader when it comes to academics, while Phelps is in front of the PBIS/culture aspects.
While it isn’t a straight division, each are playing to strengths. And when it comes to PBIS, Cline brings receipts. Schools measure the success of their PBIS program through a TFI (Tiered Fidelity Inventory), which measures how well the district implements the PBIS system.
In his time at Miamisburg, it went from a seven to a 26 out of 30 for the high school in just two years, earning the Vikings the Bronze Award. Cline praised Phelps as the “best academic leader I’ve ever been around in terms of understanding the curriculum, being able to go in-depth, the nuances, being able to understand the vernacular and being able to keep up with everything. Mr. Phelps is by far, without question, the best.”
Cline said his job, when it comes to PBIS, is to remove barriers for the students and staff at BCI, but not to identify the barriers. He said that work needs to be done by the people in the building. Once the problems are identified, he can go about the business of making sure things run smoothly.
“It’s nothing more than data-based decision making and identifying the areas of need in the school as far as the culture/discipline/the way the school runs – and then using that data to make decisions and put those decisions into action,” Cline said. “We’ve had three meetings so far (with staff) and in each, we’ve come out with action items and putting things into place.”
The biggest of which is instituting a SOAR store. That is a system for students to buy things through their rewards for positive behaviors. Each staff member has their own currency with their picture on it and for each positive action, students can earn a buck.
From there, students can spend it on themselves or invest it for the whole grade level. If the students choose to invest it in their grade, Mr. Phelps and Mr. Cline will double the investment. At a certain point, the entire grade could earn a movie day, pizza party or other prize. Cline has a goal for BCI down the road and that is for it to be the flagship of Bellbrook Schools.
“People are going to talk about this school as ‘Oh my gosh, I work at BCI.’ ‘My kid just finished BCI.’ ‘Oh, we get to go to BCI next year!’” Cline said. “It’s going to be spoken about as it should be, because this is an incredible building.”