Letter from the Superintendent

Hello Van-Far R-1 Community!

My name is John Fortney and I am the new superintendent of schools for Van-Far.  To say I am excited would be an understatement.  I am overjoyed to be able to come to this wonderful community to serve the students and staff.  

I was invited to write a few thoughts down and introduce myself, so here we go!  

I have been in education for 18 years, with the last six in school administration.  I have worked in big schools and small, from 120 students in a school to over 2000!  I was a student in a high school of 4000 in upstate New York!  My original degree is in Anthropology with an Archaeology focus.  Yes, I dug up dead things and tried to figure out what they were doing!  I had a chance to coach when I was in college and that bug was not something I could shake, or want to.  I worked many different jobs, from professional football coach (arena football) to environmental sales to school teacher.  I came into education as an alternative educator, not the traditional path.  I spent the last two years as high school principal at Monroe City High School and four years prior to that as assistant principal at Owensville High School.  I have a BA from Hamilton College in Anthropology, a MS in Sports Psychology from California University of Pennsylvania and an Educational Specialist in Ed Leadership from the University of Missouri, Columbia. 

I love kids!  No getting around that fact.  I think educators have the best job on the planet.  One of the toughest, but the best.  I believe that the village truly raises the child.  I want to ensure that we are producing productive citizens.  We do that by loving every child like our own and supporting them as they grow.  There are many great things happening at Van-Far R-1 and I look forward to partnering with you as we move forward.  

On a personal note, I have been married to my bride, Cheri Fortney, for more than 20 years.  We have two wonderful kids, Caroline and Joe, plus two energetic grandkids, Skyler and Elijah.  My wife and I love to travel to many places and go hiking/backpacking.  We may be in the Smoky Mountains one weekend and then the Badlands of South Dakota the next.  We are teaching our grandkids to love the outdoors and to find comfort in nature.  

As we move forward, trying to determine the best route to take care of students and staff this fall, please remember that we are in uncharted waters.  Our decisions will prioritize student and staff safety, taking into account the best ways to educate students.  We welcome your input and will be communicating our plan in the upcoming weeks.

I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to serve as Superintendent.  It is a dream to be able to work in this capacity to love kids and their families, to support a community and to change the world, one young mind at a time!  I look forward to meeting you.  Please don't hesitate to say hello.  My dog, Columbia, always likes to meet new people when we are out walking around.

In Education,
John Fortney
#onetribe 

My wife, Cheri, and I at Dragon's Tooth on the Appalachian Trail, VA, 


My granddaughter Skyler and I at Newfound Gap, Smoky Mountains NP