When Kevin Butler went to college, his intention was to become an engineer.
During his sophomore year at the University of South Carolina Aiken, he realized that his passion was in a different career path.
“I wanted to help young people. I wanted to teach math,” he said, noting that he has always liked the subject. “It suddenly hit me that I no longer had an aspiration to be an engineer. I decided I wanted to teach.”
So he changed his major to psychology and, after graduating with a bachelor of science degree, he returned to school and received his teacher certification.
It was a decision the Merriwether Middle principal is glad he made.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” he said of his career in education. “It’s been one of the most fulfilling things for me. I had to find my niche.”
His first job after graduating from college was as a teacher’s assistant at Barton Chapel Elementary in Augusta. He later taught fourth grade at Ursula Collins Elementary in Augusta for three years.
“I’ll admit I was not the best teacher, but they helped me to become a great teacher, in my opinion, because I learned a lot from my students,” he said.
They taught him “the power of building relationships” and being able to relate to others, he said.
He moved to Charlotte, N.C. and taught there for a couple of years before coming to the Edgefield County School District in 1999. He taught sixth-grade math at Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton Middle School before becoming assistant principal at the school in 2006.
In 2010, he became assistant principal at Merriwether Middle and this school year, became principal.
“I’m always out and about in the school. I’m very visible,” he said. “I want to let everyone know that this is what I’m about. I’m about education. I’m out promoting education on a regular basis and being there for our students.”
One of his goals this school year is to increase the rigor of classes, starting with the sixth grade. He also will work to increase the number of pupils who can take English I and Algebra I for high school credit in eighth grade.
This school year, the school has started a gifted and talented program called GATEway, which will help with that goal. He also plans to start a mentoring program for at-risk male pupils at the school, he said.
Outside of school, he enjoys fishing, dirt bikes, sports, watching drag racing and “being the best dad and husband possible,” he said.