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All in the family

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Wife joins husband in leading local Catholic schools

HARTINGTON — In the beginning, God knew it was not good for man to be alone. So, he made the woman to be of help.

As it turns out, when Chris Uttecht, principal at Holy Trinity and Cedar Catholic, needed help handling the duties for both schools, his wife was there to step in to help.

Stacy Uttecht will be taking over as principal at Holy Trinity for the upcoming school year, leaving Chris as principal at Cedar Catholic.

“He’s not my boss. We work for completely different schools and operate differently,” she said. “It’ll be great to bounce things off of him and he does the same. We’re working for the same goal: to bring students and staff closer to Christ.”

Stacy comes to the position well qualified, previously serving as principal at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Wayne and St. Wenceslaus Catholic School in Dodge.

She said she attended public schools and didn’t know much about the Catholic school system prior to working in them.

“I didn’t understand what Catholic schools were all about. I just needed somewhere to work,” she said with a smile. “But lo and behold, through it all, my faith has grown stronger being in the Catholic school system.”

Holy Trinity is unique in that Christ is at the center of everything they do, she said.

“Every decision we make in our curriculum is rooted in Christ's teachings,” Uttecht said. “You can see it play out in the students on a daily basis.”

New this year, Uttecht will implement an all-school prayer circle.

“We’ll get together as one elementary and give glory to God,” she said. “It’s something I’ve done in the past at previous schools and it brings a sense of community, a sense of family to our school. You know, sometimes we get up on the wrong foot, wake up late, get in a rush. This gives us time to slow down and realize what’s important.”

The COVID-19 pandemic made last year stressful for families and Uttecht said she is making a big effort to make sure students feel safe at school.

“Being back together as one and as normal as we can - that’s what we want to achieve this year,” she said.

Uttecht said she appreciates that Holy Trinity families are supportive of the school.

She has her own supportive family as well. Stacy and Chris have four children: two daughters, Cady, a senior at Cedar Catholic, and Cassie Petersen of Norfolk; and two sons, Jordan Kirkman of Vermillion, S.D., and Justin Kirkman of Hartington. The Uttechts have four grandchildren.

Stacy said working alongside her husband for the same school system will not be without challenges but is confident it will make their relationship stronger.

“It’s going to make us closer,” she said. “We have differences of opinion sometimes but we respect each other. In the core of it, God is the most important and faith is what gets us through.”

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