Flash Mob Breaks Out for Beloved Middle Twp. Educator

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MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. -

A school assembly featuring Middle Township Elementary No. 2s STEP team ended with a surprise flash mob for a cherished principal who will be retiring from the Middle Township School District at the end of the month. 

Principal Doug Penkethman has worked for Middle Township Schools for the last 29 years.

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“You can never get anything over on him, and they totally surprised him and he knows that it came from their hearts," said Penkethman's sister, Allyn Penkethman.

“It was absolutely the most amazing feeling," said Penkethman. "It’s so difficult to describe. Surrounded by all the love and support from the staff and students, it was absolutely the greatest way to end what I would call a phenomenal career."

The music teachers volunteered to teach their students the flash mob dance during their music classes but didn't tell their students what it was for until the day prior to the flash mob in order to keep it a secret. 

At the end of the assembly, students waited in anticipation as Principal Penkethman walked up to the stage to say a few things, but before he could get a word out, "All In This Together" from High School Musical started playing through the speakers. Teachers and staff flooded the stage.

“He’s really shown ... what the song was about, being together and working together as a team and he’s shown kindness throughout the building, and he’s just been an amazing principal to work for," said the STEP team's advisor, Christal Holmes. 

“It brought tears to my eyes to see the kids react the way that they did," said Superintendent of Middle Twp Schools Dr. David Salvo. "It was really, really inspiring and well-deserved. You know, when you look up the word ‘educator’ and ‘professionalism,' you see his picture."

“He is the best person to mentor you, he is the best person to personally be friends with," said Melanie Lisitski, assistant principal at Middle Twp. Elementary No. 2. "I have just grown so much personally and professionally since we’ve known each other. He’s just amazing."

Mr. Penkethman's final day as an educator will be on Thursday, June 28th. Nancy Loteck, the current assistant principal at Middle Twp High School, will be taking over in the fall.

“I feel a little nervous because I can’t imagine myself back at Elementary No. 2 without him there because he’s my friend —he’s my dear, dear friend — and of course I wish him all the best because he’s very excited and he’s ready for his next chapter of his life," said Loteck.

“I am who I am because of these experiences here at Middle Township," said Penkethman. "And hopefully, I know I will take these experiences with me forever, but hopefully I can share what I learned here with other people to hopefully make their lives even better.”

Penkethman said, after almost three amazing decades of being an educator, his next plan is some traveling.


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