Dr. Joseph Chodl
As another new addition to Rutgers Prep, Dr. Joseph Chodl joins us after spending 15 years overseas as the principal of an American school.
Although Dr. Chodl was born and raised in America, coming back meant that he had to start all over.
“Coming here and repatriating to America was very difficult. We had to get bank accounts. We had to make sure we had social security numbers available. We had to get driver’s licenses here in New Jersey… When you leave the country and choose to leave for even a short time, there are certain things that you don’t have anymore.”
Despite the hardships of getting used to America again, Dr. Chodl says that the easiest part was the move to Rutgers Prep. The RPS community accommodated him very well as we accepted our new principal with open arms.
Dr. Chodl’s decision to move back was rooted from the fact that he always knew that his family wouldn’t be staying in the United Kingdom forever.
“The previous Summer of 2013, my wife and I decided that it was a good time for us, both in our careers and personally, where we could look into making the move back. It was all dictated by where I would land professionally. Because Steve (Duffy) received his job offer somewhat early into the school year, the job offer at Rutgers Prep was posted pretty early,” he said.
When making his decision to choose RPS, he largely depended on the opinion of former Rutgers Prep student, Alisha Gandhi. Alisha currently attends the American school in London that Dr. Chodl came from, so hearing about Alisha’s experiences at Rutgers Prep up until she moved to England in 9th grade was a strong factor in his decision.
“She was the greatest advocate for Rutgers Prep. She talked about how it was a wonderful place and she said that it was one of the best times of her life, which people rarely say about middle school,” Dr. Chodl said.
Dr. Chodl’s favorite thing to do as a new principal is to observe. He tries to be present in the hallways and on campus and is very impressed with how well students and faculty work together. A large aspect that drew him to Rutgers Prep was its strong sense of community.
“Rutgers Prep does a great job tending to families and extending past the classroom. This is a school with a great deal going on all the time. The faculty members treat each other and treat students very well,” he said.
As a new principal at Rutgers Prep, Dr. Chodl hopes to bring a fresh set of eyes. An important aspect of getting involved is bringing a new outlook, approach, and perspective on what’s working well and what isn’t working as well at RPS.
As a history teacher by trade, in the future, Dr. Chodl would like to get involved in teaching history sometime in the future. He has also expressed interest in become an advisor for students in the next couple of years.
On top of hoping to contributing inside of the classroom, Dr. Chodl also hopes to coach RPS basketball in some type of way in the future. Dr. Chodl was the coach of his old school’s basketball team in England, and even contributed as one of the coaches of the English national basketball team, which includes Chicago Bulls all-star Luol Deng.
Every athlete at Rutgers Prep can probably attest to the fact that Dr. Chodl comes to as many sporting events as possible, as he tries to see as many as he can. Dr. Chodl also intends to see the school play later on in the Fall and get involved with the RPS community outside of the classroom as much as possible.
Dr. Chodl wants to make it a point to try to get to know every upper schooler as much as possible.
I test myself almost every day and try to see if I can know every student by name. I have a cheat sheet that I go by and I want to be able to know the name of every student within the next two months,” he said.
The Rutgers Prep community has been very impressive to Dr. Chodl, and we hope that he can continue to make a home out of us. Welcome to Prep!
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