Principal's PageMr. Critell


Dear Bethel Family:

Bethel Elementary has a rich history of supporting the needs of its students, providing an education focused on continuous improvement, and, most importantly, recognizing that family is the center of who we are and hope to become.  Growing up, I was blessed with schools that focused on who I was as a child, met my needs, and provided me an education that created a foundation for future success. I believe it was those experiences that led me to become an educator who prides himself on fostering positive relationships, meeting the individual needs of students, and now has the incredible honor of serving your community.

While the role of educator is something I hold near and dear to my heart, it is my family that defines me. Prior to moving to Greenville in 2008, I spent the majority of my life in Youngstown, Ohio with my two parents, my brother, Jonathon and my sister, Katie.  Ironically, the elementary and high school mascot was a cardinal. As my dad said, “I guess you really are a cardinal, son.” I can’t say I’d rather be anything else. My wife, Monica, and I went to high school together and have been together for the last 20 years. If you’re wondering if we were high school sweethearts, that answer is no but we probably should have been. Monica teaches third grade at Bell’s Crossing Elementary and we are blessed with two beautiful daughters, Madelyn (7) and Ellie (3).  They are the pride of our lives, and the brightest lights in my life. I believe that every person should be treated and valued in the manner I view the special people in my life, and I look forward to bringing that philosophy to Bethel and its community as well.

In my current role as Assistant Principal at Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School, I have witnessed firsthand the product of Bethel Elementary.  I have been amazed at the former Bethel cardinals walking the halls of Fisher Middle School! The students did not just possess the skills needed to be academically successful. More importantly, they had a foundation that allowed them to show respect for peers and the ability to serve others before self.  During my time in the classroom, especially as a kindergarten teacher at Fork Shoals School, I made it a goal for each of my students to leave my room with the skills mentioned above. Recognizing that Bethel Elementary also embodies these goals excites me for the work we will do as a school community.

Relationships are at the core of who I am as a person and educator.  During the summer and upcoming months, I look forward to meeting you at various times I will schedule during the summer time.  Also, getting to know the faculty, staff, students, and families of Bethel Elementary so that we can continue the traditions of excellence that are synonymous with the school.  I recognize and appreciate the work each stakeholder has had in the school’s success and words cannot describe the level of joy and excitement I have when it comes to being part of this school community.  During the final months of the school year, I will be at Bethel as part of the transition process and I look forward to building relationships with every visit. Again, I want to thank the Bethel community and Greenville County Schools for the honor to serve Bethel as its next principal.  I cannot wait to see how high our Cardinals can fly!


Matthew Critell