Kris Vancas, principal at Benner Elementary School
If you have the chance to meet Benner Elementary School Principal Kris Vancas, it’s evident just how much he loves his job. A husband and father of two children, Vancas said he also brings that fatherly mentality into school just about every day.
“There is a piece of me that loves every child here almost like a dad would,” he said. “I want all the kids to feel like they belong, feel accepted and feel cared for and loved by every adult here at some capacity. If they feel that way, then we have something special.”
Vancas has been the principal at Benner Elementary for seven years, taking the position after serving as the vice principal at Bellefonte Elementary School for five years and as an elementary teacher in the Penns Valley Area School District for about 14 years before that.
“I cannot think of a better place to be than in an elementary school,” he said. “What I see and get to experience everyday with kids is just amazing, and there are so many special moments that happen. Kids are just so priceless in what they say and do. I just love coming to school and seeing 230 kids every day working and creating relationships.”
Vancas, a graduate of Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School, went on to study elementary education at Bloomsburg University. He then obtained his principal certification and superintendent letter of eligibility.
As much as he said he loves his job, there is still nothing more important in his life than family. His wife Tina works at Penn State. He also has a daughter, Alexis, 22, who is a second lieutenant in the Army; and his son Peyton, 11, is a student at Bellefonte Area Middle School. Vancas is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers and Penn State athletics.