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Our Team

Jeff Rouff

Jeff Rouff


Mr. Rouff is a lifelong Lakota resident who has been the principal at Hopewell Junior since August 2011. He came to Hopewell Junior in 1997 as a Social Studies teacher and coach. He is a 1992 Lakota graduate and is the father of 2 Lakota West graduates. Ensuring a special experience for all students at Hopewell Junior, similar to the one he had, is the primary driver to being at Hopewell Junior.

Blake Cripe

Blake Cripe

Assistant Principal

Mr. Cripe has been an educator for 14 years. Mr. Cripe did his student teaching at Hopewell Junior and taught math and science before becoming the Assistant Principal in August 2021. Mr. Cripe loves continuing the many great traditions that were started by principals before him as well as starting new ones for Hopewell’s students and families.

Karen Gantzer

Secretary, Data Processing Specialist

Mrs. Gantzer serves as both Attendance Secretary and Data Specialist for Hopewell Junior. Contact her with questions about HAC passwords, student enrollment/withdrawal and report cards. 

Valerie Hobbs

Valerie Hobbs


Ms. Hobbs has been a nurse for 14 years.  She has worked for Lakota Local School District since 2018,  joining the team at Lakota East in 2021.  Ms. Hobbs graduated from Good Samaritan College and Ohio University.  In her role, she is the contact for all things medical in the building.  Outside of school, she enjoys watching her children in sports, traveling, and reading.

Andria Lapthorn


As a School Counselor, Mrs. Andria Lapthorn works with students, teachers, and parents to support student academic, college/career and social/emotional needs. Her responsibilities include student scheduling, connecting families to community resources, and providing school programs to address student development. Mrs. Lapthorn brings experience as a high school teacher and school counselor to her work with middle schoolers and families during these pivotal transitional years. 

Kimberly Phillips

Office Manager

Ms. Phillips serves as secretary to the Principal. Ms. Phillips can assist Hopewell families with questions regarding student fee charges, facility usage, alternative school of choice forms and Lifetouch pictures.

Kelly Stevens

Office Secretary

Ms. Stevens serves as secretary to the Assistant Principal and the Athletic Director. Ms. Stevens assists in scheduling parent/teacher conferences, as well as billing and receiving payments for athletic fees.

tan service dog lying in grass with a water bottle

Meet Zooey

Zooey is a golden retriever therapy dog who has been with Hopewell Junior since fall 2019.  

Zooey was trained at Circle Tail, a non-profit organization that provides service and hearing dogs for people with disabilities. Zooey is here to help all of our students – our special needs students as well as our general education students. Her calm demeanor helps both students and staff who are stressed or feeling anxious.

Zooey’s main job is to support the mental health of students and provide social benefits that are unique to interactions with animals:

  • Cognitive: Companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game- playing.
  • Social: A dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, wellbeing and focused interaction with others.            
  • Emotional: A school dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.    
  • Physical: Interaction with an animal reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses.
  • Environmental: A dog in a school increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the school day is over.

*If your student has a significant dog allergy or fear of dogs, please contact our school counselor so she can work with your family to ensure the best experience for your child.