Occupation: Principal of Stevenson Elementary School
Family: Wife, Sherry; daughters, Madison (4) and Peyton (2 months); parents, Cathy and Blake; and brother, Travis.
Career highlights and/or accomplishments: Over the last 10 years as an educator, I have worked as a fifth-grade teacher at Parsons Elementary, instructional specialist at Enterprise Montessori, principal intern at Durfee Magnet School, the assessment administrator for DPS 61, and now the principal of Stevenson Elementary School. Becoming a principal has been a lifelong goal of mine. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work in Decatur for my entire educational career.
Community involvement: I have been a member of Next Gen since last year and have helped volunteer at different community events in Decatur. I’ve volunteered for the Decatur Celebration in years past as well.
What should the community do to attract more young people to the area? I think it’s important for our area to try to continue to expand the opportunities for local, small business owners. These added job opportunities, as well as more diverse night life activities are going to be the key to attracting more young people to the Decatur area. The Devon Amphitheater is a wonderful example of offering an opportunity to bring people to the area, as well.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. I used to be a professional cheerleading instructor for UCA.
2. My wife and I love to go on spontaneous vacations that we make up as we’re driving. We pick an end destination and make the rest up along the way.
3. I still have my original NES and Nintendo 64 from 25-plus years ago that my family plays for fun sometimes.
What is the best and worst piece of advice you have ever received?
Best: “Never stop learning as a principal.” To become an efficient principal, you have to watch and learn from the best and the worst. See how they handle situations and learn from all of their mistakes. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes from time to time.
Worst: “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” My job is full of difficult days and stressful challenges. Instead of hoping for a work life that is nothing but fun and ease, I embrace the challenges that come my way.
If you were a fictional character, who would you be and why? As much as I’d like to imagine I’d be the chosen one like Harry Potter, I think I’d most likely relate to Tony Stark. I am confident in my choices and ability to work effective and efficiently. I do not have an Iron Man suit hidden anywhere, but I do feel like my role as principal does require quite a bit of education, know-how, and the ability to adapt to always changing situations.
What are your three favorite movies? "Tommy Boy," "Dumb and Dumber" and "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off."
What would your perfect Saturday be like? My wife and children would go to Scovill Zoo and the Children’s Museum on a sunny fall day. Then, one of our parents would take the girls so that my wife and I could go out on an early date to Taproot and get the calamari and their wonderful Drunken Pork Chop. Then we would head to the Devon Amphitheater to catch a concert.
Who inspires you to be better? My wife has consistently been my driving force through the good, bad, and the ugly of education and parenting. She has supported me in getting my masters, helped raise two wonderful girls, and is my rock when times are tough. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for her. I am so happy to be called her husband! I love you, Sherry!