Saying Goodbye and Good Luck to Mr. Stegall

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Tyra Garrett

Mr. Stegall leaves HHS to become an Assistant Principal

Tyra Garrett, Reporter

Beloved history teacher Mr. Stegall recently revealed that he is leaving Highland High to become an assistant principal at Mesquite Jr. High School, shocking his students and fellow staff members. To learn more about this decision and the man himself, I decided to ask him questions about the promotion.

Why did you become a teacher?

Teachers are one of the most important parts of any student’s life, so when asked about his decision to become a teacher, Stegall said, “I always enjoyed American History and Political Science but never saw myself as a teacher. I was very lucky to have great teachers growing up that had a passion for what they did while keeping everything neutral” What drove him to finally pursue teaching was that he wanted to “give back to future generations.” Going more in-depth, he said, “I became a teacher to inspire students. I wanted my students to have that ‘lightbulb’ effect where they get a concept and the lightbulb in them goes off, each student has an expression they reveal when this happens.” 

Did you always want to become an assistant principal?

“After I began teaching I had an assistant principal at my school, back in Orlando, Florida, nudge me towards leadership,” Stegall noted. He continued by saying, “he discussed attributes he saw and stated that as he retired he thought I would fit in the role.” While Mr. Stegall is of course very proud to be the new principal over at Mesquite Jr, he also envisions himself in a higher position in the future. “I hope one day to make it beyond Principalship and continue to inspire students at all levels,” Mr. Stegall stated.

How will your experience as a teacher impact your experience as an assistant principal at Mesquite Jr?

“My experiences as a teacher will greatly impact my leadership style,” Mr. Stegall mentions, as he has shown his leadership abilities in his classroom. He continues by saying, “being a teacher under multiple different school leaders, I have found what I enjoyed and did not like, as well hearing from other teachers on campuses what they enjoyed from their school leaders and what they did not. I will take these experiences to do what I can to empower our teachers to be the best they can be to make all students enjoy their time in the classrooms.” He goes on to describe the importance of being an assistant principal by saying, “Part of the many roles of an Assistant Principal is to work with teachers to better help the students. Sometimes students only see the assistant principals and principals as disciplinarians but they want what is best for you. Without the students, we do not have a job.” 

What are your goals going into next year?

A principal’s goals are important as they can affect the students and their learning experiences tremendously. When asked about his goals, Mr. Stegall talked directly to the students by stating, “My goals going into next year is to continue the great foundation set forth by Gilbert Public Schools with teacher training to better help you, the students.” One thing that Mr. Stegall is known for at Highland is his connection to his students, which he mentions by saying, “I will also continue the path of getting to know my new students, teachers, families, and other stakeholders of Mesquite Junior.”

What about teaching will you miss the most?

Even though he is excited about this new opportunity, Mr. Stegall will greatly miss the bond he made with his students through teaching. He said, “I will miss teaching as it gave me the opportunity to get to know the students better and what the future is getting. You all have different goals and aspirations that I feel like I get to be a part of by having the conversations that we have.” The bond with his students is what drives him to teach, which he noted by saying, “Teachers and students have a bond that they create in their classrooms. You have heard me say that each class period is different in their own way. That comes from the teacher building positive relationships with students.” Even though he won’t be teaching anymore, he said he hopes “to bring that [bond] to all teachers in the future.”

What about Highland will you miss the most?

Stegall’s impact on Highland is greatly noticed, so when asked about Highland’s impact on him and what he will miss about our fantastic school, Stegall jokingly stated, “Highland is the best school in Arizona, until next year then Mesquite Junior will be the best school in Arizona.” He then continued with a more serious tone, saying, “There are a lot of great things at Highland that are overlooked. Teachers want to be at Highland, students come from other schools to be a part of what Highland has to offer. This is something I will miss…  the desire to make Highland a better place.” Stegall continued his praise for Highland and the school’s impact by saying, “Highlands spirit is powerful, I can say that while wearing any of my Highland gear outside of school I have never heard one negative thing, individuals always have something powerful to share about their experiences.” His passion for bettering the school has helped elevate his student’s will to learn, which many will miss greatly.

Mr. Stegall’s teaching style and relationships with his students will never be forgotten, as it has impacted me and so many other students in great ways. The Highland staff and students wish him good luck with his new leadership role!