by Stacey Buttel
I am extremely fortunate to have encountered many professional role models in my life. I am not sure a lot of people can say that. As I reflect upon my career experience, I can identify at every stage someone who was there to support me and assist in my growth. This can even go back to the owner of the pool where I was employed as a lifeguard at 16 years old. As they all were so important to me, none was as important as my Principal at my first Assistant Principal position. He passed away last month due to COVID-19.
I taught high school for 17 years in a very large and diverse district, Southwestern City Schools. After 17 years, I was ready to make a career change and be a high school administrator. I was beyond thrilled to be hired on at Heath High School as the Assistant Principal. Let’s just say that moving from Southwestern to Heath was a huge culture shock. In fact, one day when I asked if we had a school resource officer, my Principal stated “That’s you. You are in Kansas now Dorothy.” Of course, that then proceeded with him, as well as a lot of the staff who thought that was humorous, providing me with Wizard of Oz memorabilia for my office. He helped me navigate the culture shock and provided me with outstanding support and tough but fatherly love. He praised me when I did something right and guided me through situations in which I needed advice. We had truly stressful situations in which he was as calm as a cucumber. He showed me how to deal with those situations by leading by example. He listened to my crazy ideas and let me run with them, even though he may have not exactly agreed with them or thought they may not work. My favorite times with him was when he would just come into my office after school and we would just talk. Sometimes about school, sometimes about life. I never grew professionally and personally as much as I did in the 2 years that I worked with him.
He was a true Bulldog in every way. He lived in the community (he could even walk to work), supported the community, and loved the staff and kids. He was a true family man who always put his family first and was a man of faith. I am truly lucky to have had a professional role model like him. I challenge you as you move forward in your chosen career path that you be a role model like this to someone you work with.
Thank you, Ellis Booth. I don’t think I would be where I am today without you.