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New assistant principal joins administrative staff

Makela+Steward+double+majored+in+computer+science+and+education.+Last+year+she+preformed+principal+duties+at+Nathan+Hale+and+West+Seattle+High+School.+%28Miles+Whitworth%29
Makela Steward double majored in computer science and education. Last year she preformed principal duties at Nathan Hale and West Seattle High School. (Miles Whitworth)

Makela Steward double majored in computer science and education. Last year she preformed principal duties at Nathan Hale and West Seattle High School. (Miles Whitworth)

Makela Steward double majored in computer science and education. Last year she preformed principal duties at Nathan Hale and West Seattle High School. (Miles Whitworth)

Zoe Bodovinitz, Staff Reporter

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The start of this school year marks the beginning of Makela Steward’s role as new assistant principal.

Steward was hired to fill Jim Slade’s administrative position after he accepted a job offer with a school in South Korea in the late spring of last year. In a school nearing 2,000 students, a third assistant principal with a fresh perspective was necessary. Because of her many qualifications, Steward was a top choice.

“I’ve never really had experience in this large of a comprehensive high school, so that was actually appealing to me. I knew that it would be a challenge for me, but professionally I thought it was a great opportunity,” Steward said.

Steward double majored in computer science and education with an English focus when she went to college in Louisiana. Her education degree has lead her to teaching opportunities and administrative roles in all grade levels at many different schools.

“Part of my professional development plan for myself has always been to learn education from the inside from grades K through 12. I just felt like I would be an effective administrator if I knew what was happening at each grade level,” Steward said.

Steward’s last position was a year-long job going between Nathan Hale High School and West Seattle High School. She helped train new assistant principals and took on day-to-day principal duties.

“I knew students were going to like working with her, I knew that she was going to have connections to the students that were going to be powerful for them,” Wynkoop said. From her experiences working in different schools, Steward has developed her own mindset about how to help students reach their fullest potential.

I’m strict with a smile but nonetheless you know I mean business and I’m not going to play around with your future. I’ll sound like Whitney Houston, ‘I believe the children are our future,’ and that’s for real.”

— Makela Steward

“I thought it was really important to be in a building like this so that students who are of color or students who are not would be able to have access, to have conversations and to get to know me, and for me to get to know them because that’s the only way to break down stereotypes,” Steward said.

Steward looks forward to learning from other administrators and teachers as well as helping improve systems already in place.

“It’s a machine. What exactly does it mean to run the machine, or be a part of the inner workings of the machine? That’s really my goal, to learn as much as I can, and hopefully if I can drop my little tidbit of knowledge with teachers, students and parents then I’d say that’s a win-win for everyone,” Steward said. “I’m good at coming in to see what we’re missing and helping to put together a system to make sure that we can work like that machine.”

The hiring process for Steward was non–traditional in that she didn’t have to go through the extensive interview process that most administrative applicants are required to undergo.

“Technically she was placed with us because her position wasn’t continuing so we didn’t do a traditional interview but it was only because I had decided that was who I wanted,” Principal Keven Wynkoop said.

Working with teenagers can be a challenge but Steward’s passion for this line of work made her the perfect person for the job.

“I’m very strict. I’m strict with a smile but nonetheless you know I mean business and I’m not going to play around with your future. I’ll sound like Whitney Houston, ‘I believe the children are our future,’ and that’s for real. I really do,” Steward said. “Times are hard and times are getting even harder. The world is changing and I feel like everybody deserves a chance.”

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The student news site of Ballard High School
New assistant principal joins administrative staff