MHS Principal wins STL Principal of the Year award

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Media by Akhila Swarna

Dr. Stephen Hankins, principal, was selected as the St. Louis Region of the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (SASSP) Principal of the Year in the Commons, which was presented by the SASSP officers. Principals across the St. Louis region are nominated for the award, but the winner is selected after an application and review process by the SASSP. “When you get recognized by your peers, it means a lot. It means that you must be doing something right,” Dr. Hankins said. In addition to the honor, Dr. Hankins also received a $250 check to create a student scholarship.

While on Commons duty this morning, Dr. Steve Hankins was surprised by being named the St. Louis region Principal of the Year by his RSD colleagues 

Each year, the St. Louis Region of the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (SASSP) selects the High School Principal of the Year. Today, Dr. Stephen Hankins, principal, was granted the award after being nominated by the SASSP peers earlier this year. 

Dr. Hankins said he was humbled and surprised by the honor. 

“It’s just what I needed,” Dr. Hankins said. “I really think it’s a recognition for the school of Marquette and what we’ve done this year, what we’ve been through and how we’ve handled everything.”

While he is honored to be selected for the award and to be recognized by his peers, Dr. Hankins said his role as an educator is the true honor.

It’s just what I needed. I really think it’s a recognition for the school of Marquette and what we’ve done this year, what we’ve been through and how we’ve handled everything. ”

— Dr. Steve Hankins

“In education, we get into it to help people and see people grow,” Dr. Hankins said. “A lot of the time, that is what is rewarding and that’s plenty.”

Dr. Hankins said he hopes to continue the legacy of great leadership at MHS.

Associate Principal Dr. Tracey Waeckerle said the award demonstrates the time Dr. Hankins puts into helping students and staff and creating a positive learning environment, but also in lifting the community up in times of tragedy. 

Because the nominees are competing against other qualified principals across the St. Louis region, Dr. Waeckerle said the award also reaffirms Dr. Hankins’ behind-the-scenes work at MHS.

Coming back from the pandemic, Dr. Waeckerle said the major focus of the 2021-2022 school year was to ensure students felt comfortable coming back to a normal environment. Dr. Hankins collaborated with the district to implement plans with the ultimate goal of student comfort and safety.

“I think this recognition is reassurance that he’s doing the right thing and people recognize that,” Dr. Waeckerle said. 

In education, we get into it to help people and see people grow. A lot of the time, that is what is rewarding and that’s plenty.”

— Dr. Steve Hankins

Crestview Principal Dr. Gary Jansen, past SASSP president, said the association puts notifications out to principals to nominate their peers for the honor, requests applications from the nominated individuals and surprises the chosen principal of the year in the spring with the award.

“It is really fun to start my day recognizing great administrators,” Dr. Jansen said. “For the principal, it’s a great way to let them know that they’ve been selected.”

Dr. Jansen said the award reaffirms the excellence of the principal’s school because excellence “starts at the top.”

“Marquette has a great history of excellence with students, but in order to keep that excellence going, you have to have great administrators,” Dr. Jansen said