Stafford Named Stillwater Junior High Principal

Stafford Named Stillwater Junior High Principal
The Stillwater Board of Education has appointed Doug Stafford as the new principal of Stillwater Junior High School, effective fall 2024.
Story provided by Barry Fuxa, PR & Communications Coordinator of Stillwater Public Schools

The Stillwater Board of Education has appointed Doug Stafford as the new principal of Stillwater Junior High School, effective fall 2024. Stafford will succeed current Principal Crystal Szymanski, who is transitioning to the role of superintendent at Kremlin-Hillsdale.

Stafford brings a wealth of experience to his new position. He joins Stillwater from East Central Middle School in Tulsa. Prior to that, he worked for San Carlos USD in Arizona as the director of human resources and communications, as well as a high school principal. His career also includes roles as principal in Hennessey, special education director for Ponca City, and 13 years in Enid Public Schools, where he was an assistant superintendent and a secondary school administrator at Emerson Middle School and Enid High School.

A graduate of Hennessey High School, Stafford holds a degree in Special Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master's in Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. He expressed enthusiasm about returning to the area to be closer to his family, including his two adult daughters in Enid and his two-year-old granddaughter.

“Junior high is really my niche, so I’m looking forward to being there,” Stafford said. “I have experience as an administrator at middle, junior high, and high school levels, and junior high people are my people. I’m eager to build relationships in that building.”

Stafford aims to foster a sense of relevance and rigor for students as they begin to explore their post-secondary opportunities and career planning. “This is when they start really talking and thinking about their futures. By engaging in conversations with students, we can help create an authentic educational experience that they care about,” he explained.

Highlighting the school’s strong STEM program and outstanding fine arts, Stafford said, “I’m looking forward to experiencing and continuing that while building a culture of positivity and engagement for every student, focusing on what they are doing now and what they want to achieve in the future.”

He also emphasized the importance of building strong partnerships with parents, particularly around the Individual Career Academic Plan process and post-secondary goals. “I want to be very visible, involved, and approachable to parents,” he stated.

Superintendent Uwe Gordon expressed confidence in Stafford’s ability to lead the junior high. “I have a lot of confidence in Doug Stafford’s ability to lead the junior high,” Gordon said. “Having worked with him when I was superintendent at Hennessey, I was consistently impressed by his expertise. His experience with special education, professional learning communities, and secondary students at all levels, combined with his familiarity with school districts our size, has given him a broad and deep skill set. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at the junior high.”

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