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A familiar face returns as principal

Posted 8/21/12

Steelton-Highspire Junior/Senior High School is welcoming back a familiar face.Travis Waters, a former teacher and assistant principal who had left for another job, began his tenure as the school’s principal on Monday, Aug. 20.

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A familiar face returns as principal

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The Steelton-Highspire School Board approved Waters as the new principal during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 13. Waters was set to start at the district on Oct. 13, but was released from Susquehanna Twp. School District in time for the 2012-13 school year.

Waters spent six years at Steel-High, teaching seventh, eighth, and 10th grades before becoming assistant principal.

“I always had a fondness for Steelton-Highspire,” said Waters. “There has always been pride there.”

But he also has pride for his alma mater, Susquehanna Twp. He accepted a position there as assistant principal, and was promoted to middle school principal, where he worked for five years.

Now he is ready for a new chapter in life.

“It’s bittersweet to a degree, because I graduated from Susquehanna Twp., and I still live there,” said Waters. “They have a wonderful staff . . . I’ve built a lot of relationships, but I do look forward, I really look forward to going to Steelton.”

Working in education wasn’t always in the cards for Waters. He started out on a slightly different path, majoring in political science during college. After graduating, he became a school-based probation officer.
Waters was met with mounds of paperwork and little opportunity for working with children on a one-on-one basis.

“Being there for a year, I knew I wanted to teach,” he said. “Even though I was a school-based probation officer, I didn’t really think I was working with the kids as much as I had thought.”

He earned his teaching certification from Penn State Harrisburg, and taught for a year in the Harrisburg School District as a long-term substitute.

Waters said while he expects to make positive changes, it’s important to get acclimated with the school first.

“For me, you have to get there for a little while and learn the lay of the land,” he said.

Coming into a district that is on the state’s list of lowest achieving schools might be discouraging to some, but Waters views it as a positive challenge.

“With the struggle with test scores, I would love to be a part of improving those test scores,” he said. “It is a challenge. I look forward to it. It’s not insurmountable, and it can improve.”

After all, for Waters, it is truly about working with the students.

“The kids are very personable at Steelton-Highspire,” he said. “Steelton’s a great district, regardless of what the scores say.”

“We’re going to work hard to improve those scores and help the kids succeed,” he said.

Waters replaces Willie Slade, who moved to the position of pupil services coordinator that was vacated by Ryan Neuhard, said Superintendent Audrey Utley.

Noelle Barrett: 717-944-4628, or noellebarrett@pressandjournal.com