The staff at Bedford High School oftentimes completely shape a student’s experience; appointing staff determined to enrich the young minds that comprise BHS is vital to this high school’s wider community. As such, it is important that those who are put in large positions of power have the school’s best interest in heart. It is my thought that BHS has done a fantastic job of employing thoughtful people to make decisions for this school, and, with the latest appointment of a new principal, I believe our school continues to maintain that track record.
As has recently become public, Mr. Jozokos will soon replace Mr. Hagen as principal of Bedford High School. Although this announcement was seemingly sudden to many, in an interview, Jozokos revealed that his position as Mr. Hagen’s successor had first been established “about two and a half years ago.” The news of this development was only revealed to the public with Mr. Fournier’s announcement around a month previously. However, the school board has had knowledge of this ever since it was first decided at that time two years ago. The discrepancy of when this information was conceived versus when it was released is most likely due to Mr. Hagen’s readiness to retire, with the early decision just being a matter of preparation.
Even with the recent changes, the structure of two vice principals within BHS will remain the same. Mrs. Noe will continue to fulfill the role of one of these vice principal positions. On appointing the second VP, Jozokos comments “We’ll do a typical search, people will apply, and we will just go from there.” So, it seems a fresh face will appear in the high school hierarchy soon enough!
The appointment of new staff is simply one of many decisions Jozokos will have to make as principal. As such, he possesses a meticulously formed process of decision making, which he states revolves around outside input. “I need to hear from the students, I need to hear from teachers, and I need to hear from parents, and then also the administrators if it impacts us in that way. So, you’ve just got to collect information.” He names the newly graded self-management skills as an example of a new systematic implementation in BHS in which he’d use this process. Jozokos states that he has high confidence in the new self-management system, as he had received input from colleges and graduates before implementing it. Essentially, Jozokos intends to “do his homework” before making important decisions that impact this community, and the new self-management curriculum is simply one example of him doing so.
When speaking on the goals he has as principal, Jozokos states “I think you get one shot at your high school career, and it’s my job to make it the best it can be for you. And that ‘you’ – there’s 1,500 different ‘yous’ out there, because you’re all different. I just want to have a place where you can be yourself and maximize who you are throughout your high school experience. That’s my overall goal.” Jozokos makes a clear effort to cater to the vast variety of personalities and interests of students at BHS. High school is an understandably difficult time for anyone, in which one is just figuring out what they really identify with. As such, I particularly appreciate Jozokos’s understanding attitude to all the different ‘yous’ in this school. He again exhibits this attitude when answering what message he’d like to give to students as their new principal; Jozokos states “Always feel free to talk to me. And that can be formal stuff, through emails, or just drop in and say hello. We’re all one big family here.”
Finally, Jozokos speaks briefly on the admirable aspects of Mr. Hagen’s term as principal. “He’s really good at what he does. He was able to come from schools – because he had a lot of experience with schools that were very different from Bedford High School – and he became a Bulldog very quickly. He saw the good stuff we did here and supported it.” This strong school spirit is seemingly one Mr. Jozokos wants to emulate himself, and with his attention to detail, and particular care to listen to those around him, it seems to me that he will have no issue doing the Bulldog Community proud.
Although Mr. Hagen has become somewhat of a constant in the BHS community, I believe that the positive spirit with which he lead our school will continue with Mr. Jozokos. I also think his message of school inclusivity is one us students should wish to emulate as well. So, it is my belief that, as we accept a new principal into our community, we should also learn to accept our peers, and maintain this school’s close knit status of a family.