Dr. Stephen Hayes new principal at Okemah Middle School
By Justin Scrimshire
If the 2022 school year was a car, this one would smell brand new as the administrative staff for Okemah Public School has gone through somewhat of an overhaul. Three new principals will be taking the helm this year and Dr. Stephen Hayes steps in as principal for the Okemah Middle School.
The son of a school principal, Dr. Hayes grew up in Temple, Oklahoma before relocating to Beggs after his father became the middle school principal there in 1993. Dr. Hayes graduated from Beggs High School in 1997 and followed in his father’s footsteps into the arena of public education, receiving a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Dr. Hayes then received his Master’s in Administration from Southwestern University in Weatherford, Oklahoma followed by his Doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership from Southern Nazarene University, in Bethany, Oklahoma.
The impact of his father’s career, a life devoted to public education, cannot be understated as an influence in Dr. Hayes own trajectory. “My passion comes from seeing my father work in education my entire life,” said Hayes. “The way he cared for his students and teachers made me want to strive to be the kind of administrator he was. Servant-hearted, always fighting for the right and good.”
Dr. Hayes returned to Beggs, teaching middle school Math and English for five years for and served as the Pk-12 principal in Billings, Oklahoma for four years. Dr. Hayes was hired as the Okemah Middle School principal on April 11 and is geared up for the new year set to begin on Thursday, Aug 11.
The new car smell goes both ways as Dr. Hayes acclimates himself to the area. “The town has a great vibe. The people are very friendly and inviting. I look forward to raising my family here,” said Dr. Hayes about his first impressions of Okemah.
For now, his focus is on establishing a strong rapport with his new students. “I want them to know they have an advocate for life, someone who is rooting for them and fighting for them!” stated Dr. Hayes.
Dr. Hayes will celebrate his 23rd wedding anniversary with his wife Sarah, this December. The couple have a son who will begin his junior year at Okemah High School this fall.