|Echo editor El’ad Nichols Kaufman recently sat down with Shortridge interim principal Steven Shorter to get to know the man who will be leading SHS through this year’s transition to a permanent principal.|
Q. So Mr. Shorter, tell us a little bit about where you came from before you were at Shortridge?
A. Well, before I came to Shortridge, I was retired for a year before that. I lived here in Indianapolis for the summer of 2018 after being in public education for 37 years in the Houston Texas area.
|Q. What sort of schools did you work at in Houston?|
A. I was a high school principal for eight and a half years at a very large high school, a very high-performing high school, probably one of the wealthiest high schools in Texas. Prior to that, I was the principal of a junior high in the neighboring district that was just a little bit outside of Houston. Before that, I was an assistant principal in junior and senior high schools. The last eight years I was in Houston, I was the director of human resources for four years, and I was also executive director of curriculum and instruction for four years and then I retired. I moved to Indianapolis, and lived here for a year, and then they asked me to come here.
Q. How has being a principal at Shortridge compared to being a principal at the other schools where you’ve worked?
A. It’s very different here. Of course, you know, different state, different district, different philosophy. You know, the way things were done, processes, procedures, laws. The dynamics of this school are different from any other school I’ve worked in, because I did not have an IB background, it’s a somewhat foreign concept to me, although I’m learning about it gradually. I’ve never worked at an inner city school before. I’ve always worked in suburban schools, so that was a change too.
Q. So is there a cultural difference between Shortridge and these other schools, or is it just the IB?
A. I I think it’s both. The IB system is a very unique educational format, so that is a big diversion from the typical American high school. I think the demographics are different, and with that come differences.
Q. What is one thing you’d like everyone at the school to know about you?
A. Gosh, that’s a hard one. I guess the one thing I’d like everyone at the school to know is that although it may not seem this way, every decision we make is really what we felt is best for the student body. Even if it’s something simple like telling you “get along to class”, well that’s in your best interest. All of our decisions were in the best interest of students. They might not see it in that moment.
Q. How has it worked out for you to be in the complex network of parents, teachers and district administrators?
A. First of all, I’d like to say that the faculty as whole is the best faculty I’ve ever worked with. I’ve worked with many staffs throughout my career, so I can see that this faculty is really conscious and committed. I’ve found that the kids for the most part – well, kids are kids. There’s no big difference, kids are kids. As far as the part of the parents; I think the parents at this school want what is best for their children. I think they have their childrens’ best interests at heart, like parents at any other school.
Q. One last question to wrap this up: What were you like as a high school student?
A. Well, let’s see. I was the president of the student council, I worked a lot. I bought a brand new car my junior year because I had been saving from about seventh grade from my jobs. I bought it pretty much by myself. A little help from my dad, but not that much. I tended to run in the more popular crowd, though I did not necessarily partake in all the popular activities.