Recently rehired Hayes High School Principal Richard Stranges says he has plans to end his career at Hayes but not just yet.
“I love it here,” Stranges said. “I’m not ready to be done. I’m still learning and growing. I’d love to continue to do it and I’m only going to do it here. I’m so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be here.”
Stranges, an avid runner with medals from half marathons adorning his office, equated his recent rehiring by the school board to a marathon and said that, rather than cross the finish line now when he is hitting his stride, he would rather move the finish line and finish strong.
Stranges came to Hayes High two years ago after a a visit to the Delaware for a hall of fame ceremony and saw the community embrace and celebrate the alumni from the school.
“I fell in love with Delaware,” Stranges said. “I told (Superintendent) Paul Craft after the ceremony, ‘Not only did I get something to take back for my school but I’m also taking a part of Delaware back with me.’ It just felt right.”
Stranges said he is an avid reader and reads multiple books a week in order to keep learning and growing. He equated being a teacher to reading because you are always growing.
“When you have the heart of a teacher, you always want to learn,” he said. “I still love going into classrooms and being around students.”
Stranges said the key to being the principal at Hayes is being visible and being approachable.
“I’ll leave for a meeting five minute early and just walk slowly down the halls,” Stranges said. “I want people to know they can talk to me. You want to be visible and vibrant and present.”
Stranges said many principals want to go on to be superintendents or take other administrative jobs, but Stranges said he is happy right where he is and doesn’t plan on taking another position.
“I think sustained leadership is important if the community wants it,” Stranges said. “They want to know who the principal is and that personal connection is important for the community, too. I’m so thankful and grateful to be here.”
Stranges’ retirement was announced at a March 2 board meeting by Craft. Craft said Stranges is retiring because of changes in the State Teachers Retirement System which require educators considering retirement to work 35 years, instead of 30 years.
Craft also announced his intention to rehire Stranges because of the work he has done at Hayes in the two years he has been there. Craft said it would be one of the district’s only retire/rehires, and the first while he has been here.
On June 1 the board approved Stranges’ rehire.