WCTHS principal plans rewards for students, teachers

Jeffrey Stouffer

Jeffrey Stouffer

April 29, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

He's been busy making wooden frames at home to display photos of his students who perform well in a national competition.

So far there are eight photographs lining part of a wall in the Washington County Technical High School cafeteria.

Other frames hold messages that read, "Will you be WCTHS's next SkillsUSA Champion?"

After Principal Jeffrey Stouffer retires and comes back to the school, 20 years or more from now, he said he hopes the frames will be filled with student photos and line every wall in the large cafeteria.

Stouffer, in his fifth year as principal of the technical high school, is the fifth person in four generations of his family to work as a school principal. His father, Thomas G. Stouffer, was named Pennsylvania's Best Principal in 1986.

He has a background in woodworking, drafting and construction, making Stouffer a perfect fit, he said, for the high school that offers programs in those areas.


Stouffer also spent 10 years teaching at Clear Spring High School.

He said he loves teaching, and believes that students and teachers should be congratulated for exceptional work. That idea is behind many new student and teacher recognition programs at Washington County Technical High School.

He is working to make 16 student scholarships available from money raised by the Student Trades Foundation, which makes a profit on homes built by students and other projects.

"Put that money back for the students," Stouffer said.

He has requested the $200 to $300 scholarships be available for students who complete the year in good standing.

Students will be honored with a new Student of the Month awards program with a framed photo in the school's lobby and several prizes. Stouffer said he's been calling local businesses for donations, and there are services students can offer on site, such as oil changes and manicures, for the winners.

One male and one female student will be honored each month, and team leaders in the school will nominate them.

"If that's enough for students to say they can work a little harder ... then it's a success," Stouffer said. "It might spark an interest and build self-esteem."

Stouffer said he also wants teachers to be congratulated for their success. He has nominated five educators for Teacher of the Year honors.

"We have great people here," he said. "It's important to do the right thing for the right people."

His goals include pushing for high academic standards and high attendance rates. The technical high school already has the highest attendance rate of any high school in the county, at 97.1 percent.

That's not by accident, Stouffer said. Teachers care if their students are in class, and students want to be there.

The school will offer five advanced placement courses next year, an increase from the one course offered this year. And 51 percent of Technical High School students attend college after graduation.


Name: Jeffrey Stouffer

Hometown: Chambersburg, Pa.

Occupation: Principal of Washington County Technical High School

What was your proudest moment?: "As a high school principal, at our graduation ceremonies, reading aloud several seniors' names to the 2,000 people at Hagerstown Community College's AARC in June, realizing that I had a significant part in keeping several at-risk students in school. Several of these reasons include working with the students and the families to find alternative approaches to not denying credits needed for graduation, finding different approaches to disciplinary situations without automatic suspensions or expulsions, being very communicative with parents and even making home visits and driving students home after detentions, meeting with students and really having stern conversations regarding credits, behaviors, attendance, etc."

Whom do you most admire, and why?: "My father, Thomas G. Stouffer, who recently passed away. My father was my mentor. In 1986 he was named Pennsylvania's Best Principal. What a role model to follow."

What is the best piece of advice you ever received and who gave it to you?: As an administrator, "always try to be fair, firm and consistent, to everybody, including students, teachers, parents, etc. This advice came from my father, my mentor."

What is the next goal you would like to achieve?: "Over the next five to 10 years I will try to be a great father to my two growing sons. I will try to be a loving husband to my beautiful wife. I will try to be a good son to my wonderful mother. I will try to be an excellent high school principal."

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