Region 7 Middle School Principal of the Year

Region 7 Middle School Principal of the Year
Posted on 06/04/2018
Region 7 Middle School Principal of the Year

Mike Moses Middle School’s Stephen Autrey is quick to deflect credit for being named the region’s top middle school principal. It all goes to the students and the staff, Autrey said after he was selected as Middle School Principal of the Year in Region 7 by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).

“The award is truly a reflection of the work that is taking place by all staff members and the students,” Autrey said.

Autrey arrived last summer in Nacogdoches after serving as principal at Bastrop Intermediate School near Austin.

“We’re extremely proud of Mr. Autrey for receiving this honor,” NISD Interim Superintendent Alton Frailey said. “Since joining the district in March, I’ve become familiar with Mr. Autrey’s work at Mike Moses Middle School.

“This honor is a wonderful way to cap off the school year and is a reward for Mr. Autrey’s long and dedicated service in public education.”

Autrey taught and coached in Little River-Academy ISD, his alma mater, as well as Troy, Fairfield and Kilgore ISDs before returning to Central Texas where he was the head basketball coach at Bastrop High School. From there, Autrey moved into administration in Bastrop ISD.

“We have the theme of, ‘Teaching and Learning Like Champions,’” Autrey said about his first year at Mike Moses Middle School. “The teachers have stepped up and are teaching like champions and taking on the responsibility of all student success.

“The students at Mike Moses are continuing to improve their classroom performance. We have seen this from day one when we compare data from last year to this year.”

Improvement on STAAR exam passing rates is one of the areas measured by TASSP when selecting nominees for its annual award.

“With the combined efforts of students and teachers, our eighth-grade English/language arts and math STAAR scores are looking great,” Autrey said. “Our predictions for all other areas are looking to increase as well. As a campus, we can’t wait for our scores to come in.”

It’s only natural for Autrey to insist credit for his honor goes to teachers and students; working with them is the favorite part of being principal, he said.

“It takes all of us to create a champion atmosphere,” Autrey said. “My goal is to help develop that atmosphere. I believe that the atmosphere is built on listening to the students, teachers, and community. I’m placed in this position to serve.”

At Mike Moses, Autrey says working with a young but “incredible” staff is one of the more enjoyable things about his job.

“Half of our teachers have less than five years experience,” he said. “This should put us at a disadvantage of improving scores, but we have great teachers that support each other and work as a team.

“At many schools, electives teachers don’t play a role in accountability. On our campus, our electives teachers teach an intervention class on a daily basis that helps support students in reading and math.”

He also enjoys observing the professional growth of new teachers.

“Watching young teachers go from, ‘I’m not sure this teaching stuff is for me,’ to see things start to click in their classroom,” Autrey said. “This investment of time with teachers can impact the rest of their careers.”

Then, of course, there are the students.

“We have great middle school students, but being middle school students means that, from time to time, they don’t always make the best decisions,” Autrey said. “It is an amazing experience to have a student come into your office, and you have a discussion with them and you really see the wheels start to turn about the decision they made.

“The impact that we have in teaching the whole student on a daily basis is humbling.”

Autrey’s work in Nacogdoches ISD is a family affair; his wife, Linda, is NISD’s Director of Advanced Academics. The couple has three children as well as a grandson.