Hughes takes on new role as head principal


Lucas Evans

Head Principal Joe Hughes helps front office secretary Nancy Stinson stuff envelopes for the mail. Hughes can often be seen around the building repairing broken fixtures, helping students with their lockers, joking with faculty or in the car line before and after school.

Lucas Evans, Reporter

Former assistant principal Joe Hughes has stepped up into the head role at Harding Charter Prep after Steven Stefanick was named Superintendent of the new Harding Independence Charter District. 

Hughes said he is “excited” to continue to serve the Harding community, regardless of the pandemic and the “new normal” procedures.

And continue to serve he is, this being his 13th year at Harding. Over these years Hughes has filled many roles.

“I have experience as a counselor, I have been a capstone teacher, a coach, assistant principal, coach, athletic director,” Hughes said. A diverse background like this surely has given him insight that will be valuable at the administrative level. Which Shows just how well versed the new principal is in our school.

While any change in leadership is significant for the school community, the most current change in administration is made extra special because Hughes is the first Black principal of Harding Charter Prep. 

Students have wondered if the change in administration would make a difference in their day-to-day high school experience.

“There are changes, there are differences in personalities. My job as a leader is to provide resources, to provide support,” Hughes said.

Hughes takes a student-focused approach to leadership, saying that the administration’s vision should be established, but students should be the driving force in making their own high school experience. 

“That’s why we offer so many programs. We offer so many opportunities because we want students to create that high school experience for themselves,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he wants the high school experience to be “customized” for each student. He wants teachers to engage with students outside of school, which he thinks will create “solid relationships’,’ and in the process initiate a more enjoyable and engaging learning environment. Faculty members seem pleased with Hughes’s leadership so far.

“The majority of staff sees Mr. Hughes as a good thing. His personality blends itself very well into hearing the concerns of teachers,” said history teacher Daniel Clark.

Another teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said “Day-to-day interactions between the kids will improve. It is good for our students to see a professional of color.”