Chuck Banks, the new Mid-Prairie high school principal, is eager for the students to return to classrooms from summer break — they’re the reason he became an educator, after …
Chuck Banks, the new Mid-Prairie high school principal, is eager for the students to return to classrooms from summer break — they’re the reason he became an educator, after all.
“I became an educator because I wanted to be around kids. I became a principal because I wanted to be around kids and that hasn’t changed,” Banks said. “One of the most challenging things for me is to sit behind this desk—I don’t want to be behind this desk. Yes, that’s part of the job and there’s things I have to do here, but I want to be in the classrooms, I want to be in the hallway. My favorite time of day is lunch, because I can go talk to kids when they’re just being themselves; there’s nothing formal about it, I can get to know them and they can get to know me.”
Banks has worked with students of all ages, kindergarten through 12th grade. He started his career with Eddyville Schools as an elementary PE teacher before moving to the Van Buren School District, where worked as an elementary and high school PE teacher before transitioning to administration, where he served as the principal for grades 6-8 and 7-12. He was with Van Buren schools for 18 years before transitioning to Okaloosa as their high school assistant principal.
But when he saw the Mid-Prairie position open up, he was immediately interested in the position.
“I went to a small school when I was growing up. I come from a community similar in size to this, a lot of agriculture and a lot of business owners, just real good people,” Banks said. “I’m looking forward to getting back into a town where, when I go to the grocery store, I know most people. I don’t have that right now and I kind of miss that.”
Banks said he is most looking forward to getting to know the students and their families.
“It’s really amazing to see the change in a student from their ninth-grade year to graduation. Seeing them develop not just academically, but their maturity level changes and socially, and then they start thinking about what’s next and the desire to help them be ready for whatever they have next in life is what really drives me and draws me to this age in kids,” Banks said. “If we’re doing our job, kids are going to enjoy being here, kids are going to have fun being here and kids are going to learn a lot and most importantly, whatever’s next in their life, they’re going to be prepared for that.”
Banks values having good personal relationships with students even when it comes to discipline.
“My thing about discipline is that’s my opportunity to be a teacher. If a student makes a mistake in math class and you just give them a detention, that mistake is not going to change, they’re still going to make the same mistake over and over. If you teach them how to do the math problem, they’ll learn and hopefully they won’t make the same mistake. I approach discipline that same way,” he said. “When a student comes down here and needs a little bit of extra support, I like to talk about what the situation was and kind of find the root cause of what the behavior resulted from and then address that.”
Banks said he is excited to integrate into the Mid-Prairie community and plans to attend many athletic events, arts performances and other activities.
“I want kids to do what they’re passionate about and I want to support students no matter what area that is,” he said. “Whether that’s FFA, whether that’s athletics, whether that’s art, whether that’s music, whether that’s foreign language; whatever area they have fire for and passion for, I want to be there to support them in that.”
Banks and his wife, Kim, are still looking for a home in the area, but are excited to move a little closer to their adult daughters, one who is attending the University of Iowa and another who is starting graduate school outside Chicago.
Over the summer, Banks plans to continue to get the lay of the land at Mid-Prairie and get to know the teachers and staff. But really, he’s most looking forward to the first day of school.
“I’ve invited all the teachers and staff to sit down with me through the month of July to just get to know each other. I want to know what their strengths are and areas they feel like I can help them grow in,” Banks said. “What I’m really excited about is getting to know the kids and getting them back in the building. That’s why I’m here, so that’s the piece I’m focused on the most, getting the kids in the door and starting the build some relationships with them.”