By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
Florence High School Principal Harold Steele received a big surprise in the mail two weeks ago.
The Texas Association of Secondary School Principals named Steele one of the top principals in Texas for 2009, and he still doesn't know how he even got in the running.
"It was out of the clear blue. I didn't know anything about it," Steele said this week. "I've never had anything like this happen to me in my entire career, that's for sure."
Steele was awarded the High School Principal of the Year for Region 13 honor this year. If he chooses, he could apply to participate in the state competition and then possibly go on to win a national award.
It turns out, the TASSP regional council selected Steele at its regional convention this summer after someone from Florence High nominated him for the honor, said Freddie McFarland, the TASSP coordinator for Region 13.
Steele was selected based on his leadership skills and the positive impact he's had on the FHS campus.
The school, which serves about 350 students, became a recognizedcampus this year, according to the Texas Education Agency. This is a step up from last year's academically acceptable rating.
"Harold (Steele) is doing a great job," McFarland said. "I was really happy to see him win it."
Steele, 58, has led FHS for three years, and began his education career as a teacher and coach 35 years ago. Since then he's been a principal in Karnes City, Eldorado and Martha.
"I love to really see all students succeed, especially those who mature and start to excel in any number of areas, whether that's academics, in band or athletic endeavors," he said.
Though receiving the state award would be nice, Steele said he doesn't know if he'll apply for the state competition. He didn't even expect to receive this award, he said.
"I'm very flattered," Steele said. "Principal of the Year for the region is good enough for me."