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Peoples takes over as principal; brings 6 teachers from Hazelwood

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Starting out with an engineering degree and a career at IBM, Michael Peoples, principal, probably did not anticipate ending up in education.

 However, after going back to school for a math education certification, his professional life took a turn in that very direction. Peoples, after serving in administration at Hazelwood East for four years, has developed a vision for educational success. In a matter of weeks, he’s implemented new policies aimed at increasing productivity among the staff and students alike at U. City.

“I think the most important thing is to develop and foster strong, healthy, trusting relationships between students and their peers and teachers,” Peoples said on his goals for the school year. 

Peoples sees the potential of the student body, so he believes the changes that he has made are all positive steps toward achieving success.

“We want to help increase student achievement, as well as grow our students’ soft skills and character,” Peoples said. “We are fortunate to have a student body that can advocate for themselves, and I’m excited to work with them.”

Joining Peoples is a wealth of new teachers and staff, including six from Hazelwood East or Central. Christina Sneed, English teacher, who came from Hazelwood East, finds the small movement of staff from her old school as a way to begin to fit into a new culture.

“It’s normal for teachers to follow an administrator to a new school and apply for any openings,” Sneed said. “You don’t always know how people will accept you in a new place so it’s helpful to have a support system.”

Nathan Pipes, social studies teacher, and another formerly at Hazelwood East, describes the setting as similar to what Sneed envisions.

 “I’ve felt very welcomed at U. City,” Pipes said. “The mood and morale of the building has been great.”

At U. City and throughout his career in education, Peoples has strived to create an environment in which all members of the school respond to the expectations placed upon them.

“All of the changes I have made are made around research,” Peoples said. “That is, studies conducted around what works well for improving conditions in high schools.”

He fully believes that success for students revolves around changes to create effective communication between staff and student, an idea that is echoed by teachers like Sneed.

“Change is needed and should be embraced from everyone,” said Sneed. “Teachers and admin[istration] need to have a growth mindset about tackling the changes head on. We should be open to learning and growing so we can model to our students what lifelong learning looks like.”

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