12/24/2013 11:52:00 AM Slice of life: Joe Gargiul, principal at Northern Arizona Academy
Joe Gargiul, principal at Northern Arizona Academy. Photo/Todd Roth
The Navajo-Hopi Observer interviewed Joe Gargiul in his office to find out about his background and responsibilities at Northern Arizona Academy.
Before this school you were down in the Sierra Vista area?
Yes I was principal of Arizona Academy, which was another charter school about 45 miles southeast of Tucson. The owner was moving to Utah and shutting the school down so I searched on the Internet and found the job opening in Winslow, which was very similar to my Sierra Vista job, so I sent my resume and was interviewed for this position here in Winslow.
Before Sierra Vista where were you?
I was a principal in a public school in North Carolina. It was an elementary school and I was principal there for five years.
How are you getting acquainted with Winslow?
I meet people through the Winslow Rotary Club, and through staff members here at school. Then there are the lectures about the area and history at the La Posada Hotel, which I attend.
How many students do you have at the Northern Arizona Academy?
Right now we have 41 students in grades 9-12. This is an alternative school and can do things a little bit different than public schools. We are not crowded with students sitting in row after row and we have flexibility to do some project-based education. But we still have the same standards as any high school in Arizona. Most of our classes have between eight and 12 students so they do get more individual attention.
How many kids could the school accommodate in total?
We could expand to between 75 and 100 students. We would add a teacher and still give the special individual attention we like to deliver. This is a great facility we are in now and have room for expansion in student numbers.
Do you have a graduation ceremony when your seniors graduate?
Yes we do. At the end of the year we have a ceremony downtown at a church. Last year we had about 200 friends and relatives of the graduates attend. This next graduation (2014) we will have 15 graduates to celebrate their success with.
Do you have a food service for lunches?
Yes, we have our culinary arts students prepare student lunches every day. There are three young men who prepare and serve lunches that conform to state and U.S. education lunch standards. The students plan the menus and order the food needed. The students will also have their Food Handlers Permit after course completion. After the lunch, we have three more students who clean up and do food preparation for the next day's menu.
In addition to your students, it would seem that their families need some reassurance and welcoming into your school situation?
Yes that's true. We try to promote a welcoming, non-threatening school where we are all working for the best outcomes for students and their families.