CHOCTAW — In 1990, David Reid was a pimple-faced teen who strutted through the halls of Choctaw High School wearing jeans and sneakers, focused primarily on getting his diploma and getting out of school.
This week, a youthful 40-year-old Reid returned to his high school and walked confidently down those same hallways. This time he wore slacks and a tie and a pair of freshly polished black dress shoes.
The homecoming marked Reid's first day as principal of his alma mater.
As principal of Choctaw's only high school, he joined 80 teachers in welcoming more than 1,400 students back to class when the Choctaw-Nicoma Park School District launched its new school year. The district has nine schools with an enrollment of 5,500 in kindergarten through grade 12.
Reid was chosen last spring to replace retiring principal Donny Black, who had been principal for 11 years.
It was difficult to determine who was more apprehensive on the first day of school — the students or their new principal.
“I was a little nervous this morning,” Reid said.
“Seeing all those students gathered in the front areas of the building, I wasn't sure everyone was going to make it to their classrooms.”
The day went pretty smoothly for Reid and his charges.
“No major crises today,” he said at the end of day one.
He said it had been like “Old Home Week,” reuniting him with former students and fellow teachers he had teamed with during previous assignments in the district. Many of the students offered hugs to Reid as they welcomed him to the high school.
Superintendent Jim McCharen said he is excited about Reid's return to the high school as principal.
Reid has been a teacher and administrator in the district for 18 years. Before his promotion to the high school's top post, he served as principal for nine years at Nicoma Park Middle School.
McCharen said Reid's passion for educating children attracted the attention of administrators a number of years ago and they have followed his teaching career closely.
“Not only is David a veteran teacher in our school system, he's also a product of our school system,” McCharen said.
McCharen said Reid's “relationship with the patrons of our district” couldn't be overlooked. He said Reid fits in well with the goals of the school system as it continues to experience growth.
He referred to Reid as a cutting edge administrator and a leader in instructional technology.
“As a teacher, I learned that not one size fits all,” Reid said. “What works well for one student may not work for another.”
His approach to teaching is “meeting the kids' needs where they are now and helping them expand their horizons.”
He said his dream is to shake the hand of every senior when they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.