VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Steve Doerksen
Principal, associate superintendent Clarkdale-Jerome School, Clarkdale
CLARKDALE – Nearly 30 years in education, Steve Doerksen has been at Clarkdale-Jerome School the past four years.
After serving as the school’s vice principal, Doerksen was promoted to principal – as well as associate superintendent – beginning with the current school year.
Doerksen defines success in the field of education “would embrace more of a holistic nature, involving the whole child.”
“I work primarily with students of various backgrounds and of various struggles,” Doerksen says. “I want to see them motivated about life and excited about their futures.”
According to Danny Brown, the school district’s superintendent, Doerksen “has a great caring and empathy for students.”
“He tries to think outside the box to find ways to connect,” says Brown, the district’s first-year superintendent. “Steve is always there for the students. He is a person who will talk to a student and try to find the good in them.”
If there’s anything that Doerksen says he struggles with as an educator, it’s the “governmental and bureaucratic red tape and the burdensome paper work of jumping through hoops, which can “diminish the educational effect that we can have on students.”
That, and the paperwork, because he would “prefer that more time could be spent with students.”
If Doerksen was not an educator, he says that he would like to “flip houses.”
“Buy a house, repair it, fix it up, and then sell it; and then do it all over again,” Doerksen says.
Young at heart, Doerksen’s primary hobby is playing disc golf at Riverfront Park.
“I would like to think that my leadership style has to do with making decisions and setting policies that have a lasting positive effect on students, both now and into the future. This would include not only in the areas of academics, but in areas such as social and emotional health as well.”
“I am most proud of my family. I am very proud of my wife, Jennifer, who is the school nurse at Mingus Union High School. She is awesome with the students and has earned a wonderful reputation with them (I’m a little jealous of her people skills). I am also very proud of our children. They are all very good natured, well rounded, and very athletic. I enjoy watching their sporting events.”
“I remember the sound advice from my parents when I was being a little too hard on myself, ‘Strive for excellence, not perfection.’ I think these are good words to live by.”
DID YOU KNOW?
“I enjoy wildlife. As a young college student, I remember my dad walking into my room and saying, Steve, you have completed so many college classes in wildlife and biology, I bet you could graduate in two years with a teaching degree in biology. So that’s what I did.
“I think he just wanted to get me out of the house. I was still living at home when I was 26!”