Mr. Alferos’s Saucey Interview

Mr.+Alferos+and+Thomas+Richardson+shaking+hands+after+their+interview.

| Matthew McCaskill

Mr. Alferos and Thomas Richardson shaking hands after their interview.

- Thomas Richardson and Adam Nixion

Editors Note: Sauscey refers to a common mispronunciation/nickname of Mr. Alferos, which is Alfredo, which is a type of pasta sauce. There is no tea or drama discussed in this interview. 

On Friday, November 12th, we had the chance to interview  Mr. Alferos, the current Freshman Principal, who will be leaving after Thanksgiving Break.

So how long have you been at Norman North?

I’ve been at Norman North since February 1st, 2018.

What has your favorite memory been at North?

I can’t really pick just one. Seeing the SPUD closing ceremonies for the first time is like a big one, especially having been here that first full year as the freshmen principal. Watching the boys beating Edmund Santa Fe when they were ranked number one, that was a lot of fun; watching girls win soccer state multiple times, and really just being a part of Freshman Academy and getting to welcome kids; doing LINK crew this year was a lot of fun too.

What do you like about LINK crew?

I really like how LINK crew welcomes students and gives them what we hope to be a positive, first experience prior to them getting in the building, while helping them learn traditions and other things related to North.

A lot of other schools don’t have a freshman academy, do you think that’s a big part of what makes north stick out from other schools?

I do think the Freshmen Academy is integral to how Norman North functions, I think because we are a school that is hovering around 2300 students, that transition where you’re coming from a middle school of like 700, or if you’re at Whittier over 1000. Our [current] freshmen class hovers right around 700. So I think it helps get students integrated into high school. You know they have teachers who all work around each other and work with each other. So I do think it gives them a built-in support system, to help them while they’re here for that first year.

Mr. Alferos answering a question. (| Matthew McCaskill)

What inspired you to become a principal?

I really love connecting with students as a teacher. I taught in Oklahoma City previously, I taught math in middle school and in high school for several years, and then I had the opportunity to get a master’s degree as part of a cohort and to have that paid for so I took the opportunity and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a principal but the more I grew in the program, and the more I grew as a teacher, the more I realized I wanted the opportunity to work with students across all levels, and I really enjoy helping students find the right place for themselves, whether that’s in a school or find the right club and helping them through difficult situations as well as their parents. And I know that high school is really hard. Sometimes freshman year can be the hardest year of a kid’s life. So I just want to make sure I can help in any way possible.

Why have you stayed at North?

I used to think I knew what I wanted to do, but now I think I want to be in a place where I’m making the biggest impact, and where I feel like it’s needed most, but also in a place that allows me to have a healthy work/life balance. And I think that those are important things that people need to strive for in their career, whatever the title or job or salary may be.”

I would just say number one is the relationships with staff and with parents/guardians, with the kids. It’s really cool to be able to see teachers grow over the course of their careers and to be able to see students grow. So that’s something that will also bring me back in the future. I plan on, you know, being here for graduation and some of those important moments, you know, throughout the rest of the year.

Then why are you leaving?

So the job that I was offered and ultimately accepted is a district job in Oklahoma City. And it’s going to allow me the ability to work with a set of middle schools that are in the US grant and Capitol Hill and South East feeder patterns. And it’ll allow me to work on building skills, the skill of working with an administrative team, working with leadership teams, and working with teachers specifically. And those are things that I wish I had more time to do here, but I don’t necessarily do just because of the nature of this job. And this job will allow me to spend more time with my family. I have a daughter that’s almost 2 years old, And she is very important to me, and obviously, my wife is as well, I just want to make sure I’m as present as possible for them.

What are your career goals, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

I used to think I knew what I wanted to do, but now I think I want to be in a place where I’m making the biggest impact, and where I feel like it’s needed most, but also in a place that allows me to have a healthy work/life balance. And I think that those are important things that people need to strive for in their career, whatever the title or job or salary may be.

Thomas Richardson asking Mr. Alferos a question. (| Matthew McCaskill)

Do you have any advice for anybody who would aspire to be a principal in the future?

I would say take advantage of every opportunity that you can to take a leadership role and do not shy away from hard conversations because there are just things that we have to do just about every day.

Do you have a favorite funny story?

So during my first year, I knew what SPUD was but I didn’t understand everything they did. So anytime there was an assembly, Dr. Liesenfeld would say, “Hey if they asked you to do something just say yes.” So like every single assembly that I was a part of, I had no clue what I was doing, or there’s a pep rally from a few years ago where we’re dancing to Gangnam Style. He said, “Hey, why don’t you do this?” So I said okay, and I was just not smart enough to say no. And I typically do say yes, especially if it’s for students. He would like not to trick me into doing things, but like when I did the Dating Game, that was not something I had planned on doing, None of that was planned. So I just, you know, have a tendency to say yes to things regardless of how the outcome is, like getting pied in the face.