Stephenson to Become Physical Welfare Director Next Year

By Ali Toth

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After a decision made by District 219’s Board of Education, Joaquin Stephenson will become Niles West’s new Physical Welfare Director for next year.

Stephenson is currently a dean at West. Originally, the position was held by one person for both Niles West and Niles North (Paul Swanson), but it has now become possible for there to be two of these positions. Many candidates applied for the position, and each person was interviewed by a group of administrators and teachers.

Having once been a P.E. teacher at Schurz High School in Chicago, Stephenson applied for an interview when he heard that the position was open. Stephenson said, “I wanted to lead the department where I came from.”

In his new position, Stephenson will be in charge of supervising West’s Physical Welfare Department on a daily basis, including being in charge of helping to continuously improve West’s program and curriculum within that department (which includes P.E., Driver’s Education, and Health). He will be supervising teachers within the department, as well as communicating with the district. Also, Stephenson will be teaching two classes, one of which will be Strength and Conditioning. According to principal Kaine Osburn, Stephenson will be “making a student’s experience in Physical Welfare one that emphasizes health and fitness with the goal of establishing lifelong healthy physical activity.”

When it came to Stephenson’s eligibility for the position, Osburn said, “Mr. Stephenson was chosen based on his skills, experience, and knowledge of both physical welfare and educational leadership.”

Due to the requirements of his new position, Stephenson will not be a dean next year. There are currently plans for another dean to be hired, and the job will be open to anyone inside or outside of the district.

While describing himself as “incredibly excited” about his new position, Stephenson definitely will miss being a dean.

“I will miss my students, the ones [I see] on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “I want to help them to make better decisions, and I wish that I could see them through to graduation.”

Stephenson’s new position will begin on July 1.