SWEENY — William Mader started his career at Sweeny High School 13 years ago with every intention of one day trading his red pen for a whistle.
Mader, then a social studies teacher and coach, had plans to eventually end his career as a head baseball coach. However, marriage and fatherhood soon had him rethinking his path.
“The time constraints of coaching really weren’t conducive to raising two young kids,” Mader said.
A native of Boling in Wharton County, Mader went the administration route in 2013 when he took an assistant principal job at Sweeny Elementary. He will return to his roots in August as principal of Sweeny High School after Sweeny ISD board members unanimously voted to hire him during a meeting Tuesday.
“I’m extremely excited about the leadership Mr. Mader will bring to the campus,” Sweeny ISD Superintendent Tory Hill said. “The campus has really been moving in a positive direction and he’s going to add lots of value to that. I’m happy to have him there to continue the work.”
Mader is equally excited to return to the high school, where he is poised to guide students through decisions that will lay the groundwork for their adult lives, just as his teachers and coaches once did for him.
“The experiences they’re going to have will really frame what you do with the rest of your life,” Mader said. “Working with older kids and seeing them complete the cycle and step out prepared to go into the 21st-century workforce is really neat.”
Vader replaces Brett Miksch after Miksch announced his resignation in May, three months after board members voted to extend his contract through 2020.
Miksch, who had been principal for two years and with the district for a decade, left to take the top administrative position at Barbers Hill Middle School South in Mont Belvieu.
A committee of 15 people, including Sweeny High School staffers, parents and other members of the community, formed last month and created a “principal profile,” which Hill used to vet the 22 applicants who submitted their name for consideration.
“Each one brought a different skill set to the table,” Hill said of the applicants.
From there, Hill narrowed the resumes down to a manageable pool based on the committee’s profile before he began interviewing candidates.
“It really helped give me guidance as to who might be a good fit for the campus and its needs,” he said.
Mader’s leadership experience and familiarity with Sweeny tipped the scales in his favor for the high school job, Hill said. Mader is a member of multiple committees within the district, including safety and district planning.
He also is one of 12 people who helped select the three inaugural members of the district’s Walk of Honor, which will recognize exceptional Sweeny ISD graduates with brick-and-stone monuments that will eventually circle the flagpole in front of the high school.
“We’re working with any group we can to make sure everybody is on the same page and doing what’s best for our students and community,” Mader said.
Now Mader is ready to cultivate and expand those partnerships in order to continue the high school’s upward trajectory of recent years, he said.
“The thing with the high school, and Sweeny as a whole, is that there is such a history and a legacy there,” Mader said. “The big goal is to build off the history and tradition and use that as a springboard to really create a culture of growth and learning.”