Assistant principal at DHS gets award

DICKINSON - Education has been a mainstay in Mickey Jordan's life. Jordan took the teaching path like six of his brothers, which led him to his current assistant principal job at Dickinson High School. It's also led him to some recognition. Jorda...

DICKINSON - Education has been a mainstay in Mickey Jordan's life.

Jordan took the teaching path like six of his brothers, which led him to his current assistant principal job at Dickinson High School. It's also led him to some recognition.

Jordan is North Dakota's 2008 Assistant Principal of the Year as recently selected by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals.

Jordan was nominated by his peers in the Southwest Principals Association and then filled out an application for the selection process after his nomination.

Jordan is attending the National Association of Secondary School Principal convention later this month in San Antonio. It is a coincidence that the year it is his turn to go, he will also receive an award.


"It's held every three years," Jordan said of the convention. "The more formal recognition ceremony is April 18-20 in Washington, D.C. I had to be measured for a tux and everything."

At the formal ceremony, each state's winner is acknowledged individually and the trip is paid for, he added.

Jordan found out about the award just before Thanksgiving, but was unable to tell many about it until later.

"It wasn't made public until Jan. 9 when they had a reception," Jordan said. "I felt very honored to be selected and recognized in that capacity."

An educational path

Jordan grew up in Hannah in the northeast part of the state with nine other siblings. His father Elmer was a producer on the family farm and his mother Mabel worked at home.

After high school, Jordan followed in his brothers' footsteps and attended Mayville State University in 1977, where he received a degree in math and physical education.

"I always enjoyed math and basketball, so I knew I'd want to focus on those," Jordan said. "I coached basketball for 20 years."


Jordan's first job was in Westhope near Minot for seven years teaching math and coaching girl's and boy's basketball. In 1984, Jordan moved to teach math in Richardton for 14 years, but only coached there for the first two years.

"After that I was an assistant coach for the men's basketball team at Dickinson State University," Jordan said. "My mentor was the coach then Sam Milanovich. He passed away from cancer when I was coaching with him in the early 1990s."

During his time in Richardton, Jordan returned to school to get his administration credentials from Northern State University in Aberdeen. He got graduate degrees in secondary school administration and physical education.

"When I coached college basketball, I decided to go back to school for that," Jordan said. "I was looking for a college coaching job, but that never materialized, and after Sam died I kind of lost interest in it."

Jordan started coaching college basketball in 1986 and quit in 1997. He started as assistant principal at DHS in 1998. For about 20 years, he also has officiated high school, college and other basketball games.

In 2006, Jordan's younger daughter Paige started teaching at DHS. His older daughter Shannon is married to Jon Dauenhauer and they have a daughter Kali, 2. Shannon works as a computer programmer and lives in Bismarck.

A definitive role

Jordan's role as assistant principal hinges on maintaining a safe learning environment for students. Much of his work deals with student behavioral and other issues such as non-attendance or tardiness.


"I deal with that a lot," Jordan said. "It's kind of frustrating at times because I'd like to spend more time on things like observing teachers in the classroom."

Besides discipline issues, Jordan also evaluates teachers and is the school's Student Council advisor. He helps with other things as they come up throughout the day.

"My schedule is hard to explain because things just happen throughout the day," Jordan said. "I just show up and the day takes care of itself for the most part."

Discipline referrals can create plenty of paperwork for Jordan, but often he sits down with students one-on-one to talk to them.

"Every day has its challenges, but in order to be successful you need good people working around you, which I do," Jordan said. "Forming good relationships is part of that. When I accepted the award, I said I was accepting it on behalf of the high school and all those I work with because it's really for all of us."

When it comes to students with behavioral issues, Jordan said he tries to strike a balance.

"They need to know they are being treated fairly, but they're still being held accountable for their behavior," he said. "I've seen a definite change in the school's environment over the past 10 years. We all work to make this a safe, welcoming and friendly place for students to learn."

Recent assistance for Jordan has come in the electronic variety with the new surveillance system in the school.


"It's helped a lot with preventing things from going on and curbing issues we've had in the past," Jordan said. "The main thing is for students to feel safe here."

Jordan enjoys being around students every day and going to classes.

"I taught math for 20 years and I miss it, but I like what I'm doing now and observing students in the classroom to see how they are doing," Jordan said. "It's rewarding to see that freshman student who struggled so much in the beginning walk across to me later, shake their hand and get their diploma as they leave here. I want to see students succeed."

Technically, Jordan could retire in 2009, but he is still thinking about it.

"If the situation is right I could go back to coaching," Jordan said. "My favorite hobby is golf and if I were to retire I'd like to do more of that."

What To Read Next
Get Local