By Cameron J. Teague Robinson
For the Troy Daily News
TIPP CITY — Creating a positive learning experience for kids is a goal of Mike Vagedes, and his newest position is another way to fulfill that goal.
Vagedes has been named the new principal at L.T. Ball Intermediate School. This will be his 13th year in the Tipp City School District, where he has taught fifth and sixth grade math, language arts and social studies. Last summer, he took the assistant principal job at the middle school.
“Being in a leadership position allows you to have a little bit more control over some aspects of education,” Vagedes said. “I want to challenge the kids, I also want to give them a positive experience. Let them feel that it’s a great place to learn and safe place to be with friends.”
Vagedes did not always plan on becoming a teacher or principal. He first attended the University of Cincinnati where he played baseball, then went to Sinclair Community College where he earned his associates degree in law enforcement and police science.
While working towards his federal law enforcement degree at Wright State University, he tutored kids on the side and fell in love with it.
“Being able to teach and see kids learn something new is a great experience,” Vagedes said.
He then earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Wright State University before going on to the University of Dayton to earn his master’s degree and receive his principalship certificate.
Even when growing up as an athlete, Vagedes said he thought he would enjoy the coaching aspect more than the teaching aspect.
That was not the case though, as he coached varsity football, junior varsity basketball and junior varsity baseball, he realized in those years that he enjoyed teaching more.
“I felt like I had more impact on the kids’ lives as a teacher instead of a coach,” Vagedes said.
Although he does not coach anymore, he still makes sure to stay active by doing a variety of outside activities. He and his wife Carey even take their 11-month-old daughter Isabella out in her bike cart and she rides along with them on walks.
“We try to get her out and let her see the world, too,” Vagedes said. “It’s kind of interesting to see the world through her perspective too. It kind of makes you see things a bit differently.”
With his newborn child Isabella, Vagedes knows that family always comes first. Transitioning from coaching three sports to being a principal, he feels that he has more time to spend with his family and that his job is something he can bring home as well.
“Education is a lifestyle,” Vagedes said. “You don’t have to leave it in the school; you bring it home and share it with your family.”
Becoming a parent brings out a lot of unknown — just as becoming the principal of a school does.
Although Vagedes taught at L.T. Ball until he took the assistant principal job at the middle school, he knows there are still some things he will need to learn.
“There are things you don’t see when you go to a new position,” Vagedes said. “There are a lot of demands on the principal … you just hope you don’t miss anything.”
He has been going through many workshops, meetings and conferences to learn as much as he can before school officially starts.
“Being able to learn, use and share these things with others coming in helps you feel more comfortable,” Vagedes said. “It’s like anything else the more you practice at it the more comfortable you will feel.”
Vagedes’ main goal at L.T. Ball will be to establish a positive culture and work together with the children and teachers to reach all of their goals. He also wants to look for more technology to bring the school further into the 21st century.
“We are going to work hard together, but also have fun,” Vagedes said. “I always try to find a positive experience for the kids. That’s probably the biggest reason I got into this.”