Richie Fretwell has been named the new principal of Miami High School.

It's one of the few positions at Miami High School he has not yet held.

“I love kids,” he said. “That's why I got into education in the first place.”

Fretwell is being welcomed into his new office with a mess, a physical one.

Renovations are being done on the main office and adjoining offices at Miami High School. There's a lot of saw dust in the air as he tries to get established in his new office.

“The renovations are one of my top priorities as principal,” Fretwell said. “This building is close to 40 years old. With the new science rooms and the Activity Center we're building, I'm going to try and bring the rest of the building up-to-date.

“That means a lot of cleaning and painting in the next few weeks.

“I want to provide a good, clean, safe environment for our kids.”

Fretwell is being promoted from assistant principal, a position he held since 2001.

Mike Reece, who resigned as Miami High School principal to assume the role of adult education director at the Northeast Technology Center in Afton, recommended Fretwell be promoted to the position.

“He worked hard as assistant principal and is definitely qualified for it,” Reece said. “I know he'll do a good job.”

During the past 15 years at Miami High School, Fretwell has taught accounting, business law, keyboarding and computers. He was head baseball and softball coach and was assistant football coach before becoming activities director.

Before that he coached at Miami High School, he coached at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in 1989 and 1990.

During his time as an educator, Fretwell has seen an evolution in teenagers as a whole which has carried over into their role as students.

“It used to be when you told a student to do something, they did it,” Fretwell said. “Now they want to know why they should do it. It has to be relevant.

“I love the fact that they are questioning. It shows they're thinking.”

Fretwell took the position of assistant principal with the understanding he was a disciplinarian.

“But about three years ago I realized I was more of a counselor,” he said. “The bottom line is I was trying to find the best in the kid.

“I had to let them know that I loved them even if they made the wrong decision. I had help them find ways to make better choices.”

He credits Miami High School's staff and teachers with making improvements possible.

“Because I've worked here with the staff and teachers for so long, I know that they are going to make my job so much easier,” he said. “I also appreciate the support of district Superintendent Bill Stephens. With almost 40 years in education he is a great resource.

“One of the best things about education is that everyday is different.”

Fretwell is looking forward to making Miami High School the best it can be.

“I plan on making it competitive with all the other high schools in the state,” he said. “I want us to graduate good kids who grow up into productive citizens.”

During his time as an educator, Fretwell has seen an evolution in teenagers as a whole which has carried over into their role as students.

“It used to be when you told a student to do something, they did it,” Fretwell said. “Now they want to know why they should do it. It has to be relevant.

“I love the fact that they are questioning. It shows they're thinking.”

Fretwell took the position of assistant principal with the understanding he was a disciplinarian.

“But about three years ago I realized I was more of a counselor,” he said. “The bottom line is I was trying to find the best in the kid.

“I had to let them know that I loved them even if they made the wrong decision. I had help them find ways to make better choices.”

He credits Miami High School's staff and teachers with making improvements possible.

“Because I've worked here with the staff and teachers for so long, I know that they are going to make my job so much easier,” he said. “I also appreciate the support of district Superintendent Bill Stephens. With almost 40 years in education he is a great resource.

“One of the best things about education is that everyday is different.”

Fretwell is looking forward to making Miami High School the best it can be.

“I plan on making it competitive with all the other high schools in the state,” he said. “I want us to graduate good kids who grow up into productive citizens.”