Long-time Cassville educator retires

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A long-time Cassville teacher has retired after 23 years with the Cassville R-4 School District.

Steve McNaught, the high school's industrial technology instructor, announced last May that he would be retiring at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

McNaught came to Cassville in 1988 when he married his wife, Becky. He has filled various positions in the district since that time, including technology educator for both high school and middle school students, which included introduction to technology education, materials and processes, wood technology, engineering and design, problem solving and computer applications in technology. Other duties included coaching, supervising the after-school detention and credit recovery courses.

Prior to arriving at Cassville, McNaught taught middle school industrial education in Maize, Kan., just outside of Wichita.

"I considered quitting teaching after the first semester there, because it just wasn't what I expected," McNaught said.

He moved to Oswego, Kan., where he taught both high school and middle school industrial education.

"It was a small community, and I enjoyed it much more," he said. "I also taught wood drafting, graphic arts and photography at Labette Community College. Those were some of my favorite subjects to teach."

McNaught attended Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., from 1977 until 1992, completing his specialist's degree in technology studies in 1992.

McNaught stayed at the Cassville District because of the administrators and school board, and the support the industrial technology program received from businesses, industrial corporations and the community.

"I have enjoyed many of the students and parents," McNaught said. "Parents that are involved in their child's education and support the programs that the students are involved in are a great asset to the district. The faculty and staff have also been great to work with over the years."

Teaching comes with its own special set of challenges, and throughout McNaught's career, he has faced several.

"Keeping up with the changes in technology and keeping that technology in your programs is a real challenge," McNaught said. "I have been fortunate that the administration and school board see that importance as well.

"Over the years, they have supported grants that I have written for the industrial technology program and other areas of the school," McNaught continued. "Over the years, I have written about $500,000 in grants to help the school and keep the program up to industrial standards."

McNaught has been the recipient of several honors during his tenure at Cassville High School, including those from school, state and national technology education associations. But the real recognition comes from his students.

"I've had students that have come back to me [following graduation] that have thanked me for the things I taught them," McNaught said, "not only about technology education, but about life. That being a person of good character is more important than being at the top of the class."

Students and teaching are not the only things he will miss.

"The great facilities," McNaught said. "It's hard to believe that I have gotten to move into two new industrial technology facilities in the time that I have been here. The people here are all terrific."

McNaught is not entirely sure of his plans following retirement.

"I think giving back to the school that has done so much for me is where I'll start," he said. "I'd like to help the new industrial technology teacher get his feet on the ground.

"Overall, it's been a great career at Cassville schools and I wouldn't trade it for the world," McNaught said. "I thank God every day for everything He's blessed me with."

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