Arriving at the door of classroom 512, music greets your ears courtesy of Stephens’s new playlist for each day. Walls are covered in all kinds of artwork from his students.
What made you decide to become a teacher?
“Both my parents were teachers. My mom taught second grade and guitar in junior high. My dad was an art teacher. And my grandmother, on my mom’s side, was also an elementary school teacher. And there was so much passion for their job. They would go home, excited about what they’re doing, what they’re creating, and I thought, ‘I wanted a job like that’”
What made you decide to retire?
“I have a voice disorder that started about four years ago and it sucks. So it’s really hard to talk without straining a little bit. I have a microphone which helps but it’s just a lot of work. But I don’t want to take the easy way out (with less art parties and assignments). I want to leave on a good note.”
What will you do with your time after retiring?
“I’m a professional artist. I’ll be busy just keeping up with that.”
What’s your favorite memory during your career?
“Sunday (students and I) have art ragers. Around 10 am in the morning on Sundays (we come and) paint until 3 pm. That group …(is) passionate and love(s) doing art so it’s very rewarding (for me).”
If you could describe your career at Granite Bay High School in like three to five words, what would it be?
“Pretty damn good.”
Any fun facts about yourself?
“I use quite a bit of humor because I push them so hard. I figure if I don’t have any humor, and I push them as hard I’ll probably have my truck vandalized…I treat them like peers… They get their ideas like (how) artists…through research and development of concepts and use of symbolism. They’re artists here.”