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stephen hansell, custodian to teacher, klein isd

Teacher Stephen Hansell.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a custodian at a school. Custodians are the backbones that keep things running smoothly and they have to be real jacks of all trades.

After leaving the Navy and trying his hand at a few different careers, Stephen Hansell decided he wanted to work for the high school that he attended as a teenager, Klein Oak High School in Harris County, Texas, he told Fox News Houston.

“I wanted to work for Klein ISD so that I could do something for the kids. Anything would do, as long as I could do my part,” Hansell told 11 Alive. So he took a job as the school’s custodian and developed a real love for the school, its faculty and students.


After two years of working as a custodian, Hansell realized his true passion. "It's going to sound a little cliché, but shortly after becoming a custodian, I had a dream that I was teaching," Hansell told Fox News Houston. It was a noble idea but being a teacher and custodian are two different skill sets.

Hansell wondered how to make the leap from the janitor’s room to the classroom.

“I eventually researched what I needed to do to become a teacher and am now in the Inspire Texas certification program with Region 4,” he told the Klein ISD.Inspire Texas has a teacher certification program that provides online and in-person instruction to help people become educators who will "inspire Texas children to develop their potential."

Over the next two years, Hansell went through 300 hours of training, 30 hours of in-class observations and coursework before passing his exams.

On August 10, Hansell will start teaching Texas history to seventh graders at Klein ISD's Krimmel Intermediate and he can’t wait to inspire his students. “I’m excited for that first lightbulb moment where the student doesn’t understand something, I explain it, and they finally get it,” Hansell told 11 Alive. “It’s going to be the coolest thing ever knowing that I got to be a part of that and have that opportunity.”

Hansell says that going through the alternative credential program was “rough.” But he made it through the program, thanks to the support he received from his co-workers at Klein Oak. “The care they have shown along the way has motivated me to see this dream through," Hansell told 11 Alive.

After 180 days on the job, Hansell will become an official certified teacher in the state of Texas.

Hansell's story is a wonderful example of someone who embodies the true spirit of education because, as the old saying goes, “Never cease to learn, until you cease to live.” Hansell saw an opportunity and pushed through the program in two years, while working at the same time, to set himself up for a career that he loves. It’s a reminder that we all have the ability to make big changes in our lives as long as we can dream big and find the courage to make it happen.

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

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