After going through two careers, with the help of his wife, teacher John Presnall realized his dream job was to be a full-time classroom teacher. His wife knew he had a passion for helping people and encouraged him to do what would make him happy. Even though his wife passed away from cancer at the age of 41, her courage and determination continue to inspire him every day.
Presnall was hired at Henderson High School this summer to teach English IV classes.
“I have really enjoyed getting to know my fellow teachers here at HHS.” Presnall said. “Our department head is a fantastic leader and is very determined to find answers to all of my questions.”
Presnall grew up in Lufkin, TX and graduated from Lufkin High School; at Lufkin High, he participated in band.
“Band was my favorite part of high school and would likely be the thing I would enjoy most if I could go back in time,” Presnall said. “Our director pushed us very hard to be our best, and we were earning sweepstakes [highest rating] in three of my high school years. We marched military style.”
Presnall first thought of becoming a teacher in high school; he thought his dream of becoming a teacher would remain only that, a dream, when he realized how little teachers get paid.
¨My favorite academic subjects in high school were English and French, and I wanted to be an English and French teacher when I left high school,¨ Presnall said. ¨However, after learning how poorly teachers were paid in the 1970s, I chose to earn my degree in finance.¨
After working through insurance/banking and graphic design, Presnall decided that it was time he chose his passion instead.
“My wife, Cheryl, inspired me to do this,” said Presnall. “She knew I had a heart for helping people and thought I should consider being a long-term sub for the teacher next door to her who did not return after Christmas break because of being threatened by a student. I completed the year, enrolled in an alternative certification program through Region X, and here I am 17 years later.”
Although Presnall planned to retire this year, he hopes to make it to the end of this school year without regrets.
“My goal for the year is to make it to May 22, and I know that sounds selfish, but let me explain,” Presnall said. “I am now eligible for retirement and seriously considered pulling that string this summer. However, when Mr. Everett called and asked me to teach seniors, my ego suddenly took over and pushed all of the retirement planning to the side.”