On the first day of school this year, new Suitland High School principal Nathan Newman couldn’t help feeling a sense of déjà vu.
Newman graduated from Suitland High School more than 20 years ago.
Walking through the halls, he had flashbacks of President Ronald Reagan’s visit, the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, and his old French and AP Chemistry classes. Some of his old teachers are still at the school.
“It was surreal,” Newman says, “but exciting.”
When Newman graduated from Suitland in 1989, he’d planned to become a doctor. He
entered Morgan State University that fall to major in biology. After switching majors – he received a degree in speech and theater – he thought he was on his way to the West Coast for film school. But he found that he wasn’t quite ready to leave the Washington area behind. Intrigued by the possibilities of working with young people, he applied for teaching jobs in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
He taught for years at Charles Carroll Middle School and Forestville High School, and
spent last year as assistant principal at Laurel High School. When he was offered the
principal’s job at Suitland, Newman knew that was where he belonged.
“The opportunity to come back to my old school and impact change, and help Suitland
build on its success was an honor and a privilege,” he says.
Newman also attended Longfields Elementary and Andrew Jackson Middle School in
Forestville. In high school, he enjoyed biology, French and English. His extracurricular
activities included playing baseball and participating in the “It’s Academic” game show.
High school also taught him the ingredients for success – positive relationships and
perseverance. “It’s through life experiences that we often learn the most,” he says.
Now, Newman tries to impart similar lessons to his students. He took a page from his
own philosophy in selecting this year’s theme: “Believe in the Possibilities.”
“You can achieve anything that you want as long as you believe,” Newman says. “Our
mission here is to be what I call ‘Four-P Strong’ – peaceful, positive, productive and
purposed individuals. I want students to be intentional with the choices they make.”