Teaching was not in the original plans for Mike Teel.
Teel was on the path to be an accountant when God stepped in.
"For whatever reason, He had other plans. [Education] is was where I was supposed to be," said Teel. "Teaching is a great profession. You can enjoy it."
Teel has been in the education industry for 39 years, beginning as a math teacher at Grove Middle School for 12 years, teaching at Siloam Springs for three years, before getting into the administrative side. On the admin side, Teel worked at Jay as the Assistant Principal, then returned to Grove Middle School as the Assistant Principal before serving four years as the Grove High School Principal.
In 2007, Teel retired from education. However, the Oklahoma Department of Education did not let him stay retired for long. In 2010, Teel returned to work as a Regional Accreditation Officer.
"I still work," said Teel. "I go around and do audits on schools. So I'm still in the business, just a different line."
Teel himself graduated from Grove in 1973, followed by his wife, Julia in 1974. Their son Justin graduated in 1997 and their daughter Jena Beth Jones graduated in 2001. Justin's daughter, Elyssa graduated in 2019. Justin and his wife, Jayla, are educators in the Grove School system.
"I grew up in Delaware County. Except for my military [training] and my college, I've always been in Delaware County," said Teel.
Teel earned his bachelor's in Education from Oklahoma State University before earning his master's in Administration at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
Concerning homecoming, Teel is most excited about a potential win.
"We have a lot of people come out and support the team and enjoy the atmosphere," said Teel.
Despite his impressive tenure for Grove Public Schools, this will be Teel's first time as Homecoming Marshal.
"When I got the call I thought 'that's quite an honor and quite a surprise, but quite an honor'," said Teel.
Teel says that he doesn't know what to expect as Homecoming Marshal or what kind of car he will ride in.
"The honor of being thought about, nominated and then voted for, that's more than anything," said Teel. "I hope I've impacted some lives while I was in education."
Donnetta Kerr, the GHS educator in charge of the homecoming committee was one of Teel's students during his time at GMS.
"The kids nominated him," said Kerr. "Everyone voted and [Teel] got the call this year. So somebody's parents [suggested Teel]."
Kerr says that she encourages her students to go home, talk to their parents and see which educators they remember most, then the students nominate them and vote on a marshal.
Known as a disciplinarian, Teel says that there are several moments throughout his career that stick with him, but one story immediately came to mind.
"I had a little girl who could never come prepared to class , couldn't have her work done. Of course, being the stickler that I was, [I told her] 'you've got to have this work done in order to learn'," said Teel.
Teel says that he took the sixth-grade student out in the hallway to discuss her lack of work and why she was struggling.
"She told me, 'Mr. Teel, I go home and I fix supper for my little brother and I put my brother to bed.. Then I get him up and I get him breakfast'. I said 'honey, you just get what work you can [done]. Her life was tough. That really made me kind of see that these kids go through a lot that I don't know about, even more so today," said Teel.
Teel says that the most enjoyable thing about education is seeing the students grasp the ideas and run with them.
"When you see that light bulb come on, it's like 'alright, they get it', it's fun. You get to enjoy just associating with the kids. Kids can be fun," said Teel. "I enjoyed my teaching and administrative years. I didn't ever wake up not wanting to go to work."
The Grove High School Homecoming festivities will take place on Friday, September 27. The events will begin with a parade, followed by a day assembly at Ridgerunner Stadium, a short break, night assembly with the crowning and the football game agains the Miami Wardogs at 7 p.m.