UTICA — Being prepared never meant more to Darin Prince. A recent interview for a teaching job at Utica High School impressed administration enough for them to offer him a job. Yet he has never met his employer in person.
Currently serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army National Guard in Afghanistan, Prince is scheduled to be released on Sept. 11, already with a job lined up and ready to go. First day for classes at UHS is Aug. 28, two weeks before he is to be released from the National Guard. At the suggestion of his fiancee and UHS Spanish teacher Amanda Watkins, Prince interviewed with high school principal Mark Bowman on Skype, and the decision was almost immediately made.
“I never want to hire a teacher who’s not going to be there at the beginning of the school year. However, Darin’s interview was possibly the best interview I’ve ever had,” said Bowman, adding that there were no hesitations on the decision and there had been a very strong frontrunner who had previously interviewed for the position. “I knew it on the spot we wanted him on our staff somewhere. His interview was off the charts.”
Having now served in the National Guard for 10 years, Prince was previously a science teacher in the Blanchester, Ohio, school district.
After the decision was made to hire Prince as a science teacher, Bowman planned on finding a temporary substitute to fill the classroom until Prince could begin his duties. Amanda suggested her father, Ken Watkins, fill in as his substitute. Watkins retired from the Knox County Career Center in 2009 after 30 years where he taught science and carpentry. “I just wanted to do something to help him get a job,” said Watkins, knowing that finding a teaching job would be difficult with Prince’s release being in mid-September.
“That was a very nice thing for Ken to do because it makes my life a lot easier,” said Bowman. “They can communicate directly, and so our students won’t lose a beat on what they’re supposed to be learning. It’s huge. We have two great guys.”
Watkins commended Bowman for his decision on hiring his future son-in-law. “I watched him very carefully for quite a while. I studied everything he did, because he was going to marry one of my daughters. And I have found nothing about him that would be a detriment,” he said. His decision to fill in on a temporary basis was all in support of Prince, as Watkins claims he has no intentions of returning to do any more teaching.
Prince will be marrying into a family with a strong teaching tradition. Amanda’s mother, Elayne, recently retired from Twin Oak Elementary School; and her oldest sister, Lynsey, teaches at Dan Emmett Elementary School.
“He was very well prepared,” is what Bowman said made Prince stand out as a candidate for the job. “If you serve our country, you will get an interview at Utica High School,” said Bowman. “I can’t guarantee you a job, but you will get an interview.”