Meet the principal: Walter Chantler of Cherokee Elementary

Name: Walter Chantler

Town/Neighborhood: I currently live in Scottsdale, but was born and raised in Prescott.

What I’m excited about and why: I am extremely excited about the Cherokee Elementary rebuild project. My community and staff deserve a facility that will help us to accomplish our goal of making our students “future ready”.

What I like most about being an educator here: We have the best students, supportive parents and an incredibly talented staff.

Changes I’d like to see in public education: I’d like to see public education funded properly. My staff works hard and is in charge of our future. They should be compensated accordingly.

Walter Chantler (Photo by SUSD)

Favorite community cause and why: Cancer awareness and early detection is an important cause that I support. We all have a friend or loved one that has been affected by cancer and we need to fund research and promote awareness of this deadly disease.

When and why I moved here: I moved into the Phoenix Metro area in 1993. My eighth grade Spanish teacher had become the Principal of MC Cash Elementary School in Laveen and heard that I had just graduated from NAU with a teaching degree. She hired me as a kindergarten teacher and jump started my career as an educator.

Where I lived before and why I left: Prior to coming to Phoenix, I lived in Prescott and in Flagstaff for college. I moved to Phoenix because there were more job opportunities and higher pay. I really enjoy the weather in Phoenix, but sometimes miss the mountains and seasons up North.

My family: I have 2 children ages 15 months and 10 years. My youngest daughter, Brooke, keeps me hopping and my oldest daughter, Teagan, is such a sweet, kind, intelligent and caring person who makes me proud on a daily basis. My other half, Stephanie, is a Registered Nurse at Honor Health in Scottsdale. I have a younger brother, Edmundo, who is a physician at the Mayo Clinic. His wife, Janel is a registered nurse and they have 3 great kids, Ethan, Lauren and Taylor. My mother Erika still lives in Prescott and visits frequently. She was also in health care and used to work at the Arizona Pioneer’s Home.

What I like most about what I do: That’s easy … The kids! I love having a positive impact on the students. They are our future and deserve to have the very best education. My role allows me to remove barriers and solve problems that may stand between a child and his/her ability to reach their full potential. Hiring the right staff, providing students with a challenging curriculum, finding resources and working cooperatively with the community allows me to accomplish this.

Previous occupations and why I left: Teaching has been my only occupation. From an early age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I had a tremendous sixth grade teacher, Ken Henson, who I looked up to and I wanted to be just like him. Education is a rewarding field to be in and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

If I had picked a different occupation, it might have been: If I had to pick a different occupation, I’d probably choose something in health care. Many of my family members are currently in this field and I find what they do interesting and meaningful. The pay seems to be a little better too!

My interests and hobbies: I have many hobbies and interests and lead a fairly active lifestyle. I love being outdoors and enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather. My preferred activities include; wakeboarding, moto-cross, motorcycles, UTV’s, camping, off-roading and automobile restoration and repair. When I’m not working, playing with the family or out in nature, you can usually find me in the garage working on Jeeps or old cars.

The best and/or worst time in my life: The best times in my life were when my two daughters were born. They add so much joy and happiness to my life. I’ve had a few challenges come my way during my life that I’m not going to mention, but there was an incident in which I broke my leg out in the desert after wrecking on my dirt-bike that was pretty scary and definitely one of the worst experiences I’ve been through.

My best and/or worst habits: I make it a habit to believe in people and to look for the good in every situation. My worst habits are related to food and exercise. I feel like I could always eat better and exercise more!

The trait(s) I admire in others: I admire adversity in others and the abilities of some people to overcome great obstacles. There are numerous stories that my colleagues, staff and community have shared about the challenges they faced and how they addressed them and came out on top.

People who inspired me (and how): My mother and father were the ones who inspired me the most. Both of them faced challenges when they were younger and neither had the chance to receive a college education. My parents made many sacrifices to make sure that my brother and I could go to college and follow our dreams. I was the very first Chantler to graduate college and am grateful for what my parents did.

My guiding philosophy: Learn from every mistake, take risks and live life to the fullest as tomorrow is never promised.

My advice to today’s youth: Listen to your parents! Care for others, get off your phone, and stop looking for the easiest solutions to your problems. Hard work pays off.

The Scottsdale Independent publishes a free daily newsletter. A print edition is mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses each month. If you value our journalistic mission, please consider showing us your support.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable. Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment