Dr. Echols reflects on his time at Metea during his last year as principal


Chloe Stables

Dr. Darrell Echols, the principal of Metea Valley for the past eight years, will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Chloe Stables, Spotlight Reporter

Darrell Echols has been the principal at Metea Valley high school since 2014 and plans to retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Echols believes that the past eight years working at Metea have been a terrific experience and he looks forward to the next chapter in his life. 

Echols started his career as an actor on The Cosby Show, making appearances on SNL and many industrial commercials. He later decided to pursue a career in education.

“I was substitute teaching in the early 90s between acting jobs and it seemed to be a natural fit,” Echols said. “People started offering me teaching jobs, however, I did not have an Illinois teaching license, so I went back to school in 1992 to get my teaching certificate. I started teaching full time by 1992.”

Echols loves the classroom environment and working with kids. He never thought he would become an administrator until the opportunity came. 

“I was in my master’s program and they had a position called lead teacher at Hill Middle School. I interviewed for that position, and I did not get it.” 

Despite this setback, Echols’ competitiveness drove him to apply for the dean’s position at Waubonsie Valley High School. 

“I made a good impression upon Mr. Schmid,” Echols said. “I [got an] interview and I became a dean at Waubonsie Valley in 2005.”

Echols eventually became the principal of Metea in 2014 and since then, he has made a lot of valuable memories. One of Echols favorite memories was the ABC flyover that took place during his first year as principal.

“We had a TV crew on campus and we had kids out on the football field. We had to be here at 5 a.m. Parents came and handed out donuts and coffee while the whole student body came,” Echols said. “It was a great experience bringing everyone together and bringing some notoriety to Metea especially since it was still a young school at that time.”

While Echols has experienced a lot of fun over the years, enjoyable moments do not come without challenges. Echols has worked hard to develop Metea into what it is today.

“The biggest challenge is making sure that we continue to grow and find ways to enhance the Metea LIFE statement and to give our teachers everything they need to be successful,” Echols said. “At the same time listening to our stakeholders, students, parents, and teachers to find ways to improve our school.”

As Echols finishes his last year at Metea, he is uncertain about what he wants to do with the next part of his life. He can picture himself doing many things but he knows he wants to continue a career working with the young generation. 

“I would like to continue to be involved with students and teenagers and try helping them make better choices when it comes to going out into the world,” Echols said. “I might be a part of the Regional Office of Education, helping young principals along, mentoring them or potentially working for one of the park districts either in Naperville or Fox Valley.”

Even though Echols’s time at Metea has come to an end, he wishes for the next principal to continue to benefit our school. 

“I would like the incoming principal to know that this is such a great school. You have a great foundation with the Metea LIFE statement. You have terrific teachers and students so my advice is to listen to them, work with them and learn from them,” Echols said. “I want Metea to continue to thrive. We have the potential to be the number one school in Illinois. I want to continue to give all of our students every opportunity to be successful.” 

Although Echols is excited for the next chapters of his life, he knows that he will miss Metea and the many memories he has made along the way. 

“I am thankful for our students, their parents, and the teachers for the tremendous support that I have gotten over the years,” Echols said. “You can not do it alone.”