Mr. Stagen graduated from Illinois State Normal University with a BS in 1958 and started his career as an Industrial Arts teacher at a rural high school in Armstrong, Illinois. After receiving a master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Education, he became the principal at Armstrong where he continued to work for 22 years before retiring in 1992.
Mr. Stagen stayed at Armstrong High School for his entire teaching career. Over 34 years, he was a teacher, principal, junior class sponsor, athletic director, transportation director, and student council advisor. He continues to stay involved because of how much he enjoys working with children. He has kept the scorebook at basketball games for 52 years. For the last 59 years, he has been a substitute school bus driver for Armstrong High School and Armstrong, Gifford, and Potomac Grade Schools.
Mr. Stagen has been in contact with generations of families. The students on his bus are often the children or grandchildren of his prior students. His students have come to expect the enthusiastic “Good Morning!” and warm smile to start their school day. They consider him a role model because of his willingness to help and to make others around him happy. Mr. Stagen as a pillar of the community and the schools.
Mr. Stagen, and his wife Mary, have been married for 65 years this summer. They have been foster parents. They raised 3 sons and have 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.