Homecoming won’t come until the fall at Destrehan High School, but for Jason Madere, it’s arrived early.
An alumni of the school who was assistant principal there as recently as two years ago, Madere now heads his alma mater as principal, succeeding mentor Stephen Weber. Weber retired this summer after 11 years as Destrehan principal and 33 years as an educator in St. Charles Parish.
Madere said he knows he has big shoes to fill with the departure of Weber, who coached Madere with the Destrehan baseball team during the latter’s prep days. He also cannot wait to get the school year underway.
“I’m absolutely ready for it,” Madere said of the day students return to school. “The best part of being a principal is working with the kids. During the summer, you’re not necessarily getting to do the things you enjoy doing, but when those kids come back, it’s what you enjoy the most.”
Born and raised in Norco, Madere, 41, was the principal at Harry Hurst Middle School for two years before officially stepping into the principal’s role at Destrehan July 1. He graduated from Destrehan in 1994 before heading to Southeastern, where he studied biology and chemistry. He returned to Destrehan to teach physical science and biology from 2002 to 2008 before he moved into administration, specifically an administrative monitor role at DHS.
“At the time, I wasn’t necessarily eager to get out of teaching, but I was getting a lot of positive feedback about moving into administration,” Madere said. “First from Lorel Gonzales (former DHS principal) and then from Stephen Weber when he came aboard. He called me and told me, ‘hey, I’d really love you to be my administrative monitor.’ And that kind of got me moving in that direction.”
He found that he liked the administrative side of things and kept at it. After a couple of years in that monitor role, he became an assistant principal at the school, and to his former coach. He moved on to become principal at Hurst in 2016.
Now he’s back, and he’s thrilled.
“It’s an absolute honor,” Madere said. “This is a phenomenal place with all kinds of tradition. To know how many people walk through these halls and to have the opportunity to be principal, it means a tremendous deal.”
He’s in the unique position to be familiar with both upperclassmen and underclassmen as an incoming principal, with many of the older students sharing the campus with Madere prior to his departure and many of the younger students knowing him from their shared time at Hurst.
“I’m a familiar face to a lot of those kids, and that helps with the transition because let’s be honest, the kids love Mr. Weber,” Madere said. “With him leaving, it’s kind of a shock for some of them, so the fact they know me and I know them is a positive.”
An exciting perk that comes with the job is the chance to be principal at DHS coinciding with his son’s tenure.
He says his philosophy is very similar to Weber’s in that he highly values the school’s tight-knit community and family-oriented culture.
Madere also values hard work.
“The harder you work, the harder it is to fail,” Madere said. “One of the mottos here has been ‘Never say it’s not my job,’ and I fully buy into that. I want students to excel at their highest level in an environment where they’re fully supported and I want our students and our school to continue to grow, to progress while keeping hold of the tradition that makes us what we are at Destrehan.”