Randall Howell is a dean at West Orange High School. Howell has many duties on a daily basis. However, all of those duties serve one purpose: "to help students to become better young men and women,” he said. Howell has been with Orange County Public Schools for 25 years. He was at Colonial High School for 15 years before moving to the west side of town. He applied at West Orange and Ocoee high schools when he moved, but West Orange did not have a math position open, so he served at Ocoee for four years before coming to West Orange. WOHS Principal Matthew Turner said Howell does so much around campus to support the students and he always goes above and beyond.
What brought you to your school?
After my principal left Ocoee, he asked if I wanted to come to West Orange. I enjoyed working for him, so it was a no-brainer for me.
What do you love most about your school?
The students I work with on a daily basis. Being a dean, coach and assistant athletic director, you get the opportunity to work with pretty much the whole student body which, to me, is awesome. The relationship-building with all of them and the faculty makes it enjoyable every day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Getting to see the growth of a student. From the time they come into high school — and not really knowing much — to the finished young adult they have matured into as they walk the stage at graduation.
What would you be if you weren’t in this profession?
A marine biologist studying sharks. I have always been fascinated with sharks growing up but, thanks to a special teacher I had (in) my senior year of high school, I chose this path instead.
Who influences you?
My grandfather was a big influence on me growing up. He helped to instill the work habits that I have today. I try to pass that on to many of my students, because some of them get a little lost as they develop. Many times, it takes someone else besides a parent to help guide them, and we all know that teenagers know more than their parents, right?
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
Mr. Pringle. Not only was he an amazing teacher, but he also taught (my and my friends’ fathers). The first day of his math class will live with me forever. He called my name; I said, “Here.” And he looked at me (for) a moment and said, “Randy is your dad correct?” I said, “Yes, sir.” He smiled and said, “You better not be like your father was in my class.” It was a great senior year back in 1991-92.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
It just depends on the day. I like to fish, go bowling, golf, hunt and some days just relax.
If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?
Robin Williams. I just feel like it would be a fun time to talk and hang out with him.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to go back in time. I do not want to change anything. I would just like a little more time with the people I loved and no longer have with me.
If you could only listen to three bands or artists, who would they be and why?
Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean. I grew up in the country and just like the music. Metallica, because it was what I listened to on game days as a player in high school and as a coach.
What was your go-to lunch and favorite snack as an elementary student?
The macaroni and cheese at Lake Trafford Elementary. For some reason, that was awesome, and they always had the little pigs in a blanket with them.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween. I have always enjoyed dressing up in a costume and seeing all the kids and their choices of costumes. My wife and I decorate our house with all kinds of Halloween decorations, and now we have people come from all around to see what we do from year to year. I can’t lie, either: It is fun to scare the teenagers a little, as well.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
Growing up in a small farming town in Southwest Florida, you really did not have a best friend. Our families all knew (one another), so we were all friends.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I played baseball from the time I was 6 years old all through high school. I played tuba in the band all through middle and high school. I was a member of the Beta and Interact clubs while in high school and was the Scholar Athlete of the Year my senior year.