Lindale Alum Returns To High School As Principal

Chilek poses for a photo. He has been the principal for the junior high for five years.

Kaylee Rodriquez, Editor-In-Chief

He places the last few items from his desk into a box. He is only moving three miles away, but it is the biggest move he has had in his entire career. Looking back on his time as a student at Lindale High School, he never thought that one day he would be the one to lead it.

Current Lindale Junior High principal Jeremy Chilek will be moving up to become the principal at Lindale High School in the summer of 2019. Chilek graduated from Lindale High School and has worked in education for the past 17 years.

“It is an honor and a privilege to become the leader of such a fine campus,” Chilek said. “Mrs. [Valerie] Payne has done an amazing job leading this campus the past three years, and being able to continue with the great work she has done is exciting.”

Payne has been the high school principal for three years after she came out of retirement to fill the position in 2016. Chilek, who has been the junior high principal for nearly five years, was approached about the position in February.

“The deputy superintendent, Jamie Holder, is one of the primary people who have influenced me in my career and has been encouraging me to accept the job,” Chilek said. “He and [Superintendent Stan] Surratt both have been great mentors, and it’s humbling that they trust me in such an important position.”

Chilek attended the University of Texas at Tyler (UTT) and began his career as a teacher and coach at Lindale Junior High in 2002 before becoming a teacher and coach at Lindale High School in 2004 where he remained until 2007. He then became a teacher and coach at Jacksonville High School while working on his masters degree at UTT. He became the assistant principal of that campus in 2008. He spent a year as the assistant principal at Arp High School before returning to Lindale Junior High School where he was the assistant principal from 2011 until 2014 when he moved up to his current position as principal.

“As a high school student I always thought I would be an accountant,” Chilek said. “Then when I entered college, I imagined myself being a coach for the rest of my life. I never thought I would ever be a principal, but this is where God led me, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Chilek has been a member of the Lindale community since he was in the sixth grade. He graduated from Lindale High School in 1997.

“I love this community, and I love that I get to raise my family in the same place I was raised,” Chilek said. “Being able to come back and be a leader here is awesome.”

He met his wife, Jennifer Chilek, who was a teacher at College Street Elementary (formerly Lindale Primary School) in 2003 while using the gym to hold baseball practice. They married later that year and together they have three daughters: Camden, Claire, and Carlyle.

“My daughter, Camden, is going to be entering high school as well,” Chilek said. “I’m not sure she’s too thrilled about me coming with her for another four years, but it’s exciting to experience this transition together.”

Outside of his career, Chilek enjoys spending time with his family. He also likes watching sports and playing golf.

“Golf is easily one of my favorite pastimes,” Chilek said. “Really anything that has to do with being outside is enjoyable to me.”