By Alyssa Dalley-Schofield
Mike Stiglets has dedicated his entire professional career to helping and educating children.
During that time, he’s been known for his compassion, kindness and memorable nickname – Mr. Piggy. Stiglets gained his name from one of his first students.
“Jonathan Miller had a little trouble with speech, couldn’t really pronounce Mr. Stiglets, he called me Mr. Piglets and so the kids started making fun of him and I started calling myself Mr. Piglets so he was the only one calling me by my right name and it stuck,” said Stiglets.
After that, his students became known as piggies.
“They thought it was the highest honor a person could have, and they loved being in my class, matter of fact they still consider themselves piggies when they came by yesterday,” said Stiglets.
Over the years, Stiglets has received countless pig gifts that fill his office, which he jokingly refers to as a pig museum. He has another 2,000 more pigs items at his house.
“Now I didn’t expect to be called Mr Piggy for 46 years, most of my adult life but it’s worked, and it’s been an instant bond with the children,” he said.
Stiglets has taught for the past 46 years and knew that was going to be his profession from an experience of his own with a teacher.
“I’m an educator because of an educator and this is really true for a lot of teachers. I had a sixth grade teacher in Muskogee, Oklahoma at Irving School named Bill Crouch and he made me feel like I was the smartest, most handsome, most athletic, most funniest kid in the class,” said Stiglets.
Stiglets later realized that every student alongside him felt the same way.
“I want to make a difference in children’s lives as he did mine,” said Stiglets.
The start of his career was a unique one and continued to be throughout all 46 years. Starting at the Oklahoma Arts Council in the 70s, Stiglets became the first professional storyteller in Oklahoma.
From there, he taught at the University of Central Oklahoma for seven years in early childhood education. Stiglets has gone from being a teacher to a professor to a principal and a headmaster.
“I’ve been in 20 different schools as a teacher or principal my resume looks like I’m 80 years old or I can’t hold a job,” said Stiglets.
Throughout his time as an educator, Stiglets left lasting impacts on his students.
“There were five kids from 1978 at my retirement party and then there was another group of five kids that I taught in first grade, second grade, third grade in the early 90’s that came,” said Stiglets.
“The one thing that I think made the difference in the success of my career has been the relationships that I was able to build with the children and the parents and the community,” said Stiglets.
After 46 years, Stiglets is retiring from the principal role at Parkview Elementary. He also previously served as principal at Pleasant Hill and Ridgecrest in the Mid-Del School District.
“I’m not through, I’m going to do something else, I might go back and teach college again, I might counsel children, I might do something entirely different I don’t know,” said Stiglets.