From Sergeant to Security: The Man of Steele

Luke Goodman

Hundreds of students, teachers, custodians and other faculty members walk through the doors of South High School each school day. To make a school operate, it takes a group effort, and to make one operate as efficiently as ours does, it takes a community. Arguably one of the most important groups in the South High community is our school’s security guards. Along with monitoring, they also ensure our safety throughout the school day. Our newest security guard is named Kevin Steele, and there’s a lot about him you may not know. 

In December 2021, after 24 years in the New York Police Department, Sergeant Kevin Steele decided to hang up his hat, but he wanted to get something out of his unused sick days. Just a few weeks into this “sick day vacation,” Mr. Steele found himself relentlessly bored. After realizing that this was going to be his life in retirement, he knew that he needed employment, and fast. Luckily, he didn’t have to look too far from home—no more than five minutes down the road to be exact, Mr. Steele discovered an opening for a security guard position at South High. While still being technically employed by the NYPD, Mr. Steele applied for the position and got the job. Now four months later, and officially retired from the NYPD, Mr. Steele spends his days keeping us safe. 

Kevin Steele works Mondays through Fridays, from 7:15 AM to 3:15 PM. You can find him at the front security desk in the mornings, and patrolling the cafeterias and hallways throughout the school day. Steele usually has at least one of two AirPods in his ears, indulging in various podcasts. His notable favorite podcaster is Lex Fridman, a technology professor at MIT. He also listens to various history and political podcasts because he originally wanted to be a social studies teacher before joining the force, but he added that he was glad he didn’t become a teacher while on the force. While serving as a sergeant, Steele was constantly called into high schools where crime and vandalism was prevalent. He always needed to be on high-alert, and he’s happy that he is finally in a place with some stability. “It’s kind of crazy how orderly the place is, and how nice everyone is to me,” Mr. Steele said. However, with all the luxuries that come to Mr. Steele with security guarding, there are certain aspects of the job that he finds less appealing. 

As an NYPD sergeant, Mr. Steele had to wear a suit and tie, which although uncomfortable, left him looking dapper and feeling complete with each workday. Working at South High, Steele must wear a work uniform, which he finds to be “sort of lame.” Nevertheless, he said he was glad to be at a job where the worst thing was the uniform. 

When Mr. Steele is outside of work, he spends most of his time caring for his new puppy, Alice, in his out-of-work apparel, of course. He enjoys the relative lack of stress in his new job, as well as the people he works with and works for. If you see Mr. Steele in the halls, don’t hesitate to say hello and give a smile.