Eric Steimel, Lejeune High School principal, received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 31. The honorary award is the third-highest award available under the Department of Navy Incentive Awards program and is given to individuals whose contributions are deemed valuable or beneficial to the Marine Corps.

Steimel, a former student at Lejeune High School, was honored for his 35 years of service to DoDEA schools and students at MCB Camp Lejeune. He will be retiring later this year.

“The teachers at Lejeune High School made an impact to me, as a military child,” said Steimel. “It was an honor and a privilege to come back to where it all began as both a teacher and as an administrator.”

Steimel began teaching at Lejeune High School as a science teacher, in 1984. He became an assistant principal at the school in 1992 and later became the principal at Brewster Middle School in 2001. He was an instructional systems specialist from 2007 to 2010 before he became the LHS principal, where he has been for the past nine years.

“Under his leadership, LHS students have earned over 10 million dollars in scholarships,” said Col. Scott Baldwin, deputy commander of Marine Corps Installation East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “Mr. Steimel projects a calm, cool and collected demeanor even in the most turbulent times. Following Hurricane Florence, community schools took almost two months to re-open. Thanks to Mr. Steimel’s hard work and attention to detail, LHS opened nine days after the storm left. It does not get any better than a student becoming a teacher, vice principal and principal. He was the right guy for this job.”

During his tenure, Steimel increased the number of students taking advanced placement exams and nearly 50 students graduated as certified nurse assistants with a CNA certificate from the health science class. The school’s JROTC program also became nationally recognized. Grades also improved, with over 66 percent of students maintaining a grade point average above a 3.0. Retention has also been outstanding with the Class of 2017 and Class of 2018, graduated every single student.

“My teachers and faculty are the ones to thank,” says Steimel. “Good students and good teachers make good principals.”