Oliver returns to Cameron to take over as high school principal

Joe Oliver with his 1981 state championship ring.  

Dozens of community members and parents filed into the Yoe High cafeteria last Wednesday to spend a few moments with the next leader of Yoe High School - Joe Oliver. 


Cameron ISD hired Oliver on Monday during a regularly scheduled school board meeting.  He replaces Kenneth Driska, which took another position in the district in November. 


“Joe Oliver is a top notch individual,” said Cameron ISD superintendent Alan Sapp.  “He has great experience and he is a Yoemen.  He is an asset to our school.  He is just a perfect fit.”


Sapp added that there were a number of quality candidates, but at the end of the day Oliver was the clear choice. 


“We had several quality applicants apply,” said Sapp.  “Sometimes in the middle of the year you don't get quite as many, but I judged it more by quality, and we had great quality applicants.  Our interview committee consisted of some teachers here on staff and some administrators here in the district.  Joe just rose above all of those.”


This is Oliver’s second stop in Cameron.  He first came to Yoe High in 1981, where he was the defensive coordinator under Toby York’s state championship Yoemen. 


“I told the student body yesterday that I have been a Yoemen twice as long as they have been alive,” said Oliver, who noted that once you’re a Yoemen, you would always remain a Yoemen. 


“That was the feeling I had even though I was gone to different places.  I tried to get, as a coach, the athletes to have the buy-in and the love of what they were doing like the kids had when we were here.”


In total, Oliver has been a part of nine different school communities.  He began his career in Temple under Bob McQueen before his time in Cameron.  He was a head football coach at Clifton (1984-1985), Hallsville (1986-1990) and Hillsboro (1991-1997) before entering administration. 


Oliver was the assistant principal and eventual principal in Sulphur Springs before taking the next step up.  He took his first superintendent job at Clarksville before joining Wills Point, where he stayed until 2011.  That is when he decided it was time to return back to his roots.


“I came to work for Central Texas Christian,” said Oliver.  “They were going to start 11-man football and offered me the job.  So, I retired as superintendent on July 31 and started coaching football on August 1 in 2011.”


The last few years saw a move to public relations with Parsons Roofing.  Though there were opportunities to attend school functions, it was not the same for Oliver, who had spent a majority of his career in teaching and coaching.


That is when the Yoe High job became available. 


“I saw the job posted and I told my wife I'm going to apply for that job,” said Oliver.  “They may not be interested in me, but I am interested in them.  So, it worked out.  I have been very fortunate.”


Oliver said that he is excited to return to work in such a tight-knit community.


“I have been in some really good ones.  The student and parent total buy-in and the family atmosphere is second to none.”


Oliver was quick to note that Cameron has had great leaders and principals in the past, and he wants to add to that by making sure all students are prepared for that next step in life after their four years at Yoe High School. 


“What I think is important is that they feel like we've added value to their life no matter where they are at academically, socially, or emotionally.  We are going to add value to them and when they leave Yoe High School, that wherever they chose to live, they are a productive, hard-working and God-loving citizen that is going to take care of their community and family.  As they come through here, we need to give them every skill they need.  I told the students that whether you choose to live here and whether you choose live anywhere in world, that you get your global education and you're prepared to be successful wherever you choose to do that.”