Originally Published: August 20, 2017 6:03 a.m.
The Goligoski brothers — Mark, Stan and Greg — are three of Prescott’s favorite sons.
All three are Prescott High School graduate athletes who as adults are honored members of the Prescott High Schools’ Athletic Hall of Fame — Mark for cross-country and track, Stan for basketball and track and Greg for football, basketball and baseball.
The eldest two, whose career paths diverted in their early adult years, are today walking in tandem footsteps as educators: Mark is the principal at Mile High Middle School and Stan is the executive director for the Yavapai Education Service Agency. They are a formidable duo.
And these two Army brats are each other’s best friends; they are equally fond of their younger brother who is in the local tile business.
“We have always been close … even when I was a world away,” said Stan, 43, a tall, muscular 20-year U.S. Army 101st Airborne division major who served in special operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan until his retirement in 2013. Stan and his wife, Janelle, together have three children: Ali, 21, Ryker, 13 — an eighth-grader at his brother’s school — and T.J., 9 months.
“How many older brothers get to say they look up to their younger brother,” said Mark, a slim, athletic man who is smaller than his brother but shares the same wide-mouthed smile whether they are speaking to a student, a colleague or a stranger.
Growing up in a military family, all the Goligoski brothers to pursue their passions, wherever those might take them.
Stan followed in the military footsteps of his father, Jim, a U.S. Army officer who spent 20 years with the local VA Hospital.
For Mark, a summer camp experience working with teens proved the catalyst for a 10-year career in a classroom at his home high school where he was also the cross-country and track coach. He then spent three years as the high school athletic director before he was catapulted into administration at the school where he did his student teaching. His first two years as an educator were spent teaching eighth grade social studies in the Humboldt school district.
Mark and his wife, Laura, assistant principal at Bradshaw Mountain High School and a 2010 Yavapai County Teacher of the Year, have two children: Maya, 18, and Nate, 15.
“I actually feel like I bullied him for years to come into administration,” said Mark’s fellow graduate and now boss, Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard.
Howard is also a friend of Stan; he officiated at his wedding to the granddaughter of Taylor Hicks, the namesake of a Prescott elementary school.
“They’re what I love about Prescott. Down to earth, purely good human beings,” Howard said.
Stan’s route to education was a surprise, particularly to him.
After high school, Stan went to Northern Arizona University — his older brother’s college alma mater — for a year. He did not return until the Army sent him back to finish a degree so he could earn his officer’s commission.
“I got thrown into a classroom,” Stan said with a chuckle of his final assignment teaching tactics and defense strategies to recruits at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Six months prior, Stan received a call from his high school civic teachers and track coach Tim Carter, the Yavapai County schools superintendent. He had a job offer.
“I didn’t have to twist his arm much,” said Carter who hired Stan as his technology director and then about a year and a half later promoted him to executive director.
The brothers Goligoski are the epitome of public educations’ finest, Carter said of the men he considers “adopted sons.”
“They do fantastic things for kids,” Carter said.
Mark said he did a “back flip” when his brother joined the county agency.
“He’s all about serving schools and serving kids, and from his military background, he knows how to get things done,” Mark said.
Stan said his brother is his educational barometer.
“Having Mark as an administrator, I feel I get the true pulse of what is going on in our county schools,” Stan said.
When he was preparing to retire, Stan said he figured he’d end up in a corporate job.
“But I wanted to continue to serve,” Stan said. “And I was eager to come back home.
“This is the best of both worlds.”