Jerry came to Baker as a highly recruited athlete out of Eureka Kansas High School where he lettered and was an All-State athlete in basketball and football. Recruited at both KU and K-State, Jerry decided instead to attend Baker where he was a 3-year letterman in football and a 4-year letterman in basketball and where he was an important member of the 1949 Championship football team. During a freshman basketball game against the freshman from the University of Kansas, former Baker coach who later became a basketball coaching legend at Kansas, Forest C. “Phog” Allen, told Baker Basketball coach Russ Davee that for his size, “Jerry Steele is the best little basketball player that he had seen”. He was active in numerous activities across campus including being a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He graduated from Baker in 1953 with a degree in Physical Education and shortly thereafter was drafted into the army where he attained the rank of Sergeant. After being discharged he enrolled at KU where he earned a masters degree in Physical Education. He later continued post-graduate work at Kansas State University-Pittsburg and at the University of Arkansas where he earned his doctorate.
He spent his early career as an outstanding teacher and coach at two Kansas high schools, Valley Falls and Blue Rapids. He then was hired as a teacher and head basketball coach at the junior college in Chanute. Two years later he was named assistant principal at Chanute high school and in 1965 he was named Assistant District Superintendent of the Chanute district. He continued his climb in education in 1974 as he was named that district’s Superintendent. Two years later he moved to become Superintendent of the Pittsburg district where he remained until retiring in 1992.
He was presented with numerous awards throughout his career including being named in 1982 as the Outstanding School Superintendent in Kansas and in 1992 being presented with the Clyde Phillips Distinguished Service Award by Pittsburg State University. He was active in a number of community and church related activities and served in numerous volunteer capacities in his community. He is married to Baker classmate Jo Anne Hardman Steel and together they have three daughters, eleven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.