Amargosa Valley schools started the new school year with a new principal and several new teachers.
Former head teacher Robert Williams accepted the job in June and said he hasn’t stopped a day since then preparing for his new role, hiring staff and getting the school ready for the 2013-14 school year. Williams is optimistic and says he has a vision.
“I want Amargosa to be a destination school for teachers,” he said.
Working on a three-year grant, Williams said his goals include increasing the number of kids who attend pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and see “observable and measurable teacher model improvements for everybody’s sake.”
He wants an active role and said, “I’m always a student at heart, and hope also to be a mentor for teachers and employees.”
Williams says he tries to bring a good attitude to every challenge. He said laughter always provides a more productive atmosphere than being self-involved and overly serious.
“You have to bring your own weather.”
He plans on meeting and exceeding the goals of the grant in building a team spirit with parents involved, “because we, together, want the kids to dream big, and match their dreams with reality and enjoy the process.”
Williams hopes to have a five-to-seven year opportunity, with a staff being equally committed to seeing positive change manifest.
He called his own process of applying and interviewing for the principal position “rigorous,” noting NCSD requires the highest values and most sincere desire to succeed and see every single teacher and student succeed in each school year. “I had to prove that in my interviews,” Williams said.
Williams was an English teacher of Shakespeare and world and classic literature in high school. He made it a point to help students learn to read closely; to look deeper to understand the subtext of writing, and to evaluate, to check for accuracy and become critical thinkers. He said, “I’m not ever relegated to one side of a story and I look to find the dissenting view in order to reach a fair conclusion.”
Williams believes what gave him the edge in getting the principal position was his varied experience. He had been head teacher in Amargosa, a special assignment teacher at Pahrump Valley High School, and has held prior teaching and leadership positions.
Just before school opened, Williams said, “I’m a little nervous and really excited for the new year.”
Asked after the first week how it’s going in Amargosa, he said, “The first week went really well. All our teachers are on board, and we have about 200 kids to teach. Our numbers remain constant here and overall I’m looking forward to a great year.”