A Legendary Legacy; CHS prepares for Principal John Williams’ retirement, introducing his successor


Rachael Tan

PRINCIPLE OF PRINCIPALS: Principal John Williams talks to senior Sarah Biette. Student Body President Mike Pitz said it saddens him to see him go, but he appreciates the time and leadership Williams provided.

Emily Dexter, Story

Student body president Mike Pitz said he was riding a bus with his basketball teammates when he found out Principal John Williams plans to retire at the end of the school year. The team was in the midst of preparations for the Regional tournament later that day, and this announcement added to the earlier news that his basketball coach, Scott Heady, plans to retire as well.

“It kind of was a blow to my heart,” Pitz said, “but then it was also a really beautiful realization of the work (of) obviously them outcompeting me, and the amazing differences they have made in this school.”

Williams said, “It was a very difficult decision. I think that a lot of people (say) that you’ll know when it’s time (to retire), but I didn’t know when it’s time. I just knew that at this age, if I was able to, I wanted to retire.”

As leader of the Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC), Pitz said he works with Williams both within the PAC and one-on-one.

“(Williams) is incredibly well-tempered,” Pitz said. “He has this predisposition of just being kind and wise. Everything is well thought through ahead of time, he comes prepared and he’s always ready to tackle the day. It’s really been an honor to learn from him and to, more importantly, work with him.”

According to a news release from the school district, Williams has served as this school’s principal for 14 years. During that time, he has expanded the dual credit and AP programs and introduced the International Baccalaureate program in 2006.

Williams said, “I think every day (there is) stuff I’m going to miss, but what you hope is that it’s replaced by other stuff that you’re enjoying and you feel is meaningful also.”  

School district spokesperson Tamara “Tammy” Sander said via email Superintendent Nicholas Wahl and a leadership team will make the final decision on who will replace Williams as the next principal. Before that decision, Wahl will meet with staff members, students and parents to determine what characteristics thenew principal should possess.

Sander said, “The candidate that best fits the leadership profile created will be hired, whether that’s an internal or external candidate.”

Williams said he has discussed the selection process with Wahl.

“I believe that the person who takes my place will have the same experience I have, and that’s to fall in love with this school and become a huge part of everything that goes on here,” Williams said.

Pitz said he hopes the new principal will maintain policies similar to Williams’s, without trying to copy him exactly.

“Only he could be that laid-back, but (be the) incredibly focused persona that our school needs,” Pitz said. “I hope that (the new principal realizes) the level of excellence that we currently are at and they just try to do the little things to keep adding to that, hoping to have the same personal relationships with students, impacting lives like Principal Williams did and trying their best.”

Williams said,  “I’m very confident that (CHS) will continue to grow and improve, and I’m certainly proud of the things that we’ve done in my time here. The next person will step in and lead that same kind of change and growth. It’s just important that we continue to serve kids. That’s what I love about this place. You guys are why we’re here.”