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7/15/2014 12:10:00 PM
Heisley resigns from Williams High principal position
Tristan Heisley resigned from his position as Williams High School principal after accepting an assistant principal position in Albany, Oregon. His wife, Jessica Heisley, also resigned from her teaching position at the school. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Tristan Heisley resigned from his position as Williams High School principal after accepting an assistant principal position in Albany, Oregon. His wife, Jessica Heisley, also resigned from her teaching position at the school. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter


WILLIAMS, Ariz. - After nine years of working in the Williams Unified School District (WUSD), Williams High School (WHS) Principal Tristan Heisley and his wife, WHS science teacher Jessica Heisley, have resigned from their positions.

WUSD Governing Board members released the Heisleys from their contracts at their July 9 meeting.

Tristan has accepted a position with the Greater Albany School District in Albany, Oregon as the assistant principal of Timber Ridge Elementary Middle School.

Albany has a population of about 50,000, and Tristan said the city has the best-rated schools in Oregon. The city is also about 10 miles away from Corvallis, Oregon, where Jessica hopes to earn her doctorate at Oregon State University.

Tristan said he chose to accept the position in Oregon with his family in mind.

"I want the board to know that this is not something that was done on a whim," Tristan said. "We've spent the last three months deciding what is best for our family, whether that's to stay in Williams or to leave Arizona in search of a place that our kids can thrive and do the things they love like gymnastics and dancing and things like that. In the end our desire to give our daughters the best opportunity to be happy trumped everything else."

Additionally, Tristan's new position will allow Jessica to stay home with their youngest daughter for a year before she starts kindergarten.

"That alone is a gift that I couldn't give my wife here or probably anywhere else in Arizona because of pay," he said.

Tristan apologized for leaving the district late in the summer, but reiterated that he was doing what was best for his family. He called the decision bittersweet, and thanked his fellow administrators.

"I will never forget the people of Williams or the amazing things this district has done for my family," he said. "I truly believe that we're leaving WHS better than when we came and that if given the time, my fellow administrators can and will take WUSD to the next level."

Tristan became the WHS principal in 2012 after working as a history teacher for seven years. The Arizona Rural Schools Association recently named Jessica as the 2014 Coconino County Rural Teacher of the Year.

The WHS principal position is now open to those with a principal's certification from the Arizona Department of Education, according to WUSD Business Manager Melissa Ellico.

In the event the district is unable to hire someone before school starts on Aug. 11, administrators could choose an alternative such as hiring a dean of students or a head teacher, neither of which would need a principal's certificate. The governing board plans to vote on a backup option at its July 23 meeting.

"But really our primary goal is to find a good principal out there," Ellico said.

As of last Thursday staff had received about five phone calls about the principal position and two applications.

"So there's hope out there that we're going to be able to find a principal," Ellico said.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Article comment by: nicole gay

We are new to the area and actually moves to Williams from Wyoming for the reasons he is leaving. Does no one go to flagstaff to do dance or gymnastics or other things? We picked to live in Williams because of my husbands job being here and close to flagstaff but without being so big. I think Williams is a great town and look toward a lifetime of raising my daughters here. They will be in plenty of activities. As for the cost of living, go to Wyoming. Its horrible there.

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Article comment by: Misty Circle

Wow. All the decent people are leaving town. School staff is going to look as bad as city staff.

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Article comment by: Bobby Patricca

Yet another younger family leaving town because they can't support their families here. The cost of living is through the roof, the wages are pitiful, and our town leaders think nothing is wrong!! We are definitely going in the right direction, they say. Right into the ground, maybe!!



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