The Williams-Grand Canyon News recently talked to Williams High School Principal Tristan Heisley about what goes on during a typical day at the "office."
How long have you been the principal at Williams High School?
Since last June, so about a year and a few months. I did history and P.E. for seven years in Williams before that.
What made you decide to go into education?
It's kind of a family thing. My grandpa was a teacher and both my parents were teachers. When I got out of high school I swore I wouldn't be a teacher because I saw how much work my parents did, but it just kind of made sense at some point in college. It's a noble job to do and I thought I'd be good at it.
What is a typical day like?
There's really no such thing as a typical day because every single day is something new, which is one of the things I really like about being a principal. You just never know what's going to happen in the space of a day. I always have a plan for what I want to do on any given day and probably nine out of 10 days I don't get hardly anything done that I planned on doing, because little discipline problems pop up or there's always something going on. That's why I get to work really early. I usually start working at 4 or 5 in the morning at home and then I'll come to work at about 6:30.
What are your main responsibilities?
Student safety, definitely, and just making sure that the kids who come here are getting a quality education.
What is the best part of your job?
It's definitely just getting to see a kid grow up. We see them come in as freshmen and they're pretty squirrelly and immature a lot of times, and by the time they leave most of them are like people that you would genuinely like to talk to again-they're good people. So it's pretty cool to watch that transition happen.
What is the worst part of your job?
The most challenging part is just those things that come up in the day that you're not ready for. Sometimes you have a million things going on and something major happens and you have to put everything on hold. I definitely don't enjoy disciplining students. I think a lot of students think that's like my favorite thing to do. I genuinely dislike doing it, but it is part of the job. Someday I'd love to be in a school where you didn't have to do that, as in this school has gotten to the point where they just know what they can and cannot get away with, but they're kids, so they're going to make mistakes.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
One of the most rewarding for me was when we did our grade rewards last year because the kids really saw more value to working hard. And a lot of kids don't see 20 years in the future and, 'Oh if I work hard now it's going to have a big impact on my life.' They see the immediate things, and I think that we had a lot of students who tried really hard to make it into that program and are trying this year to make it into it and I think that's pretty cool.
What are your goals for the school?
I have a lot of them. I want the students to be better prepared for the real world, and I think that's something that on a daily basis we're getting better at as a staff. I want them to be safe while they're here and just get an all around positive experience out of high school and become better people.