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Sep 3, 2018 1:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Assistant Principal Aims To Improve Academics And Support Students In Second Year At Westhampton Beach High School

Jessica Williams, the new assistant principal at Westhampton Beach High School. ELSIE BOSKAMP
Sep 4, 2018 12:16 PM

On Friday morning, Jessica Williams, the newest assistant principal at the Westhampton Beach High School, sat in the black swivel chair behind her wooden desk, took a sip from her pink thermos, and glanced down at the school calendar that sat under a neat pile of pens just in front of her.

It was just shy of one week until the first day of school, and she was gearing up for another busy year.

After taking over the administrative position last July, Ms. Williams, a former social studies teacher at Sachem High School, has worked to get to know nearly every student and faculty member in the building and credits her success to an “open-door policy.”

“I try to get to know everyone I possibly can. Any issues that a kid may have, academically or emotionally—I’m always here,” Ms. Williams said, sitting in her ground-floor office beside a window that looks out over Lilac Road, her blonde hair just brushing over her shoulders. Framed family photos and a painting of two brown-and-white dogs line the windowsill. On the whiteboard mounted to the pale yellow wall behind her, a graduation tassel hangs on a blue magnet just beside a picture of a graduation cap that’s decorated with golden letters reading: “The Best Is Yet To Come.”

This year, Ms. Williams said, she is focused on improving academics, instruction and student attendance. By meeting with students, observing classes, examining student data and working on improving lesson plans, she said she hopes to enhance students’ high school experiences.

A big part of improving education is also working to enhance electives, clubs, after-school sports and other extracurricular activities and events, she noted. The school added several new electives this year, including art, business and science courses.

“We always want our students to be well-rounded,” she said, smiling. “We want them to be involved in the school, because the more they’re interested students, the better it is. I always say, ‘Get as much involvement as you can—you have so many resources here and you need to use them to your advantage.’”

Later this week, Ms. Williams and her colleagues, Principal Chris Herr and Assistant Principal Bryan Bookamer, will hold grade-level assemblies to discuss how to succeed in high school. “We’re going to be talking about safety in our school, discipline and expectations of students,” Ms. Williams said. “Education is the forefront, obviously.”

After spending her summer planning out student schedules and class times, she said she’s ready for her second year at the high school.

“In this position, you have to do whatever you need to do to make the school run effectively and to support all the kids and the staff,” she said, holding her faculty ID that hangs from a green Westhampton Beach lanyard around her neck. “I’m so excited that the kids are coming back.”

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