William Hiser has been selected as the new principal for Lovell Middle School.
Hiser will be leaving his position as an associate principal at Rock Springs High School, a position he has held for two years where he oversees discipline and attendance issues at the school. Hiser has been working at the high school level since 2004, first as a school counselor. He has also worked as a teacher in that time frame, with a teacher certificate in social studies.
Big Horn County School District No. 2 Superintendent Rick Woodford said it was Hiser’s experience that set him apart from the other five candidates vying for the position.
“He brings a unique skill set,” Woodford said. “He understands classroom instruction, he has a good understanding of curriculum and like a lot of counselors do, he has a good skill set when it comes to working with kids.”
Woodford said one of the moments where Hiser stood out to him during the interview process was when the candidates were considering a scenario where a student was suspended from school due to an incident with another student.
“He spoke of a re-entry plan. He wasn’t just focused on the victim; he was also focusing on the student who is suspended. He understood we have to value and focus on all our kids,” Woodford said.
Hiser told the Chronicle he was humbled and excited to get the position. What he was most struck by during the interview process was the interest the community had in the selection of a new principal. That’s what makes him the most excited, he said.
“There’s a strong belief in education in Lovell, Wyoming,” Hiser said. “I’d like to build on that by improving the relationships that are already established within the classroom and in the community.”
Hiser said to him his most important role as a principal will be relationship building. Students, teachers, community members and administrators are all on the same team.
“We need to be pulling on the same rope,” Hiser said. “Whether that’s the climate and culture rope, whether that’s the student achievement rope, we need to be working together for the same cause. What’s exciting about the middle school is that’s already happening. It’s already good. But there are also things you can do to improve that process.”
That focus on relationships and partnerships is crucial when it comes to achieving high academic results, Hiser said.
“Relationships are shown to have a high a return and to improve academic returns and achievement. You look at school climate, school culture, relationships, student feedback, you take all these little pieces and put them together and that’s how you achieve results,” Hiser said. “I have a feeling that Lovell Middle School is already doing this.”
Woodford said Hiser is going to have the awareness needed to successfully integrate himself within Lovell Middle School.
“I don’t think he’ll go in and just start making changes for the sake of making changes. He’s going to have the understanding and maturity to get to know and work with the staff,” Woodford said. “He’s going to have a growth mindset and move the school forward. The benefit of bringing someone from the outside is they see things from a different perspective. He’s going to see things from the peripheral that need to be addressed and maybe they haven’t been.”
Hiser is not a stranger to Lovell. He graduated from Lovell High School in 1995 and has family and siblings in the local area.
Also in consideration for the position were Jane Bushnell, Bret George and Craig Lundberg, of Big Horn No. 2, Crosby Tajan of Powell and Stephen Bell of Big Piney.
Current principal Doug Hazen announced that he accepted a job at Columbia Falls Junior High in Montana beginning this fall.
The multiple candidates for his replacement had met privately with the district’s hiring committee before attending a public forum Monday, May 6, and had also spent time interacting with students at the middle school.
The hiring committee was composed of middle school staff, along with school board and administration members.
By Ryan Fitzmaurice