William Whalen Leads Seekonk High
William Whalen is enjoying his role as Principal of Seekonk High School.
The 41 year-old Swansea native was Principal of Hurley Middle School for seven years before being offered the job at the high school last June.
Making the transition from the middle school to the high school wasn’t easy for Whalen, who had to leave his colleagues after a long period of working together.
“This was a great new challenge for me,” Whalen explained. “It was definitely difficult to leave the teachers I had worked with (at Hurley).”
Whalen said being a Principal at the high school has been rewarding.
“It’s been really cool because I know all the students and their families so I feel that’s a huge advantage,” Whalen said. ‘They know me.”
Whalen obtained his doctorate in education from Northeastern University and an undergraduate degree in history from UMASS Dartmouth.
“I was a history teacher before becoming an administrator,” Whalen said. “I had some really good role models (growing up). “I’ve always liked school and it was probably the teachers I had as role models who wanted me to be able to do the same thing. I always loved history as well.”
Whalen also spent time as a baseball couch, which he enjoyed.
“I never planned on being an administrator,” Whalen said. “When I was a teacher, the administration at the time said ‘hey, we see a lot of good leadership qualities in you.’ So that’s when I went for my master’s degree in administration.”
Whalen has been busy getting to know everyone at the high school.
“The students have been great, Whalen said. “I thought moving to the high school I would be seeing more issues with bullying, cyberbullying, or any other kind of discipline problems but there really hasn’t been a lot going on at all.”
Last October, there was a visit from NEASC (the New England Association of Schools and Colleges). Whalen submitted a report based on NEASC’s recommendations. NEASC will be returning next fall.
Whalen also applied for a grant to bring more STEM programming to the high school.
“There’s a two part grant,” Whalen explained. “I got the first part approved. Moving forward we plan to offer more STEM classes that all (students) can take. They have three pathways: it’s engineering, computer science, and bio-medical. Next year we’re going to offer two classes: one is principals of engineering and the other is advanced placement computer science.”
$200,000 was appropriated for a new athletic field at the high school at last month’s town meeting. Whalen said the school’s athletes will benefit.
“Now they will be able to use it whenever they want. The soccer teams will be able to play there, the lacrosse teams will be able to play there, so it will get a lot of use,” Whalen said.
On January 23, Whalen will be delivering a State of the School address. Anyone from the community is welcome to attend. There will also be musical performances and student artwork on display.
“I’m hoping we get a good crowd of people who will see what is going on at the high school and learn about our plans for the future,” Whalen added.