Mr.Watson: Behind the name
September 24, 2015
High School studies teacher, alternative studies teacher, high school football coach, vice principal, principal of Patuxent High and now the proud principal of Leonardtown High School: this is Mr. Watson. Administrators and teachers wave around the name but few of us really know Leonardtown’s principal. I had a chance to sit down with our new helm and hear his ardor for education, his plans to “affect change” here at Leonardtown and what it means to be Mr. Watson.
This may be Mr. Watson’s first year diving into the fray that is Leonardtown but the daunting task has not curbed his passion for education. After graduating college, he became a teacher like so many principals who climb the ladder, always hungering for new ways to help students. He shared with me his best years of teaching: alternative education. It gave him the chance to sit down one-on-one with students pulled out of the classroom and prepare them to reenter class. That was when he set his eyes on the office of principal, becoming a vice principal at Patuxent High for six years before assuming the helm. It was a new responsibility to “carry a message from staff and teachers,” but Mr. Watson never shies from work, always juggling his responsibility to the job and his family. No matter what title was printed on his name tag or how stressful the position he had, Mr. Watson is committed to “give students the best high school experience possible.”
Mr. Watson is not just a picture of passion. He has come to Leonardtown not to inherit the system left by Mrs. Montgomery, but work to improve it. He was the first to say that “if things are working well, don’t change [them]” but feels that new measures like the ten-minute rule restricting the time students can leave class each period have brought hallway roaming under control. Everyone must be “understanding of the school’s structure for the system to flow” and he “appreciates students listening” to the new rules he has implemented. Sports and theatre buffs alike will jump for joy to hear their principal’s plans to upgrade facilities, donning the auditorium with a much needed new sound system and the sports fields with turf. He is even rolling out plans for a one-hour lunch schedule where all students share one lunch period, an hour long as the name goes, to socialize, visit teachers, holding club meets, study and of course eat. It was a new “privilege” for students at Patuxent High School and one he hopes to put toward Leonardtown in the coming year. He agreed that Leonardtown is a larger school than Patuxent and it will take time to establish the relationships he had after so many years at Patuxent but hopes that his new measures for students come with a warm welcome as their new principal.
However, Mr. Watson is not all work and no play. He is a family man, stressing that his “daughters come first” because “as a parent, you do everything for your kids.” He even nurtures his home, divulging that “fixing up the house” is a treasured hobby, no doubt run by a list of honey-do’s. Though he has had to leave behind a few of his hobbies like coaching football, hedoes hope to reclaim his prowess as a weightlifter. Juggling the responsibilities of a father and principal may be a struggle but as former football coach, Mr. Watson never shies away from a challenge.
Father, teacher, principal: however you know Mr. Watson, you can be sure that he is not lacking in fervor or qualification. He has always had a passion for the youth, whether that be his own girls, making a difference in students’ lives as a teacher or “[carrying] a message from staff and teachers.” Mr. Watson may be a named draped in mystery, but he is eager to meet you, the students of Leonardtown High School, and improve your high school experience every day.