On November 10, William Zimmer assumed his new position as assistant principal at Highland High School (HHS). Hired to replace longtime Highland educator Sarah Dudley-Lemek, who was promoted last year to the position of assistant superintendent for administration, Zimmer comes to Highland with 23 years of experience in teaching and educational leadership.
Zimmer most recently worked in the Levittown Schools as curriculum associate for English Language Arts (ELA), a district-level position in which he supervised all ELA/English teachers, reading teachers and library media specialists. Prior to that position, he was a building administrator at Rondout Valley Middle School. Before that, he taught high school English, first at New Paltz High School for nine years and then at Pine Bush High School for seven years.
“The student population at Highland High School has given me a warm, hospitable and friendly welcome,” said Zimmer. “I am looking forward to working with students again. I did not work directly with students in my last position and I really missed that most.”
Zimmer said he became an educator, in part, due to some experiences he had while attending a large high school on Long Island. “After my father passed away when I was 16 years old, school quickly became irrelevant to me. I found solace in reading books — English was my favorite subject,” he said. “Part of the reason I became an educator was so I could help disenfranchised students see the importance and benefits of obtaining an education.”
As assistant principal, Zimmer will focus on a number of priorities, including ensuring that students and staff are safe and that they have an educationally sound environment, handling student discipline matters and helping to provide an educationally supportive presence at HHS.
He noted that his general approach as an administrator is not unlike his approach as a teacher. “I believe that in order to be successful, people need to feel like they’re part of a community,” Zimmer said. “A classroom teacher oversees the community in their classroom and a building administrator does the same for the building as a whole. The biggest difference is that it’s just a bigger classroom.”