The Highland Central School District Board of Education has appointed current Highland High School assistant principal, William Zimmer, as the school’s new principal. He will assume his new position on December 4.
Zimmer is replacing Peter Harris, who will be leaving the Highland Central School District in December to become principal of the Ulster BOCES Hudson Valley Pathways Academy.
Zimmer is a veteran educator with 26 years of experience. He has been employed at Highland since 2014. Prior to that, he worked in Levittown Schools as a 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. He was also a building administrator at Rondout Valley Middle School. His classroom experience includes teaching high school English, first at New Paltz High School for nine years, and then at Pine Bush High School for seven years.
Zimmer is excited to take on his new role as principal. “I am mostly looking forward to continuing to provide our students with rich academic opportunities and preparing them for college or the workforce,” he said.
Zimmer holds an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Nassau Community College, a B.A. in English Education from SUNY New Paltz, a M.S.E. from SUNY New Paltz and a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Leadership from SUNY New Paltz.
Zimmer understands his new job will be challenging and has already given himself two goals. “I’d like to increase access to technology for all students, specifically in coding and engineering,” he said. “Secondly, I would like to improve the equity and access to a quality education, regardless of one’s ability.”
Zimmer elaborated on that goal with a personal story from his childhood. He recalled asking his guidance counselor why friends of his were taking the SAT exam but he was not. At the time, his counselor told him it was because the SATs were for college-bound students only. He took that as a personal affront and decided that he would push himself to prove he was capable of getting into college. He attributes his success to supportive teachers who wouldn’t take “no” or “I can’t” for an answer.
“Students will rise despite their struggles, but someone needs to give them a chance,” Zimmer said.
“In the time that Mr. Zimmer has been our assistant principal, he has demonstrated his abilities as a building leader, motivator and student advocate,” said Interim Superintendent Thomas Bongiovi. “I am confident as the new building principal, he will be an innovator and will continue to improve and expand educational opportunities for all students.”