EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral announces that Principal Wes Paul will be retiring following the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year after working in education for 34 years, serving 22 of those years as the principal at Oliver Ames High School.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as principal at Oliver Ames High School supporting our students with a great education, amazing teachers and a multitude of strong and robust co-curricular activities,” Principal Paul said. “I have some great memories of witnessing our students’ success, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family as I head into the next chapter in my life.”
Principal Paul started his career as a chemistry and biology teacher at Marshfield High School in 1987 and worked his way up to the administrative team. He was hired as an assistant principal at Stoughton High School in 1995 where he served for four years before being appointed principal at Oliver Ames High School.
Along with his experience in secondary education, Principal Paul has served on numerous athletic and academic committees, including the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Board of Directors, the Massachusetts School Administration Association (MSAA) Board of Directors, the National Association of Secondary School Principals Student Council Committee (NASSP) Board of Directors, the Father Bill’s and MainSpring House Board of Directors and the Foundations for Excellence in Education in Easton (FEEE) Board of Directors.
As the COVID-19 pandemic required many adjustments and new plans for school districts, one of Principal Paul’s most recent successes was planning and conducting the 2020 high school graduation ceremony, as well as coordinating and executing a plan for hybrid learning last fall.
In addition to the pandemic, Principal Paul has worked through many world events and developments that have affected education, including numerous presidencies, the rapid expansion of social media and the internet, and high school safety protocols following the 1999 Columbine shooting and other school tragedies.
Some additional successes for Principal Paul include:
- Two successful Decennial Accreditations from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Adding 15 Advanced Placement courses
- Leading the building renovation project at Oliver Ames
- Expanding Oliver Ames to incorporate ninth grade students and teachers
- Six MIAA State Championships and numerous Hockomock League Championships
- Three New England Marching Band Championships
- Multiple Boston Globe, Scholastic Art and Congressional Art Awards
- Dozens of show choir championships
- Expanding departments and course offerings
- Developing college and career connections to guide students in the selection of courses
While the material awards and accomplishments are impressive, Principal Paul does not measure his time by those standards.
“I’m most proud of how my students have grown during their time at Oliver Ames,” Principal Paul said. “The individual accolades and championships are all impressive and show the talent and determination our students have, but I see the individual growth of our students as people and learners as the most rewarding part of this job. Our community has the best students and parents a principal could hope to serve.”
Principal Paul also wishes to express his pride in his teachers and colleagues.
“We have built a special place for students and teachers to thrive in a positive teaching and learning environment,” Principal Paul said. “The school culture we have built at Oliver Ames High School is grounded in unwavering support for all students and in a deep respect for each member of the community.”
Principal Paul often uses parables to relay lessons to both faculty and students, including one about a mule who fell into a well. When a farmer decided to cover up the well and put the mule out of its misery, the mule fought panic and as each shovel load of dirt struck him on the back he kept shrugging off the dirt and stepping up until he walked out of the well.
“It’s a parable about how to persevere and continue to climb even if things seem bleak,” Principal Paul said. “This is one lesson that I truly hope will stick with my students as they navigate through life and encounter its challenges: Shake it off, and step up.”
“We are incredibly grateful to Wes for his many valuable contributions to Oliver Ames and the Easton Public Schools over the past two decades,” Superintendent Cabral said. “Our school community will be sad to see him go, but we wish him the best and hope he enjoys retirement with his family.”
Principal Paul will work through the remainder of the school year. The district is currently in the process of searching for a new principal, who is expected to be selected later in the spring.