Fam!!!! Woo!!!! Like seriously, with each interview I am afforded the opportunity to get to know people that I thought I already knew.
This week’s interview was FIRE and right on time for back to school season. I was granted backstage access to the one person who’s office you NEVER want to see in school, the principal!! William “Roc” Haith is the Principal at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC. I had the honor and privilege of sitting down with him and discussing the importance of male role models in schools and being a student athlete.
William Haith is currently serving his native community as Principal at Anacostia High School. He has been educating for 15 years, five of which have been spent in leadership. While both levels of engagement have been rewarding, Haith prefers leadership and embraces innovative and creative leadership. He has developed himself as a leader who challenges teachers who can stretch their mindset, noting that the priority is to educate the WHOLE child.
He has a strong foothold in transitioning the fixed mindset to the growth mindset. He finds this to be supremely important, especially in the vein of educating the child as a whole. This includes the social and emotional learning aspect and trauma informed instruction which speaks to the forces external of the learning environment that have a major impact on the child. The transition between these two mindsets begins with the first step in Kotter’s 8 Steps of Change Management – Communicate the Urgency. Haith believes that by presenting the data that creates a sense of urgency he can assist his team members to really get on board with the transition into a renewed mindset.
William Haith actually had no intent to teach or to take on a leadership role within the school system. His journey began as a football coach at the high school level. Through interactions with students and the influence that he was having on them, he desired to take it to the next level. He took a position as a substitute teacher and found himself inspired by the impact he had on students, both on the field and in the classroom.
This inspiration led to a fulfilling career as an educator and as a leader. Haith stressed the importance of putting the student before the athlete. He believes that there is a firm balance between the discipline and commitment in academics and sports, however, performance in the classroom is a prerequisite to performance on the field or court. There is also a level of sacrifice that must be observed. Haith mentioned a quote from “The Great Debaters” (2007) where James Farmer Jr., played by Denzel Whitaker, stated:
“We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do”
William Haith’s athletic background is very diverse. His expertise and experience make him an excellent role model for student athletes and aspiring professional athletes. Following college football, he became an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins. He went on to play football in both the CFL (Canadian Football League) and the AFL (Arena Football League).
William Haith is a natural born leader, no question that he would excel in his position as principal. He is committed to closing the achievement gap at Anacostia High School through comprehensive teamwork.
Haith and I discussed male role models to which he stated that they are not only a necessity in schools for males but also for females as well. He stated that students require a person whom they can trust with vulnerable information in exchange for guidance. Haith knows that he and his faculty have young impressionable eyes on them at all times and they ensure that they always model the same behaviors and courtesies they expect from the students.
Haith is an innovative leader with his sights set on student engagement. I asked him about his ideas for giving students a voice. He is already implementing ways for the students to be a part of the processes at Anacostia High School. He believes that when you collaborate with the students around their needs you will receive more support from the students. He has received tremendous feedback from this approach.
Thanks for putting your ears on it!!
Love & Light, Fam!