Widmann reflects on high school experience

Emma Ruschner, Staff

The current Director of Operations for the Puyallup School DistrictJack Widmann graduated from Puyallup High School in 1995 and has spent his entire life in service to the Puyallup community.  

Even in high school, he says he knew he wanted to spend his life serving others. And he has since lived up to that dream and helped guide countless students through life.  

“I wanted to be the next Walter Payton,” Widmann said.  

Widmann was a football player in high school and he says Payton was his idol not only because he was a famous athlete, but because he was a good person. When Widman realized he was not going to be a professional football player, he says he considered many different career options such as firefighting and the military.  

However, he ultimately decided on teaching.  

“Everybody wants to feel respected and valued, and not judged,” Widmann said.  

Widmann says he has always valued his peers and the servitude of others. When speaking of his teaching career, Widmann said he preferred to teach junior high and high school because that’s when students are figuring out life. He knew students just wanted to feel happy and safe, so he decided to get his teaching degrees to help serve students.  

Widmann went to Central Washington University for his certificate to teach fourth-12th grade and also received a minor in elementary education. He then worked for his master’s degree in creative arts and learning from Leslie University. Finally, he went to City University to obtain his administration certificate in order to become a principle, so he could help make an impact on even more kids.  

“Hopefully trying to give back to maybe students, and kids who aren’t as fortunate as what I had, and being able to, you know, help them grow,” Widmann said.  

Growing up, Widmann says he had a good support system from his family and friends and felt very fortunate to have a good foundation. Widmann says he knew he was lucky kid and wanted to make other kids feel that happiness while he was attending high school and teaching in it.  

“A lot of the kids were just, man, they just wanted to be a part of that pride of what Puyallup was able to offer,” Widmann said.  

Widmann participated in many different things during high school including football, drama and volunteering. His senior year he volunteered to help with the basketball special Olympics and felt humbled at the students who just wanted to show their pride for their school like any other athlete.  

“I feel like I got more than I gave,” Widmann said.  

Widmann says he felt he always got more wisdom and kindness than he gave and at the end of the day.  

“I think growing up it was really important that family was the most important thing,” Widmann said.  

Widmann says he has always had strong family values and has always tried to put family first. He brought those same values into his work and athletics.  

“That way that you treat each other and valuing each other and making somebody feel like they’re a part of a family, I think ties hand-in-hand with being in schools,” Widmann said.  

Widmann is a family man and wants to make sure that everyone knows they have a community, and a family at school and even described his own pride to be a part of the Viking family.  

I was just so proud to be a part of a different family, a part of the Viking family, and traditions,” Widmann said.  

Widmann said that the old transition to high school used to feel much more awkward than now, because people often didn’t have friends that went to other junior highs. However, that has changed as of recent.  

“It’s been a blessing, it’s been a fortunate thing to have more diverse perspective and cultures and different exposures,” Widmann said.