Administration moves forward with new staff

This year we have two new (and one returning) assistant principals who will be relatively new faces for students to learn.
Miguel Perez, Willie Stewart Jr. and Maija Thiel are the current assistant principals with Thiel the only returning assistant principal this year.
Before working here, Perez worked as an assistant principal at Federal Way High School for two years. Stewart has held the position of assistant principal for seven years, spending time at Rogers and Emerald Ridge.
Perez describes his experience with the staff and students at PHS.
“The staff here is amazing, it feels like everyone that is in this building is focused on supporting students and providing them with everything they need to be successful after they leave here. Students are awesome here to, it seems like all of the students here are about doing the right thing and staying out of trouble,” Perez said. “Naturally, you are always going to have a little bit of discipline issues but not very much. So it has been very fun, the kids are friendly everyone has been super welcoming.”
Thiel’s experience at PHS over the past two years have been similar to Perez’s experience. Tradition and friendly connections to the staff have also contributed to Thiel’s experience.
“Every morning I wake up excited to come here, it is interesting to have a job that is so connected to what I enjoy in life and what my personal mission in life is, that I am excited every day to get up and go. I do not feel like I am going to work, I am just doing the thing I love to do,” Thiel said. “I would say that from the very beginning, here at PHS, I was struck by how much tradition there was and how much family-like connectedness there was both with students and staff.”
The school’s history is has had an impact on Thiel’s view of the school.
“Just how amazing it is to be a part of a place with so much history but so much willingness to move forward at the same time. People care for each other, accept each other and try to help each other out. That is just a remarkable experience in a high school. It was just a huge privilege to be able to be here in that,” Theil said.
Stewart explains that several factors contributed to his decision to take the assistant principal position.
“I was teaching and coaching and I never really planned on it [becoming an assistant principal]. It was just like one day I started thinking [that] I kind of wanted to change. I don’t know if it was any one thing, particularly. I started talking with some people, next thing you know I’m enrolled in a program to get my principals certificate,” Stewart said. “I can’t tell you that it was any one specific thing. I come from a family of educators, my father was a principal in the 1970’s at Lincoln and my sister is a principal at Spinning. She has been in the district a lot longer than I have. I just knew that I wanted to try something different. I enjoy the role, it is challenging.”
Although the assistant principals enjoy their jobs, there are some difficulties that come with it as Perez explains.
“The hardest part of the job is what I call the juggling act and it is no different than what any student has to go through during the day. So it is having to do with time management. You only have 24 hours in the day,” Perez said. “So it is that juggling act of making sure that I can be as good as I can be in this building and make the biggest impact that I can. At the same time, I am making sure that I have time to go home and be in the moment with my family. It is the time management piece and that is just the nature of the game.”
The assistant principal position is one of variety, which is one of the reasons that Stewart says he enjoys the job.
“Days can vary, of course this is only the first week and a half here at PHS. You could walk in during the day typically your just supervising in the morning, just watching the student body. At any given time something can happen (I don’t want to jinx it) fighting or some other kind of situation could happen. You’re working on things all the time, but if something walks in, then you deal with it,” Stewart said. “Some days could be strictly supervision and working on projects and working with staff and students. Other days, half of the day could be taken up because of a discipline matter. It varies, that is why I like the job it is never quite the same.”
Helping people is what Thiel considers to be the best part of being an assistant principal. Thiel describes how she helps and interacts with people.
“I would say the most important part of my job is just interacting with people, all types of people, whether it is support staff in our building, district staff, parents and students obviously. That is why I am here, I love the students,” Thiel said. “I will walk in here and four or five people waiting for me or I will have three or four phone messages or I have someone who needs me to run out and check on a student who maybe passing out. Anything from being an errand person to covering a big crisis and doing safety things. I think the best part is that constantly what I am doing is just trying to serve people and have that opportunity to help people out.”