WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Eric Evans has only been on the job for a few weeks, yet the new principal at Williams High School is already setting goals for the new school year.
“I’m looking at what we can do to increase not only student outcomes, but student opportunities,” Evans said.
Evans said he wants to ensure the school is not only providing an excellent education, but also providing an array of extracurricular and co-curricular activities for students that will help give them positive feelings and a sense of ownership toward their school.
“I’m looking at what can we do to keep our kids busy, engaged and involved so they walk away at graduation with an overall healthy relationship about how they feel about their former school,” he said.
Evans is coming to Williams with over 16 years of teaching and administrative experience.
Prior to Williams, Evans was the principal for five years at American Heritage Academy, a K-12 charter school in Cottonwood.
Evans also worked five years as a teacher at Camp Verde High School where he taught physical education, health and weight training classes, and six years at schools in San Luis and Yuma.
“This is going to be unique only having the high school mindset as opposed to all of it,” Evans said about the transition from a K-12 principal to just high school.
Evans grew up near Niagara Falls, New York, spending summers in nearby Canada fishing at the multitude of lakes.
He knew at an early age he wanted to become a teacher.
“I had dedicated my high school study hall and lunch to being a TA (teaching assistant) in PE and taking my lunch with a small group of special needs kids,” he said.
Evans was active in sports, participating in basketball, baseball and golf in high school, and then was a walk-on in basketball and golf at a local junior college.
He was able to take this love of athletics into his career of teaching physical education, health and coaching.
In addition to regular classes, Evans has coached football, softball, track and field and soccer.
“I’ve really done a little bit of everything,” he said.
Although Evans' background is physical education and health, he has been given opportunities to teach in many capacities.
“I started with elementary boys PE and coached,” he said. “I did summer school math, credit recovery for freshman health — but mostly it was PE, health, weight training, coaching — that is the meat and potatoes of my background.”
Evans decided to make the transition to administration in hopes of having a greater influence in education.
“I wanted to have a deeper, wider impact on education,” Evans said. “I wanted to be a part of the everyday decision making of the campus.”
Evans said his goal has always been to lead with integrity and honesty.
“My motivation was to have a bigger impact, but to do so with a good moral compass,” he said. “We want to make the right decisions with integrity and ethics — good professional decisions.”
Evans said he is grateful for the opportunity to move to Williams and plans to be a part of the community.
“That was a point of discussion right from the get go — that I would live and support the community in which I work,” Evans said. “That’s been true throughout my career.”
Evans is bringing his wife and two young daughters to Williams. His wife, Darcy, has been hired as a fourth grade teacher at Williams Elementary-Middle School.
Evans said he and his wife hope to make a positive impact on the school and community.
“I love this area and I love the quaintness of the town,” Evans said. “The people are so nice and welcoming. That was a priority for my family and me, to come to a community where we would feel welcome and supported.”
Evans said he has already met several of the teachers and staff at the high school and is eager to jump in where previous principal, Rick Honsinger, left off.
“I’m grateful that Rick has left this (school) in such good shape,” Evans said. “For him to hand this over feels like so many right things are happening and that things are very stable.”
Evans said Honsinger has made it easy to slip into the role and continue doing good work at the high school.
“You don’t sense any of those red flag things when you come,” he said. “This is completely at the other end of that. Everything feels really good, we are going to be able to get in here and get down to work.”
Evans will be at the WUSD registration fair July 17-18 and is eager to meet students, parents and community members.