By; Anna Chanthaphavong
After being at EHS for 15 years, Principal Rich Watkins has received a promotion, leaving EHS behind and starting a new chapter of his life at the district office as director of Pupil Services and Intervention.
“I had an opportunity to step into a role that I’ve been interested in for years,” said Watkins.
His new job will have him in charge of more serious student discipline, support school sites with their discipline processes, student safety and work with all the assistant principals throughout the district.
Unlike his current job, Watkins will not be working with a certain school, which would be the first for him in over 20 years. He would be in a business where he would not interact with students as often.
“I think he’s going to be very good at his new job because he knows the things he’s gonna be dealing with,” said Denise McClain, the principal’s secretary.
Previously a teacher at EHS, an assistant principal for seven years and principal for 15 years, Watkins has watched the school grow, giving him more qualities for him to miss once he leaves. According to Watkins, he’s going to miss the students, who he was able to meet and watch them grow and develop, the staff and athletic events. He goes out everyday at lunch to interact with students and to clean up our campus.
“All four years, I see him walk around, throwing trash into the trashcan and talking with students,” said Senior Katie Haub.
With all that has happened in the 15 years, Watkins is proud of how the school has maintained tradition and history. Along with the fact that EHS is a student first school, where the staff supports the students and the new curriculum such as integrated math sets the students up for success. The seniors who also took the CAASP test last year had the highest English score out of the district and county and the math scores are improving.
According to Watkins, his favorite memories are attending the football and other sporting events and seeing the music program grow from 12 students into the three classes and concert band, along with watching them perform at pep rallies and the Center for the Arts. He also liked seeing our FFA program grow and seeing students develop leadership roles.
“What I’ll always remember the most is being loyal, strong and true,” said Watkins.
Rich Watkins started out as a science and p.e teacher at EHS before working his way up to an AP and then principal.