Tomaszewski’s paternity leave brings new changes to administration

Interim Principal John M. Saras looks forward to the positive changes for Baldwin High School.

Evelyn Esek, Mandy Wu, and Hailey Dietz

With Principal Shawn Tomaszewski beginning his paternity leave, several assistant principals and teachers have been called forward to fill the administrative roles. 

“I am confident that Mr. Saras, Mr. Whitfield, and all of the faculty and staff at BHS, will sustain our positive momentum during my absence,” Tomaszewski said in an email. 

Moving into the interim principal position, John Saras is looking to keep the building running smoothly. 

“I think the plan is just to continue with the expectations set forth by Mr. T,” Saras said. 

Saras’s experience in administration totals 10 years: seven years as an assistant principal and three years as assistant principal and athletic coordinator. 

Saras said that Tomaszewski’s preparation made the transition easy for him to assume the role. He will continue to prepare for the next school year by helping create student schedules. 

“In being the interim principal, I will be knee deep in the scheduling process, and work with the other individuals here at administration as well as the school counselors to make the master schedule,” Saras said. 

At the high school level, the spring months are a busy time with student activities. In the coming months, students will participate in scheduling and state testing, as well as spring sports and events like prom. 

Saras also plans to continue to attend school sports and student activities, as Tomaszewski and other administrators have done in the past. 

“That support in and out of BHS, attending and being visible and supporting what we have (is important),” Saras said. 

Assistant Principal Brandon Whitfield currently remains in his same role, and the other assistant principal position is being split between teachers Denise Wells and Dr. Dan Harrold. When Saras leaves for his own paternity leave, Whitfield will assume the interim principal position with Wells and Harrold continuing as acting assistant principals. 

Wells, until recently, has been teaching sixth grade at Harrison Education Center. 

“Stepping away from teaching in the classroom was tough this year because I have created a routine and have built necessary relationships to help the sixth graders grow,” Wells said. 

Wells has filled roles in administration before, and the main difference between the experiences are the time of year they took place. 

“So far, the biggest difference for me is that it is now the end of the year and there are many end-of-the-year expectations coming our way, like scheduling,” Wells said.

Wells enjoys working in administration and is glad that she has gotten the opportunity to do so again. 

“Having the opportunity to see first hand how our students are preparing for the future and how much they have grown is probably the best part of this job,” Wells said. “The learning environment here at Baldwin High School is something to be proud of and I am honored to be a part of it.”

Wells will oversee freshmen and sophomores, and Harrold will oversee juniors and seniors. 

This is Harrold’s first time in administration. He started the school year teaching senior English classes, and then went on leave. Now, he is assuming the Assistant Principal position. 

“It’s a learning experience. In teaching, you have a lot of control on how your day goes. You plan your lessons and run them five times,” he said. “Here, I might have no idea what’s going to happen each day. That’s been one of the biggest changes – the unpredictability.”

Though he enjoys his new role, he is currently undecided in his plans for next year. 

“If I had to decide right now, (I would go back to teaching) because I’m more familiar and comfortable with it, but I’m really glad to be able to try this out and see if it is for me,” he said. 

Harrold will continue his involvement in student activities. He will continue to run the Literary Guild, co-sponsor Senior Class end-of-year functions, commencement, and prom, and help organize the pep rallies. 

Wells, a Baldwin High School graduate, hopes to encourage students to take pride in their school and create lasting connections. 

“This is a special place and everyone should believe that,” Wells said.