Meet an Administrator: Greg Wilson
Position: Principal at Lochburn Middle School
Years in Education: 24
Years at Clover Park: 24
How did you get started in education?
Initially I didn’t intend to go into education, I went into public relations and speech. But I got encouraged by my family to give education a try. After I got into the classroom, I discovered I really enjoyed it. The days went fast. It was very rewarding. Students and parents appreciated it when we did our job well, when I did my job well. So the rewards were well worth the time that I put into the classroom.
When did you get into administration?
At a point, it was time for me to earn a master’s degree and further my education, and after some encouragement from administrators in our building, I decided that one of the degrees I would pursue was a certification in administration. I began that right around 2000 and finished my administrative credential in the early-2000s. Since I received my credentials, I was an assistant principal at Woodbrook Middle School for four-and-a-half years and an assistant principal at Lochburn Middle School. I was a principal at Greenwood Elementary School on JBLM. I was also the principal at Hudtloff Middle School, and currently, I am the principal at Lochburn Middle School.
Where did you go to college and how did those experiences help you get here?
At the university level, something that led me down the path of education was the professors and the people I worked with. I did have friends and family in education. My father was a professor at PLU. My mother was a teacher in the Franklin Pierce School District. And so, between seeing my family and watching other university students go into education, it became something I eventually chose as my option.
What makes CPSD a good fit for you?
Clover Park School District is a good fit for me because the leadership in this district continually supports growth. As a teacher, I didn’t just teach: They would give you the opportunity to coach, to get outside the classroom, to get to know the kids and families in a different way. Clover Park employees and Clover Park leadership continually tap people on the shoulder and says “we have opportunities for you to grow: are you willing to take these opportunities? And if you do, we’re going to help you be successful.” And I feel like it has been successful for me.
What has surprised you most about working in education?
This shouldn’t have surprised me but what surprised me most about education is the time. Anyone who’s not in a classroom might think a teacher, administrator, classroom coach walks in with a little bit of preparation and starts teaching. But you learn quickly that an hour lesson might take you two hours to prep. And after the lesson is over, it might take you another hour to gather the materials, look at the assessments and then take the lesson that you did and tweak it, brainstorm with other people and each time, try and make whatever the standards of what you were teaching and try to make it even better the next time around. The time that it takes, I think, would shock people.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of the job is the people. I really enjoy working with the adults. I love sitting down and talking about strategies. I love talking about instructional components of lessons. I enjoy watching teachers teach. I relish the opportunity of giving feedback and hearing how they felt they did. And the students seeing them be successful in class, seeing them smile and really being engaged in the lesson when we walk in a classroom. Seeing every one of the students with their finger on the text or doing the writing that they have been assigned. Or collaborating and sharing their ideas is the reason that we do this job.
What are your hobbies?
My personal hobbies are fly fishing and exercise. I love to spend time with my family. My wife and I love to go to the gym on a regular basis. And in the evening, we read as a family, we watch movies. We really try to get a lot of family time when I’m not at work.
Where do you go for fly fishing?
Over the years, I’ve made several trips to Montana, floated the Big Hole River. Done some of the smaller creeks. Locally, I always look forward to fall because the salmon start running up the streams, and I love being out on the stream with some of my friends and catching some of the salmon on the rivers and going out in the Sound and catching sea run cutthroat on the Puget sound.
Are you active in any community organizations outside of the schools?
Since 1999, I’ve commuted from Federal Way to Lakewood. So when I am involved in the community, it’s mostly my kids’ school. Every year since I’ve taken this job, I have volunteered for a field trip for each of my daughters. And I have gone to their evening events, attended their plays, attended their musicals, and just made sure that my kids and the adults at my kids’ school see me, know me, and know that I am willing to be involved even if my time is short.