Sean Bevan Named New WHS Principal
Assistant Principal Sean Bevan will take over as the new Principal at Westwood High School.
Westwood High School announced late last week that Assistant Principal Sean Bevan will take over as the school’s new principal effective July 1. Bevan will take the place of Emily Parks, who will become the Assistant Superintendent on the same date.
“I am most excited because the students and staff have been enthusiastic in their support and interest in my moving into the principal position,” said Bevan. “Ms. Parks has done such a terrific job in cultivating a healthy school environment; I am happy to take over where she left off.”
Superintendent John Antonucci said that Bevan is a good fit for the role, because he understands and values the Westwood school culture.
“I am very excited about Sean taking on the new role as principal,” said Antonucci. “He’s a tremendous leader.”
Bevan started his career in education as a grant writer for the School District of Philadelphia. He explained that with No Child Left Behind just beginning to progress, it was an interesting time to enter the education field. After spending time visiting area schools, Bevan decided to pursue a career in teaching.
“It just seemed to be a more meaningful and direct way to impact the lives of students than grant writing did,” Bevan explained.
Bevan worked in a high school in Philadelphia for one year before moving to Massachusetts to be with his wife. He worked at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough for eight years. There, he immersed himself in the school culture by advising the school newspaper, coaching baseball, teaching SAT prep courses, and presenting professional development sessions.
Bevan said that he enjoyed the experience and felt that it was a wonderful place for his teaching career to grow and develop. Two years ago, he applied for the Assistant Principal job at Westwood High School. He said he thought it would be the perfect fit, and has not been disappointed.
While Bevan currently lives in Sudbury with his wife and two daughters, he grew up about an hour north of New York city. He is an admitted lifelong Yankees fan, which he says is the source of fun between he and his students.
“Baseball fans are very passionate here and in New York, so I have enjoyed those discussions,” said Bevan.
Harry Clapsis, a senior at Westwood High School, expressed a great amount of respect for Bevan and said that his love of the Red Sox and Bevan’s love of the Yankees has caused some interesting debates.
“The greatest thing Mr. Bevan brings to the table is his relationship with students,” said Clapsis. “He is not simply known as the guy who gets you into trouble. He gets to know who you are as a person and always tries to see things from the perspective of students. I know I personally can talk to him about his adoration of the New York Yankees and how the Sox are far superior in every way.”
Clapsis noted that the position of Assistant Principal often has the stereotype of being an disciplinarian, leading some students to fear him for his power to get them in trouble. However, Clapsis said that Bevan combats the stereotype and seeks to be an important source of support for students.
“I am very confident that Mr. Bevan will do a fantastic job as the incoming principal and will continue to make Westwood High School one of the best schools in the Commonwealth,” Clapsis said.
Bevan agrees that many students and parents primarily see him in his public role of the one handling discipline issues and providing supervision at events. He said that one of the unfortunate realities of the Assistant Principal position is that these elements are the least interesting to him. Bevan is looking forward to working closely with curriculum, hiring, budget and all things demanded of the principal. He noted that these are things he has already been doing, but now he will have more time to focus on them.
One area of focus for Bevan as the new principal is the school's advisory program, which he said isn’t working quite as well as he would like. He will be comparing models and finding out what fits the student and teacher needs. Bevan is also interested in continuing to implement technology to enhance teaching and learning, while preparing students for college and the working world.
“There are a lot of ways to do that well,” said Bevan. “We need to find the plan of attack that is best suited to needs of our students and teachers.”
Bevan said that he is ready to take on the challenge of taking a top-tier school already performing at a high level and still refining aspects. Finding a balance between being confident in their strengths and finding ways to improve can be a major challenge.
Bevan is particularly looking forward to being able to lead his own school, saying that it is something he has hoped to do for a long time.
“It’s a great time to be in the profession, and I am very optimistic about the direction of Westwood High School,” Bevan said.