Our New Director of Student Services: Dr. Widmann

Samantha Manessis, Reporter

Taking on the role of a “supervisor” in a high school is a large task at any time, but doing so mid-pandemic is even tougher. Not for Dr. Widmann, however, Wantagh High School’s newest Director of Student Services. For him, this is a new and exciting challenge that he plans to face head on!

Change is important, especially in today’s troubling times. For Wantagh High School students, it is time for some much needed changes to occur. Students had a variety of answers to the following question: “What changes do you want to see in our school for this year and next?” For the seniors, many are unhappy with the provided parking and would like more space. The juniors crave a more normal school year, especially for next year (their senior year). The sophomores want the dividers gone for good. Finally, the freshman wish for some more flexibility within the school’s clubs. But most of all, everyone wants nothing more than to return to normal, and the feeling is nothing less than mutual for Dr. Widmann as he “hates the idea of student’s losing the high school experience.”

Dr. Widmann’s new role in Wantagh High School is the “director of student services,” which means that he is responsible for things such as: testing schedule, senior parking, and some of the students in regards to typical dean duties. However, while his position is much like that of the principal and assistant principal, he finds it most important to “be visible, sociable and friendly with all students and staff,” as he wants nothing more than to provide support for all of Wantagh High School’s community. 

Dr. Widmann has been teaching for 32 years, 17 of those years here at Wantagh High as the Social Studies department chairperson. While he loved his time as a teacher, he ultimately decided to accept this higher position he holds now to challenge himself, and to “work alongside Dr. Guzzone and Mr. Pappas to help carry out their goals for the school.” Dr. Widmann plans to focus on making the high school experience as enjoyable as possible for all students through these uncertain times.

His main concern is returning to normalcy within our school. While many things are currently out of our community’s hands, Dr. Widmann wants to ensure all students and staff feel comfortable reacclimating to a normal school setting. In doing so, he, along with all New York State officials, intend to follow the three step plan: 1)Avoid hybrid or remote learning, 2) Properly wear our masks and limit the spread, and 3) Drop the number of overall infection/cases. In particular to our school and community, he wants to have a “niche for everyone” whether that be by creating new clubs or adding more challenging classes to our curriculum. 

Another important change Dr. Widmann intends to make this school year is to increase communication between the students and their families via technology. Being pulled away from our normal school setting the last two years certainly wasn’t the best case scenario for anybody, however, Dr. Widmann saw light in the challenging situation. He, alongside Dr.  Guzzone and Mr. Pappas, find that using our provided technology more than we have in previous years may not be as bad as we thought. Moving away from the typical pen and paper style learning allows access to not only work at home if a student is unable to attend school, but also a heightened sense of awareness of school happenings for both the student’s themselves and their families. 

The future looks bright for Wantagh High through the collaboration of Dr. Widmann’s new ideas and opinions, and the student’s informative concerns and suggestions. With the assistance of our new leader, Wantagh High School is looking forward to what the future may hold and anticipating a safe and fun school year!