Bowie native and Linthicum resident Bill Heiser began his first year in the Baltimore County school system July 8 and said he can't wait to meet his students next week.
"You're anxious and excited about meeting the students, because students drive the school," Heiser said. "There's a lot of excitement around starting a new school year."
Heiser previously worked in Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties and is excited to start his first year in Baltimore County.
"Our students are really smart here," he said of those at Catonsville High. "We have really smart, active, engaged students. They're involved in a million different clubs and activities. One of the goals is to continue to ensure that that happens."
After graduating from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George's County, Heiser received a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in guidance and counseling from then-Loyola College before receiving a doctorate in higher education administration from Morgan State University.
He worked as part of the academic support programs at both University of Maryland, College Park and Loyola University before he decided he wanted to pursue a career in secondary education.
"I really felt, as I finished my [doctorate] degree, that I really wanted to go back and work directly with students," Heiser said.
After serving for a guidance counselor at Eleanor Roosevelt High from 2003 to 2006, Heiser decided a role in administration would be his best route.
"I was taking on more and more roles and so, with that, I really then started to drive my decision to want to become a principal," Heiser said. "To lead a school and to lead school change and to give back in a bigger way."
He spent two years as assistant principal at Annapolis High and three years as principal at North County High, both in Anne Arundel County, before he decided it was time for a change.
"I'm someone that's always looking for opportunities to grow," Heiser said. "I'm always looking for different experiences and new challenges to grow professionally.
"I started to look at how can I grow and how can I stretch myself," he said. "And I thought learning a new school system would be great."
He began to look for open principalships in Baltimore County and when he came upon the opening at Catonsville High, knew that was where he wanted to be.
"The more I researched about Catonsville [High], I knew it was a really great school with a great community," Heiser said. "And it was also in close proximity to where I was.
"I felt an instant comfort level," the Linthicum resident said. "And we hit the ground running."
Heiser plans to not only maintain existing programs at the school, but also make an effort to increase parental and student involvement both inside and outside of school.
"I think parental involvement is really important, and community involvement is really important," he said.