Fresh Faces All Around: Assistant Principal Will Schaffer Joins WAHS Community


Brookelyn Shantler, News Editor

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

The first thing that comes to mind is something military related. It would have to be on how to use a gas mask the right way, and clear it, and then all the things you can do once it’s on because a lot of the times you put it on, you don’t want your seal to break because your like, “oh my goodness, don’t move, don’t move too much.” And you actually can do a ton of things with those things on it and still be safe.

Why did you decide to do the work you’re doing?

I attended a school kind of like CATEC, my last two years of high school. So cooking was something I was passionate about. I did that half a day, so that and sports, kept me motivated to do well. My last two years of school, I really stepped my game up and I ended up with C’s in high school. I was also not the best student prior to that and there weren’t many people that took interest or even asked questions about anything going on with me. I wanted to be that person for kids. Then when I went into the military, I gained rank really quickly, so I was put into a position to lead and teach, and I loved it. I loved helping people have these, “Ah-ha” moments of, “Oh, now I get it.”

What small gesture from a stranger made a big impact on you?

I had a great experience in West Virginia, so much that my last year there after football season, I worked at a Cracker Barrel as a server and I was serving alongside at 50-something-year-old science teacher at one of the local school’s who was putting her daughter through college in Los Angeles and she was working extra to pay for it. We became so close that once I was done and there was a summer gap between the time I was done at the University of Charleston and when I had to report to the University of Virginia, they let me live at their house for free. It was her, her husband, and their other daughter but they welcomed me in and didn’t want any money, they were just so pleasant.

There are two types of people in this world. What are the two types?

Those who can, and those who cannot, yet. If I started practicing and people started helping me, I would eventually be able to do it and I think that’s something we need to believe in ourselves, that whole growth mindset thing, that we can’t, yet. We can if we work hard.

What’s the biggest or hardest lesson you’ve learned?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that your circumstances don’t define what you’re capable of becoming. When I grew up, I remember times when we didn’t have electricity for months, I remember my mom working a crazy amount of overtime, and you wouldn’t see her all day just to pay the bills and things. I had a stepfather that was awful. Growing up it was in a sense, feeling like living in a prison. When my mom wasn’t around, my stepfather was very physically abusive towards me, and there were times when I wanted to give up. As I said before, the only people that took interest were my coaches, and that’s because of my athletic talents. They didn’t talk to me about college, they didn’t say I was capable, they didn’t try to redirect me any which way. I had friends that were selling drugs, they were drinking, but I hung around them. I was in a really bad space, physically, mentally, emotionally. Then I went away to school to be a chef and got expelled from school. So I was in a bad place, but I joined the military, my mindset changed, I worked harder, and I saw education as a possibility. So where I started, didn’t have to dictate where I ended up, because here I am at Western, right?

What song do you know all the lyrics to?

Oh goodness, most of the time I’ll mumble a few.  Let’s see, my son and I sing a lot of songs, but we make them up, that’s the fun of it. I guess I’m going to have to go basic and say “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” That’s my world, I have a seven-month-old and a four-year-old, so my world is kids songs. That and church songs, I know a lot of those.

What are your most used smartphone apps?

My Google calendar because that’s how I stay connected with my wife’s schedule, Waze, I  love that one, and Safari because I have a lot of questions. Is messaging an app? I don’t always feel like talking on the phone and it’s easier to just drop a quick message. I used to have Candy Crush. I was like in the 200’s and I was just like, they’re challenging my character here, I’m cheating, nope, not doing it anymore. With two kids I don’t put any games on my there. I love games but you can sit down and an hour later you wonder where the time went, they’re too addicting!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

So far, I’ve had a really warm welcome, all the people here at Western have been great.  It’s so interesting too because everyone sees this school as like, top tier. I go around and they are like, oh are you still at Jack Jouett Middle School, and I’m like no I’m out at Western now. They are like, “woah, that’s a step up,” I love my old job and I’m gonna love this one too. The school has a great reputation and community, which is great to hear, I think there’s a lot I’m going to have to learn, but I think it’s going to be fun.