Granger Joins WAHS as Assistant Principal

Longtime administrator is still learning


Credit: Harrison Miracle

Granger has designed his office to represent his history in education as a student, teacher and administrator.

Our new assistant principal Doug Granger, a long-time Crozet resident, has now worked at all levels of administration in Albemarle County Public Schools. At Western, Granger supervises the Fine Arts and World Language departments, works with students with last names A-G,  and is in charge of parking, contact tracing, and CATEC.

Born in San Diego, Granger was raised on an Indigenous reservation along the Colorado River because his father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After growing up in a small town, he experienced a culture shock when he moved to Woodbridge, Virginia, where the mall was larger than his hometown. During high school, Granger grew to focus on band, specifically the trumpet, and eventually attended JMU to get a degree in music education. After working as high school band director and a trumpet player in the National Guard, Granger returned to school at UVA to get his Master of Education. 

First working as an assistant principal at both the elementary and middle school level, Granger climbed to work at the ACPS Central Office and eventually became principal of Agnor Hurt Elementary School. Granger has a large family, with four kids of his own, and three step kids. Five of his kids live at home and each of them goes to different schools.


Interviewer: What exactly drew you to work here at WAHS?

Granger: I love being a principal, but I wanted to be on a team where I’m not the point person, so I went to Dr. Haas and told him that. There are a lot of places he could have sent me, but I asked if I could work in a high school. This job hadn’t opened yet. A week or two later, he called me and he told me that Mr. Gillespie was leaving and that he’d like me to go to Western. I thought “that’s a home run!” because I love this school. 

It’s very different from being closer to Charlottesville because in Charlottesville, between all the schools, they’re only about five miles apart and there’s probably 6,000 students. It’s just so dense. Whereas Western Albemarle school zone goes all the way to Greene County, and all the way to Nelson County, and all the way up to almost to the city limits. It’s just so broad. You have kids who live kind of out in the country, you have kids who live in the suburbs, and everything in the middle. So it’s so different. It really gave me something I could learn. I just feel like this is a good school to kind of learn from because I haven’t been in a high school as an administrator. 


Interviewer: How do you think the first football game went and how did you feel about that? How did the second one go?

Granger: I love “Friday Night Lights.” My little town in Arizona was always the state champion. It was so small, there was nothing else to do. On Friday night, almost everyone in town came. So I love football, and I love a crowd. I feel like it’s gone really well, considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The Virginia High School League, which monitors and managers like high school athletics, they’ve shown a lot of confidence in us to run the program without causing COVID to spread. That’s something we have to take seriously because they could just shut us down. It’s been a challenge because when you’re at a football game, you want to be with your friends, you don’t want to stand six feet apart.


Interviewer: What is your favorite part of this new job?

Granger: I love lunch duty, believe it or not. I actually enjoy lunch duty, because that’s when two of my favorite people in the world meet: teachers and students. I’ve been a teacher my whole life, and I was a student for a big chunk of it. Ever since humans were living in caves, we sat around fires and ate food together. It’s just what humans do to connect. I’m probably the only school administrator in the world who ever would say that too. 


Interviewer: Is there something that you’re looking forward to about this school year?

Granger: I’ve already said it to the seniors every time I see them, that I’m doing a mental countdown in my head. After the first day of school, I saw a student and said “I’m going to be Doug, way more of your life than I am Mr. Granger.” I’m just going to be another citizen of Albemarle county of Virginia and these seniors aren’t going to be kids in my school. I’m looking forward to watching them graduate. They’ve had four principals in four years. They’ve had COVID. They aren’t the first class of COVID, who mostly got high school. The class of 2020 graduated mostly virtual, but they were in it together. But these are the people who have spent most of their high school in a mask. I’m really proud that they’ve stuck with it and persevered. From what I can tell, they’re maintaining a pretty positive attitude about it. I’m really looking forward to watching how this year unfolds and seeing those seniors off in style. I think they deserve it. I think they have the right principal for it. I think that the school is primed to have this be really an extraordinary year for them. I’m looking forward to graduation, not just because it means school’s over, but because there’s a promise of tomorrow, like hope.