Serving students and staff with compassion is every high school principal’s wish. John Williams, the principal of Phoenix Academy High School, is no exception. Williams has served this Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools District high school for seven years and continues to help students and staff through his service. Through an email interview with the Daily Tar Heel, he reveals the key to his compassion for helping homeless students and families.
The Daily Tar Heel: Please discuss your passion in helping the homeless families.
John Williams: People often confuse my desire to help the students and staff I serve or those possibly less fortunate than myself with some kind of passion. As I often tell people, I have very little passion about most things. In fact, I am not certain I would be able to do the job that I do if I was very passionate about it.
Instead, what I share with most people is that what they see in me is not an internal passion for the work I do, but compassion for the people I serve. As I often share with the students and staff I serve, "I know what will happen to you if you succeed, and I know what will happen to you if you don't."
Addressing affordable housing in isolation is identical to addressing the school system's achievement gap — the injustices in law enforcement/criminal justice system, income inequality, health care inequality and any other social injustice in isolation. It simply does not work. In essence, I believe a comprehensive community approach, which requires an intentional comprehensive collaboration between many of the social services agencies, safety departments, health facilities, economic and housing organizations would facilitate a permanent change to any of these areas of community concerns.