Dr. Graham’s Vision for Nashoba

Sean Pokorney, Contributing Editor

The start of the school year is always an exciting time of the year, in fact, as the new year rolls in, many changes are coming to Nashoba.


This is only Dr. Graham’s second year here at Nashoba. Before coming here, he worked as both an Assistant Principal for an elementary school and a Principal for a middle school in North Carolina. He also started out his education career as a German teacher in nearby  North Andover.


I took the opportunity to meet with Dr. Graham to understand not only the changes that were made, but also to understand the changes he wants to make. Additionally, Dr. Graham shared his thoughts regarding Nashoba’s strengths and weaknesses.


As it is Dr. Grahams second year here at Nashoba, he is still shaping it into what he wants it to be.


We started off our conversation by recapping his first year here. Like many principals or teachers at any school, he began by saying we have the best students you could want. But, unlike many other principals or teachers, he insists that it is true here at Nashoba. “It was great to build connections with the staff and students” Dr. Graham said.


That was followed by asking him what he thought were Nashoba’s weakest parts in his opinion.. Unlike many students, his answer wasn’t the food. He pointed out how he would’ve liked to have seen teachers working more together in what they teach. He felt it would be beneficial if our teachers collaborated with each other about topics that overlapped. He felt that as of right now that wasn’t happening.


Another point that he thought Nashoba could improve upon was our innovation. Although the idea and his want for innovation came up many times in our conversation. Dr. Graham spent a good portion of our time together talking about how he wants to see more options for students that interest them, more classes like our sophomore history elective or senior English electives. He felt that if the classes we are taking are of interest to us, then we will be more motivated to learn.


He pointed out to me that here at Nashoba we have the only EMT program of its kind here. He used this as an example of how we are unique and innovative. He wants to see this kind of innovation within the classes we are offered. Students who are enrolled in the EMT program are given two years of practical, in the field experience, before they even enter college. By having this leg up, they are given a better chance at success.  Dr. Graham wants that in more subjects.


He called this idea of innovation and improvements to our classes as “Personalized Education”.


We then discussed what he felt were the strong points of Nashoba. He stated that not only are the students great, but so are the teachers, support staff here at the school, and the entire community. All of these people help to build a strong sense of community. He said “everyone just gets along with each other, and that just makes everything easier.”


He pointed out that we are a very successful school with a high high school graduation rate, college attendance rate, general grades received, and were ranked in the top 50 high schools in the state.


We ended our conversation by talking about the changes that he wanted to see implemented now that he has begun his second year here.


One of the first changes the he pointed out, and one everyone has probably noticed, has been dubbed “rebutiffication”. This has included the removal of many murals off the walls and the painting of the front entrance and hallway, a minty green. Through the formation of the mural club, Dr. Graham hopes to have more school spirited and school based murals painted throughout the school. His goal is to make the school more welcoming, but at the same time, creative.


Another change we discussed was the addition of the school resource officer or SRO for short. Dr. Graham said, “I really wanted to get one here, since in my old district we had one.” He felt they provided not only a sense of safety for the students, but as an added resource. They are able to give presentations on various topics such as teen dating and substance abuse as well as drop in on justice and law classes to give an added perspective. Overall, Dr. Graham sees this addition as a big success and is “very excited to have one”.


He ended our conversation by summarizing everything we talked about into a short phrase, “We are a truly great school”.


In such a short time, Dr. Graham has already put his mark on Nashoba, and will continue to do so for as long as he is here.