Westlake High School Principal Timothy Freeman will retire on Feb. 10, Westlake Schools announced today.
Lee Burneson Middle School Principal Paul Wilson will immediately assume the duties of high school principal.
Freeman, who is leaving Westlake for a new professional opportunity, came to Westlake as WHS principal in 2006. Prior to WHS, Freeman was principal at Avon Lake High School and Albion Middle School in Strongsville, where he also served as Director of Pupil Services and assistant principal at Strongsville High School. He was the coordinator of academic coaching services at Brooklyn High School, and a special education teacher at Brookridge Elementary in Brooklyn. He began his education career as an associate teacher-counselor for Positive Education Program in Cleveland.
“We hate to lose him, but we understand Tim has been presented with an opportunity that uniquely fits his skill set. Opportunities do not always fit within a traditional timeline. You have to take them when they are presented. We wish him the best,” Superintendent Scott Goggin said. “Transitions like this are positive when you have familiar people in place. Paul has experience at the high school and will have the opportunity to begin crucial planning for next school year immediately.”
Freeman, who has been a member of the Westlake community for more than 15 years, said he is “blessed” to have served the community as WHS principal for the past 11 years.
“I was given the opportunity to lead an excellent faculty and staff, and spend each day with many truly wonderful and talented students,” Freeman said. “I want to thank our parent community for trusting me with their greatest resource, and I hope that I have made a difference.”
Freeman thanked his family for being partners in the lifestyle that goes with the role of a high school principal and making “Westlake High School such a big part of our family’s life.”
“I have always thought of it as more than a job and had the privilege of being the high school principal for all three of my own children – watching them grow and learn that community and family are to be valued,” Freeman said. “I will miss you very much, but will always remain a Westlake Demon at heart.”
Wilson was hired as WHS assistant principal in 2006 – a role he served in until he was named LBMS principal in 2010. Under Wilson’s leadership, LBMS earned the William M. Jones/Harvard Business School Club of Northeastern Ohio’s Excellence in School Leadership and Management Award. He presented at the State of Ohio Middle School Conference 2012-2014. Last year he was the recipient of the Ohio PTA Outstanding District Educator award.
Goggin said Wilson’s familiarity with the district and, specifically the high school, make him an ideal fit for the high school position.
Wilson has been in the district for 11 years. He said he’s enjoyed working with the “wonderful students and talented staff” at LBMS for seven years and looks forward to returning to the high school.
“Burneson will always be a special place to me. I am very proud of all that we accomplished,” Wilson said. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to join the tremendous staff at Westlake High School and work on behalf of our students to make their goals a reality.
“Tim Freeman has been a colleague and friend for 13 years, and I know how much ‘Demon Pride’ means to him. I look forward to continuing that rich tradition of success as we move forward.”
Wilson is an adjunct instructor at Ashland University and was a Northeast Ohio representative for the OASSA/OHSAA Principal’s Committee. He is a member of both the National and Ohio Associations of Secondary School Administrators, and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Grant Selection Committee.
Prior to joining Westlake, Wilson was an assistant principal and counselor at Avon Lake High School, and taught at Claymont High School in Uhrichsville. He also was a school counselor at Euclid Central Middle School.
Wilson earned his undergraduate degree from Capital University, and graduate degrees in school counseling and educational administration from the University of Akron and Ashland University, respectively. He holds a superintendent’s license and is completing a doctorate program in education through Youngstown State University.
LBMS Assistant Principal Elizabeth Dagostino will fill in as interim middle school principal for the remainder of this school year as a search for Wilson’s replacement begins. The district also will name an interim assistant principal at the middle school for this school year.