By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough – After serving seven years as the athletic director and six years as an assistant principal, Brian Callaghan is the new principal at Westborough High School (WHS). He brings to the position nearly 20 years of experience in education.
“I think having that contextual knowledge of 13 years here will help me move our school forward,” said Callaghan, who formerly taught history. “I feel strongly in lessons learned from the past, and using that knowledge and rich traditions to make sure that we'se doing the very best job we can.”
Callaghan didn's need to look far for role models because he comes from a family of educators including a grandmother, both parents, an aunt, sister, brother and wife. Yet, he didn's realize he wanted to pursue a career in education until late in his junior year at Merrimack College.
“I was a double major, history and political science; I thought I's go into law,” he said. “Then I started substitute teaching at our local elementary school as a part-time job. I fell in love with working with kids.”
Before his senior year, Callaghan added a minor in education, studied during the summer, and then attended night classes during the school year. He graduated with a minor in education in 1993. That same year, he began teaching high school history and math as a long-term substitute teacher in his hometown of Rochester, N.H.
He spent that entire summer searching for a teaching job. Then in late August, he heard about an opening in Massachusetts.
“A teacher in West Boylston retired a week before school started,” he said. “I got that job and moved down here.”
In 1994, Callaghan began teaching history in grades nine through 12 at West Boylston Middle/High School. Four years later, the school's athletic director took a leave of absence.
“Nobody wanted the job and I was coaching three sports at the time, so I said I's do it,” he said. “I taught in the morning, and then did athletic administration and coaching in the afternoon.”
Callaghan felt comfortable working as an athletic director. He was attracted to an opening for that position in 2000 at a larger school, WHS.
“I really fell in love with the athletics end of it,” he said. “I put my name in the ring and was fortunate enough to get the job. I taught history for a year here, too, to fill in the gaps.”
Observing a yearly increase in the number of students enrolled at WHS, Callaghan implemented changes in the athletic department.
“When I arrived here, it was a school of about 700 kids; now we'se a school of 1,100,” he noted. “With more kids, comes more programs. We expanded some female programs because we were a little shy in the number of girls” sports to boys” sports. Then I addressed a huge need for sub-varsity programs for our freshmen and sophomores. And we did some major renovations around our field and facilities. It was an exciting time from the get-go.”
In 2007, Callaghan was named assistant principal while John Smith was principal. Callaghan said he and Smith share a similar philosophy, which he described as “a strong sense of community and working together to meet a goal.”
For this school year, Callaghan announced a mantra: cherish the classroom experience.
“I communicated that message to our staff, to the entire student body on their first-day assembly, and to our parents at open house,” he said. “The classroom isn's just up in the hallways; it's the field, the concerts, the auditorium, the cafeteria. Cherish the moments wherever you can learn.”