QHS principal Talley will teach science next year
Citing a desire to reduce his workload, Quincy High School principal David Talley will leave his post at the end of the school year and will instead teach science at QHS next year.
Talley has been in education for 34 years. He taught science for the first 13 years of his career before becoming a school administrator 21 years ago in California. He has been at Quincy High School for eight years. He arrived in 2009 from Walla Walla.
With his children grown now – a nurse and a teacher – Talley said that he is not quite ready to retire, and he likes the Quincy Valley and loves to teach. With the children out of the house and with his mom in California, “you begin to think about how much your time is worth,” Talley said.
“The high school principal job is a lot of time,” he said. “Most people would consider it the toughest job in education because it’s so overwhelming.”
Athletics, ASB, graduation requirements, large staffs, high visibility, commitments within the community, it makes for a long day, said Talley, who has also been a principal at the elementary level, in Walla Walla.
“You are under the lens the whole time, and it’s usually the largest school in a district on top of everything else,” he said.
He started talking to John Boyd, superintendent of Quincy School District, in December about stepping down. Before that, he had been talking to Boyd about hiring a new science teacher for QHS due to changes in the state requirements for science from 2017-2018 on.
“Science teachers aren’t easy to find,” he said. “They are one of the more challenging credentials to find.”
He did not hire himself, Talley said with a smile. “My boss agreed to assign me into a teaching role.
“I loved teaching science, it’s the most fascinating subject to teach,” he later said. As a science teacher, he can focus on one subject, instead of handling myriad issues as principal.
Next year, the building will have one principal, not two, Talley said. There will be no second-guessing.
“I am not going to play principal when I’m a teacher,” Talley said of being an employee next year at the building he ran for almost a decade. “I’m willing to help if the new person has any questions.”
The staff was surprised at his stepping down and a little nervous at the prospect of a new boss, but Talley said he believes the district will take in a lot of feedback from staff and hire a good person.
Students have already shown interest in maybe taking his science class next year, Talley said. And when he reminds them that they have no idea what he’s like as a teacher, Talley says they respond in the most teenage way: I know, but it may be kinda cool.
“Kids are funny,” Talley said. “They are also pretty flexible.”
Talley said he looked forward to seeing “the light bulb go on” when their students figure a concept out. What worries him the most is dealing with the cellphones in class.
“If you’re supposed to be learning something, you can’t be two-tracking it and paying attention to your phone,” he said. “So I have been thinking on how to acknowledge that today’s generation is a connected generation. I was the first guy to have a phone line in my classroom so I could have a dial-up modem, that’s how old I am.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org