Principal to retire at semester’s end

After eight and a half years on campus, Wahl announces his retirement


Stephani Alvarado

Hours after announcing his retirement to the faculty and staff, principal Michael Wahl celebrates with class president Aboudi Awad after the seniors win the spirit stick at the pep rally Dec. 2.

Emma Siebold, Editor-in-Chief

Before he became a principal, Michael Wahl taught elementary math and science and coached junior high girls’ athletics.

For the past eight years, he has enjoyed the view over Smithson Valley High School.

“You see the bigger picture of the whole school, the vision of what the whole purpose of what high school’s about and it gives you more of a bird’s eye view,” he said.

On Friday, that view moves into his rearview mirror as faculty, staff and students bid him farewell with a retirement sendoff in the main entrance at 2:50 p.m.

Wahl said he will miss the community.
“It’s very welcoming, and everybody is a Ranger,” Wahl said. “The relationships that I’ve built with students, former students and staff –I ’m going to miss that the most.”

Wahl has been working in education for 32 years and plans to take time off for his family. He chose to follow the teacher retirement plan and leave at the end of December rather than the end of June.

“I talked to my family, my parents and my wife, and we just decided it was the best time for me to do that right now,” Wahl said. “My parents are getting a little older, and there are a couple of trips they want me to go on in the spring semester, so it was the right time.”

Academic dean Stephani Alvarado has worked with Wahl for four and a half years.

“He’s the best principal I’ve ever worked for,” Alvarado said. “He’s gracious, calm, poised and polite. He allows you to find your own path but at the same time coaches you through it. I’m so thankful.”

After working under four other principals, Alvarado considers Wahl to be her favorite.

“I’m sad for us, but I’m so excited for him,” Alvarado said, “because after 32 years in education, the man deserves well-earned retirement.”

Wahl’s interim replacement, Tammy Pinkham, is the district’s director of advanced academics and counseling. She previously worked on campus as an assistant principal and academic dean.

“I hired Mrs. Pinkham a couple of years ago, so I know her very well,” Wahl said. “She’s been on our campus so that’s going to give her an advantage, and she knows what it means to be a Ranger and what we’re all about here.”