The Hound's Bark
Healdsburg High School
The Heroic Sendoff of Principal Bill Halliday
JUN. 3, 2021
After nine years of working for Healdsburg Unified School District, one of the most valued staff members, Bill Halliday, will be retiring after serving out his term as principal in the 2020-2021 school year.
After nine years of working for Healdsburg Unified School District, one of the most valued staff members, Bill Halliday, will be retiring after serving out his term as principal in the 2020-2021 school year. Halliday has worked various roles in his district years, first starting as the co-principal at Fitch Mountain Elementary School and simultaneously the assistant principal at Healdsburg Junior High. The following year he served as assistant principal for the Junior High again and became the director of student services for the district. From there he became the principal of the junior High where he worked for three more years. At the end of those three years he became the principal of Healdsburg High School, where he has remained for the past four years .
Halliday used to educate in a different way. Many will be surprised to learn he’s a licensed rafting instructor, and he can’t wait to get back to the outdoors in his retirement. “I’m going down the grand Canyon on a Colorado rafting trip within a week of my last day of work.” Halliday explained that while he loves being a high school principal, he works around 60 hours a week without much of a break at any point, even during summer. “I’ve had to say no to a lot of things like: no to travel, no to river trips, and I'm looking forward to being able to say yes and being spontaneous,” said Halliday.
Along with rafting, Halliday hopes to invest free time into volunteer organizations that he’s been involved with. “I was just on a board for an organization that dealt with homeless folks, but I was too busy with my job to really commit fully to that.” Other efforts such as protecting the Russian River are also on his mind.
Despite his retirement, Halliday would still like to spend time working at the school. “After six months I should be able to take part-time work. If an administrator is taking family leave, they're having a baby, or they're having a health issue and they need to take leave and need somebody to cover for a couple months.” Halliday plans to step in and volunteer for Healdsburg High as well as other high schools around the county.
When asked about his aspirations for the future of Healdsburg High, Halliday said his first hope was for the students to rebuild and renew the culture of the school. “That is one of the things I most regret about leaving at this time, is that I won’t be able to see everyone come back in one group. I’d just like school to be normal again, for Friday night football games, dances, rallies, REIBT, clubs, and all the fun things that are put on in large groups.” His second wish for HHS was for more diverse involvement in clubs, such as leadership. Last but not least, he hopes the teachers can continue to be collaborative in making decisions for student success.
In the past few years, Halliday has led the high school through a great deal of trauma, from the fires, floods, and the pandemic. “The greatest thing I ever did for HHS, I think, is also the toughest thing. Assisting the community through all of those hardships has been incredibly difficult. But I think with all things considered I did a fairly good job at helping parents, students, and teachers,” said Halliday. He also is grateful for the teachers he has been able to hire during his time at HHS. “We welcomed so many great personalities; Mr. Natelli, Chef Corsino, Mrs. Atwood, Mrs. Calhoun, Mrs. Dale, Mrs. Ruiz, Mr. Cavanaugh. All amazing people that have brought lots of life and expertise to our community here.”
It is with heavy hearts that we say our farewells to Mr. Halliday, as he retires with a heart even heavier. But his work at the school will never be forgotten, and we are forever grateful for the care and guidance you have given to Healdsburg High School.