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New assistant principal joins Gunn community

Above: Assistant Principal Heather Clary-Wheeler stands outside of her office in Gunn’s main office.

Above: Assistant Principal Heather Clary-Wheeler stands outside of her office in Gunn’s main office.

Heather Clary-Wheeler has joined Gunn as one of two new assistant principals. A former English teacher of Fresno Unified School District as well as a journalism and yearbook instructor for Parlier Unified School District, Wheeler enjoyed 10 years of working alongside her students. “[Teaching] is exciting because there’s so much going on,” Wheeler said. “School is really my first home, and the house with my bed is my second home.”

This philosophy has prepared Wheeler for the role of Assistant Principal. “It’s not a straightforward job,” she said. “We are the doer of all.” Wheeler hopes that the position, which requires her to supervise Gunn’s calendar, curriculum and student activities, will allow her to quickly grow close to her new colleagues and students.

“When the job opportunity came up, I did some research on Gunn and was excited to have the chance,” Wheeler said. The former Central Valley resident had previously heard about the “energy and enthusiasm” of the Gunn community. For Wheeler, a collaborative spirit is vital to a school’s continued improvement. “[It’s] a wonderful energy to have, knowing that just because we’ve reached those heights doesn’t mean we can’t go even deeper, or even wider,” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunity.”

When asked about her goals for her first year, Wheeler said, “What I want is what Gunn wants.” Wheeler plans to concentrate on forming close relationships with students and staff, through which she will identify and support individuals’ needs. In Wheeler’s opinion, every student deserves specialized academic and career-planning support, as well as “opportunities to express themselves” uniquely. “I really enjoy being able to individualize,” she said.

In her new role, Wheeler will also have the unique ability to support teachers in a similar way. By working with distinct communities within Gunn, such as the English Language Arts (ELA) programs and career and technical education staff, Wheeler looks forward to discussing “cutting-edge” curriculum development and innovative teaching methods with her fellow educators.

Though her new role seems daunting, Wheeler is enthusiastic about the challenge. “I like to think of myself as a servant leader,” she said. “Yes, we have a job to do…. But I like to have fun while I’m working.”

-Written by Ryeri Lim

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