By Emily Ball and Brynne Bergen
Since 1989, Mr. William Wallace has been through the ranks, from teaching at elementary schools and middle schools to upholding his current position as Assistant Principal at Eleanor N. Johnson Middle School. Over the years, Wallace has evolved from knowing a couple of hundred students to now interacting with over 400 students at the middle school; however, he recently decided to rethink his position.
“Over February break I decided that I wanted to go back to the classroom,” Wallace said. “I missed the teaching aspect.”
Wallace will not be traveling far as he takes on the challenge of returning to the elementary school as a teacher this fall. “There was a fourth grade job open at Elm Street School,” Wallace said. “I talked to the principal down at Elm and she was very welcoming.”
As for next year, another certified educator will be replacing Wallace.
“We have hired Mrs. Liner from Needham Public Schools and she will be taking over for Mr. Wallace,” said William Hahn, principal of Johnson Middle School.
After his 21 years of middle school involvement, Wallace is looking forward to returning to the elementary school classroom.
“The day to day classroom experiences are the things I missed most,” said Wallace.
Although these everyday moments are few and far between, Wallace always tries his best to be in the classroom as much as possible; however, he would like teaching to be his full-time profession.
“The past three years, I have been doing less and less of teaching,” Wallace said. “And I want that to change.”
The lack of teaching in his life led to his reconsideration regarding his role in the school system. As an administrator, Wallace interacts with all of the students at Johnson. Wallace enjoys getting to know all of the students at the middle school, but the absence of teaching led him to believe that he needed to fill that hole in his life.
Although Wallace believes his stronghold is teaching, he still inspires the students that he does not teach in the classroom with his everyday acts of kindness.
“Mr. Wallace was really nice,” said seventh grade student Alison Fair. “And he always said the nicest things to people. Johnson definitely won’t be the same without him next year.”
Not only does Wallace have a positive impact on his students, but also the players on his team. In this coming fall, Wallace will continue to lead the Walpole High School Girls Varsity soccer team as their assistant coach. Although this upcoming soccer season will only be his third year working as the assistant coach, Wallace knows that he wants to continue with this position.
“I always enjoy working with the Walpole kids,” Wallace said. “So that was an easy decision for me.”
Senior Alyssa Rosen recognized Wallace and his talent as a coach when she chose him as her special educator for the National Honor Society induction ceremony on May 11.
“I was unlucky in the fact that I did not have Mr. Wallace as a teacher,” Rosen said. “But as a soccer coach he has taught me a lot, and I am so grateful for that.”
Wallace’s favorite experiences as a teacher are the moments when past and present students recognize him outside of school and share their favorite recollections in his classroom.
“Mr. Wallace’s personality made the class better and enjoyable,” said sophomore Emma Coakley. “And with him as a teacher it was a good learning environment.”
Wallace’s classroom is the location of many of his best memories over the past few years. Students remember Wallace for his whimsical attitude in class and his well-known jokes.
“I had Mr. Wallace as a math teacher and I learned so much from him,” said sophomore Rachel Cerullo. “He made the environment at Johnson enjoyable which really helped.”
Wallace has had a positive impact on not only students, but even fellow teachers and administrators.
As for Johnson Middle School, Wallace will be a big loss for the school and the community.
“Wallace always wants the best for students,” said Hahn. “And that is what I will miss most about him.”