Pace is the New Face

WBHS welcomes new Assistant Principal, Eric Pace


Selfie credit to Mr. Pace

Spectrum welcomes Eric Pace, named the new Assistant Principal of West Bloomfield High School (WBHS). Pace is new to WBHS, but not the West Bloomfield school district. He taught at and was the Assistant Principal at Abbott Middle School, and this is his first time working at a high school. Spectrum sat down for an interview with him regarding his new position.

Spectrum: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Pace: I did my undergraduate at Central Michigan University. I went to school to be an engineer, and then I decided to change majors after about a year and a half. I did well, I had a 4.0 but I thought it was boring. So I took a bunch of intro classes to get into Education. I studied earth science, geography, secondary education.

Spectrum: When did you join West Bloomfield schools and why did you choose West Bloomfield?
Pace: I was hired in 2006, straight out of college. I grew up just north of Roosevelt in Waterford, and so I kind of picked West Bloomfield schools and I was lucky enough to get hired pretty quickly.

Spectrum: Regarding your past position, what did you enjoy most about that experience?
Pace: It’s seeing kids find their success. My success is your success. I didn’t have the most enjoyable high school experience–it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do, and make connections to find out what was going to work for me, and I like seeing that happen with kids. I like guiding them along that way. If making a positive connection with somebody makes them feel like they want to be here, until they find it, that’s my favorite part, it doesn’t matter if it’s in the classroom or the office, or wherever else, it’s the most important part of my job.

Spectrum: What do you plan to do to help the students have a better high school experience here at West Bloomfield High School?
Pace: It kind of goes hand in hand with my last response. I want to make sure every kid finds some sort of positive connection here. I don’t believe students will learn to their full capability or be as happy as they can be in school or find the most success unless they want to be here. I want to be a part of making them want to be here, whether it’s just making a good relationship with them, or connection or finding a club or a sport or an event or an activity that they want to be a part of, something to make it so they want to be here.

Spectrum: What is your vision of WBHS, in other words, what do you hope to bring to the school?
Pace: I want every kid to walk out the doors as a senior with every option open to them that they want. If you only want certain things for yourself, I want those open for you. I don’t want any kid to get out of here limited or they didn’t get a rich experience that prepared them for college. So I guess my vision is that in each graduating class every single kid walks out of here with the tools and skills they need to find their success, and hopefully have fun doing it.

Spectrum: What do you look forward to most in your new position?
Pace: The real answer that you’re probably not going to write about is: not doing discipline in a middle school anymore! In addition though, to me, high school was something I wanted to do when I left college. I found an opportunity; it took 8 years for an opening at this high school to come up. For me to be able to apply for it, it’s something I’ve just been watching and waiting. I’ve been looking forward to working with the teachers here that I have gotten to know. I was close to Mr. Watson even when I worked at the middle school. I was able to work on the administrative team with Pierce, Hoffert, and Watson. It was a very successful high school and I wanted to be a part of it. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Spectrum: What made you want to become an educator?
Pace: Like I said, I did not have the best high school experience. I was middle of the road grades, I didn’t enjoy it. I went there to see friends, not to go to school. A teacher made a good connection with me, and I kind of turned around my junior year, and ended up not getting anything less than an A the rest of my time there, because of the way I connected with that teacher. So I know that the teacher had 170 or so students under her case, but she connected with me. I don’t know what I would have done, if I didn’t get the grades I did and go to the college I did and so on, and so I wanted to try to make that type of impact on kids on a larger scale. I still feel like a teacher, the audience is different, so I hope I inspire teachers to make that impact with kids, and I hope I still continue to make that impact on kids in my current position.

Spectrum: Did you ever see yourself becoming a part of school administration while you were still in school yourself, why or why not?
Pace: Absolutely not. That same teacher that kind of inspired me told me I should go to school to become a teacher, and I laughed and said, “Absolutely not I hate school. I’m not coming back.” But that had a lot to do with my experience at school, so once I matured enough to really realize the role an educator can play in someone’s life, which for me was around 20 years old, then I realized that’s where I need to be. So it took until about then.

Spectrum: What have you learned so far in your new position?
Pace: I learned that I don’t know a lot. Yup, you know after 5 years of teaching I felt like, you know, I’m kind of getting the hang of it, and then I left to be Assistant Principal at Abbott, it was all brand new to me. By the end of my third year there, I had it pretty much under my belt, and then I took on a new job again. I’m starting to learn how much goes into running a high school–how planning for students’ futures starts when they walk through the doors as freshmen, and their classes, you know their graduation plan, APs and testing and all that. It’s a huge system, and everybody has to work together including students, to make it work. So learning where I fit in, learning the stuff I don’t know about a high school and trying to gain some knowledge. So I’m learning that I have a lot of learning to do, and that the people here are dedicated about getting kids where they need to go.

Spectrum: What is the biggest challenge the administration faces here at WBHS?
Pace: To continue to exceed expectations on a year to year basis. So each year we can’t say, “that was good enough, that was an awesome year, let’s do that again.” It’s what can we do better, and so continuously finding new ways to improve when we’ve got over 90% of kids going to college and you know pretty respectable ACT scores, things like that – how can we continue to improve, to challenge ourselves. It’s a good problem to have! To improve on the stuff we already do good at is definitely a challenge. And it’s expected–people expect us to continue to get better.

Spectrum: What can you tell me about your family?
Pace: I got married in 2008 to Jackie, so we’ve been married 6 years. We met in 6th grade but did not start dating until we were 16 or 17–until we were juniors in high school. We went to the same college. We both ended up there, it was kind of cool. And I have a dog. My dog’s name is Riley. She’s 7, she just turned 7. I hope to have kids one day soon.