Tallwood Celebrates Past Principals During Legacy Week


Sophia Dodge

Past principles Tony Arnold and Mike Ross with talker Les Fortune.

Isabella Bejarano

In celebration of 30 years of Tallwood High School, past and present principals share their favorite moments, greatest accomplishments, and greatest challenges over the years: 

Mr. Bernard Morgan III was the first principal at Tallwood High School. During his session at the panel, he mentioned his favorite moments at Tallwood and what inspired him to teach. 

“For me, my favorite moment would probably be when we were approved by the school board to have the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood; the reason is when you have an academy you need the support of the students, staff, but also the parents. It was a great opportunity for Tallwood, and it was a lot of work, and so to get that and be successful was a real big moment,” said Mr. Bernard Morgan III, the former first principal of Tallwood.

“I think that teaching is a calling… I didn’t want to be a teacher, I acted up in elementary school, but when I got to high school there was a teacher there, and she was touching lives and changing lives. She saved me, because she saw something in me I didn’t see in myself, she told me I can do better. It changed my whole life. I made up my mind that I wanted to be just like her, if any college would ever accept me, I wanted to be just like that teacher,” said Mr. Morgan III on what drove him to become a teacher.

Mrs. Jobynia Caldwell succeeded Mr. Morgan III as principal at Tallwood. During her session she mentioned her favorite moments at Tallwood and her journey to getting the GSWLA on its feet.

“My favorite moment at Tallwood was during the football season when the band and Mr Rossetini would walk the hallways, get the kids all energized and ready to start their day,” said Mrs. Caldwell on her favorite morning moments at Tallwood.

“So for me to see a program that started with us having a meal at the Village Inn, this steering committee, getting a proposal past the school board where some still did not feel comfortable with an academy program, having someone to progress and move this baby and to protect this so well. For us to go out as a team and promote it and get our first students in was really special,” said Mrs. Caldwell on the process of starting the GSWLA.

Dr. James Avila was the most recent principal at Tallwood, now working for the central office of VBCPS, and discussed overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most difficult was canceling prom and ring dance and graduation, but we eventually found a way to get every student an individual graduation,” said Dr. Avila on handling COVID and schooling.

Dr. Ryan O’Meara started as principal of Tallwood this school year in September of 2022, and he discussed his journey to becoming a principal and what has motivated him throughout the years. 

“I had principals push me into making sure I got into the masters program, if it wasn’t for their push I wouldn’t have done that. And they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and I think you know that you have those people in your life as well… so I encourage you to listen to them,” said Dr. O’Meara on what inspired him to become a principal.