Assistant Principal David Fifield centers all of his work at W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy around the motto, “You only succeed when they do,” and it shows.
He can often be found building rapport with students in the hallways or the cafeteria and practicing the Core 4 culture tenets of being fast, focused, flexible and friendly to accelerate learning and reduce disciplinary issues.
“At such a large school, we have to have the Core 4 in place so everyone feels like they are welcomed and like they are not just a number,” Fifield said. “They are all individuals, and their needs are being addressed based on what they need, not what somebody else needs.”
One of the ways Fifield does this is by appreciating every victory, no matter how small. For example, he was working with a student who had been missing a lot of school, and when she came to campus one day, he made sure to celebrate with her, even though she was still not in class.
“That’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “We can get her into class as a second step.”
Being an assistant principal at Greiner requires flexibility and focus as no day is the same, but Fifield is up to the challenge. He first joined Dallas ISD as a teacher in 1998 and made memorable moments in the classroom until 2014, when he became Greiner’s assistant principal.
His passion for service started early. His mother owned a daycare, so Fifield was constantly around younger children growing up, helping them accomplish tasks like working on their homework, tying their shoes or expressing themselves. When it came time for him to choose a career, transforming student lives was an easy choice.
Fifield said some of his favorite memories at Greiner, an arts magnet school, include seeing students “come alive” on stage. Even those who are quiet in class transform when they are performing as they gain confidence and demonstrate their passion for what they love, he said.
“We have a lot of amazing students. When I go into their classrooms, I make a point to ask them about their work so they know that I am interested in who they are,” Fifield said. “If I can’t work with them to help them be successful, then at the end of the day, I haven’t been successful myself. So I always try to keep a positive outlook and build rapport with the students and the parents so that the students are spending more time engaged academically.”