A candid conversation with Dr.Walters


Aziaha Robinson

“I like to think that I have some of the best students in the city; better yet, in the world,” says Dr. Walters, principal of Obama Academy. As principal of Obama, Dr. Walters is in charge of the only Pittsburgh Public school with the International Baccalaureate program, and the reputation of both IBMYP and IBDP are issues that he takes quite seriously. I interviewed Dr. Walters recently about what he thought about the school, its array of different aspects, and its direction for the future.

 Q: What are your feelings about our school this year?

Dr.Walters: I have a good feeling about our school. I feel that we are going in a powerful direction with our programming, teaching, and curriculum.

 Q: What have you been pleased with so far?

Dr.Walters: I am pleased with the seriousness of our students; the connections they make with the program; and their excitement with realizing what they want to become, fulfilling the IBDP philosophy and achieving the traits of the learner profile.

Q: What can we improve?

Dr.Walters: We need to work on the lazing (interfering with the) focus of becoming a complete person; which means the realization of the fact that education should be all students’ number one priority.

 Q: How do you feel about that International Baccalaureate program?

Dr.Walters: I feel that it is the best thing for students. It creates a lens for students to come to terms with understanding of why they know what they know, how they know what they know, and truly being able to understand and communicate what they know.

 Q: Do you feel that students are prepared for the IBDP and receiving their IB diplomas?

Dr.Walters: Not fully, but by next year, as we continue to build the program; I believe that the students will improve a great deal.

 Q: What are your thoughts on the move to Peabody?

Dr.Walters: I really don’t have a thought on the move. I feel as though the building we are in is insignificant. Wherever the school will be, we make the education; control the learning and the product.

 Q: With such a high achieving school, and the huge variety of different programs and activities; do you feel as though being a principal at Obama is a 24hour a day, 7 days a week job?

Dr.Walters: Yes I do. However,I do not consider being a principal as a job, it is a life choice. As a principal, you never get to slow down. That is always what is going to come to mind when someone thinks of me; no matter what my occupation will be at the time. Whatever I do affects the reputation and the well being of the school.

             After the interview; I had a new respect for Dr. Walters. I never took the time to contemplate the stress he must have because of the craziness he has to deal with daily, and by this, I mean the incredible pace. He is very passionate about his job and I thank him for all he has put into making our school what it is today.