Mr. William E. Neff

Object ID: 2013-001-031

Date: 1967-1976


Principal. I began the 1963-64 school year as principal of Hawthorne Elementary School and informed by Supt. Dana Whitmer in mid-November that I would be transferred to Whitfield at the conclusion of the Thanksgiving break due to the illness of Principal Vida Walker. The coming years saw the staff change through the retirement of many veteran teachers. Programs originated by Principal Walker and staff remained in place with new programs and procedures gradually implemented. I became aware of the need for major renovation in the main/oldest building and after a prolonged attempt to convince the school district invited the Pontiac Press in to view the problems. A lengthy news article and photos brought solution to the problems.    A new roof, new flooring to 7 classrooms, office and teacher lounge, new tile and paint was completed over Christmas break. Major changes occurred as a result of court ordered integration of schools to reflect Pontiac’s racial makeup. Whitfield was paired with Franklin Elementary and changed from a K-6 “Neighborhood School” to a K-4-5-6 configuration. Franklin changed to a K-1-2-3 format and students in both schools exchanged students for a three-year period. A second change involved the transfer of teaching staff from both Whitfield and Franklin to accommodate the change in grade configuration. A third change was the consolidation of Whitfield/Irving principalships. I now served as principal for two schools for a two-year period. The school district created a “Head Teacher” position in each school to assist with administration/problems. Mr. Donald MacQuarrie and Mr. John Colbert served in that role. In my thirteen years at Whitfield the students, staff and parents provided me with an excellent work relationship and from those groups came many life long friendships. I left Whitfield for Clarkston Schools for an Assistant Superintendents position, a larger salary, and the opportunity to work where our children attended school. William E. Neff