MVLA school district hires first-ever Wellness Coordinator

Courtesy+William+Blair
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MVLA school district hires first-ever Wellness Coordinator

Courtesy William Blair

Courtesy William Blair

Courtesy William Blair

Courtesy William Blair

Kate Stadler and Vaishu Sirkay

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Mountain View High School Assistant Principal William Blair will become the Mountain View-Los Altos (MVLA) district’s first Wellness Coordinator starting January 2020. The position was created by the MVLA School Board to address worrying mental health trends among students by managing the two schools’ wellness programs more effectively and promoting better social and emotional well-being.

The Wellness Coordinator’s goal is to support students’ mental health with the understanding that public schools have a growing responsibility to take care of students beyond their academic needs. The position will entail providing proactive support, which refers to preventative and educational services (such as vaping education and consent workshops), as well as reactive support, which refers to the process of addressing student needs when problems arise.

“The [duty] of school districts is expanding to include things they haven’t had to deal with in the past,” Blair said. “Right now, we have more students who are suffering from anxiety or depression than ever before, and more students accessing mental health services through school than ever before. We’ve needed [a Wellness Coordinator] for several years.”

According to MVLA superintendent Nellie Meyer, the creation of the position was met with strong support from the district board, MVLA schools and the community.

As Wellness Coordinator, Blair will work with Mountain View and Los Altos High Schools to review and improve existing wellness program, as well as form new programs as the need arises. He plans to address issues like vaping and other substance abuse, suicide and student/teacher stress. Blair will also coordinate with the rest of the community, particularly organizations that provide mental health services to the school, like Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and local hospitals. 

Blair’s position aligns with the district’s long-term plan for addressing students’ wellness needs, partly expressed through the construction of a new Wellness Center in the 500 wing at Los Altos. Although the position of Wellness Coordinator and the Wellness Center were developed separately, Blair will be in charge of coordinating the programs offered at the Wellness Center.

“As we build the new wellness center, we need to make sure that we’re building strong infrastructure for it,” Meyer said. “[Blair] will be part of creating a clear organized structure, including our different levels of support for students.”

Although there were many applicants for the position of Wellness Coordinator, Blair’s experience in the district and continued commitment to the wellness of his students made him an ideal candidate for the position, according to Meyer.

Wellness has always been an important part of Blair’s life. Even as a child, he dreamt of becoming a preacher or a teacher so that he could build an inclusive, supportive community. In college, he studied English and Psychology. He eventually had to choose between becoming a teacher or returning to school to become a therapist.

“I became a teacher to help young people,” Blair said. “We’re here to build connections. We’re here to build relationships. We’re pack animals.”

Blair began at Mountain View High School in 2004 as a teacher for a comprehensive psychology class. Later, he taught a variety of classes, including Leadership, Journalism, and English. After teaching in the district for about 10 years, he became an assistant principal for activities at Mountain View.

MVLA School Board President Phil Failllace has been impressed by Blair’s dedication to his job since he first met him. 

“If anyone is to lose sleep over nights and weekends about this, it’s him,” he said.

Although his job description is not fully defined, Blair is looking forward to his future as the Wellness Coordinator.

“I’m excited about real talk with young people,” Blair said. “The goal is to build a foundation where students are more balanced, more resilient, more self-regulated and more empowered to make positive decisions.”