Alison High

Valley Heights Secondary School

You Belong Here features Grand Erie leaders who were once Grand Erie learners. It’s a then-and-now look at the lessons in learning, well-being and belonging that shaped their school experiences and continue to inspire them today.

Alison High is principal at Valley Heights Secondary School in Norfolk County, and also attended Valley as a student. 

Tell us about your secondary school experience… in what ways did it allow you to become the leader you are today?
For the most part, I really enjoyed high school! I was definitely a slow VHSS-Alison-then-01.jpgstarter but once I got the nerve up to get involved in extracurricular activities, I began to gain some confidence in myself and developed relationships with many of my lifelong friends. The staff were very supportive and encouraging and they helped me to develop the skills that paved my way into a career as an educator.
What were the popular trends when you were in secondary school?
Well, it was the 1980s (LOL). Big bangs, permed hair, neon colours, parachute pants, big and colourful jewellery, ripped-knee jeans, mesh tops, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts à la Flashdance, mullets, bandanas, and legwarmers - and I think I did them all! 
What’s it like being a leader in the same school/board/community where you were once a student?
I know it’s not for everyone, but I love it. I have enjoyed every school where I’ve taught or been an administrator over the past 26+ years, but the Valley has always held a special place in my heart. It’s where I met many of the special people in my life and I have lots of great memories from my time as a Voyageur Bear. I know many of our parents and VHSS-Alison-then-02.jpgcommunity partners because I lived, and still live, in the community. I have the shared experience of seeing how our area has changed over the years, and the challenges and benefits that come with those changes.
What made/makes your school community special?
The short answer is the people. Our staff members are so caring, and they go above and beyond to support students every day. Our school community is always there for us. We work together to provide what our students need to be successful, whatever that looks like for each of them individually. We are continually reflecting and adapting to do the best we can for our students and their families.
What does ‘Learn Lead Inspire’ mean to you?
That’s a tough one since it means many things to me. I think that I am a “lead by example” kind of leader – I don’t ask of others anything that I am High_Alison_2023-newphoto.jpgunwilling to do myself. I believe that when others see that you are willing to put in the work, and take pride in what you do, they are more willing to contribute. I often consider a big part of my job to be empowering others to pursue their vision, whether its students or staff, and doing what I can to provide the resources and support that they need to achieve their goals. I want our school community to be a place where everyone feels confident enough to take risks and push themselves to be and do better.

More News