The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

23 Questions with Principal Daniel Twomey

After former Westford Academy Principal James Antonelli stepped away from his position at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, Dean of Students Dan Twomey was chosen to take the position of principal of WA. The Ghostwriter had the opportunity to sit down with the new principal and learn a little more about his hobbies, favorite things, and experiences growing up in this edition of the 23 Questions series.

Q: What are you most looking forward to doing in your position as principal for the future of WA?

A: I’m looking for a new challenge and I’m looking forward to hopefully providing the most and the biggest positive impact on the most amount of students and staff that I can for their education.

Q: What inspired you to go into the field of education?

A: Both of my parents were educators. My father was a longtime principal and my mother was a special ed teacher in the city of Lawrence, so I kind of grew up around it. The funny joke in my house was they’d always tell us not to go into education, and to go make more money doing other things. In addition to my parents, it would also be some of my high school and middle school teachers and coaches that had a huge impact on my life.

Q: Who was your biggest role model growing up and why?

A: Probably some of my older brothers. I had three older brothers and they were all very different; very studious, very athletic, and Mr. Popular. So I would say, honestly, probably just my older brothers because I could kind of see what they were going through and I kind of had an idea of what to expect based on some of their experiences. At the end of the day, they were straight shooters and they would just tell you what they thought.

Q: How many siblings did you have growing up?

A: Seven, I am one of eight. I had five brothers and two sisters.

Q: How did growing up with siblings affect who you are today?

A: I’m the middle of eight and people talk about the middle child if you’re one of three, I don’t know if there’s a classification for a middle of eight, but I would say coming out of that I’ve always been a communicator, just having to always talk with older brothers and younger siblings, and also kind of a collaborator. I’d say that was one of the big ones. And learning how to operate in large groups of people. We were a big unit whenever we went somewhere.

Q: What was the most important lesson you learned from growing up in a big family?

A: There’s strength in numbers. The power of more people always has a greater impact than just the individual.

Q: What was your favorite thing about high school?

A: I played a lot of sports, and I grew up in Groton so I went to Groton-Dunstable. It was a very small high school, at the time there were only 83 students in my senior class. So, it was a small town. Groton is bigger now than what it was, but I would just say that small-town feel. You knew everybody, the teachers all really got to know you. A lot of times you’d have the same teacher maybe freshman year and junior year, and it was a small, supportive high school. So I would say some of the fun spirit things we used to do, I think those were probably my fondest memories. And the staff; I had a basketball coach and an athletic director that were just excellent role models for me.

Q: Who was your favorite teacher in high school?

A: His name was Mr. Woods. He was a history teacher. He wasn’t for everybody. He was also my basketball coach, but he was funny, he was super, super bright. Like scary bright. If you went to a trivia thing with him, he would get every single answer right before anybody could even hit their buzzer, he would be yelling out the answer. [He was a] hard worker, and was just entertaining. He was a big, tall man, had a crazy amount of energy all the time, no matter what, and he was a AP US History teacher.

Q: What was your favorite class in high school?

A: We used to have a law class. You talked about cases all the time we did a visit to a prison. For a while I thought I wanted to go into law. It was just an interesting class because you would take current events and current cases and digest them all the way the debate club and mock trial do around here, that was a class. It was a lot of critical thinking. It wasn’t studying for a lot of things so I kind of enjoyed that piece of it, just knowing facts. What I enjoyed about it was it was like “here you go, here’s the case, and we need to figure this out. You’re going to be the prosecutor and you’re going to be the defense team”, and I enjoyed that.

Q: You’ve mentioned that you played both basketball and soccer in high school. What are your favorite basketball teams and what are your favorite soccer teams?

A: I’m a Celtics fan. I think before anything else I’m a huge, huge Celtics fan. I’d say my favorite soccer team, although this year they weren’t so great, is the US women’s team with their history of success. They’ve just been such a program over the years with so much exceptional leadership and success. They took a little bit of a hit this year, I would say, but generally, when it comes to it, I’m tuning into the US women’s team. I enjoy the men’s team and all, but it was a fun ride growing up through my era watching the Women’s World Cup team just keep winning and winning and winning. So that was a fun thing to see.

Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?

A: I’d say in general, it’s anything beach related. Most recently it’s been Block Island. I went to school at Providence College so the Rhode Island coastline was a whole new thing I had never experienced before I got to college, specifically Block Island. So Block Island is just a very small, little island, very laid back, and very beachy. That’s probably my favorite spot.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the beach?

A: It’s just beautiful, I just enjoy hanging out with my family. I’m getting to the age now where I can start actually sitting in a beach chair again because when my kids were young, I have four kids, I was always chasing them and this and that. Ideally, when I go to the beach, I can sit in my beach chair and just hang out, read, listen to music, and talk with people. That’s the nicest thing.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: My ongoing joke, because I have four kids, is that I was a dean of students, and now I’m a principal, and then I’m an Uber driver for my kids and all their activities. That’s currently my state. Joking aside, I like to be outside. I like gardening and landscaping. I enjoy that stuff. I just like being outside doing that stuff in my yard.

Q: If you could only bring three movies or TV shows to a desert island, what would you bring?

A: I’d say Jack Ryan the series, that’s a good one. Believe it or not Game of Thrones, the whole series. I think there’s just so much there. You could watch that a million times and pick up on things you’ve never thought of. A movie series that I enjoyed was all the Back to the Future ones. I thought those ones were kind of cool. One last movie, Hoosiers, it’s a basketball movie.

Q: What was your favorite WATA production that you advised?

A: There was one when I was the athletic director called The Wolves and it was their competition play. It was about a group of girls and some of the inner dynamics of being a part of a team and some of the power play that goes on behind the scenes. It had some heavy themes in there too, with mental health. But it was quite a production. And it hit a sweet spot for me because of my current role, this was seven or eight years ago, about sports. And, I certainly gave my input with Mr. Towers, and I thought that was kind of nice that I could go outside of athletics when I was doing that to help run a WATA show. So that was a sweet spot. There’s been so many others. I think the Addams Family one, that one was tremendous. There are a lot of tremendous ones.

Q: What is your favorite band or type of music?

A: I have a wide range of taste in music. I would say it goes from country to Grateful Dead to reggae to classic rock and roll. I’m all over the place when it comes to music. Some of my classic rap I would say I’m still into it. I really am all over the place when it comes to music. I think it’s just more of a mood and the time of the year for me. Black Crowes is another one. I’m a big fan of the Black Crowes.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?

A: Dog person.

Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: Steak.

Q: Do you feel you’ve learned more from being a teacher, an athletic director, or a dean?

A: I’d say I’ve learned more for this position being a dean. Just working closely with the principal, I think you learn a lot more for this role. But there’s a lot of things that, when I was a classroom teacher in grade six and seven at Groton-Dunstable Middle School a long time ago, there’s still things that you can’t forget. Like when you’re interacting with students and you’re trying to get some engagement from students, you can tell when things aren’t going well. Some of those experiences I’ll never forget. But I’d say most recently, probably the Dean just because there’s a lot of transferable things that you need to know to be a high school principal.

Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

A: Mint chocolate chip. Kimball’s only. Not green, it can’t be green. There’s something with the green that doesn’t make it good. But mint chocolate chip, in a waffle cone, small. No dinner that night.

Q: What is your favorite season?

A: I’d say the fall. I don’t ski, so I’d be happy living somewhere middle east coast where it’d be a little bit cooler weather all the time. The spring is too muddy around here. Summer, don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but I’d say the fall.

Q: What is your favorite candy or chocolate bar?

A: Peanut butter cups. Period. Frozen, in the freezer, that’s a real treat.

Q: What is your favorite part about WA?

A: There’s a lot. I’d say just the overall culture of the building. The students that are here, they know they’re getting a good education. I feel like the faculty know they’re working hard, doing the best that they can for the students. I feel like people really value their public education here and I absolutely do, as well. I think that’s the biggest thing.

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About the Contributor
Srivas Arun, News Editor
Hello! My name is Srivas Arun and I am currently a sophomore  and a co-news editor for the Ghostwriter. You can find me on the cross country and track teams year round. I am interested in spreading information to the student body about WA and its community.

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