Starting a new job that is constantly under the watchful eye of a small community is not easy. To represent the school during difficult times as public scrutiny devolves into a crisis is even harder. Although he faced challenges, principal Adam Littlefield came to school every day with a smile and a good attitude, always available to answer questions.
Littlefield was thrust into a whirlwind of new beginnings when he started at PHS in August. From new teachers to legal battles and accusations, and even a fire within striking distance of his Napa home, he has been available to the student body and able to handle situations with poise and grace.
Students, parents, and community members voiced strong opinions on how the administration handled the accusations against former history teacher Mark Cowherd. Littlefield shared the information that he could, respecting privacy and confidentiality laws. On the day following Cowherd’s resignation, Littlefield postponed his commitments to visit all classes previously taught by Cowherd to answer students’ questions. By doing this, he represented the epitome of a transparent leader. Beyond merely visiting with each class, Littlefield is also taking a hands-on approach by managing the AP European History classes. He is in the process of hiring a new teacher for all of the classes Cowherd leaves behind and drawing up lesson plans for each class with constant enthusiasm.
Before and after the consent assembly, Littlefield made an honest statement to students, addressing the circulating rumors regarding Cowherd, and apologized for confusion in the past. He stressed the importance of communication, promising to be a source of sincerity and making an effort to speak with any student who wants to.
Due to the nature of the situation, there has been an initial rush to criticize Littlefield, for example, his “welcome back” comment. Students must remember that Littlefield’s job is not to hold judgment, but rather to support us through a tough time, and his behavior has been exemplary. Littlefield has reached out to the student body, exhibiting his competence and empathy.
Littlefield’s leadership is exactly what we need during a difficult situation like this one. We applaud him for his vulnerability, honesty, and composure throughout these past few weeks, and have complete faith that he will continue to move the school and community in the right direction.