Man of the Hour: Tige Watson

At the tipping point between a crisis well-handled and a crisis turning into chaos is a thoughtful plan. Valor experienced that first-hand during COVID-19, when everything we’ve learned about running a multi-faceted school turned upside down. When assessing a constantly changing situation and keeping the best interests and safety of our community in mind, having a leader at the helm of it all is critical. Meet: Tige Watson.

During the pandemic, Tige Watson, Director of Student Experience and the Director of Safety & Security, assumed the Incident Commander position. To describe his responsibilities, Mr. Watson said, “My role as Incident Commander is to coordinate resources, efforts, overall response to any emergency, and to ensure that our communications are clear, concise, and timely. At the time, our plans for continuing school functions remotely were all hypotheticals. But as an Incident Commander, you have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Emergency response is nothing new for Mr. Watson. Prior to his appointment at Valor in 2013, he spent over 20 years as a paramedic and deputy fire chief, where his role included coordination of disaster response and training. 

AFD Deputy Fire Chief for EMS Tige Watson (CQ) describes the features of the Lifepak 15 monitor/defibrilltor , photographed on Friday March 22, 2013. (Dean Hanson/Journal)

Assistant Head of School Dr. Gary Fisher credits Watson’s character and experience as instrumental to Valor’s response to the pandemic. Dr. Fisher said, “We are exceedingly fortunate to have a man like Tige leading our logistics and planning for safety and security at Valor. Beyond the usual work that he does every day, his leadership as the Incident Commander during the pandemic was truly extraordinary. God placed a calm, wise, and highly skilled man in the right place at the right time. We are so thankful for him.” Thanks to Mr. Watson’s work, Valor now has a model program that can serve as an example to other schools and a foundation for potential future crises.

“There are opportunities and strengths that come out of struggles, and I believe that having gone through this process as a school, we are better prepared for the future,” Watson said. “It’s been challenging as we have been living through these unprecedented times, but I was surrounded by a great team of people who are committed to Valor and our students, and who want to do the right thing. Leading a team like that is very easy.”

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