Meet the new principal

Joel Giacobozzi takes over at Watertown High School


Raider Times photo / Staff

New principal Joel Giacobozzi stands in the hallway of Watertown High School on. Oct. 9, 2020.

At 37 years old, Joel Giacobozzi became the new principal at Watertown High School. He grew up in Needham and says his very first job was working at a poultry farm, which is a farm that raises chicken mostly for meat and eggs, but he only cleaned the floors there.

Mr. Giacobozzi is a people person, he loves social interaction, and wouldn’t want to work sitting behind a desk all day. He said he could enjoy any job that involves people and interacting with them.

“Keep your head down and work” was something that he was always told by his father, which sparked his love and enjoyment for working. He explains that he’s always had a “blue-collar work ethic” which is why he puts in all of his effort and time into everything that he does. 

“Just keep moving.”

This is the positive affirmation that Mr. Giacobozzi lives by. The stresses that come with being the principal of a high school during a global pandemic can also come with a lot of fear. The phrase “just keep moving” helps release tension and anxiety, which inevitably helps him do his job better. 

Mr. Giacobozzi loves Watertown. His grandfather lived in Watertown after emigrating from Armenia in order to escape the Armenian Genocide. He has many friends from Watertown, went to church there, and even wished to be raised there. 

Mr. Giacobozzi went to Needham High School and attended UMass Amherst, where he studied economics and music. He listens to every type of music (except for classic rock and pop country). 

“I like to sing in the car,” he said. “I think I’m good but I think everyone is just too nice to tell me I’m not.”

He enjoyed the trumpet. He goes on to explain, “Actually I was an economics major with a hefty music minor in classical trumpet performance. I loved it.”

Upon graduation in 2006, he took a job in finance. After a few days, he realized that he wanted to switch careers and go into teaching. He went to Harvard for grad school and worked nights and weekends to pay for it.

Before becoming principal at WHS he worked at Boston Latin as an assistant headmaster. When he became principal, he said he wanted to listen before he changed anything. He set up individual meetings with as many people as he could and just listened. He wanted Watertown High School to be a rigorous school experience, but also a fun environment. 

He does not own a TV but he has a Netflix account. He says he has been watching “Cobra Kai.” 

“Man, that show is awesome,” he said.

Mr. Giacobozzi enjoys working with his hands and fixing stuff in his free time, although he doesn’t have much free time. He stated that he can work with or fix anything but his specialty is Mini Coopers, especially old ones back from the ‘60s and ‘70s. He works out or exercises every day.

“I do CrossFit. It keeps me fit and is a great community to be a part of,” he said. “CrossFit is a mix of weights and gymnastics movements. Although, I can be found running outside when the weather is nice.” 

He just recently adopted a puppy named Riot. For a few weeks he didn’t name her but over time Mr. Giacobozzi noticed how much of a rebel she was, getting in a lot of his stuff, so he named her Riot.

Mr. Giacobozzi said if he could go back in time he would meet Jesus or Martin Luther King Jr. He said he would want to ask Dr. King how he, despite everything he experienced, committed and remained committed to the idea of nonviolence.

His favorite classes in school were economics or physics. He likes to understand things as much as possible. He said he didn’t really like his physics teacher in high school; he just really liked to solve problems and understand things.

He is very thankful for the staff in Watertown High School because, he says, that without them he would be very stressed. Mr. Giacobozzi is aware that people are fighting a different battle during this pandemic but his advice for students is to “be flexible” with online learning and to have fun!

–Oct. 16, 2020–