Beloved former principal passes away

Courtesy of Bryan Washington

Nate Belman and Max Karp

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Peter Cahall, Wilson principal from 2008 to 2014, died suddenly on Sunday, May 5 of a heart attack. He will be remembered for his dedicated leadership to the Wilson community.

Cahall oversaw Wilson’s massive renovation in 2011 and worked to reduce the achievement gap in student grades and test scores. He made national headlines on Pride Day in 2014 when he came out as gay in front of the school.

In 2014, Cahall became a principal at Thomas Edison High School in the Montgomery County Public Schools system, where he had previously worked before leaving for Prince George’s County and later DCPS.

“I remember Cahall as someone who was willing to sacrifice a lot of his personal time for the benefit of his students,” Wilson class of 2015 alumnus Patrick Paniagua said. One of Cahall’s most prominent qualities was his cheerful spirit toward the community. Paniagua added that “[Cahall] was supportive of everyone in as many ways as he could be.”

Director of Academic Development Alex Wilson knew Cahall not just as a coworker but also as a dear friend. “‘He did a lot around school climate, like creating an energetic culture, student-centered,” said Wilson. “He just wanted to be with young people, that was what he cared about. He landed here and was happy as he could be. I mean, it was just such a great fit. He really liked the community, and he had a real vision for the school.”

History teacher Robert Geremia echoed Wilson: “Mr. Cahall was extremely dedicated to his students,” he said. “He tried to remember almost all of the students’ names.”

Cahall was a cherished member of the Wilson community and was instrumental in developing and transforming the school. His memory will live on within the halls of Wilson and by those who knew him.