By BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com NEWS & SPORTS – FREE & LOCAL
STEPHENVILLE (July 29, 2015) — Administrative changes continue at Huston Academy, where assistant principal Carol Taylor has been promoted to principal.
Taylor, who replaces Valerie Harvick, began working at Erath Excels! – still the name of the district that includes Huston Academy – as a substitute teacher in 2002. She became a full-time teacher then began working half-time in the classroom and half-time as a parent liaison.
“As a teacher, when I saw students not connecting in the classroom for whatever reason, I started making home visits,” Carroll explained. “I was seeing great results because of it, I mean turnarounds in their behavior, their grades, everything. Brenda Faulkner was principal at the time and she allowed me slowly but surely to move toward being a full-time parent liaison.”
That led to an assistant principal position for Taylor in 2009-10, a role she has continued to hold until this promotion.
“I’m very excited. We’ve already been meeting, planning out new ideas and getting our themes ready for the school year,” Taylor said. “We are in a service job. We’re here for the kids; they aren’t here for us. Schools are about the kids, and I try to base every decision on what’s best for the students. It’s like being a mother at home, always trying to make the best decisions for your children. I strike to treat the children I’m serving at school like they are my own.”
Taylor has simple yet profound goals as a new principal.
“Number one with the teachers and staff is to build a close connection where we truly work together as a team,” she said. “As for the kids, I want to establish structure and discipline. I want to show them that any and every kid is capable of going to college and that any and every kid can grow to be successful. Our job is to provide the structure, discipline and motivation that will help them break through the barriers that hold them back.”
She credits past teachers, specifically during a three-year stint attending school in Lingleville, with helping her develop such a philosophy concerning education.
“When I was young my dad died and we went to Lingleville for three years, and it was the best thing that happened for me because it’s small everyone there is like family,” Taylor said. “The teachers I had there had such an impact on me and got me interested in education. Specifically Mrs. Kirkland. She always had such structure in the way she taught, and she was the consummate professional in the way she carried herself, the way she interacted with kids and parents and even the way she dressed. She, in my mind, is what an educator should strive to be.”
Taylor also has an interesting perspective on charter schools, one Erath Excels! founder Debra Miller, now retired but still serving on the school board, agreed with wholeheartedly.
“I didn’t know anything about charter schools when I started here. But I’ve grown to see us kind of as the strainer when you make macaroni,” Taylor explained. “There’s a big melting pot of kids out there, and when you strain them, we’re that strainer that catches the ones who otherwise may slip through the cracks.
“The hardest thing about this job is wanting to save every kid,” she continued. “Just like when you’re straining that macaroni and it never fails that a couple noodles will get away from you, there will still be a few kids who get away. We can’t save everyone, but just like that strainer, we can keep as many as possible from slipping through the cracks and get them headed in a positive direction.”
Taylor says she is excited to work with new superintendent Mike Scott and is already seeing his leadership make an impact.
“I hated to see Debra go after working with her so long, but it is nice to have someone fresh come in with new ideas to take the school to the next level,” Taylor said. “We can already see a difference just in the way we are meeting and working together.”
Like other area districts, Huston Academy begins classes on August 24, and Taylor can’t wait to welcome back her students.
“I can’t wait, our staff can’t wait, we’re excited,” she said. “We’re working hard to get ready for it, and I know it’s going to be a great year.”