Photo album: LaTracy Harris, 2017-18 Elementary Principal of the Year
HOUSTON – Feb. 2, 2018 – Students and staff are used to hearing announcements over their school’s public-address system each morning, but this Thursday was different and more exciting. Students and staff at Beneke Elementary School and Roberson Middle School could be heard cheering loudly throughout their campus as they heard the announcement that their principal had been named a Spring ISD Principal of the Year.
Beneke Principal LaTracy Harris will serve as the district’s Elementary Principal of the Year and Roberson Principal Tracey Walker as the district’s Secondary Principal of the Year – an honor that qualifies them to advance to the regional competition later this month.
Following the announcement, School Leadership Officer Kimberly Fonteno made sure that students and staff knew that their academic success had contributed to their principal’s achievement.
“You students should be proud of yourselves because the first way that the principal gets selected is by academic achievement of the school. So you all are the first reason she got selected,” Fonteno told Beneke students who were gathered in the hall chanting “Way to go, Ms. Harris, way to go.”
The finalists were selected based on academic data, effective leadership practices and a peer voting process, Fonteno said.
“This means the world to me,” said Walker. “I love what I do. I do it with passion. I do it with heart. I know I get on my team’s nerves because we joke about it, but I promise it is all for a purpose. And it is really just to see kids do the best that they can do. So I am excited. Just being recognized is enough for me.“
Harris was in a classroom reading about the U.S. Constitution to students when she heard the announcement. “I am so shocked. I’m just speechless. I am very honored and humbled to receive this recognition,” she said.
Surrounded by family, friends and staff, there were plenty of well-wishers willing to give testimony to the exceptional qualities of the two principals.
Lovie Sophus, Walker’s pastor, listed commitment, compassion and drive among the characteristics that make her a good choice for the recognition. “There is no obstacle that will come her way that she won’t get on top of and correct … and it is not a problem, it is an opportunity. She looks at things as an opportunity.”
At Beneke, Harris’s husband Taiwan Harris proudly introduced himself as husband of the principal of the year.
“We’ve been together since 1993. Who knew back then that I would be standing here in front of this person today,” he said. Looking back, he recognized that she was often picked for leadership positions that helped prepare her for the important role she fills today as campus leader at Beneke.