Evidence of Excellence » August 2019

August 2019

DPHS-South Campus school seal

New campus administrator Q&A: Donald Thompson, Deer Park High School-South Campus

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.23.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the ninth and last in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Deer Park High School-South Campus students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Donald Thompson!  Last year, Donald was an assistant principal at Deepwater Junior High.  He joined Team Deer Park in 2016.  Before coming to DPISD, he worked in several other districts and was previously an assistant principal in Alvin ISD.

 

Head shot of DPHS South Campus Assistant Principal Donald Thompson

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up across the bridge in Baytown.  After graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in 1989, I went to college at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri, where I had the opportunity to play football for four years and earn a degree in mathematics with a minor in finance.  I also earned a master’s degree in education from SBU in 1996.  When I returned to Texas and began my teaching career, I met my wife while teaching math down the hallway from her mother.  We married in December of 1998.

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

I had numerous “favorite” teachers, but one who really stands out to me is Mrs. Hitt, a high school English teacher.  She was kind, fun and inspiring.  Our class really enjoyed learning literature because of her attitude and passion.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

In elementary school, my favorite was reading class, and in fourth grade, my favorite book was Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls!  My favorite class in junior high was physical education! I loved participating in all the fun structured activities (including country and western dancing), but even more so, I loved running around and playing ball with my buddies!  My favorite class in high school was French, because my teacher provided such a fun atmosphere for us to learn about the culture, language and food of the French.  We ate lots of good French food that year!

 

Are you a parent?

I love being a daddy to girls.  My wife and I have four daughters: our oldest is beginning her freshman year at The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, our second is a senior in high school, and our twins are in eigth grade.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role?

My first experience teaching was when I taught undergraduate math and statistics courses for three years while I was working on my graduate degree at both the University of Arkansas and Southwest Baptist University. However, I officially started in the education field when I began public school teaching in 1996, and this year is my 23rd year as either a teacher, coach, or assistant principal.  All the lesson planning, the assessment, the research, the data analysis, the successes, the failures, the wins, and the losses have shaped my philosophy and molded me as an educator and prepared me for the upcoming role at DPHS-South Campus.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

Oh my goodness… I’m embarrassed to admit this, but yes, I did end up in the principal’s office a few times for swats with the paddle.  Let’s see; there were a couple of fights; there was the time my friends and I were goofing around in the restroom in fifth grade; there was the time I was caught cheating on a spelling test in sixth grade.  That’s enough of the bad stuff.  When I made it to high school, my trips to the principal’s office were all for great reasons of either academic, leadership, or athletic accomplishments.

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

My family loves to go tent camping at Texas State Parks.  Our two favorite places are Inks Lake State Park and Garner State Park.  I also enjoy riding my bike, working in the yard, jogging, hanging out with my family, going to church, and playing with my dogs (a yellow lab named Sadie and a chocolate lab name Bailey).

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

I look forward to returning to the high school level where I have spent the vast majority of my educational career.  I hope to build quality relationships as I get to know the staff, students and their families. I’m excited to participate in the many wonderful, successful programs and activities that have been established at South.  I also look forward to encouraging and supporting our faculty and staff as they continue to inspire our students in the classroom, on the field, and in the arts. Go Deer!

  

Fairmont Junior High school seal

New campus administrator Q&A: Amy Russell, Fairmont Junior High

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.23.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the eighth in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Fairmont Junior High students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Amy Russell!  Having completed her third year as Deepwater Elementary’s assistant principal last year, Amy Russell recently accepted a position as an assistant principal at FJH.

 
Head Shot photo of Fairmont Junior High assistant principal Amy Russell
 

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your story? Where did you grow up? From what high school did you graduate? Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up in the small town of Rison, Arkansas, where I graduated from Rison High School, a town without a traffic light of any kind and was best known for its Wildcat spirit and state championships. I was a very active college student at my family’s alma mater, University of Arkansas at Monticello, by serving as an elementary education major, school ambassador, president of my sorority, cheerleader, and football recruiter guide, and I was involved in the community there. UAM is where I met my husband, Paul, of Deer Park. He had just finished four successful years of playing football, was a graduate assistant, and is now an inductee in their athletic hall of fame. All in all…it was meant to be to come to Texas, where I have been since 1999.

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

I have two special teachers from my past, Mrs. Lawson and Mr. Jones. I was a unique individual who needed much encouragement by a teacher and someone who provided an engaging environment for learning. Mrs. Lawson was my art teacher who wrote these words in my senior yearbook: “You are like an Austrian crystal in a field of daffodils.” She always encouraged me to be me and never give up. Mr. Jones taught world and American history. His stories and ability to keep my attention instilled a love for learning history that continues today.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

History of any kind, shape, or form because I believe it is important to understand why we are where we are today.

 

Are you a parent?

I am a mom of one girl and one boy, ages 21 and 14. I live the best of both worlds!

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator? How did they prepare you for your new role?

I was a teacher for 17 years; 11 of them as a classroom teacher and six as an instructional coach. I have spent the last three years as a campus administrator. I have always said I am the luckiest educator in the profession because, at all levels, I have had mentors who made me better by being honest and building capacity in me that I strive to pay forward daily.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office? If so, why? Describe what happened.

The only time I ever went to the office was a result of adults not listening and myself being misunderstood. I never really got in trouble…but the important walk away for me today is to LISTEN to the child, or you will never make an impact on them.

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I like to travel and go to the gym. I mostly love football and baseball season so often times I am at a game or watching it on the television.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

I am looking forward to developing new relationships with the FJH families, individual students, and fellow colleagues. It is exciting to embark on a new mission where I can be a part of the success of the students at Fairmont Junior High.

 

DPHS-North Campus seal

New campus administrator Q&A: Jessica Bennight, Deer Park High School-North Campus

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.23.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the seventh in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Deer Park High School-North Campus students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Jessica Bennight!  Jessica began her career in 2004 as a social studies teacher and coach at Bellville Junior High.  In 2006, she worked for a year in a similar position at Snook Junior High before accepting a position teaching health and coaching at Sam Rayburn High School. For five of her eight years at Rayburn, she was the health department chairperson.  Most recently, she worked as a counselor at North Shore Senior High School, a role she began in 2015.  We welcome her to Team Deer Park!

 

Head shot photo of DPHS-North Campus assistant principal Jessica Bennight

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up in a small town in the middle of Texas called Richland Springs with a population of 355 people.  The high school had 45 students, and I graduated with only 10 students in my graduating class.  I went to college at Angelo State University and majored in kinesiology.  My master’s is from Lamar University and is in education with counseling and development and administration.

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Shultze.  She was talented and knew how to teach and come up with exciting activities for us to do for each lesson.  I never remember a day where we just read from a book.  My best student memories are from her classroom.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

History in Mrs. Shultze’s class. It was never boring.

 

Are you a parent?

Yes, a three-year-old boy.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role? 

I was a teacher and coach for 11 years, and then I became a counselor for the past four years before entering this role as an administrator.  I believe all of these roles plays a part in preparation to be an administrator.  I have been a teacher at both middle school and high school at different districts in the area.  I have worked with many issues that students are facing these days, such as mental and emotional issues as well as helping students graduate and their post-secondary plan.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

No, our school was too small to get in trouble.  If you got in trouble, your parent knew before you made it to the office.  Everyone talked, and everyone knew each other.

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

When I am not at work, I like to work out and also like to relax and watch old shows and movies.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

Going into my first year, I look forward to getting to know Deer Park ISD and meeting all of the people that make it great.

deepwater elentary seal

 

New campus administrator Q&A: Erika Box, Deepwater Elementary

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.22.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Deepwater Elementary students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Erika Box!  Erika began her career in 2007 at Carter Lomax Middle School, where she taught English-language arts for five years before being named fifth-grade department chairperson, a position she held through 2012.  From 2012-18, she worked as an instructional coach/peer facilitator at Carter Lomax.  In 2018, she accepted a position as the student support administrator at Alamo Elementary.

 

head shot photo of DWE assistant principal Erika Box

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up in Houston and attended school in Pasadena.  I graduated from South Houston High School.  I graduated from the University of Houston with a professional writing degree and from Texas Tech University with a master’s in instructional technology.  I began my career in another area district and taught fifth grade reading for many years before I transitioned to a campus instructional coach.

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

Mr. Lusby, fifth grade, Genoa Elementary, was my favorite teacher.  He made class fun, had a great sense of humor, and instilled responsibility in students.  He taught us that mistakes are okay, to learn from them, and to keep trying. 

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

My favorite class in school was Texas History.  I loved learning about all the aspects of our amazing state.

 

Are you a parent?

I am a parent.  My husband and I have two children who attend school in DPISD.  My daughter graduated in 2018 and in currently studying mechanical engineering at UH. My son is a sophomore at Deer Park High School-South Campus.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role?

I taught for 11 years and served as a student support administrator before I was named as an assistant principal.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

I did end up in the assistant principal’s office, but only once.  As a junior, I unknowingly parked in the wrong spot, which happened to be the assistant principal’s parking spot, and had to move my car. 

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I enjoy spending time with my family.  We spend much our time outdoors.  We take our boat out and fish as often as we can.  We also spend time watching our son’s sporting events. 

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

I am so excited to be a part of the Deepwater family.  The faculty has been incredibly welcoming, and I think the world of Mrs. Cabaniss.  I’m looking forward to connecting with the families and community and growing together.

 

 

 

Logo for Deepwater Junior High

New campus administrator Q&A: Philip Rayos, Deepwater Junior High

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.20.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the fifth in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Deepwater Junior High students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Philip Rayos!  In 2009, Philip began his career by working five years as a special education teacher at Bonnette Junior High.  He briefly left education, but he returned in 2016, accepting a special education position at Dabbs Elementary.  He moved to Fairmont Junior High the following year, and, in 2017, moved to his most recent assignment as a teacher and coach at BJH.  Philip is a Deer Park High School graduate!

 

Head shot photo of Deepwater Junior High Assistant Principal Philip Rayos 

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up in Pasadena and went to Parkwood Elementary for kindergarten and then Fairmont Elementary and Fairmont Junior High. I graduated from DPHS in 2002 and went to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. For graduate school, I attended the University of Houston - Victoria and graduated in December 2018. 

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

I've been blessed to have many great teachers, but I'd say the person who had the most impact on me was Coach John Patterson. He was our defensive coordinator, and I played under him as a cornerback. I loved his seriousness on the football field and that he had high expectations for us, but at the same time, he always made time to talk to us about other things than football, and you could feel that he truly cared about you. His dedication to his craft and to his players were second to none. When I became a coach, I always had Coach Pat in the back of my mind for how I wanted to act and treat my players.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

I love history; specifically, I really enjoyed Texas History in junior high. I loved the fact that one of the most important places in our history, if not the most important, was right here in Deer Park---the San Jacinto battleground. I thought it was so awesome that the battles we talked about were a short drive away. At the same time, my brother was a freshman at the University of Texas, so when we would drive there and pass all these towns, I got a kick out of knowing about all the people they were named after.

 

Are you a parent?

Yes, we have one beautiful baby girl that just turned one in August.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role?

I was a teacher and coach for eight years. I had the opportunity to work under several different leaders and three different campuses. I feel like the exposure to many different leadership styles and campus cultures and teaching multiple subjects has helped me shape my own thinking on how to handle a variety of situations that might arise as an administrator. Also, I believe being a coach has helped me develop a different set of skills that has prepared me for this role. 

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

I don't remember going to the principal or assistant principal's office, but I remember that I got an after school detention one time in high school for tardies. I'll never forget sitting in that room at South Campus and thinking, "I can't believe I'm here."

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

Things have definitely changed since having a little one. I try to spend as much time with her and my wife, because hours can get pretty long teaching, coaching, and now being an assistant principal. If I'm not with them, I'm most likely on a golf course.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

The kids! I'm really excited to meet the kids and develop positive, meaningful relationships with them and the Deepwater community. I've had the opportunity to get to know a lot of our staff, and I look forward to building strong relationships. They are such a hard-working and dedicated group, and I can already feel that this upcoming year will be our best one yet. #GoPirates

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

As we gear up for another school year, we are all striving to make sure we have the best initiatives, curriculum, lesson plans, etc. that will help foster an environment of academic excellence. It is also my hope that, once our students walk out our doors and on to high school, they are not only better equipped for academic success, but they are better people because of the lessons they learned at Deepwater. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best: "Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."

 

 

 

Bonnette Junior High school seal

New campus administrator Q&A: Amy Cramer, Bonnette Junior High

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.19.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Bonnette Junior High students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Amy Cramer!  Amy’s path to becoming an instructional leader is a unique one.  She has worked as a clerk in the Deer Park ISD Department of Instruction, a campus secretary at Fairmont Junior High, a teacher and math department chairperson at Deer Park High School-North Campus, and a math facilitator at DPHS-South Campus.  She is a DPHS graduate!

 

Head shot photo pf Bonnette Junior High assistant principal Amy Cramer 

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I lived in several states growing up but finally settled in Deer Park in 6th grade and graduated from DPHS in 1993. I went to the University of Houston – Clear Lake and earned my bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences in 2009. I also received my master’s degree in multicultural studies in education in 2017. My administrative training was through Lamar University.  

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

My favorite teacher was Sallie Langseth for several reasons. My favorite subject is mathematics, and she was my calculus teacher. She was an amazing teacher who made the material easy to understand. I visited her classroom before school many times throughout the school year, and she eagerly helped me, even at 6:45 a.m. Mrs. Langseth also hired me for my first position in the school district as a clerk for the Department of Instruction.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

Well, my favorite class was the math class I took each year. In second grade, a teacher challenged me to explore mathematics problems on my own before the concepts were taught to the class. My love of mathematics was born out of those explorations!

 

Are you a parent?

I have two children, and they both graduated from DPHS---my son in 2012 and my daughter in 2015.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role?

I was a teacher and instructional facilitator at North and South Campus for 10 years. Those years taught me that children are the most successful when teachers and parents work together to do what is best for the student. We are able to do that best when we communicate with each other regularly. Teaching also helped me learn to be a good listener. This skill helps in all aspects of life.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

No, I never ended up in an administrator’s office. Honestly, school was always a place I loved to be, and I enjoyed learning. I’m sure that all of those positive experiences are why I’ve chosen to continue to work in schools. My desire is for every student to want to come to school like I always have!

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

In my spare time I enjoy being with my family the most. I also like to read, work in my garden, and spend time by the pool.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

I’m excited about the opportunity to work with our students and parents and being a member of the Bobcat family. Learning is a process that never stops, so I’m eager to learn together with the staff here at Bonnette.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

I was born in Kentucky, so I’m a huge fan of the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team. Go Big Blue!

 

 

 

Logo for Deer Park Elementary

 

New campus administrator Q&A: Janet Cavazos, Deer Park Elementary

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.19.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Deer Park Elementary students and parents, meet your new assistant principal, Janet Cavazos!  Janet began her career in 2007 as a bilingual teacher at Deepwater Elementary. She also taught at Parkwood Elementary.  In 2011, she was chosen to represent the entire District as elementary teacher of the year and was named a finalist in the regional TOTY competition.

 

Head shot photo of Deer Park Elementary Assistant Principal Janet Cavazos 

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study? 

I grew up in the southeast side of Houston but graduated from Reagan High school as a magnet student. I enrolled at Houston Community College following my high school graduation.  After completing my basics at HCC, I transferred to the University of Houston main campus and received both my undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies and graduate degree in curriculum and instruction.

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why? 

I have too many favorite elementary teachers. I loved my elementary school years! One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Amstutz, who introduced me to my first Roald Dahl chapter books. During her daily read-aloud of The Witches, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc., I was able to dive into a fantasy world and begin to develop a love for reading. 

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why? 

I love to read! My favorite class was my sixth-grade reading class. There were books EVERYWHERE. Mrs. Yeager organized her class with areas for us to sit and read. I’m certain she taught us many reading objectives, but my favorite memory is the free time she gave us to pick whatever text we wanted and go to any area of the room to read.

 

Are you a parent? 

I have a seven-year-old daughter who is going into second grade.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role? 

I was a full-time teacher for eight years. I taught fourth grade English-language arts for four years and first grade for three years. I held a response to intervention specialist position for four years. All of my previous experiences have allowed me an opportunity to see firsthand the needs of our children and the importance of forming relationships with them and our community.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

I never made it to the principal’s office, but I remember being sent to another teacher’s classroom in first grade for not being kind to another classmate. I’d like to point out that the consequence definitely made an impact. From there on out, I always choose kindness!

 

What do you do when you’re not at work? 

My husband, daughter, and I love to cheer on the UH Cougars. During our time off, we go out to watch Cougar football, baseball, and basketball. We love to also stay home and spend time with our miniature schnauzer, Moe.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus? 

I’m looking forward to forming new relationships with the students, parents, and staff at Deer Park Elementary. I’m also very excited to be on a kindergarten-fifth grade campus. I’ve worked in first and fourth grade, but have never been on a campus where I can see my students grow from kindergarten to fifth grade.

 

 

Fairmont Elementary school seal

New campus administrator Q&A: Ashley Dempsey, Fairmont Elementary

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.16.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Fairmont Elementary parents and students, meet your new assistant principal, Ashley Dempsey!  After starting her career working three years in a neighboring district, Ashley joined Team Deer Park in 2014.

 

Head shot photo of Fairmont Elementary Assistant Principal Ashley Dempsey

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up in La Porte and graduated in 2004. I attended University of Houston-Clear Lake for a bachelor of arts in mathematic science, graduating in 2011. I received my master of educational leadership with a special education concentration from Lamar University in 2015. I began my career as an intermediate special education teacher in Clear Creek ISD in 2011. I accepted a position in DPISD as a special education teacher at Carpenter Elementary in 2014. Two years later, I joined fifth grade science and became team leader.

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

My second grade teacher, Mrs. Barclay, was my favorite. She was an amazing Christian woman who truly loved and cared for her students. In her class, I felt safe. I remember learning about dinosaurs. It was one of my favorite units. We spent weeks learning math, reading, and writing through dinosaurs activities. It was so much fun.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

In school, I always enjoyed math. I had some great math teachers who laid a strong foundation that later lead to my math degree.

 

Are you a parent?

I have a 14-year-old daughter who is going to be a freshman at Deer Park High School-North Campus.

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role?

I was in education for seven years before moving into an administration role. I started as a special education teacher before moving into the classroom. I truly believe my special education background has helped me prepare for my administrative role in knowing and understanding students better. I have a large toolbox of skills for working with students with behavior concerns. I also understand students with disabilities and have strategies to share with teachers to better reach them where they are. Coming from the classroom, I have a good understanding of what teachers face daily and feel I can help support them and encourage them.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

As a student, I was never sent to the principal’s office. I was always a teacher pleaser and that would have been terrifying.

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

When I am not at work, I enjoy watching my daughter at her sporting events. As a family, we like to take road trips, stopping at hole in the wall restaurants and trying new food. I enjoy attending Astros games with my husband, Todd, and we enjoy being on the boat fishing and seeing the sunsets.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

I am excited about this new school year. I have already learned so much and look forward to being mentored by one of the best, Mrs. Boswell. All the faculty at FE has been so warm and welcoming. I look forward to getting to know them all and working with such an amazing team.

 

 

 

South Campus school seal

New campus administrator Q&A: Amy Zavesky, Deer Park High School-South Campus

Posted by Matt Lucas, 08.16.19

 

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of interviews with administrators who are at a new campus this year or are first-time assistant principals or principals.

 

Deer Park High School-South Campus parents and students, meet your new assistant principal, Amy Zavesky!  She began her career in 2005 as an English teacher at South Campus, a position she held through the 2018-19 school year. 

 

Head shot of DPHS-South Campus Assistant Principal Amy Zavesky

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.  What’s your story? Where did you grow up?  From what high school did you graduate?  Where did you go to college, and what did you study?

I grew up in Friendswood and attended FISD from pre-k through my senior year in high school. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to be in education. I knew that the local colleges had great teaching programs, and I wanted to stay close to my parents, so I went to college at the University of Houston - Clear Lake, where I received a bachelor’s degree in literature. A few years later, I returned to UHCL and earned my master’s degree in educational management. 

 

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

I didn’t necessarily have one favorite teacher, but I had favorite characteristics in various teachers. I loved the way my high school math teacher made everyone feel comfortable and confident. I liked the stories that my social studies teacher would tell and the way those stories drew me in and made me unaware that I was listening to a lecture.  My high school English teacher had high expectations but would always push me to improve. Each teacher had his/her own style with admirable qualities.

 

What was your favorite class in school, and why?

My favorite class was English because I loved to write.

 

Are you a parent?

I have a four-year-old son who has definitely pushed me to be a better educator. Each time I make a decision in regard to a student, I think about how I would feel if it were my son in the same situation. 

 

How many years were you a teacher before you became an administrator?  How did they prepare you for your new role?

I was a teacher for 14 years, which greatly helped me prepare for my new role, because I understand the struggles and needs of both the teachers and the students.

 

You’re now an administrator. As a student, did you ever end up in the principal/assistant principal’s office?  If so, why?  Describe what happened.

I never was in the principal’s office and would have been terrified if I did ever get called down.

 

What do you do when you’re not at work?

When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my family, helping with local animal rescues/shelters, and running/working out.

 

What do you most look forward to as you begin your first year at your new campus?

I look forward to using the knowledge and perspective I have as a recent teacher to help improve our campus for both students and teachers.