The dawn of another academic year at Stone Oak Elementary and Tejeda Middle schools means new classes, teachers, friends and a pair of first-year principals dreaming big.
Aims of the fresh administrators include promoting more student participation at Tejeda and building on a sense of community at Stone Oak, incorporating ties to businesses.
Longtime educator and administrator Ann Karrer left Castle Hills Elementary School to assume the reins at Stone Oak, while Martha Reyes said goodbye to MacArthur High School for the top spot at the middle school.
“When I started my career in education, I viewed the classroom as my opportunity to give back to others,” said Reyes, who earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. “My education has changed my life and I am forever grateful. When I shifted from the classroom to administration, I viewed it as an extension of my classroom and an opportunity to positively impact the lives of many more students and staff.”
Meanwhile, Karrer, who grew up in Seguin and also attended UTSA, entered the education field after first starting a family. Following a business career, she became a teacher in 2000.
After 13 years instructing, she rose to assistant principal at Castle Hills before her present post.
“Here at Stone Oak, we have over 830 kids and to be able to reach that many kids on an everyday basis makes this role all the more fulfilling,” she said. “To just know that you’re making a difference in the lives of that many kids as opposed to say 22 kids in a classroom as a teacher, I think that’s what led me more to the administrative side of education.”
Karrer also enjoys collaborating with parents and teachers.
“I love all sides of this job,” she said.
Meanwhile, Reyes brings more than 20 years of experience to Tejeda, most recently as MacArthur’s assistant principal.
“One of my goals is for students to develop a connection with Tejeda and develop a sense of pride in being a Tejeda Timberwolf,” she said. “I want for our students to be the best representation of themselves whether it is in the classroom, campus or in the community. I would like for all students to be aware and participate in one or more of the many academic and social organizations.”
Joining in can have a positive, lasting impact, she added.
“These organizations will afford students the opportunity to have a well-rounded middle school experience,” Reyes said. “Additionally, these organizations highlight how there are an abundance of faculty and staff members who are available to support their educational journey.”
Back at Stone Oak, Karrer envisions creating an atmosphere that maintains and capitalizes on the existing sense of neighborhood; she’s been “blown away” by her reception from students, parents and faculty.
She wants to return the welcoming spirit by launching programs specifically designed toward community unification.
“I really want to build a strong home-to-school connection,” Karrer said. “I want to work on all parts, such as the academic, social and emotional needs of our children and bring families together. That’s really the vision that I have for Stone Oak and I think that we have already begun building on that.”
The principal is also connecting with area merchants.
“We’ve started working on creating some new business relationships for the school and trying to do some activities where families can be a part of the school. I’d like for everyone to come together and get to know each other,” Karrer added.