Schools across the country will be experiencing the 2020-21 school year differently. For Stephens Elementary, the staff and students will be under new leadership. In June Lindsey Young was named as the new principal of Stephens Elementary. She comes to Stephens with five years of experience as the assistant principal at Rowlett High School and as an intern/teacher for either years at Sachse High School.
What are you looking forward to as the new principal of Stephens and with a new challenge of running a campus during a pandemic?
In my opinion, elementary is where the foundation of education starts for each new generation. No matter if we are in a pandemic or not, my team of teachers is responsible for setting this education foundation and making sure students have the skills to be successful when they transition into the secondary level.
What drew you to the field of education and when/where did you get your start in this profession?
Truthfully, I did not think I wanted to be in education. At Texas Tech, my major was in communications and I had to choose a minor. My mom grew up working in the schools and she always said, “You need to be a teacher.” As much as I never wanted to admit that she was right, I took her advice and chose education for my minor. During my last semester at Tech, I had to complete my student teaching at Monterrey High School in Lubbock. My student teaching teacher pretty much let me run the show, and even though I had no experience, it was the best thing for me. I quickly learned how much I loved teaching and working with students. I knew after that semester that I had to be a teacher. Helping students grow into young adults and being a part of the process was a priceless reward. I started at Sachse High School the very next fall, and it was the best decision I have ever made.
What teacher made a lasting impression on you growing up and how?
My second-grade teacher Mrs. Brownfield at Rowlett Elementary made a huge impression on me. She cared about every student in her class on an individual level. She knew exactly how to uplift our strengths and improve our weaknesses without ever making us feel bad. I think the best way to describe her was that her personality was always full of fun, she was never afraid of "Real Talk" and she sincerely loved each of us through our highs and lows. She taught me why building positive relationships with students is the most important part of being a teacher. This type of impact is exactly why teachers get out of bed each day and are admired by many.
What about your previous experiences in education do you feel will help you in this new role?
"Actions speak louder than words!" This saying is something I have always believed in and developed my leadership style around. I have never asked anything from somebody I am not willing to do myself. When anybody asks something of you or needs your support, you have to follow through. I will take this belief and style with me into my new role because I have seen how this quality of action is respected and needed if you want people to trust you.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Heartfelt, humble, and hungry. In other words, know my staff, communication is key, and always be empathetic. Always show gratitude, be kind and helpful. Finally, always stay eager to grow, give 110 percent each and every day, and don't fear change – especially if it benefits your students and your teachers.
What motivated you to want to become a school principal?
I was not made to only be a classroom teacher. If there was an opportunity to volunteer or take on more responsibility, I did it. Having a voice, being part of the vision, and helping create new ideas were all the things that kept me motivated. I got to a point where I wanted to continue to make a difference on a larger scale, and I knew the only way I could do this was to keep taking on more leadership roles. That path led me to my principalship.
What is your vision for Stephens?
Mr. Jeffery Waller, who is now principal of Sellers Middle School, did an absolutely fantastic job raising the instructional expectations, so without a doubt, I want to keep that expectation of instructional excellence going. I also want to see my staff keep a family-minded attitude and know that we can conquer anything together. Last, I want my families to always feel welcome and my students to gain educational and personal self-confidence. I never want a student going home feeling like they can't achieve something. I want to instill the five core values – integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and leadership – so they have the confidence and knowledge to continue their educational goals. It all starts with us!
What did you learn most from your previous principal?
First off, I would just like to say that I have been blessed with working for some of the hardest-working principals I know, and I learned a lot from each of them. Now, this past year, Mrs. Carmen Blakey, without a doubt showed me the true meaning of perseverance. No matter how great the obstacle was, she would always find a way to juggle a thousand things and still get it done. The even greater thing about Mrs. Blakey is she would accomplish every task with a smile on her face and do it with epic professionalism. She is amazing to watch in action, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to work for her this past year.
What would you like the students and staff at Stephens to know as they enter a new school year under your leadership?
I want to make a promise to my new students and staff. I promise to show up every day and give my all to this school and to you. I am so honored and blessed to be given this opportunity and I will not take it for granted. I know change is hard and the world we live in right now puts everybody in a very vulnerable state of mind. We will get through this, and I will do everything in my power to provide the love, support, and guidance that each individual needs on this campus. I am excited and can't wait to meet each of you.