When I walked into the principal’s office at Stafford Elementary I was coming to interview the new principal. There she sat in her chair, at her desk and was already going to work to be ready for the coming school year. Her name is Tammy Wallis and she comes to us from Red Oak, Texas where she was the assistant principal for the Red Oak Intermediate School for the past two years.
Wallis graduated from Stephen F Austin State University with her bachelors degree in 1997 and then received her administrative degree in 2003 from Texas A&M Commerce. In her twenty eight years of teaching in the classroom she taught second and third graders, junior high and high school students and even coached tennis.
She had her first principal position in a small school in Breckenridge, Texas. All of the second and third graders in the district attended this school, there were approximately 400 students. “It was a great experience, I enjoyed it very much and then we moved to Red Oak where I was the assistant principal. Now, here I am in Italy and am very excited to be here and looking forward to the Pre-K through sixth grades. I think it will be a lot of fun,” explained Tammy.
Tammy is married to Tony Wallis and they have five children. Tammy’s husband is the assistant principal at the Red Oak High School. Their son Travis just graduated from high school this year and will be going to Sam Houston State playing football. Their son Tate is coaching for the Baylor Bears this year, which is a new position for him. Their son Taylor, attends SAGU where he plays football. Their two daughters are Trista and Shannon. Trista, lives in Ennis and both Trista and her husband work in Dallas. They have two children, a four year old and a fourteen month old. Shannon lives in Palmer and she teaches at the Junior High in Ennis and coaches tennis. She has an eighteen month old son. Tammy said, “We have three grandchildren four years old and younger, We are very blessed we have great kids.”
I asked Wallis what her agenda was for the new school year and she said, “My main purpose at this point is to come into the school and find out what is working, whats been working, what has been successful with our kids and what we can do to improve, because there is always room for improvement. I understand we have a very good faculty here, so I am coming in feeling very good. I don’t think that I have a huge job ahead of me to fix anything, I think this is a very good elementary school and I am excited about that.”
She added, “I am looking forward to a lot of sharing of ideas, a lot of discussion, a lot of planning and fun things for the students with the faculty. We want to do some fun things for the kids, some motivational things that will keep the students excited about coming to school. With the TAKS sometimes we get a little bogged down. The TAKS is important because we are teaching the curriculum, but we want to go beyond that, I don’t want to just meet the standard, we want to be a well instructionally driven school, high scores, commended kids, and I know they can accomplish it.”
When asked how she felt about being in administration instead of teaching she explained, "When I was in the classroom I just adored what I did. It was wonderful getting up everyday to be with the kids, they gave me much more than I ever felt I could give them. It is a very rewarding experience to be a teacher. So in making that transition to a principal I was a little unsure. But I found that instead of having the twenty two kids in my class that I touched and their families that I got so close to, now I had about four hundred students whose lives I could touch. You don’t spend the quality of time with them as you would as a school teacher but you still get to know them, their strengths, their weaknesses, their families, what is important to them and it is just a good experience. It is a different type of “being there” for kids, but you are still there and you are still connected with them and I enjoy that plus I love the connection with the teachers because you get to build the relationships, you get to be a sounding board, you get to give some advice if they are open to it and be of assistance and make a lot of new friends."
Welcome to Stafford Elementary, Tammy Wallis, we are glad you are here!