Eric Janszen challenges IHS students to succeed

Image: Eric Janszen is excited about his new position as Principal of Italy High School.

Eric Janszen is excited about his new position as Principal of Italy High School. (Submitted photo)

When Eric Janszen left Midlothian High School to come to Italy last year, he knew it was time for a change. He had taught Agriculture for 15 years there and knew he had done everything he could to do to be successful there.

“I took the Assistant Principal position here in Italy for that change,” Janszen said. “I knew it would be challenging, but I felt I would learn a lot from Lee Joffre.”

Janszen grew up in Palacios, Texas where both of his parents were educators. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Tarleton University. He taught one year at Rice High School before taking the job in Midlothian. From 2000 to 2015, a team from Midlothian High School qualified for state every year.

When he was offered the position of IHS Principal this year, he was very excited. He said that the teachers here are open minded and think outside the box. He added that the teachers and school board want what is best for the students. He knows that because we are a small campus, the teachers know every kid which is an advantage for learning.

“Lee Joffre gave me the best advice last year,” Janszen said. “He told me that kids would come to school with baggage. He said I needed to be aware of that and make sure they start fresh the day they enroll. I have tried to do that with our students.”

Janszen said that Mr. Joffre did exactly what was expected of him as the Principal by restoring discipline. He said that the focus now is to find out what the district can do to get our students ready for college and career. The focus is helping them to be more prepared academically.

One of the changes implemented this year is a 50-minute 7th period tutorial so the students don’t burn up time before and after school for tutoring. They also have added Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for grades 6 through 8 to help them prepare for advanced science.

“Dual Credit classes are being offered again this year,” Janszen said. “There are 34 students enrolled at no cost to them as long as they pass the class with an A or B.”

He said he has some big shoes to fill this year, but is not competing with Mr. Joffre. We both want our academics to improve.

“We will identify our weaknesses and fix them,” he added. “We have great teachers and support staff. The transition would not have been as fluent without Angela Muirhead, Kelly Ballard and Kim Varner.

He has a picture in his office with a quote from Theodore Rosevelt that says, “Believe you can and you are halfway there. Mr. Janszen adds a little to that. He says, “If you can believe in yourself and be fully committed, you will succeed.”