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A new leader for a new era
by Jason Collins
May 05, 2012 | 820 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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As a student, Carol Reagan was eager to get out of the classroom.

As an adult, she is eager to get back in.

Reagan said that her new position as head of the St. Philip’s Episcopal School offers the chance to both run the school and still be with the students.

This is something her younger self never contemplated.

“I never intended to be in education,” said Reagan, who lives in Sinton.

“As a kid, I didn’t particularly care for school.”

The only thing that made it worthwhile for her was sports and in the ’70s, those were limited for girls.

“Back then, it was generally only basketball,” she said. Yes, she ran track, but that wasn’t her favorite.

Reagan, who retired recently from Sinton ISD, is replacing Claudia Nelson as headmistress, although she won’t carry the title. Nelson said the title seemed a little old fashioned. Reagan will have the title “head of school.”

On to college

Reagan credits her husband, Joel, with encouraging her to go to college after high school. She was married at 18.

“I didn’t want to go to college,” she said. But she did and found that she loved it.

“I just found a love of teaching children to read,” she said. “I started studying education in college, and I just sort of got hooked.”

Looking back on her younger days — she is 56 now — she sees the world differently.

“As you get older, you understand the impact education had on your life,” she said.

She still remembers many of her teachers — some more than others.

“The biggest reason those folks stand out to me is the amount of respect they showed me,” she said referring to those who shaped her life.

Reagan retired from public education after 28 years at Sinton ISD, where she worked as a teacher, administrator and director of reading and federal and special programs.

She holds a master’s degree in midmanagement from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a bachelor’s of science degree in education with an emphasis in reading, an early childhood endorsement and a certification as a Master Reading Teacher from Corpus Christi State University.

“I retired last June,” she said. “It didn’t take long to discover I had the desire to continue working with kids.”

A friend saw the ad for the position at St. Philip’s and mentioned that she should apply.

She got the job but says she will continue to live in Sinton, because her three children and her grandchildren are there.

Changes afoot

Nelson said that she is excited to have Reagan as her replacement.

“I am very happy she is here,” she said.

Nelson said that Reagan will bring “lots of fresh ideas.”

And Reagan, who started this week, already has ideas as to how to improve the school. For instance, she would like to bring the technology department up-to-date.

“I have already discovered we have a good team of teachers willing to make the changes,” she says.

She plans also to make changes to the curriculum.

“Our enrollment is down, and that is another one of my goals — to bring those students in,” she said.

This year, there is no graduating sixth-grade class, and total enrollment is down to 55 students.

She wants to double that.

Perks of private school

Coming from the public school sector, private school has some perks she is quickly discovering — far fewer of the state rules and regulations that bog down teachers and staff.

“That has been a big mind-shift for me,” she said. “In public school, you can’t talk about religious belief.

“Here, it is about growing the whole child.”

None of her changes will come this school year though.

“Sixteen days is not enough time,” she said laughing. School is out on the 24th, which will give her and the staff all summer to plan and develop new methods and instructional styles for the upcoming year.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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