Glen Rose ISD has several new teachers and faculty starting soon.
The Glen Rose Reporter will introduce you to a few of them leading up to the start of the new school year, which begins Aug. 14.
First up is Lance Cathey, the new principal at Glen Rose Junior High.
Cathey is coming from A.G. Elder in Joshua ISD where he has been the principal since August 2009. Prior to that, he was assistant principal of the Elder campus from 2007-2009 and also taught there from 2000-2007.
Cathey earned his Master of Education Administration from Tarleton State University in 2006 and a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M in 1998.
He is a lifelong resident of Somervell County and a graduate of Glen Rose High School.
Cathey took the time to answer some questions regarding his new position.
Q. How did you get started in your career?
A. My mom and both my aunts, they retired from Glen Rose. My grandfather was a school board member for many years so education has always been kind of a family business. I found myself coming to hang out with my mom and what I found for me was it's kind of like a giving back, but I knew there weren’t many male figures in education at the time. My parents divorced early, but I was lucky enough to have a grandfather and several uncles step up to the plate and be father figures for me, and so I knew what a big impact that had for me.
I knew from a teacher aspect, that I could only be around so many kids. I would be assigned 22 kids through the year but I knew if I could get into administration, then I could have a bigger impact campus-wide.
Q. How did your career path lead you back to Glen Rose?
A. I’m one of those where I’m always trying to learn and get better at my craft. I had the benefit of being around what I consider experts. Getting into that role, I found I do a great job of surrounding myself around people that make me better also. I started in Garland for two years and I wanted to be back in my hometown where my wife and I were going to start our family. It just so happened, I put my application in and Joshua was the first one [to contact me].
In Joshua, I had a great superintendent that took me under his wing. Actually, the superintendent and the assistant superintendent could, I guess, see potential in me. They started pushing me and saying, ‘Hey Lance, you need to get involved in administrative’ and like a lot of us do at first, I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t know that that’s something I really want to do.’ But next thing I knew, I said, ‘You know what, I think you’re right, I can see how I can have a bigger role.’ So, I went and then under their tutelage, I was able to - again, don’t know how things work out - but the AP position came up there on my campus and the principal at the time brought me on and within two years, they made me principal there.
I continued to learn and then even the new superintendent [at the time] did a great job too. She just kept pushing me and growing me to get better at what I was doing and what they were teaching me. I was empowering my teachers a little bit more too, so that way they would be in the know of how we’re doing things and because of them being more empowered, you could see that they had more confidence and of course the more confident that they have in their craft, that trickles down to the kids which then helps them feel more confident. It’s the cycle, I guess you could say; the learning cycle. It produces a culture of just learning, that when you would walk onto the campus - that’s one thing I always pride myself on - everybody could say you could feel that it was about the students and about academics; it wasn’t just a ‘show up at school,’ that this was a place that students were loved. And again, circumstances worked out good that this position came open and I was able to come back to my own hometown.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a principal?
A. This is kind of silly. You know how in life we all go through and we all identify ourselves? The drawback here is because of the traditions that Glen Rose had and that’s part of my reason of why I wanted to go to A&M is because of their traditions. Being a principal here, I always identify myself. Yes, I'm a fighting Texas Aggie, but I'm also - I always kind of joke to everybody - I more identify myself as a fighting Tiger.
One of the roles that I really enjoy is just watching these kids, where they start from and what they can do at the end of the year and then at the awards assembly, when you watch them go through and you hear about all of the different accolades and all of the different organizations that they’re apart of, that’s what gets me excited. I guess more than anything is just the giving back, because I know that when these kids are being successful, then I know we’re doing our part.
There’s also that saying that, "You always leave the place better than you found it" and that’s my goal.
Q. Do you have any advice for new educators?
A. It’s the same thing you tell students: you’ve got to get involved. In an administrative role, you’ve got to get involved with the community and then that way, kids see you out and about. Prime example: if I was a student that had a certain situation...because [I see a teacher] being out and about, I know a different individual in the community that I know I can call on and who will, at that time, be a great resource and can help out in a specific situation. That part is what I really like; you feel like you’re kind of networking and including individuals who need help at a time. I tell students a lot, that sometimes the only thing you might have to offer somebody is a handshake and your word and that’s all you have to offer at the time. You want to make sure that you’re a person of action, so if you’re willing to give your word and a handshake, you know you're going to follow through. But you’ve got to get involved in the different things that the community does, that the school does and especially in an administrative role, going to events, just seeing what’s going on and I guess you could say the big word is ‘networking.’
Q. Can you tell readers about your family?
A. My wife, Debbie, is a first-grade teacher in Glen Rose. Then we have an 18-year-old son. His name is Dristan and he will be attending Tarleton State in the fall. Gage will be a sophomore here at the high school. Then I have a daughter, Lillie, and she will be an eighth grader here at the junior high.