McLEOD, Texas — McLeod High School Principal Jennifer Lance has been named the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Region 8 Outstanding High School Principal of the Year.
Lance is beginning her thirteenth year in education and said she was surprised and honored to be nominated for the award.
"It's a tremendous honor," she said. "We are in an area with some of the best principals I have been honored to work with, ones that I look up to as mentors. It truly is a tremendous honor to be named Outstanding High School Principal of the Year."
McLeod is in Cass County, about 14 miles south of Atlanta, Texas.
Lance's experience includes three years as an elementary classroom teacher, four years as an elementary counselor, one year as an elementary assistant principal, one year as a K-12 assistant principal, two years as a K-12 instructional principal and one year as a high school principal.
She began her career in education when she was 27 and taught third-grade math, science and social studies at Atlanta Elementary School. Lance then moved to Queen City, where her children attended and taught fourth-grade writing. She said that's when she realized she wanted to do more in the education field.
"I was working with students who have struggles and it really opened my eyes to the opportunities in education beyond the classroom and helping others that way," she said. During that year, the school counselor moved to another district and Lance filled that role, along with working in special programs, while going back to school to complete a counseling degree.
"I then decided to take the next step in my career path to principalship," she said. "I have been forever grateful that I have."
McLeod Superintendent Cathy May said Lance, who is also September Employee of the Month, is a wonderful advocate for the students and staff at MISD and thanked her for working hard for the high school campus and the district.
"Mrs. Lance loves her students and her staff," May said. "She is knowledgeable and knows how to get things done. I often look to Jennifer to help me brainstorm solutions and to be my voice of reason. She not only is a great leader for the high school campus, but she works tirelessly on curriculum for the entire district. She definitely has a 'whole district' mentality."
Lance said that she had only worked at the elementary level until she began working at McLeod and that working with high school students gave her an additional perspective.
"Of the opportunity on all the campuses, high school is the one where you get to see students develop inside the classroom and see where they go and what they do beyond there," she said.
Lance also thanked all three districts she has worked in for their support throughout her career.
"I have worked in three wonderful districts which have put a lot of faith in me to take care of their students and I am grateful for what I have learned through those opportunities," she said.
Lance now has the opportunity to compete for the award at the state level and said she has until the end of September to decide if she'd like to pursue that. She said that even if she does not choose to compete at the state level, she would still attend the June TASSP state conference in Austin to support her fellow award winners.