LaJuan Foster has answered this call before.
The new interim principal at Chico Middle School served in the same role at the elementary campus in the fall of 2011. She enjoyed the experience so much, she’s back this year.
“When I left, I realized just what a wonderful job I had and how much I enjoyed it,” she said. “I talked to (Superintendent Mike Jones) a couple of years ago and said, ‘If you ever need any more help, give me a call.’
“And he did. So I’m back.”
This time, she knows she’ll be in the job more than one semester. In fact, Foster has been named interim principal for the 2013-2014 school year, giving the school board a full year to search for a person to fill the position permanently.
Earlier this year, the district moved former middle school principal Maury Martin to the federal programs director/district testing coordinator/No Child Left Behind compliance position.
Foster began teaching in 1971 in schools in East Texas near Sulphur Springs. She was also principal for three years before retiring in 2002.
Even though she knows she’s only going to be here one year, that doesn’t change the way she approaches the responsibilities of the position.
“As long as I’m here, I’m the principal. And I would do the exact same things I would do whether I’ve got interim on the end of it or not. It doesn’t really matter. It’s still my campus, and they’re still my kids,” she said.
Unlike the first time around, however, she will see several familiar faces on the first day of school. The sixth and seventh graders were “her kids” during her time at Chico Elementary.
Foster said her favorite grade to teach was sixth grade, and she looks forward to working with older students. She praised the students for their high scores on the STAAR test and said she expects them to improve even more this year.
She has not only been impressed with the students, but also the entire Chico education community.
“I just had such a mountaintop experience the first time I was here,” she said. “It was just a wonderful education experience. And I fully expect to have the same thing now.”
Chico Elementary Principal Karen Decker will be featured in next Wednesday’s Messenger.