Yolanda Wallace likes community.
In her new role as principal of Prairie View Elementary School in Rhome, the veteran educator aims to conserve the small-school charm and find ways to foster more.
A self-described “career-changer,” Wallace said that as head of the school, she will work diligently to increase partnerships with surrounding businesses and members of the seven communities Prairie View serves.
“One of the things I really want to do is bring the community into our school,” she said. “We’ll partner with Texas Motor Speedway for the Million Word reading challenge. But I also want to find ways to involve the parents.”
All her efforts, she said, are for the benefit of the students.
“Every kid wants to come to school and love to be here and want to be there,” Wallace said. “I want to continue the tradition where it feels like family and that the kids know this is a safe place to come to school – and that they’re here to learn and take risks and have fun.”
Wallace is no stranger to the district. She served as assistant principal at Clara Love Elementary in Justin the last four years and taught second grade at Hatfield Elementary, also in Justin, since 2008.
Prior to that, Wallace was a bilingual teacher in Fort Worth ISD for two years. And before that, she was a second-grade bilingual education teacher in Aurora, Ill.
But before then, she was not a teacher. Wallace earned her undergraduate degree in business from Central Michigan University, and she worked in that field for many years before making a career change.
“I always enjoyed working with kids, and with what the media puts out there with schools helping kids meet the standards and pass tests – it intrigued me as a challenge to help these kids,” she said. “So far, it’s worked out great.”
When her husband’s job transferred him – and the rest of the family – to North Texas in 2005, she became immediately aware of Northwest ISD’s up-standing reputation.
“When we moved here, realtors, family and friends all told us that if we could live anywhere, we needed to live within Northwest ISD,” she said. “I always knew I wanted to work in this district.
“As an outsider looking in, I appreciated all of the innovative things the district takes on and the high expectations that are set. That’s what I would want for my kids, and I wanted to be a part of that, professionally. Year after year, they look for ways to improve, and even as the district grows, it still feels like we’re a small school community.”
She pounced on the opportunity as a teacher and later an assistant principal. Now the natural leader is eager to take on the challenges and opportunities in a top administrative role.
“I’m just really excited,” she said. “I’m working with a very dedicated staff that is committed to seeing growth in our kids and themselves as teachers. I look forward to putting Praire View Elementary on the map.”
A new principal will take the reins of Northwest ISD’s Seven Hills Elementary School in Newark this year as well. Read more on Michelle Pawski in Wednesday’s Messenger.