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Davis principal hits high marks

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http://douglasat201.org/?wordfence_lh=1 When Julissa Alcantar-Martinez was named principal of Jefferson Davis High School, students did not know what to expect, but her presence on the campus has turned out to be a welcoming sight.

Alcantar-Martinez, a native of San Antonio, joined Houston ISD this year. She was very reluctant to move to Houston but is now glad that she did.

“I used to live in San Antonio but then my husband convinced me to move to Houston,” she explained “I was scared to move to Houston; I love San Antonio.”

Alcantar-Martinez graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio but she is now attending Lamar University to receive her Doctorate Degree for Educational Leadership. Her passion for learning and being a part of the education of others extends far past her degree.

For years, Alcantar-Martinez has been working in schools in Texas. She has been principal at several schools including the Woodlands Elementary School, Woodlands Middle School and Cobbs Sixth Grade Campus.

Her new job at Davis High School; however, stood out to her. Alcantar-Martinez is the daughter of an illegal immigrant and the school is home to many students who came from similar backgrounds. Walking around the hallways and talking to students before her interview for the job, she wanted to make sure that she would be the right fit for the school. She found the students to be respectful and nice without them even knowing her name.

“I love seeing the students recognized, see them shine and take pride in themselves – knowing they are on the right track,” she said.

“There are two things that Ms. Alcantar-Martinez has brought to Davis campus. One she is really stressing parental involvement. She understands that our students can do better and go further in their lives with their parents support, so she is meeting with parents once a month, having coffee with the principal and teaching them things to help them help their children,” said College Access Coordinator Alpa Sridharan. “For our college events, we are reaching out to our parents to have translators present in English and Spanish to help them really understand what’s involved to enroll in and pay for college.”

To achieve her goals, Alcantar has been very involved in the school and with reaching out to students.

“Unlike previous principals, Ms .Alcantar-Martinez comes on the announcements to talk with students directly and they can hear the excitement that she has for Davis and all activities. They can also feel more connected to what’s going on the school; really feel integrated into the school, Sridharan said. “So through communicating directly to parents and students educating about what’s going on the school, city and things that are best for education, she has made Davis a more connected and cohesive community school.”

To be the effective school it needs to be, Alcantar-Martinez said she will remain at Davis to ensure it’s on the right track.

“The change would take three years and keep it there,” she said.

Stephon Vaughns
Stephon Vaughns is currently a senior at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, TX. He is an editor for the online publication of Insight and contributes to the print publication.
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