Doing what matters for the Education Profession

Published 12:25 am Sunday, December 16, 2018

By Rickie R. Harris


Education is a profession that is currently experiencing shortages. To overcome this challenge, West Orange-Cove has implemented several programs that collectively encourage students and non-certified staff to pursue teacher certification, as well as, support our current professional staff who aspire to become administrators.

This week, I had the opportunity to speak to two sections of a new Principles of Education and Training class at West Orange-Stark High School. This is a new program that we launched this school year and the initial class of an Education and Training endorsement. Next year, these students will take Human Growth and Development and the following year they will take Instructional Practices.

Our goal this year is to introduce these students to the various aspects of the teaching field and give them some background on what is required of the various education positions.

In visiting the two sections of the class as a guest speaker, I shared my thoughts on what attributes a good teacher must possess, as well as suggestions for success. I also shared my personal journey as an educator. I am very excited to watch the development of the 27 students enrolled in this Education Endorsement and hope to welcome them to our Mustang/Stallion staff in the future.

Additionally, we started a Grow Your Own Teacher program within West Orange-Cove CISD. In this program, the district offers scholarships to current staff members who are working to become teachers. The District reimburses tuition with an agreement that the staff/recipient will teach for a three-year period upon earning teacher certification. Last year we awarded four scholarships to individuals who are current full-time paraprofessionals in our district. We will accept applications for the next set of scholarships in the early spring.

Additionally, our Aspiring Administrators Leadership Academy is in its second year. In this program, we select candidates (through an application process) who aspire to become campus administrators to participate in a 10-month program. In the Academy, participants are introduced to the responsibilities of a campus principal. Following the school year calendar, participants receive instruction and assignments on major actions a campus principal should be finalized at a given point in the academic year. For example, Leadership Academy topics and assignments correspond with staff development (at the beginning of the school year), developing/finalizing a campus improvement plan (beginning of year) and a budget (in the spring, for the upcoming year), and other important campus encompassing tasks required of a successful campus leader. Already, following last year’s program, one of our Academy graduates moved from a campus diagnostician to a position as an assistant principal at West Orange-Stark Elementary.

Our goal as a district is to do our part in developing, sustaining, and building the education profession.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

Go Mustangs!


Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange-Cove CISD