Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Spring Branch Elementary Principal Named

As a teacher and principal, Lynn Austin has never worked outside of Spring Branch ISD. That’s one reason she’s particularly proud to serve as principal of Spring Branch Elementary.

“That’s our namesake, the community school,” Austin said of Spring Branch Elementary, the district’s oldest campus. “I want to make it what it used to be.”

It’s a school that’s seen significant challenges the past few years – it’s about to shed an “improvement required” label after several years of careful planning and attention to what were waning test scores. Coming from Thornwood Elementary, where she was principal for five years, Austin is especially ready for the challenge.

“We need to bring the team together – make them stronger and more collaborative,” said Austin. “They’ve worked so hard to come out (of improvement required).”

Growing up in Amsterdam, N.Y., it was “positive educational experiences and fantastic teachers” that shaped Austin’s desire to become a teacher. But in college, she switched her major from elementary education to rehabilitation so she could work with those with disabilities and assist them in reaching their goals.

After moving to Houston she served as a director at the Lighthouse of Houston, working with individuals with vision and hearing impairments. She earned her alternative teaching certification through Region IV and went to work teaching students with learning disabilities.

Austin served as teacher and assistant principal at Spring Forest Middle School for nine years before moving to Spring Branch Middle School as an assistant principal for six years. She served as an assistant principal at Spring Woods High School for five years before taking on the role as principal at Thornwood Elementary.

Austin said that serving at every academic level (elementary, middle and high school) gives her a unique perspective on what students need and encounter once they leave elementary school.

“Many elementary teachers don’t leave (elementary),” she said. “I can bring that knowledge to them.”

She’s also excited because she’s lived in Spring Branch for many years, her two sons attending and graduating from Spring Branch schools. Her experience at Spring Branch Middle School means she also already knows some of her students, so to speak, since a portion of Spring Branch Elementary is zoned to Spring Branch Middle School.

“I know the feeder pattern,” Austin said. “My students (at Spring Branch Middle) have kids now, and I’ll have their kids in school. I have lots of connections to that school and I’m excited.”

BS – Rehabilitation, Springfield College, Springfield, Mass.
ME – Educational Administration, University of St. Thomas, Houston


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