Principal Profiles: Learn more about your campus leaders!
 
judy  
 
Judy LeeBarrett-Lee Early Childhood Center
 
How long have you been a principal at this campus?
15 years
 
 
Previous Administrative/Teaching experience
Principal – Endeavor High School/Apollo Program
Home Economics Teacher - Channelview High School
 
 
Educational Background
Bachelors Degree – University of Houston
Masters Degree – University of Houston-Clear Lake
 
 
Why did you decide to become a principal?
I never intended to become a principal.  I didn't want to lose the interaction with the students in the classroom. In 1991, I started the district's Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) to help keep students in school. The district also gave permission to open a Child Care Center off campus to keep the student's babies while they attended school. In 1992, I was appointed to start up and oversee the operations of Endeavor High School. Shortly after opening Endeavor, I completed my Master's Degree and became Principal of Endeavor and Apollo. For the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of being the Principal of the Glen Barrett-Judy Lee Early Childhood Center. I never had dreamed of becoming a Principal, it chose me. I have loved every minute of this journey. Working with students so they become successful is an awesome privilege.
 
 
What inspires you most as an educator?
Hands down, it's the students. Working with children, is the greatest reward you can have. They are so inquisitive and curious, you want to challenge them to be successful.  It's so exciting! 
 
What is your fondest memory as an educator?
There have been so many fond memories through the years. I love it when the students to come back to visit me with their families.  My first PEP student in 1991 just came back to thank me for all our help so she could graduate.  She now has three children, one grandchild, a husband and is now working with single mothers and abused women. I am so proud of her. There are many more stories and memories like this from my years in CISD. I cherish every card and letter I receive from my students just knowing they are fine. 
 
 
What piece of advice would you want your students to remember?
​Believe in yourself and never give up. I have had some amazing students through the years. Many of them were afraid to believe they could be successful.  Always tell yourself, "I can do this." Just put your heart and soul into your dream and you will be successful.
 
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llb
 
LaKeisha LeBlanc -  Harvey Brown Elementary
 
How long have you been a principal at this campus?
Five years
 
 
Previous Administrative/Teaching experience
Assistant Principal – Harvey Brown Elementary
Teacher - McMullan Elementary
Teacher - St. James Episcopal​ School
 
 
Educational Background
Bachelors Degree – University of Houston
Masters Degree – Texas Southern University
 
 
Why did you decide to become a principal?
As a teacher, I enjoyed providing​ ​educational experiences to my students that connected to the real world.  I was able to offer assistance to families when they faced challenges.  Most of all, I enjoyed being a mentor to new teachers and providing resources to colleagues as team leader.  All of my experiences led me to serve in a greater capacity.​
 
 
What inspires you most as an educator?
My inspiration comes from the relationships that I have with my students and staff.  I am excited when I witness students actively engaged in learning.  I enjoy meeting with teachers to plan lessons that meet the needs of all students. Conversations with students who seek leadership opportunities and working with students who require structure to be the best student they can be inspire me. These experiences motivate me to provide endless opportunities for success.​
 
 
What is your fondest memory as an educator?
I will never forget my first year in Channelview ISD. I was a recent graduate and a newlywed.  My college courses prepared me to be highly effective in the area of curriculum but it did not prepare me to be a nurse to the sick students in my classroom. It did not prepare me to deal with extreme behaviors of students, and it did not prepare me for the counseling I was to provide for families. My Channelview ISD administrators, colleagues, and friends were instrumental in my success as a teacher. This is why I have remained here for 17 years. My dedication to the staff and students of this district is unwavering.​ 
 
 
What piece of advice would you want your students to remember?
I would like my students to know that education is the key to success.  It opens doors and gives students the skills to be successful. Hard work and dedication are vital ​in the process, as it allows students to be successful in elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and beyond.
 
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manuel
 
Manuel Escalante - DeZavala Elementary
 
How long have you been principal of your campus? 
10 years
 
 
Previous administrative and teaching experience
Assistant Principal - Hamblen Elementary
Assistant Principal - Channelview High School
Math Teacher - Alice Johnson Junior High
Math Teacher - Laredo ISD
 
 
Educational Background
Bachelors Degree – Texas A&M University
Masters Degree – University of Houston
 
 
Why did you decide to become a principal?

When I began teaching, I fully intended to spend my entire educational career as a teacher. That is, until my principal came into my classroom to model a lesson. Watching her interact with my students, not as an authority figure but rather as a knowledgeable and caring adult, opened my eyes to the concept that a principal is not necessarily a suit sitting behind a desk.  It was an "a-ha" moment for me, similar to when students see their teacher at Wal-Mart and realize he or she doesn't live at the school. I am proud to say that I continue this practice as much as possible. 

 
What inspires you most as an educator?
There are many things…from seeing children at their best, to listening to their funny stories or when they learn something for the first time. They laugh, they cry, they try, they struggle and they overcome.  All in one day. Teachers are very similar except that they sometimes forget to take care of themselves. Their commitment to the profession inspires me to give it my all every day.
 

What is your fondest memory as an educator?

W​hen I became a teacher, I was certain that I did not want to teach very young children. I was even honored as the Channelview ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. One day, I was invited to apply for the Assistant Principal position at Hamblen Elementary. To my surprise, I got the position even though I had never taught at the elementary level. That day changed my life.  Working with elementary students is what I was born to do.  I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve the children of DeZavala.

 
 
What advice would you want your students to remember?
Everyone can be a leader when given a chance.​
 
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Editor's Note: This is an ongoing series celebrating all Channelview ISD school principals during the month of October. To view more profiles, click on the links below:
 
 
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