Bidding farewell to Sheila Henry

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Bidding farewell to Sheila Henry

photo by Jorge Villa

photo by Jorge Villa

photo by Jorge Villa

photo by Jorge Villa

Aaron Booe, Social Media Editor

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After eight years guiding the minds of LBJ, former Principal Sheila Henry will now be guiding the futures of students across the district.

On Sept. 6, Henry accepted an offer to provide assistance to various schools across Austin Independent School District (AISD) in developing and improving their academic programs. As Executive Director, Henry cooperates with various administrations seeking new and dynamic ways to enrich schools.

Henry, as an educator of 28 years, has managed to leave a legacy of success as a woman committed to intellectual and emotional growth for all of her students. Texas Education Standards (TEA) are measurements used by the State of Texas to define a school’s academic performance. Her efforts to improve LBJ’s academic performance holds as one of her proudest accomplishments as an educator.

“Being able to get the campus out of ‘Improvement Needed’ status for the last four years and earning four TEA distinctions for the 2017-2018 school year,” Henry said. “That really warms my heart.”

Henry describes herself as a woman who loves challenges. She finds her promotion as Executive Director of High Schools for the AISD as a wonderful opportunity to not only better herself, but also to help improve high schools across the district.

“I feel that my new position brings about a new set of challenges that I am willing to conquer,” Henry said. “It is different and I love to be challenged. I am learning a lot and hungry for more. I love what I am doing.”

In her new position, Henry will gain a more active role in administering AISD high schools, where she can hopefully leave the lasting changes on LBJ faculty and students. LBJ senior Jada Pickens appreciates Henry’s personality that made her beloved among her students.

“Ms. Henry was always more than just a principal,” Pickens said, “Or at the very least different from principals I had in the past. She had a level of approachability, and if I’m being totally honest, she felt like she cared. I’m really going to miss her.”

Interim Principal Paulette Walls was previously the assistant principal at LBJ. According to Walls, Henry was a integral part of the community and her absence can be felt across the campus.

“Ms. Henry was a great principal and she’s an even greater woman,” Walls said. “She really did love this school, and she loved the kids even more. It’s going to be strange not seeing her everyday.”

Henry believes Walls is more than capable of leading the school in her absence.

“I have worked very closely with Mrs. Walls for the past seven years and I would turn the keys over to her in an heartbeat,” Henry said. “She has the best interest of all students and will make sure all of them are treated with dignity and respect.”

Henry said she was excited for the opportunity to improve her school, but was also feeling uncertain about her promotion. She was conflicted between staying to ensure the school she had known so well would continue its growth versus taking a less hands on administrative role in which she would be responsible for overseeing multiple high schools. However, Henry’s resolve for helping students would not waver.

“I had mixed emotions leaving what I know and very familiar with to moving into something new,” Henry said. “It was bittersweet but I am thankful for the opportunity to do something different. And I think that in my new position I will be able to reach more students.”

Henry will miss the schools and campus she had grown to called home over the course of eight years.

“I really miss the daily interaction with the students, the time spent in the classrooms observing teachers, although I will still get to do that at all campuses,” Henry said. “I will also miss the culture and rituals that [LBJ and LASA] share. Sharing my humor in faculty meetings and hallways. Lastly, the laughter and care and concern for my students.