A New AP on the Block

Former Social Studies Teacher Joins Administration Team

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Ally JohnPress

When the new assistant principal position became available after the departure of former AP Mitizi Powell, AP Allen Stewart jumped at the opportunity. For Stewart, getting the position meant he accomplished his dream of becoming an AP in LISD. “I sought out this school district on purpose because I did my research, and in my opinion and my research basically led me to view LISD as the number one school district to be in for an educator for someone in this profession like myself,” Stewart said. “What I’m looking forward to most is just continuing the positive spirit at the school, the positive culture at the school and building on that.”

Estefani Rios, Editor-in-Chief

As students pass the front office and continue onto the westside of the school, floor to wall windows open up to the assistant principals’ offices. Joining Mr. Rogers, Mrs. Back, Mr. Pearce and Mrs. Raby is new assistant principal, Allen Stewart.

While he has taught several social studies courses here, including World History, World Geography and AP geography, the journey of Stewart as an educator begins in the city of San Angelo, Texas at Angelo State University as communications major with an emphasis on radio-television film.

“I have a unique path to education to say the least because I was not an education major,” Stewart said. “Once I graduated, I took a year off, and from the time I was a junior/senior in college all the way up to graduate school, I worked at a summer camp with kids.”

The combination of being a teacher assistant at Texas Tech University while he worked on his master’s degree and years of experience as a summer camp counselor eventually led him to pursue a career in education.

“I taught courses in public speaking and business and professional communication,” Stewart said. “I had two courses that I taught on the collegiate level and at the same time while I was doing that, during my summers as a counselor, I got a tremendous amount of positive feedback on not only my teaching style at the university level, but my connections, as far as building relationships at the summer camp. It seemed like forces other than my own were pushing me in the direction that my calling should be education.”

Graduating with a master’s in communication studies with an emphasis on rhetorical theory, his first teaching job became a speech and debate coach in the Houston area. There he also taught public speaking and communication classes.

Moving from Houston to Austin, Stewart transitioned from a speech and debate coach to a social studies teacher. According to Stewart, seeing that the speech and debate community was not as prevalent in the Austin area and noticing the resemblance between the two subjects, making the change wasn’t too difficult.

“What we do in speech and debate is very similar to what we have to know in social studies,” Stewart said. “We talk about political, social [and] economic issues. We have to research those things and so my idea of finding another teacher certificate and another discipline, to me, just made sense to teach social studies. I have a passion for history, I watch a ton of documentaries as a teacher myself and I love that discipline. So, that to me was an easy second certification I could get as an educator coming from the speech and debate side and easily transitioning to the social studies side.”

To become an AP, Stewart had to have at least three years of classroom teaching experience, do an internship, which he did at Westwood High School, take additional required courses through Lamar University and pass the state certification. In 2012, he became certified and had his first job as an AP in the Round Rock area at an Ivy charter school. He served in that position for four years.

“Honestly the most difficult part is getting a job as an assistant principal,” Stewart said. “If you’re talking about the process, it just takes someone that’s committed [and] who is driven to do the work necessary in order to get certified.”

When former AP Mitzi Powell took a job working with the Career and Technology department at the district level, and her AP position became available, Stewart jumped at the opportunity because he said being an AP in LISD is his dream job. When he received the news that he had obtained the position, he said was surprised.

“I sought out this school district on purpose because I did my research, and in my opinion and my research basically led me to view LISD as the number one school district to be in for an educator for someone in this profession like myself,” Stewart said. “Mr. Sloan brought me into his office and I was expecting to hear you know ‘well we went with someone else’ and I was going to be fine with it because I love being here. When I was told that [I got the position] I was a little short of words. I was a little shocked, but very grateful, very humble. I feel like it’s a privilege to be part of this leadership team.”

As he settles into his new position, Stewart said his main goals are to reconnect the community and student body and to be more impactful on a wider scale in the community.

“What I’m looking forward to most is just continuing the positive spirit at the school, the positive culture at the school and building on that,” Stewart said. “Especially right now, going into next year and what’s happened with this world as of now, you know we got to be really focused. I’m looking forward to rebuilding those connections and rebuilding that school spirit that we still have, but obviously has decreased as a result of the pandemic.”