After 25 years in public education, all in the Alvin area, and 15 years at Alvin High School, Karen Taylor has her dream job — principal at the high school she calls home.
“I haven’t left Alvin High School because I love it, and it’s my home,” Taylor said.
Taylor was officially named the principal at Alvin High School two weeks ago. She will be replacing Johnny Briseño, who was promoted to executive director of HR for Alvin ISD.
Taylor moved to Alvin immediately after graduating from high school. She went to college at Alvin Community College and later the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She did her student teaching at Manvel Junior High and became a teacher at Santa Fe and League City Intermediate before moving to Alvin High School as an English teacher in 2004. In 2007, she was promoted to assistant principal, a position she held until being promoted earlier this month.
Taylor said she was thrilled to be named principal.
“I was a little bit in shock, and then I thought, ‘Wow, they have a lot of confidence in me,’” Taylor said. “I was truly flattered, and then I thought, ‘Let’s go.’”
During her time at Alvin High School, Taylor has not only held the titles of teacher and assistant principal, but also another one — mom.
All three of her children have attended the school, two who have graduated and one who will be a junior next year. She said being in education and being a mom made her a better teacher. “I was a good teacher before I had kids,” she said. “But once I had kids and parented, you just do that differently. It’s definitely given me a different lense.”
As a parent, she also saw how one Alvin High School program — the Marine JROTC program — can make a difference in a child’s life. The JROTC program has been one of the best in Texas and the nation for many years, but Taylor said when her son joined two years ago, it changed his life. Led by Maj. Timothy Flynn and 1st Sgt. Stephen Garcia, the program has won state and national titles in physical fitness, most recently in May.
“That is an amazing program,” Taylor said. “I can’t say enough about 1st sergeant and Major Flynn. They live and breathe it. From junior to senior year, I can’t tell you what a great mentor those two teachers were to my son and what an important role they had in his life. They just don’t do that with my kid. They do it with every kid in the program.”
Taylor said she is ready to make her own mark on Alvin High School, but she doesn’t expect many big changes.
“Dr. Briseño has really moved our campus forward, and I love the direction we’re going,” she said. “The focus is the whole kid. That’s my passion. I’ve been there 15 years, and I think it’s in a great place. There will be some tweaks, but no major changes.”
Taylor was named principal at Alvin High School the same night Aeniqua Flowers was named principal at Manvel High School. The moves leave women in charge of all three high schools and came just weeks after Carol Nelson was named superintendent. Taylor said working for Nelson is inspiring not only for her but hopefully all the girls in the district.
“She’s a great role model,” Taylor said. “Being a female in a position like this, our young girls look at it and say, ‘Oh yeah, I can do this.’”
Taylor said another move Alvin ISD has made in recent years is one she also fully supports — offering multiple paths for students to succeed when they graduate from high school. While attending college will always be an option, the move toward enhancing career and technical education will benefit many, she said.
“Now, we’re offering something for everybody,” she said. “We offer college prep classes. We also offer technical classes. When kids graduate, they should be able to contribute to society.”