Where It Began
I began my journey in the field of education in 2010 as the Public Education Information Management System Coordinator at the Bob Hope Charter School. I accepted the opportunity presented to me, and I am grateful for my experiences during those ten years as I was able to learn and grow in a field that was initially very unfamiliar to me. I attended trainings and had support from the other staff members and eventually got the hang of it all. I learned how to do just about everything that first year. The school was established with only 250 students, and those of us employed by the charter wore many hats in order to ensure we were able to meet the needs of the students. By the end of 2010, I had submitted reports to TEA, learned the attendance laws and the enrollment process, taken part in master scheduling, and even been entrusted with the responsibility of being in charge of the campus for a day. There were days when I questioned whether or not I made the right decision, but little did I know that this experience was in preparation for what was to come.
During my first year at the school, I was able to conduct a handful of parent conferences some of which involved teachers. This gave me the chance to learn who the students really were, their interests, and to know their parents and home life. It became evident that school played a large role in each child's life and that it was our duty to actively engage them, support them, and ensure we did everything possible to help them succeed. I became involved with student activities by being the National Honor Society sponsor, the senior class sponsor, and by being a part of the student leadership committee. There was no better feeling than seeing the students doing well academically, but also excelling in extracurricular activities.
I learned that it was evident that students tend to do better when their parents are involved. The superintendent would bring me in and would discuss a variety of things he wanted the school to implement in order to have parents engaged. It was not an easy task, but the staff members were able to get parents to participate. We had required report card nights, required grade level meetings, parent conferences, and parent workshops. The workshops were my favorite because we were able to create an inviting environment for parents to learn about why the school did things a certain way. Many of the parents were grateful for these interactions and let us know that they had a much better understanding after having attended those workshops.
During my time working at the school, I learned a lot and knew what was needed to keep the school functioning. The one thing that I eventually learned but was the most difficult was student instruction and the amount of work and detail it required on behalf of the teachers. In the first few years I did not have to know much about student instruction, but as time passed, I would be given more instructional responsibilities. I quickly gained that much more respect for our teachers and everything they did for our students. When I was named the campus director, I knew that it would be vital for me to speak with and listen to teacher input. I conducted classroom visits and would do my best to provide feedback that would continue to encourage the teachers, but also let them know that I was there to help in any way possible. The teachers are the roots and foundation of the school structure. They must have a voice.
The years went by, and I was becoming more and more interested in continuing my career with the school. The superintendent encouraged me to work on my degree, look into teaching certification programs, and to never stop learning each and every day. I kept working diligently and soaking up everything I could. In 2014 I earned my associate degree and in 2018 I earned my bachelor's degree. In 2016 I was offered the assistant campus director position and in 2018 I was offered the campus director position. I was extremely honored for these continued growth opportunities and knew that I was up for the challenge and excited to be able to help the students on a completely different level. I had a wonderful team during those four years. I know that they were a huge part of how and why the students got what they needed and how and why the school continued to grow and thrive.
During my first year as campus director, I told the superintendent that the building we were in was not going to work for much longer. The idea was to continue growing and we already had nearly 750 students at the campus. One day we went for lunch, and I mentioned a church building that was for sale. The building would be ideal for a high school because it had ample space for classrooms and sat on several acres of land that would offer room for outdoor sports and activities. A few months after that, we were breaking ground on the new high school. This was one of my greatest accomplishments because I knew what was needed and knew I could help with making something happen for the school.
What Is Next?
In April of 2021 I made a difficult decision. That decision was to focus on growing my business and focus on being involved in the community. Working at the Bob Hope Charter School for over ten years brought me much joy. The moments that stand out the most are those of calling the students' names during graduation and handing them their diplomas. I would always tell people that although I do not have children, I went to work knowing that I had 750 students that I worked for and supported as if they were my own. I still run into my students at the store and local restaurants, and I take a moment to talk with them and ask them how they are doing. It makes me happy knowing that I played a positive part in their lives. My hope is to continue being a role model for the youth through my community engagement.
BHS Promotional Video
'Demand is high': Bob Hope to build new high school in Port Arthur
PORT ARTHUR, Texas — One Port Arthur charter school is seeing so much growth, its students will be moving to a new facility for the 2020-2021 school year.
Bob Hope School will convert the old Central Baptist Church on Hwy. 73 into its high school.
Daniel Cruz, the campus director for Bob Hope High School, says his students will have a new home next school year. Right now, grades 6-12 share the campus on 9th Avenue.