Scott Nettles, the new Westwood High School principal, plans to keep an open door to students, teachers, and parents. Accessibility and leading by example, he said, will define his tenure and help prepare Westwood students for college.
He's off to a roaring start.
A crowd of 300 or more students and parents cheered loudly at Saturday’s Meet the Panther event when Nettles announced he is the new principal.
“I’ve had a warm reception,” Nettles said. “People think I’m here for the right reasons.”
Nettles, 45, taught social studies and coached basketball at Westwood for 10 years, before serving as assistant principal last year.
With prior teaching and coaching positions at Elkhart High School, he has 20 years of experience in education. He completed a master's of education in educational leadership at Stephen F. Austin University two years ago.
Westwood's new assistant principal, Jennifer Thomason, also plans to “set the tone” for student academic success by building relationships with teachers, students, and parents. She will assist with student discipline and coordinate school curriculum.
Thomason, 42, a Palestine native and graduate of Palestine High School, has 11 years' experience in education. She brings a diverse background to her first job as assistant principal.
After earning a degree in radio, television, and film, Thomason reported for the Herald-Press and two other newspapers, before earning a master's of education degree at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.
Thomason taught at international schools in Cairo, Egypt, and Colombia in South America, before returning to Texas to teach journalism at Royce City. She recently completed a certificate in educational leadership at the University of North Texas.
The new principals hope to bring stability to a school that has changed leadership frequently. For this year’s seniors, Nettles will be their third principal.
“The families in Westwood are hard-working people who want to see their kids go to college,” Nettles said. “I want to create as great a learning experience for them as I would for my own daughter,” who is a sophomore this year.