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Woman returns to her roots as principal at Goliad High (video)

By chirst
July 25, 2013 at 2:25 a.m.
Updated July 26, 2013 at 2:26 a.m.

Liz Harris, Goliad High School's new principal, holds a photo of herself taken when she was a Goliad High student in the early 1970s. Harris grew up on a ranch in Weesatche and worked as a principal in Aransas Pass and a teacher in other school districts before accepting the Goliad position and returning to her hometown.

Liz Harris professional timeline

1979-1989: Teacher at Nazareth Academy in Victoria

1989-1992: Teacher at Vickers Elementary, Victoria ISD

1992-1999: Teacher at William Wood Elementary, Victoria ISD

1999-2000: Assistant principal at Victoria High School, Victoria ISD

2000-2003: Assistant principal at Memorial High School, Victoria ISD

2003-2004: Principal at Pumphrey Junior High, Edna ISD

2004-2010: Director of student services, Waco ISD

2010-2011: Assistant principal, Waco High School

2011-2013: Principal of Aransas Pass High School

GOLIAD - For Liz Harris, walking down the long hallways of Goliad High School felt just like it did in 1973.

"I could see myself walking with the friends I had, and I just kind of gravitated. I laughed and said this is where my locker was," said Harris, pointing to the little blue locker that was hers senior year.

She was Elizabeth Trcka then, the basketball athlete who auditioned for state in choir and thought she would never live in Goliad after graduation.

"I could picture the people who had their locker beside me and below me there. It was just very heartwarming to think that you are now walking down the hall as the leader ... of the school you graduated high school from. It is pretty cool," said Harris, the newly appointed principal of Goliad High School.

Harris had not lived in Goliad since she left town in 1973 to go to college. After graduating from the University of Houston-Victoria, she taught at Nazareth Academy in Victoria and then in the Victoria school district.

She moved into administration after getting her masters in administration from the University of Houston-Victoria. She worked as an assistant principal at Memorial High School, Victoria High School and Waco High School. She also served as principal at Pumphrey Junior High in Edna and then Aransas Pass High School.

But when Emilio Vargas III, the former high school principal, took over the role of superintendent of schools for Goliad in June, Harris said she could not turn down the chance to come home.

"I have been wondering what made me make this decision, and it was family. The opportunity to come back home just kept tugging at me, with my mother still living in Weesatche on the ranch I grew up on. It became a no-brainer," Harris said.

Vargas said it was an easy decision for the school as well.

"I have known Liz as a high school principal for the last couple years, since we have been in the same district with Aransas Pass. We would always engage in educational conversations and discuss our schools. I found her to have a great vision of what she was trying to accomplish at her school in Aransas," Vargas said.

Harris wants to further the dual credit programs at Goliad High School, institute leadership programs for the students, push the teachers and students on State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test scores and increase the technical career class options on campus.

She said she wants to focus on programs that are research-based and use data to drive the school's success.

Harris, who moved to Goliad with her husband, said she was happy to trade in the palm trees of Aransas Pass for the oak trees in Goliad. Her three daughters are grown.

"I was thinking, 'Isn't it ironic that I came back home when I loved where I was at?' And then this student comes in with a welcome gift for me, and I read it - 'Whatever you do and wherever you roam, always remember there is no place like home.' And it just brought tears to my eyes," Harris said. "I thought, 'OK. I'm supposed to be here."

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