When Bullard High School students return to school in January, they will be welcomed by new principal Amanda Silkett - a leader with plans to navigate with compassion while creating a family atmosphere.
Mrs. Silkett comes from Georgetown ISD, where she was principal of the high school. Her background is in special education, which she said still holds a place in her heart. Her passion comes in part from her own life, having family members with social disabilities.
"I love those kids. I'm still very involved in life skills," she said. "I think sometimes we don't set the expectations high enough because we don't give them enough credit."
Mrs. Silkett said the special education program at Bullard High School is in a great position to make enhancements that will improve the quality of education for those students. She hopes her expertise can help.
"It's really important to provide them with a well rounded education experience," she said. "I'm hoping to be involved in curriculum writing."
She will be heading a team of 86 teachers and staff with more than 750 students.
"Based on everything I've seen, Bullard ISD is on the cusp of something great and I'm excited to be a part of it," she said. "Bullard high school has a lot going for it. I want us to be the gem in East Texas."
Mrs. Silkett plans to start the semester by involving herself in the day-to-day lives of her staff and students.
"The first thing an educator has to do is have a relationship with the students," she said. "(We have to) make sure as a learning community, we're letting the students know what they can accomplish and what is available to them."
That means Mrs. Silkett plans on being hands on from day one.
"When someone walks in the door, I want them to know they're treasured, welcome and we're excited to see them," she said. "I want to make a difference for the kids, by working with the staff and building a family."
Mrs. Silkett will be moving to Bullard with her husband of 25 years, Duane. The couple has three grown children, Michael, Kara and Rebekah, one grandchild and two more expected this summer.