Fort Bend ISD Elementary Principal of the Year Shares Success Roadmap

Lavanta Williams reading to young students Emily Alvarado, Bailey Frazier and Jaden Cowans.

Lavanta Williams reading to young students Emily Alvarado, Bailey Frazier and Jaden Cowans.

An education-minded mother, influential teachers and a drive to make a difference has taken Heritage Rose Elementary School Principal Lavanta Williams all the way to Elementary School Principal of the Year for Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD).

Williams was raised by a single mother in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. “Learning was very important to my mother,” Williams said. “She only had a 10th grade education, but she was my first teacher. And then, as I advanced in school, I started teaching her.” Williams became the neighborhood teacher, playing school with other children when he was young and later encouraging them to stay in school.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southeastern Louisiana University and later a master’s degree in administrative supervision, Williams wanted to have the same effect in the lives of his young students. After teaching in Louisiana for four years, Williams moved to Houston and taught fourth grade in Aldine ISD. After receiving his certification in administration from the University of Houston, he was hired as assistant principal at Ridgemont Elementary. Eventually, he was promoted to principal at Ridgegate Elementary, where he stayed four years before taking the helm at Heritage Rose Elementary, one of four primary schools serving Sienna Plantation.

“Lavanta brings great enthusiasm to his work,” said FBISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Xochitl Rodriguez. “He brings a spirit of collaboration and commitment and is a great communicator, leader and teacher.”

The day after the 2015-2016 school year started, Williams was named Fort Bend’s Elementary School Principal of the Year, an honor selected by other district principals. “I couldn’t believe it, but after the initial shock, I felt really honored,” Williams said.

Williams has indeed been making a difference during his short tenure at Heritage Rose, setting high standards, bettering communications and holding teachers and students accountable. “We are working toward a growth mindset,” Williams said. “We want to create an environment where students will feel like it’s okay to try and okay to make mistakes as long as we get up and try again. The kids are excited about their academic growth, and there is a dialogue now between teachers that is very exciting. This campus is moving.”