40 Years in Education: Westside's Robertson set to retire
Mark Friedel Staff Reporter
Westside Elementary Principal Lou Robertson is set to retire at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Robertson has been teaching since the age of 19 after she completed her four-year degree in only 2 1/2 years. She taught in rural, suburban and inner-city schools in the Houston area before becoming principal of Westside in 1997.
“All I ever wanted to do was teach,” said Robertson.
Her love of the profession is distinct through the one-on-one relationships with teachers and faculty.
“At Westside, we’re not a crowd, but a community. We put instruction first and work together to take care of our kids.”
Robertson said a school’s success starts at the top.
“My enthusiasm for achievement seems to trickle down to our teachers. We want every student to be able to succeed at the highest level.”
Robertson asks teachers to read five books a school year on different up-to-date teaching styles to use in the classroom.
“I think teachers are proud to have the same verbiage,” she said. “It’s another way we are all connected here at Westside.”
Another collaboration of Westside teachers would be the Junior Achievement program. Every homeroom from grades K-4 has a community member teach a lesson related to his or her job.
“This is a wonderful program that fosters work readiness and financial literacy,” said Robertson. “We’ve had school board members, mayors, doctors, bank presidents and more talk about their jobs.”
She highlighted Superintendent Mike McClaren’s strength for finance and law.
“McClaren has figured out money issues to help pay for many classroom activities as well as our new facilities. He’s a financial wizard.”
She said not working with the staff that she has helped put together will be a change.
She remembers one year when teachers cooked Thanksgiving dinner for a student’s family.
“We cooked this meal with all of the fixings and took it to their house. You could tell it made that particular student and her family very happy,” she said. “Everything we do is for the children.”
During retirement, Robertson plans to explore ways of providing more for children and their families. She also looks forward to traveling and spending extra time with her husband and grandchildren.
1992: Teacher of the Year for Houston Independent School District.
2006: Represented Oklahoma in Washington D.C. as a National Distinguish Principal.
2012: Oklahoma Junior Achievement’s Educator of the Year award.