Alumna Michelle Rice was recently named principal for Janet Brenner Hoover Elementary School (Hoover), an upcoming pre-k through second-grade campus set to launch this fall.
“Being chosen for Hoover was a surprise because it was so different than what I'm used to, but God has put this elementary in my life to love on these kids,” Rice says.
Hoover will be one of a kind in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD). It will be located across the street from Jowell Elementary. Jowell, which is a pre-k through 5th grade school, will split into two with Hoover taking half of the students. The addition of the Hoover campus will allow teachers to focus on a more specific age range of students.
Hoover will also be a bilingual campus. It will have an economically disadvantaged population of 75-79%.
“Hoover is going to be amazing and something that no one has seen before,” Rice says.
Rice credits God's timing for her new position at Hoover. She has served 17 years in education, including the last eight years in CFISD.
“Looking back and reflecting over all the people I’ve met, I hope I made an impact,” Rice says. “God has called us to love. People who’ve helped me and those I have encouraged along the way is the most rewarding.”
Her career initially launched in the Magnolia Independent School District (MISD) in 2000. In MISD, Rice served three years as an elementary teacher followed by two years as a teacher/coordinator.
She was later promoted to assistant principal in MISD, where she served for four years before arriving in CFISD as an assistant principal at Warner Elementary School. After one year at Warner, Rice landed her current position at Copeland Elementary. Prior to moving into school administration, she earned her master's degree in Educational Administration from Sam Houston University.
Rice believes that her time as a student at SAGU taught her how to truly appreciate and love all people. “I always knew that loving all people is important but it was emphasized more there,” Rice says. “I don’t know if I would have gone to a state school, if that would have been emphasized as much. I think those values are what helped shape me to be where I am at today.”
Rice graduated from SAGU in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Rice says that the spiritual growth she experienced at SAGU drives her today.
“I can't tell kids about God, can't put my faith out there with words to them other than living it out and loving them,” Rice says. “Everything we do is about loving people, that's how we'll win them over. It's not about the culture, demographics or ethnicity, it's all about people and I have to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Rice is a graduate of the Rice Educational Entrepreneurship Program (REEP) through Rice University. This program takes education and looks at it through a business model lens. Rice has also been part of the Texas Principal Visioning Institute, cohort 5 (TXPVI) and continues to serve on the design team.
Technology, critical thinking skills, and creating an environment of learning and joy is only part of Rice's vision for the new elementary. Rice has plans to train her staff with the acronym MAGICAL – Mindset, Attitude, Growth, Innovation, Communication, Action, and Love.