Elliott steps into principal position at Bennett
“It’s like coming home.”
In her third stint at Bennett Elementary School, Michelle Elliott returned just four days before school started to take over the top job as principal.
Elliott picked up a staff T-shirt the night before being introduced as the new principal to Bennett teachers. She said Superintendent David Vroonland made her wait in the hall so it was a surprise to the staffers, 90 percent of whom Elliott said she had worked with before.
They greeted her with a standing ovation.
“I cried; they were crying,” she said. “It was the most amazing welcome.”
Elliott served three years as a fifth-grade teacher at Bennett when it was an elementary school. When Casey Elementary closed and Bennett became an elementary school, she spent a year as a fourth-grade teacher at Willow Bend. The next year, she was back as an assistant principal at Bennett, but later moved back to Willow Bend, where she has spent recent years as an assistant principal.
The new principal said she did not expect to become a principal this year.
“I have been plugging away and planning for Willow Bend,” she said. The vacancy at Bennett was opened when former Bennett Principal Rhonda Dillard was promoted to head of Frenship’s human resources in the weeks before school started.
“It was a surprise, actually,” she said. “I’m excited about it though.”
Although this is her first year to start as the lead administrator of a school, Elliott said in some ways, it’s just the same for her as it is for every principal.
“It’s the beginning of the year at every campus,” she said.
Elliott said her educational philosophy is that it’s important that all kids learn at a high level, and that educators must know where their students are and meet them there.
“I’m really in this to build relationships with staff, students and parents,” she said. “I really hope to do all that and have fun while we’re doing it.”
Elliott said she didn’t become a teacher until she was 30. She decided to become a teacher after reflecting on who had the biggest impact on her as she was growing up, and she said she wanted to have that same impact on others.
She decided to become an administrator because she realized she was good at collaborating with other teachers — and she also enjoyed it.
“That’s my favorite part of the job,” said Elliott.
Still, she said she misses being in the classroom.
“Any time I have a stressful day, that’s my first line of defense: getting in a classroom,” she said.
Elliott is originally from Abilene, but is a big fan of living in Lubbock, which she said has a bit more to do. Her husband, Kyle, works for United Supermarkets, and they have two children.
In her spare time, she said she enjoys sporting events, decorating, painting and music, but mostly enjoys time with her husband and kids.
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