We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Stanley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lisa, what are you inspired by?
I am inspired by the teachers I work with at North Texas Collegiate Academy. We have a very unique and special family of educators who truly believe that every child matters and that relationships are the keys to success. I’ve always admired our teachers and appreciated their faithful dedication to our students, but during this pandemic they’ve inspired me at a greater level. With no notice, we transitioned from in-person to at-home learning in March 2020. I initially felt such a sense of overwhelming anxiety and fear that our students may not be served as well while they were not on-campus; I worried that they may suffer emotionally and socially because they were not in their traditional school environment. Looking back now, I can see that my worry and anxiety were needless because our teachers rocked it! During 8 weeks of remote learning, we saw over 90% of our teachers show up voluntarily to help serve meals, to distribute educational supplies and activities, and to offer love and support for our students. I created a daily schedule that expected our teachers to work minimally from home but every week, our teachers surpassed those expectations by calling parents and students directly, by making home visits to spend a few socially-distant minutes with their students, by mailing handwritten cards to our families and by participating in countless virtual activities. While I’ve always admired our teachers, I now feel truly inspired by them.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For as long as I can remember, I loved school. I attended “Head Start” when I was 4 years old and from that time forward, all I wanted to do was be a teacher and work with children. From volunteering in the church nursery to teaching Sunday School when I was 12, I knew I that education was my passion early on. After graduation, I started as a part-time teacher’s aide then transitioned into a full-time classroom teaching/coaching position. After 5 years, I entered administration. I served as a campus principal for 9 years before moving into the role of Superintendent. Along the way, I’ve had to overcome some tough personal challenges. I won’t bore you with the dirty details, but I faced some incredibly dark times. During those darkest days, I learned how much relationships matter. Building a strong network of personal and professional allies has been the secret to any success I’ve experienced. I’m not talking about relationships where there’s any personal or professional gain for me; I’m talking about the relationships where I can call any number of people at any time and ask for prayer, ask for advice, and be candid. I think transparency and my willingness to be “real” have provided the much-needed support to make sure my tough challenges were temporary. But this same transparency and openness has also bought me credibility within my school community. I believe that our staff members, students, and their families know that I am here for them, just as so many were there for me when I needed them. The people I work with and the families I serve are valuable to me and I am proud of the relationships I’ve built with them. It’s my responsibility to ensure that our students receive a great academic experience and that we give our teachers everything they need to be successful; but it’s my greater responsibility to make sure they are loved, they are safe, and they are thriving socially and emotionally. That’s why relationships matter. What sets North Texas Collegiate Academy apart? Relationships. Period. No other school loves and serves its families like we do and I’m proud of that.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Anyone who knows me knows that I love thrift stores and flea markets! We’ll visit Upscale Resale in Denton first because they always have unique finds, but mostly because their proceeds go directly to Denton County Friends of the Family. DCFOF supports women and children who are survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and this is a cause that’s very important to me personally and I’m proud to serve on their Board of Directors. After a day of finding great thrift store goodies, we’d enjoy the Denton Square and finish up with a BBQ at Rooster’s Roadhouse and then ice cream from Beth Marie’s because it’s always fun to support local businesses.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am surrounded by so many incredible mentors, supporters, and encouragers. My father helped bring the vision of North Texas Collegiate Academy to life in 2000. He created the 501c3 non-profit organization that filed an application with the Texas Education Agency to open our charter school district. He invested his own savings to get us off the ground, but more importantly, he invested his time is helping to build community support, recruit students, and lay a firm foundation for success. My mother is truly the most hardworking woman I know and not only will she do anything from helping cook lunch in the school cafeteria to donate Christmas gifts for our students in-need, but she is also the first one to offer words of support and prayers for encouragement. If I am half the woman she is, I’ll count that as success. Dr. Karen Case, a retired superintendent, has been the best mentor any school leader could ask for. Since the first day I met her, she has freely shared her wisdom, her experience, and her support with me since the day I became a superintendent. It’s such a blessing to draw from her expertise. Finally, I offer shout-out to Dr. Mollie Mozley, a fellow superintendent, who has extended her time, her talent, and her testimony to help me build North Texas Collegiate Academy. Through her friendship and guidance, I’ve seen that the sky is the limit when serving marginalized youth. She sets the bar high and time after time, her students surpass it.

Website: www.ntxca.org
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-stanley-a542bb73/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NTXCA

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