New principal on the block
New Principal Sandy Trujillo doesn’t have many of the traditional fond memories of high school.
She attended seven of them.
“I got an education, but I don’t have those memories,” she said.
Growing up, she said her dad worked for the federal government, which required her family to move to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Florida, Texas and Missouri. Because she moved constantly, Trujillo felt very disconnected.
“I would never go to alumni night or homecoming because I knew maybe four people in my graduating class,” Trujillo said.
As a result of her experience, she said she wants all students to find a niche and enjoy their time in high school.
“One of my goals is for us as a campus to start becoming more welcoming and make sure that every single student in this campus has a memory they leave with of high school,” she said.
Trujillo said her focus this year is on getting to know the students, the teachers and the culture of Cy Creek.
“This ship is already in course,” she said. “I need to find my niche. It isn’t my job to come the first year and kick the ship over.”
An education enthusiast, Trujillo said she always wanted to pursue that as a career growing up.
“I hope never to stop teaching,” she said. “I feel like I can affect change in the business of education as a principal, but I don’t ever want to stop facilitating learning.”
Trujillo said she thinks her job is almost like a laboratory.
“As a scientist, I’m always looking for a new way to try a new leadership process or a way to look at a problem through a different lens,” she said.
A single mother of two, she said both of her daughters also want to pursue teaching. They’re finishing their own education degree at Texas State University.
“The 24-year-old wants to be a special education teacher working with life-skill adults and the 21-year-old wants to be an elementary teacher,” Trujillo said. “I looked at my children when they were born and said ‘I sure hope I have two future educators,’ I think it’s the most important business out there.”
Trujillo started her teaching career in Pasadena, but most recently worked in the Leander school district near Austin, where she served as principal of Leander Middle School for 10 years. Determined to move back to Houston, she applied to become a principal in CFISD.
“I had done a lot of research on all of the larger school districts and throughout all of my research, Cy Fair ISD was above all the others,” she said. “It was by far really the only place I was interested in.”
Trujillo said she loves working with older students.
“I just love being back in the high school atmosphere,” she said. “I’ve been working with middle school for a long time and it’s been a real joy, but I needed to get back to where the students were starting to think for themselves, being on their own and thinking more globally … and I love that about high school.”
Mary Ann Guidry, Trujillo’s secretary, spent time with the new principal during the summer and noticed her positive attitude right away.
“When I first met Ms. Trujillo I thought that she was a very energetic,” Guidry said. “She definitely had an idea of what she wanted to do and how to accomplish it.”
Trujillo broke her foot over the summer, which made it difficult to deal with a mix-up during her first few weeks on the job.
“One of our custodians accidentally threw all of her stuff in the recycle bin — personal papers, books, her nameplate,” Guidry said. “It was a communication error with the custodians and it was purely an accident, but we went Dumpster diving. I told her at the time that one of these days we were going to laugh about that.“
Leander ISD’s biggest high school only had around 1,700 students, about half the size of Cy Creek.
“My first impression was there was a lot of people and that I had to learn their names and that was going to be tricky,” Trujillo said.
Aside from organizing her calendar and appointments, Guidry helps Trujillo with teachers’ names.
“We’ll talk either before or after school to give her a little history on who they are, what subject do they teach, and of someone who’s been here for a long time,” Guidry said.
Trujillo made a positive impression on junior Sami Hatcher by shaking her hand on several occasions outside by the front entrance.
“I think that she’s very approachable, amiable, and she’s a nice person,” Hatcher said. “I look forward to seeing what she does this school year.”
Trujillo said shaking hands with students is one of her personal traditions.
“I’m blessed to have this job, and I want to make sure that my students realize that I feel like my job is to serve,” she said.
However, Hatcher said she wished Trujillo would get out of her office even more and become more noticeable.
“I think people have seen her but they don’t realize that it’s the new principal,” Hatcher said. “I think it’d be nice if she was around more in the hallways.”
Outside the office, Trujillo said she likes reading education periodicals and leadership books, enjoys running and loves people.
“I really enjoy social opportunities to find out about people,” Trujillo said. “That’s why I run because you run with people, and that’s why I don’t win because I’m talking or laughing the whole run.”
As the new principal, Trujillo said she has some big shoes to fill. She said former principal Jim Wells is a dynamic and incredible human being and she’s thankful to have built a friendship with him.
“He comes to the games with me and he calls about once a week to see how things are going and I feel very confident with him as a mentor,” she said. “My goal is to offer the same quality of service and leadership that Mr. Wells was able to offer, just in a different package.”
Although Trujillo looks forward to a challenge, she said her new job has “exponentially changed” her life.
“I go home so tired sometimes I can’t fix supper. It’s the egg sandwich that day,” she said. “But I love it.”
She said she wakes up every morning charged and ready come back to the challenges of the job.
“How sad would it be if you had a job that didn’t allow you to grow?” Trujillo said. “I’m just fortunate that I have a purpose-driven career that I can go home and say I made a difference.”