Mrs. Hagerty: A Decade as a Principal


Saanvi Devpura

Mrs. Hagerty

This year will be Mrs. Hagerty’s 10th year as principal and 24th year of being in the education department.

“I taught for six years. I taught at Hopewell Elementary Middle School and at Cedar Valley Middle School. My first year of teaching, I taught sixth grade math, science, and World Cultures. And then after that, the rest of the years I taught seventh grade math and accelerated math. And then, after six years of teaching, I became an administrator. So I became an assistant principal here at Canyon Vista. I was an assistant principal for eight years, and then became the principal. Now that’s 10 years later. So in total, I have been in Canyon Vista for 18 of my 24 years in education,” Mrs. Hagerty said. 

She has been to three different colleges. The first college she went to was Tyler Junior College for two years. “My main reason for going there is because I did drill team in high school,” Mrs. Hagerty said. She was even a captain of the drill team in her senior year. She loved to dance. ”My director, she had gone to this junior college and was on the college level drill team, and so I looked up to my director so much. She was just, you know, I wanted to be just like her and so I decided to follow in her footsteps and so, I went to this junior college for two years and did college level drill team for two years,” said Mrs. Hagerty. 

The second college she went to was Texas A&M. There, she got her bachelor’s degree and a degree in education to become a teacher. After teaching for a little while, she knew she wanted to be an administrator, and to become an administrator, she needed a master’s degree, so the third college she went to was UT Austin. 

Mrs. Hagerty’s motivation and influence is Canyon Vista. “I think I’ve learned how to be a better principal over the years from the people here at this school where I’m working with everyday. Far more than I learned from my book or from my master degree or going to professional development or anything, you know, anything like that. It’s the interactions on a day to day basis,” Mrs. Hagerty said “You know, sometimes, the things are going really well, sometimes I make a mistake and learn from that, because you know the people around me help me learn and grow through that.” She is also greatly influenced by her mentors. 

Mrs. Hagerty chose to become a principal because when she was teaching, she always felt very drawn into a leadership position. She became a teacher leader by accident during her first year as a teacher. Her coworker was doing graduate school to get a master’s degree while teaching, so she wasn’t able to go to leadership meetings. 

“And then, next thing I know, she is asking me to go to all the meetings, and so by the time the end of the year came, I thought… You know what, I went to all the leadership team meetings, and I don’t think she went to any. So I think by default, I was the team leader. So then, my principal just asked me at that point if I would continue to be a team leader. So I was drawn into leadership pretty early in my teaching career. And I really enjoyed it, I felt like it was a good suit for me. I really did think I was going to teach forever, I really did. I thought I was going to retire as a teacher. But, I think that was just enough of a, kinda peak my interest in leadership, and I would watch my assistant principals, I would watch my principal, Ms. Harrington. I was like, “ooh, I really like what they are doing, and I would really like to do that.” And so, just the opportunity to impact even more students is what drew me into being an administrator,” Mrs. Hagerty said. 

Something unexpected she has encountered through her teaching career is COVID-19. Mrs. Hagerty said, “Never in a million years could have imagined what that would have done to education and just, you know, the flip on a dime to school just shutting down from March to May 2020, to then having to figure out the next year of, you know, some people being here in person, most of the people being online and virtual, to then, even, what does it look like when everybody comes back?” 

One of the challenges that she has as a principal is the number of students in the smallish building. 

“Right now, we have 1,371 students here. And the school building itself was never built to hold that many people,” Mrs. Hagerty said. She believes that everyone has a place here in this school and loves all the kids that go to Canyon Vista. The number of students doesn’t bother her. “But it does present challenges because we don’t have the space here. The hallways are crowded, the stairways are crowded, and not every teacher has a classroom. There are teachers that have to float around and use different rooms, and things like that,” Mrs. Hagerty said. 

“I can’t believe that it has been 10 years, it seems like it has gone really fast. I love it every bit as much as I did then, but probably the actuality is that I love it more. Just because, you know, as I get older, you know, I reflect more on my life in general and things like that. I think, you know just my capacity for that love of the kids here and my staff and the school and the community just grows and grows and so, I am just, still to this day, honored and privileged to be here as the principal,” Mrs. Hagerty said. She also said that there has been a lot of growth between her years working here. “Even in your 10, there are some things that will happen this year that had never happened before, and so I learn and grow from all of the different experiences I have… and so now, when a situation comes up that I have dealt with, it seems a lot simpler and easier to handle a situation that were as like your one year, it was all brand new,” Mrs. Hagerty said. 

Being a principal is hard work since you have to take care of the whole school, including staff and students. The responsibility can get really overwhelming, but Mrs. Hagerty handles it really well.