ZEPHYR — In a Zephyr High School integrated physics and chemistry classroom recently, principal Kelsa Blair looked over papers on student Ahleigha Sims’ desk.
Blair engaged the sophomore in a detailed discussion on endothermic and exothermic reactions, and teacher Patricia Boland said the answers and explanations Ashleigh gave to the 39-year-old principal were correct.
Blair is in his first year as principal at Zephyr schools. In his previous job in the Keene school district, he’d been torn between whether he wanted to be an elementary school or a secondary school principal. Working with both groups of students has its own rewards, Blair said.
In Zephyr, Blair gets to do both.”I like getting to have pre-K through 12th grade,” Blair said. “They’re all unique, so I get to work with the high school students as well as the elementary students. Both have their own rewards, so I enjoy that.”
Blair and his wife, Brandy, who is from Alvarado, have four children ages 11, 8, 4 and 2.
Blair, who is from the Fort Worth area, did not plan on becoming an educator. He attended Howard Payne University and majored in communication, and worked as assistant manager for a car rental company for two years.
But Blair believed he wanted to do something more meaningful, so he obtained a teaching certificate through the alternative certification program. “I felt like I really enjoyed working with students — kids — at church or doing weekends with youth,” Blair said.
His first job in education was with the Joshua school district, where he taught for six years and worked two years as an assistant principal at an elementary campus. He hadn’t planned on becoming an administrator but colleagues said he’d be a good administrator and should consider it, and he studied educational administration at Tarleton State University.
Blair next worked in the Keene school district, first as a high school assistant principal and then as elementary school principal.
Coming to Zephyr represented a different opportunity. “We were going to put our house on the market because we were looking for something different, and we kind of said, why are we just looking in (the Keene) area? What’s holding us here?” Blair said.
“My wife actually saw the (Zephyr) posting and said ‘this sounds awesome.’”
Zephyr’s small size, as well as the opportunity to work with elementary and secondary students at the same time, appealed to him.
“Zephyr’s a neat little community,” Blair said. “We have really good kids. We really do. We have kids who are very respectful, and I think for the most part, they very much see that what they’ve got here in Zephyr is a good thing.”
Principal lists accomplishments of Zephyr schools this year
• The district received a grant to bring Google Expedition, a teaching tool consisting of virtual reality field trip, to the classroom.
• Elementary and junior high winners and award ceremony.
• Physics class built protective cases and dropped eggs from the iron bridge.
• More than $500 raised for the childhood cancer fund.
• A senior implemented a project to post messages in the girls restroom to promote positive body image.
• On Oct. 13, the Zephyr Volunteer Fire Department presented a fire safety program to the elementary students. The new truck was present and students were able to operate a fire hose.
• On Oct. 16, Patricia Boland had her senior physics class consider three variables that affect the distance a rubber band will travel: stretch distance, launch angle and rubber band thickness. Students made their predictions, spread out in the gym sandpit their hypothesis to the test.
• On Oct. 17, students from the elementary school classes of Robin Ellis, Cindy Timms and Rebekah Dean were able to have a Skype visit with author Max Brailler from his home in New York. Liberian Kelly Hunter won the visit through a contests she entered when attending a summer workshop.
• On Oct. 20, head football coach and athletic director Shannon Williams secured his 100th win against Gorman.
• On Oct. 26, students from Tiffany Baker’s second grade class were able to see matter change states as they watched a liquid mixture transform into a solid.
• On Nov. 1, students traveled to Brady to compete in UIL Congress.
• Three students competed in the state cross country in Round Rock. The students are junior Gabby Durbin, senior Nick Moody and junior Thomas Terpining.