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  • It was a really good day.

    Posted by Lindsay Harris at 4/3/2017

    I want to tell you about last Thursday, but before I do that, you need some background: I’m a big believer in collaboration. My leadership style reflects a desire to have input from others and I find work the most fulfilling when it’s done as a team. One of the first decisions that was made once I came to work as the principal of Wagner Middle School was that I would establish a team of Wagner staff that would give input and serve as guides for decisions to be made. This work is too important for others to not be a part of it from the very beginning.

    You probably know this, but there are endless decisions made each day for WMS -- some as significant as who we hire and what our instructional priorities are and some less significant, like which rooms need to have the same keys and what color the bleachers in the gyms are going to be. (Note: Even the insignificant decisions seem important, though, because who wants to be the person responsible for future key frustration or missing the mark on bleacher color?!?) 

    Over the course of the Fall, the Wagner Leadership Team was established. The team consists of two assistant principals, two counselors, four teachers, a librarian, a principal’s secretary and me. Most of the team agreed to come on board while they remain in their current positions for the school year, which means our time together is even more special because most of it’s in the evenings after long days. These eleven people have very different backgrounds and areas of expertise but they are united in this: a commitment to make Wagner Middle School a campus where supportive relationships abound and learning experiences for both the adults and students are engaging and empowering. That shared commitment is the undercurrent in all of the team’s time together. 

    Sometimes we tweet pictures that make it look like it is all fun and games (and there are some of both), but this group also works REALLY hard. While we are intentional about getting to know each other better and learning how to collaborate and work together, we really spend most of our time together learning. Prior to each meeting, everyone on the team does some work to prepare and that usually means there is some reading to do or videos to watch about a topic that we plan to spend some time on in the meeting.

    All of the background is to tell you that the Wagner Leadership Team spent the day together last Thursday. As always, we enjoyed our time together -- there was laughter, there was debate and there was so much thinking that sometimes our heads hurt. We learned and we made some decisions. It was a good day.

    Pic 1

    “Team Blue” celebrating a good idea with their Team Thinking Activity.


    pic 2

    We bring all of our instructional learning and decisions back to our GISD Learner Profile.


    pic 3

    To begin our conversation on Personalized Learning, we watched videos that showed personalized learning in action and had thoughts from teachers, parents and students that are using it on their campus.


    pic 4

    Mrs. Gaylor and Mrs. Heil are working through some research and preparing to share their learning with the group.

    pic 5

    And then there is this.


    My favorite part of the day was when the team was able to tour the construction site. I love visiting it myself, but what was really special about this tour was getting to watch the reactions of people seeing it for the first time. They were overwhelmed with excitement and that took on a lot of forms -- some were speechless, some were saying things that showed it, there were even some tears. One by one and over the course of the following day, they all expressed that seeing the campus made the instructional vision more clear. And all of them shared how honored they were to get to be part of something so special. I can’t wait for the rest of the Wagner Team to have that same experience! That building is something special and not only because of it’s forward-thinking design … it is special because you can look at the space and see all of the possibilities for teaching and learning. It’s so much more than a building.

    These pictures won’t do it justice, but here goes:

    pic 6

    This is taken from the parking lot behind the building near the Athletics facilities. The red-colored area behind the cars is part of our tennis courts. (We will have 8 courts total.) You can see the stadium lights are already up where the stadium will be.


    pic 7

    This is from the front parking lot. The large equipment is directly in front of the office area (first floor) and library (second floor). To the right is the 6th grade Den and to the far left is the STEM Den (first floor) and the Humanities Den (second floor). The brown metal roofing is over the main entrance.


    pic 8

    This picture is from the foot of the learning stairs. You’ve seen this view before, so I hope you can see the progress! The second story is now complete and we can walk on it! From this spot in the school, we will be able to see learning happening in many places -- the Commons, the Teacher Design Lab, the Library, the Art classrooms, the STEM Den and the Humanities Den. Pretty cool!


    pic 9

    This is taken from the library, which will have a lot of glass windows. What a view!


    pic 10

    The wooden beams are in! These are in the Commons.


    pic 11

    This is the view from the Humanities patio. That building in the distance is East View High School!


    pic 12

    View from the Art Patio, which is HUGE and will allow students from the art classrooms and the library to have a change of scenery as they work on it.


    pic 13

    This is the Humanities Den, where Social Studies, Language Arts and Foreign Language classes will happen for our 7th and 8th graders.


    pic 14

    Eight wise leaders and their principal, at the foot of the Learning Stairs.


    Until Next Time,

    Lindsay Harris

    Lindsay Harris,

    Principal, Wagner Middle School


    Comments (2)
  • Things are Happening!

    Posted by Lindsay Harris at 3/29/2017

    It’s been a busy few weeks for Wagner Middle School! (I know that I have said it before, but it’s true … we’ve got a lot going on!)

    Since the last post, we have added some INCREDIBLE people to our team. I sincerely mean it when I say that the Wagner Team is composed of people that are the very best at what they do. Each applicant pool we met with about a position had talented people from across the district and state -- Wagner kids are lucky to have these talented professionals interested in serving them each day!

    • We officially added some teachers from across Georgetown ISD to the Wagner Team right before Spring Break! We are thrilled that this group is joining the Wolfpack, and we know that they will each create amazing opportunities for our students and will be important contributors to our campus culture.
      • Kristal Adams
      • Sofie Coronado
      • Stacy Dalton
      • Crystal Decker
      • Jarred Dorhauer
      • Phylis Gage
      • Jennifer Houston
      • Lauren Johnson
      • Rebecca Lambert
      • Kimberly Pauley
      • Michael Sinclair
      • Cindy Travis
    • We welcome Amy Heil to the Wagner Team as our Librarian! Amy is joining our team from her current Librarian role at Mitchell Elementary. We are excited about her leadership in: the use of MakerSpaces, supporting student and teacher needs as they use resources to bring their ideas to life, and making the Wagner Library the center of learning and innovation for our school.
    • We also welcome Wayne Poehls and Haley Schulz as our Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Coordinators! Both Coach Poehls and Coach Schulz come to Wagner from other districts in the state and they bring many experiences coaching Varsity sports, building relationships and creating superior programs. Wagner athletes and parents will love working with these two leaders.
    • One last teammate to join us recently is Jeff Owen, who will serve as our Director of Bands at Wagner. Jeff is highly regarded in Central Texas for his energy, relationships with students, and leadership of successful programs. His vision for the Wagner Band program is perfectly aligned to our vision of success, relationships and opportunity for each band student.

    In other exciting news … we have a Cheerleading Squad! Congratulations to the very first Wagner Middle School Cheerleaders! I am excited about meeting with the girls and their parents next week and am thankful for their willingness to devote extra time and a lot of hard work to spread Wagner Spirit.

    I can’t conclude a blog post without a picture of the Wagner construction site. This picture was taken March 20 and there is already significant progress since then, so be looking for more pictures later this week after I tour the site Thursday!


    This aerial photo shows how large the Wagner worksite is! The recessed area in the middle of the building facing the front parking lot is the front entrance of the campus. To the right of the front door is the 6th grade Den (first floor) and the Art classrooms (second floor). To the left of the front door (that doesn’t have a roof in the picture) is the 7th & 8th grade STEM Den (first floor) and Humanities Den (second floor). The area on the right with the white roof is the gyms and athletics facilities and the area on the left with the white roof is the Fine Arts wing. Also … you can see where our track and field are going to be by the large oval at the top of the picture!


    Until Next Time,


    Lindsay Harris

    Principal, Wagner Middle School

    Comments (0)
  • It is March! How can that be?

    Posted by Lindsay Harris at 3/6/2017

    It is hard to believe that it is March and almost Spring Break!

    It has been a busy few weeks for the Wagner Team. We had the opportunity to tour the campus with some members of our school board a couple of weeks ago and were really excited about the progress that we saw.


    This is the view from standing at the foot of the Learning Stairs. In the foreground is the Commons (cafeteria). When you look past the Commons, the lower floor is the 7th & 8th grade STEM Den, where our math and science classes will be held. On the second floor above the STEM Den is the Humanities Den, where 7th & 8th graders will have their Language Arts and Social Studies classes.

    Learning Stairs

    This is at the foot of the Learning Stairs, which are wide, deep stairs that allow for people to be seated and can be used as learning space. The more traditional stairs are directly to the left of the Learning Stairs. The concrete you see to the right of the Learning Stairs is the elevator shaft!


    This is a view of the back of the building. The tall stone walls you see to the left are the gyms, with the locker rooms and weight rooms directly in front of them. The blue walls on the right are the back of the kitchen and the Fine Arts wing. You can see the STEM and Humanities houses rising above the Fine Arts wing behind it.

    Once a month our Campus Leadership Team meets to learn, make decisions and grow as a team together. This month, our area of focus was TEAMING -- the practice of having four teachers from different content areas teach the same group of students. We are going to implement Teaming at Wagner because of the support it offers students and parents and the opportunities it provides teachers to collaborate about what’s best for their shared students. At our February meeting we had a little fun at Escapology (an Escape Room in Round Rock) that allowed for us to put into practice what we want for ourselves and students -- a group of people with different talents and areas of expertise that come together for a common purpose. At WMS, our goal will be the success of our students but at Escapology the goal was to SAVE THE WORLD FROM THE EXTINCTION VIRUS! (Don’t worry, we succeeded! 😀)


    While we had a lot of fun and learned a lot about each other, we walked away from that experience with a more clear understanding of the kind of learning experiences we want for our students, the skills we want to be sure we build in them and in ourselves and how we want learning to look at Wagner Middle School.

    We have spent a lot of time since the last blog post interviewing GISD teachers that are interested in joining our Wagner team, visiting GISD classrooms, continuing to work on our plan for our time in the Williams building before we move into our beautiful building (be sure to check out our FAQ document on the website) next Fall, meeting with PTAs, representing Wagner in the community, planning our Parent Information Nights (Please join us MARCH 6 or 9 in the EVHS Cafeteria at 6:30pm!), visiting other campuses in the area that are implementing some of the things we are planning for WMS, making decisions about furniture and materials, and doing some learning in the areas that we know will make us better prepared for the work we have ahead of us. It has been a great few weeks!

    Parent Night

    Wagner shirts and treats … a sure sign that there is a parent event coming!

    On a final note, I want to wish a very Happy 100th Birthday to Georgetown ISD! It is an honor to serve students in this community!


    Until Next Time,


    Lindsay Harris

    Principal, Wagner Middle School

    Comments (0)
  • We've got a plan!

    Posted by Lindsay Harris at 2/9/2017

    As many of you may have heard, it has recently been confirmed that our new building will not be ready for teaching and learning on the first day of school in August 2017. In fact, delays due to weather during construction this past Spring and Summer have postponed “move-in” until sometime during the Fall of 2017. Our district has been working in recent weeks to develop the very best possible plan for Wagner students and staff as we wait for the building to be ready for us. We think we came up with the very best possible “Plan B” and here is the official statement about it:


    We are excited about the beginning of Wagner Middle School and look forward to welcoming 6th and 7th grade students in the 2017-2018 school year. However, due to heavy rains in the early construction phases, the completion of the new Wagner building has been delayed and will not be ready for students until later in the Fall.

    Until construction is complete, Wagner students and staff will be housed at the Williams Elementary campus on University Avenue. (Williams Elementary students and staff will be moving to their new home in the newly constructed Purl Elementary facility upon completion of this current school year.)

    Wagner will host all of the same instructional and extracurricular opportunities available at GISD's other middle school campuses, including football, volleyball, band, orchestra, and cheerleading. In fact, Wagner’s athletic facilities will be completely available for use at the start of school -- the Wagner Wolves’ volleyball and football teams will be able to practice and compete in the Wagner gyms and on the Wagner football field in August of 2017.

    Once construction of the Wagner Middle School building is complete, Wagner students and staff will transition into their new building with complete fanfare, including an official caravan and escort.

    More detailed information, including a Frequently Asked Questions document and details about a Wagner Parent Information Event, will be released as details are finalized.


    We are grateful that this plan allows for the Wagner Team to be together in a building of our own (no other students or departments will share the space) until our entire facility is ready! We are excited that Wagner athletics, fine arts and other extracurricular groups will be able to practice, compete and represent our campus from the first day of school in August 2017. We are also thrilled that we will be able to begin developing relationships and forming our campus culture by having Wagner students working with their own Wagner teachers … teachers that will remain their teachers once we move into our new building. Lastly, we appreciate that the district, without hesitation, postponed the Williams remodel to keep Wagner students and staff together because they believe in doing what's best for our kids.

    We know that there are many details to plan and prepare for, but we are confident that our temporary time in the Williams building will be fruitful in learning, team building and preparing for our new innovative facility.

    Please be looking for our FAQ document and dates for our Wagner Parent events -- both pieces of information are coming soon.

    Please do not hesitate to email me at or call me at 512.943.1835 if you have any questions or concerns about our plan for the Fall of 2017! I’d love the chance to hear your thoughts or respond to your questions directly.


    Until Next Time,

    Lindsay Harris

    Lindsay Harris

    Principal, Wagner Middle School

    Comments (2)
  • New Year, New Blog, New Campus!

    Posted by Lindsay Harris at 1/11/2017 8:00:00 AM

    It’s always exciting to start a new year and 2017 brings some additional excitement for me as I look forward to the opening of Wagner Middle School! My plan is to use this blog to share information about our school, our staff, and our students.

    First thing is first... I’m thrilled to announce that Wagner is officially home of the Wagner Wolves! We gathered some nominations for mascots from the community this last Fall and took some of the favorites to panels of 5th grade students that will be attending Wagner Middle School. The students’ voice was loud and clear -- they selected the wolves! The students also gave us some of their thoughts about just exactly how they’d like that wolf to look, which was “not too scary but not like a cartoon, either.” The GISD Communications team worked hard to help me design some of our logos using our school colors of navy, white and orange. I love it and hope that Wagner students and parents do, too!

    Wagner Mascot/Colors

    One other noteworthy accomplishment from the Fall’s work is the establishment of the Wagner Leadership Team. I plan to spend more time discussing this dynamic team, but want to begin just by sharing their names and roles with you:

    • Sarah Rosenburg, Principal’s Administrative Assistant
    • Danielle Holloway, Assistant Principal
    • David Hunt, Assistant Principal
    • Tish Ptomey, Counselor
    • JoEllen Goldsberry, Counselor

    Wagner Team

    Part of the establishment of the WMS Leadership Team was the opportunity to identify some lead teachers that will assist the Leadership Team in making decisions about our campus. (It’s extremely important to me that teachers are represented in the decision-making taking place this Spring and Summer!) These lead teachers are:

    • Catherine Carstens, currently a 5th grade teacher at Cooper
    • Ashley Gaylor, currently a 5th grade teacher at Cooper
    • Rhonda Rucker, currently a 4th grade teacher at Williams
    • TIm Schermbeck, currently an 8th grade teacher at Benold

    Wagner Team

    I feel confident in this team and am so fortunate to have the leadership and partnership of these fine educators! Wagner students are certainly blessed that these nine individuals have chosen to leave their current positions and join the Wagner team!

    Many more exciting decisions are to come in these next few weeks: more hiring, selection of furniture, decision-making about technology … the list goes on and on! You’ll have to check back in to the blog for more in-depth information about our team, updates about our building and insight into the decisions that we are making.

    Front of School Building

    View of the front of the building from the parking lot -- the gyms and 6th grade house are to the right, the 7th/8th grade STEM house is to left.          Photo taken at Wagner site 01.01.17

    Back of School Building

    The back of Wagner -- showing gyms and locker room areas. Photo taken 01.06.17

    In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about what’s happening at Wagner. I can be emailed at or reached by phone at 512.943.1835.


    Until Next Time,

    Lindsay Harris

    Lindsay Harris

    Principal, Wagner Middle School

    Comments (1)

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