Georgetown ISD began providing a teacher for the Williamson County Detention Center when it opened in 1986. The first teacher was Joe Mouhring, who was replaced by Linda Taylor in 1989. Patti Hearn was added separately in 1991 as a teacher for the Intensive Residential Center (IRC), a Texas Youth Commission diversion program. Education provided to youth on probation was referred to as the Williamson County Alternative Education Program.
The first full school program was the vision of Juvenile Services Executive Director Charly Skaggs and was implemented in 1993 in collaboration with Assistant Executive Director Scott Matthew, who named the school the Williamson County Academy, and Allen Bijou, Academy Director. The Academy combined the 3 programs that had been served separately and included a military component in addition to academics. In 1995, the Georgetown, Leander, and Round Rock school districts met with the County to fund the project and develop a plan to add teachers and aides; Linda Taylor became the first official Academy Principal at that time.
In 1997, the legislature passed the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (J.J.A.E.P.) bill, so all 12 districts within Williamson County were included in a more formal arrangement to increase the number of teachers and meet the requirement to have an official J.J.A.E.P.; therefore, the Academy was expanded to include students who had been expelled from their home districts.
Bob Fischer was brought in as Academy Principal in 2011. From the summer of 2016 to early 2017, the focus of the County’s post-adjudication program turned to trauma-informed treatment and rehabilitation of the youth, and with it came a name change to the County’s program from TRIAD/Academy to C.O.R.E. From 2017 to 2021, the school was simply known as Williamson County Education. During this time, the education staff grew to 19 members.
In 2020, Tara Stewart became Principal and quickly formed a committee to officially name the school and recognize it as a separate entity serving all 3 Williamson County programs: Detention, C.O.R.E., and J.J.A.E.P. The school debuted as Successful Transition Education Program (S.T.E.P.) in August of 2021.
Mrs. Taylor was known for looking through the hard exterior of the students and seeing their true hearts. She encouraged teachers to focus on the students and their needs, wanting them to feel special, loved, and safe. Mrs. Taylor helped the students learn to love learning.
Mr. Fischer believed in the power of education and advocated for teachers to have a voice in the treatment of the whole child. He encouraged connection and opportunities within the community through volunteers and guest speakers. Mr. Fisher encouraged teachers to be creative in meeting the needs of the students.