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Conversations with an Assistant Principal: Justin Drummons and Maricela Gómez

April 3-8, 2022, was recognized nationally as Assistant Principals Week, and we sat down with two exemplary Georgetown ISD Assistant Principals for a look inside the unpredictable and impactful job. 

East View High School (EVHS) Assistant Principal Justin Drummons and Georgetown High School (GHS) Assistant Principal Maricela Gómez have each served in teaching and administrative roles during their time in GISD. Drummons started his career in education as a teacher at GHS before moving to EVHS, where he taught social studies, and then eventually moved into his current role as assistant principal. 

“I certainly still miss aspects of teaching and connecting with students in the classroom,” Drummons said. “If there was a way I could teach Macroeconomics and Government while being an assistant principal, I would do it.” 

Like Drummons, Gómez first kicked off her career in education as a teacher in GISD. Gómez began as a Bilingual Education teacher at Mitchell Elementary School before moving to Wagner Middle School, EVHS and Benold Middle School, where she stepped into her first assistant principal role. From Benold,, Gómez transitioned to her current position as GHS assistant principal. 

“Because I have worked at different campuses, I have been able to follow along with certain students and watch them grow at all educational levels,” Gómez said. “It has been the most rewarding experience, working and connecting with students consistently over the years.” 

 

The Conversations 

When did you know that you wanted to be an Assistant Principal? 

Drummons: As a teacher, I had a great experience in the classroom, and I developed meaningful relationships with my colleagues. I really wanted to replicate what I was able to do in the classroom for others on a large scale, in a way where I could work with students, families and teachers across the campus. 

Gómez: In my ESL Lead role, I was able to work closely with many teachers and do instructional coaching. That showed me that I wanted to continue working with teachers to guide them with curriculum at the administrative level. The transition to GHS also came down to family, in more ways than one. My son is a senior here, and it has been wonderful being with him. My son will be gone next year, but the family I have found with my team at GHS will remain.


What would you say is the most meaningful part of this job? 

Drummons: It’s hard to say what the most meaningful part of this position is because I get to see so many positive experiences. The really cool thing is that I get to see everything happen across campus. As an assistant principal, I am able to celebrate all of my professional colleagues and their successes, lift families up through hard times, and support students personally and academically. This job allows you to have a positive impact on such a large scale. 

Gómez: Oh my goodness, there’s just so much! I feel happy and blessed to be here every day and make an impact in kids’ lives. What students do post-grad is very important to me, and this job gives me many opportunities to guide students who might be feeling lost about next steps. I want to be a support system for teachers, students and families – That’s a huge piece of why this job means so much. 


What does a typical day on the job look like? 

Drummons: There is almost always a meeting or two with parents, whether it’s regarding something good, bad, or in between. Then, there’s conversations with teachers about learning strategies and curriculum. There are always students coming to my office, sometimes just to stop by and check in. Every day, there is a lot of work that has to be done between the administration team to ensure we are communicating and bouncing off of one another. I couldn't do this job without working so closely with them, and I’m thankful we work so well as a team. And when the school day is done, the work is not. You have to always be ready for the unexpected! 

Gómez: A normal day starts off with looking at your calendar, and knowing that most scheduled events might change. However, you have to maintain a flexible mindset, knowing that you might not be able to get to everything on your schedule. At any minute of any day, I might get called to tend to an issue. The unexpected is expected in this job. 

Monday mornings are my favorite with the “Monday Morning Hype Crew”. A team of us greet students with encouraging signs and welcoming smiles in an effort to start each week off on a positive note. That’s the type of stuff that warms my heart. 


What is the hardest part of this job? 

Drummons: The easy answer would be the amount of work, but it’s not really that. It’s more so about keeping up with the quantity of work and not letting it hurt the quality. When I'm dealing with something like an A/C issue or afternoon car duty, it’s routine to get those knocked out. But you have to remember that first and foremost, this is a people business. People are here, and they deserve our full attention. It’s important to balance the day-to-day work while providing the most authentic and impactful experiences for the people who come to us. It’s important to note that meeting with EVHS counselors is a huge part of this job. They are my rockstars and I couldn’t do this without them.

Gómez: I would say the hardest part of the job is when a student is making bad choices, and they can’t seem to find a way to make the right ones. The science is there, and we know that struggling students have most likely been through trauma and difficult things in their lives. It’s hard to work with a student and know that they have seen so much trauma that they don’t know how to move forward. It’s the hardest thing to accept about this job. I fully trust that GISD trains our staff appropriately to help in these situations, so I’m not going to give up. I don't know that I’m ever going to be able to accept that there are kids giving up on themselves. That’s why it is important to find the good in every situation and provide hope for those that need it.