Being able to interact with students on a daily basis was one of the requirements Tabetha Housekeeper, the new superintendent of Williamsburg Independent, said she needed in order for her to take the position.
“The unique situation about Williamsburg is I am with kids all day,” Housekeeper said. “There aren’t many superintendents that are in the building with kids like I am.”
This is Housekeeper’s first school year as superintendent. She started her role on July 21.
She graduated from Georgetown College, taught 4th and 5th grade, worked as an assistant principal and principal at Lemons Mill Elementary and most recently, worked at the University of the Cumberlands in the School of Education. She left the university to take the job at Williamsburg.
“I am just extremely passionate about all the castle work, making sure that we’re building social and emotional learning,” said Housekeeper about initiatives within the district.
To kick off the school year in her new role, Housekeeper’s first initiative was to bring educators and students together with what she calls a “super party bus.”
“I just wanted to see where our kids lived and so I asked my director of transportation if they would take me around and show me all of the homes in our community,” she said.
Just before classes began, Housekeeper and a bus full of teachers went around their community, handing out ice cream to students and their families.
“That became my thing,” she said. “Your superintendent broke the rule: we’re giving you ice cream before your breakfast.”
Housekeeper said it was a great moment to interact with her new community.
“We went to our local apartment complex, and it rained that morning, so we had a dance party in the rain” with students who lived there, she said.
She said she hopes to continue initiatives like the bus party in the future with the district’s students, educators and staff.
“I can’t say that I would have applied for this position if it would have been a typical superintendent role,” said Housekeeper. “I like to be in the thick of what’s happening and see if I can help be a solution or come up with a solution.”
She said she is learning something new every day as superintendent, and hopes to encourage educators to find their “North Star,” or the thing that guides them and fuels them in their career.
“I know not every superintendent has that ability” due to the demands of their job, said Housekeeper. “But get back to where your passion can be ignited one more time, then just keep going and falling back on your North star.”
She says her passion for students and building relationships is her North Star that encourages her through difficult times. She encourages other educators and staff to remember why they chose this profession, because “that’s what is going to change the lives of children.”