Jack Yates High School Principal Stephanie Square.
Jack Yates High School Principal Stephanie Square. Credit: Jimmie Aggison

In a heartwarming homecoming, Stephanie Square, an esteemed former student of Jack Yates High School, has taken on the role of the school’s new principal, igniting a wave of excitement and hope within the tight-knit community.

With her strong ties to the school and the community, Square is determined to lead the school into a bright future filled with opportunities and academic excellence.

Her journey from student to principal is a testament to the transformative power of education, and she is eager to inspire current students to reach their full potential.

With the start of the new school year just around the corner, Square wasted no time in connecting with the Yates community. She hosted a community session with parents, alum and local stakeholders to gather valuable insights and input on her vision for the school.

“My purpose as a leadership is because my heart is really in the classroom. I want to create an environment for teachers to feel more valued, more appreciated because they are needed in education,” she said. “A lot of the times in education, people who do their job, they get rewarded with more work, they burn out, then they leave the profession all together.”

During these sessions, Square encouraged open dialogue, allowing parents, alum and community members to share their hopes, concerns and aspirations for the school. The feedback received in these sessions will inform the strategic plans that Square aims to put in place to enhance the overall educational experience at Yates.

“To make any school, particularly a high school, great, you’ve got to have the support of the community and volunteers. I’m part of one of the largest student organizations on campus,” said William Saunders, professor at Texas Southern University’s Jessie H. Jones School of Business. “I had probably 200 or more students in my classes, so I’ve got access to help. The student organizations have to perform community service every year. We’re going to make Jack Yates our priority.”

Debra Smith-Stevens is a Yates alum (’74). She is concerned that there are not enough alum who attend school board meetings to address the challenges that impact the school.

“My concern is always the feeder pattern into Yates. Right now, the only feeder school into Yates is Cullen (Middle School) and half of Cullen is zoned to Lamar (High School). That’s always been a problem,” she said. “Of course, we lost Ryan when it became a magnet school. We need to see how we can increase our enrollment at Yates.”

With Square at the helm, Yates alum (’91) Jessica Brook says many people are excited to embark on a new chapter filled with promise and potential.

“Jack Yates is known for all its greatness. We just want to continue the legacy. We have Stephanie Square as our new principal and she has always been around the school,” Brook said. “She knows the campus, and knows most of the families and friends. We’re just ready to soar into a new dimension.”

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...