Picking out what to wear. Seeing friends for the first time in months. Hoping to find one’s locker.


The first day of classes brings excitement and anticipation to every high school student. But this year, students at Woodrow Wilson High School won’t be alone.


The school’s new principal, Ruth Vail, also will experience these emotions as she walks through the front doors on the first day of school. But while it may be her first day as principal, she’s no stranger to the halls of Woodrow.


“I graduated from Woodrow, my dad graduated from Woodrow, so I’m a second generation Wildcat,” Vail says. “It is all very close to home.”


Vail says she will be at an advantage, having gone to Woodrow during her high school years and having “the understanding that things still need to be enhanced and things still haven’t been done.”


In addition to being a former student, Vail has 10 years of experience in teaching and administration in the Dallas Independent School District . She spent 18 months as the vice principal at Woodrow before becoming principal at Ben Milam Elementary School .


Vail says she has high expectations for her tenure at Woodrow. She plans to focus on overall quality, solid academics and a comprehensive athletic program. This includes moving the school forward in math, reading and science.


“I’d like the high school to be the best,” Vail says. 


One of her main goals is raising funds to enhance programs already in place. Money, she says, is critical in improving and advancing a school. 


“We have to get money into Woodrow to serve the kids who need help,” Vail says.


She also plans to focus on bringing the different departments within the school together.


“It has to be a team effort,” she says.


          Helen Delph, president of the Woodrow PTA and mother of two Woodrow students, says Vail’s background and ties to the community give her a head start. 


“She knows the school, the traditions, and recognizes the diversity that is part of Woodrow,” Delph says. “Just knowing so much about the school already will help her accomplish what she wants to accomplish. She’ll be great.”


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