Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD

When Dan D. Rogers fifth-graders discovered Lisa Lovato won Dallas ISD’s Principal of the Year award, they waited in the hallway to hug her when she arrived.

“I just reminded them you can put your mind to anything and achieve it,” she says.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lovato

Winners were announced Friday morning during a special event at the Dallas Market Center. Out of three elementary-level finalists nominated for the award, Lovato was selected because of her community-driven approach and high expectations for her staff, who actively contributes to student development, according to the district.

“I think it means a lot to me professionally and personally,” she says. “I am the first to graduate from college in my family. I took all seven of my family members today, because they were so proud of me … I really felt loved today. I feel like people were celebrating how much I’ve grown over the years.”

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lovato

Six years ago, Lovato became principal of Dan D. Rogers, which re-launched as a personalized learning campus in 2015 and received all possible distinctions from the Texas Education Agency this September.

The elementary school has received a plethora of positive attention this year, in part because of Lovato’s enthusiastic, hands-on leadership approach.

“I think it has to do with knowing who you serve,” she says. “It would be in haste to say I’m giving my heart to kids if I don’t know their names or their families or their stories.”

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