Rita Graves named HISD’s Secondary Principal of the Year


Each year, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) selects one elementary school principal and one secondary school principal, to acknowledge all of their hard work. 

This year, principal Rita Graves was selected as the HISD’s Secondary Principal of the Year.

“I was awarded that title this year for secondary schools. I’m not sure what comes with it other than the much appreciated acknowledgement that I’m doing a great job and so that means a lot to me,” Graves said. “I don’t know that I need anything else.”

Graves has been a principal for many years working at Roberts Elementary School and then Pin Oak Middle School before becoming Lamar’s principal. 

 “This is my 4th year at Lamar and my 13th year as a principal. I really feel like I’m in the right place so it’s not a matter of which I like more but more if the work allows you to meet, [sort] of your mission and vision of what you think kids deserve and I feel like it does,” Graves said.

 According to Graves, school is important academically, but its true value comes from helping students see into the “real world” or helping students find themselves.

“I want kids to want to come to school. I want you, [the students] to have found a group of people and an opportunity that really gives you fulfillment and helps you, not just grow academically but grow as a person, in your confidence, your leadership; do you know things other than what you can find in books? And do you have confidence in yourself? Because when you develop those things it makes the transition into college a little easier and then that transition into adulthood and your career a lot easier,” Graves said.

When asked what Graves hopes for the future, she spoke of a hopeful and bright future that lasts and will be passed on through generations of students.

“What I want to know is that; as a community we’ve created something that lasts well beyond me and a purpose that stays intact that [isnt] just about your academic classes it should be about more than that,” Graves said. “It should be about helping you develop on your journey to adulthood as a well rounded person but it can’t be at the cost of the academic pursuit.”

Seeing the robotics team on its way to championship, the debate team is on its way to a national championship this week and Coach Madison winning Coach of the Year because the girls basketball team just took first place in district are all examples of the success she loves seeing her students achieve. 

“I think that I have a really great support team here. The people that work in this building, for the most part, love it and feel the same way about educating young adults as I do and when everyone is working towards those common goals, then you see success and success breeds happiness sometimes and it certainly does for me here,” Graves said.

Graves feels that she is on the correct path to accomplishing all of the things that she wanted for this school and its students.

“So all of those things just really show that our work pays off and being able to continue seeing success like our one hundred-nine IB diplomas from the class of ‘21 and being able to see that success, despite everything going on around us in the world, is a pretty good feeling,” Graves said.