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'Magic and miracles': C-FB ISD principal Warnock named 'Ambassador of the Year'
At its eighth annual fundraising dinner this Wednesday, Friends of Texas Public Schools will honor Barbara Bush Middle School principal Matt Warnock as its Ambassador of the Year for 2012.
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD director of strategic services Angela Shelley said Warnock is the very definition of an ambassador.
"It's well deserved," Shelley said. "He's really gone above and beyond as a campus principal, not just championing his campus but all of public education. He knows great things are happening here, and his efforts to spread that to the entire community are to be commended."
Warnock said his desire to share the successes of his school comes naturally from seeing the daily effort his staff puts in.
"Our folks are working too hard to not recognize those good things," Warnock said. "I spend a lot of time away from my own family, my teachers spend a lot of time away from their own families for the good of these kids, and to not shine a light on the good things that they're doing isn't fair or right."
Scott Milder, president and CEO of Friends of Texas Public Schools, said Warnock is also unafraid to combat the war of words being waged against the public school system, making him an advocate not only for his school, but schools across the state.
"Matt Warnock is an incredible ambassador not only for his campus, but for all Texas public schools," Milder said. "Matt has figured out that the self-appointed critics and malcontents are intentionally undermining public confidence in their schools with misinformation and half-truths. People are not aware and have no reason to be aware that our public schools are actually performing better today than ever in history. Few are telling the story."
Warnock said he feels a responsibility to respond to public school critics because he sees firsthand the successful students his school produces.
"We're getting killed in this war over public opinion," Warnock said. "We've got to step up and defend our honor. Our students are incredibly gifted and are achieving extraordinary results in our schools. It's truly a shame that Texans don't know their public schools are effective and efficient."
Warnock has spent his entire career in C-FB ISD, first as a science teacher at Creekview High School, then as an assistant principal and later associate principal at Ranchview High School. Warnock took over at Barbara Bush Middle School in 2009. Since that time, he and his staff have kept their focus on doing all they can for their students.
"I see teachers and students and administrators working very, very hard for the good of kids," Warnock said. "When we're working for the good of kids, we're working for the good of the community, the good of our state, and the good of our nation. I whole-heartedly believe that the key to our future is walking these halls, and there is no single greater influence on our future than education."
One of the innovations Warnock has helped bring to C-FB ISD is the "parent coffee," a morning question-and-answer session Warnock hosts the second Friday of every month. He said the idea for the coffees at Barbara Bush Middle School came from one of his mentors, who used a similar approach at a previous school.
"When I first came to this school, the parents were longing, hungry for more communication," Warnock said. "So I expanded the idea of the coffee and meet with parents once a month. It's an opportunity for them to hear from me about the good things that are going on in our campus, and it's a good opportunity for me to hear from them about their concerns."
Warnock said that while his award is a great honor, his real reward comes from what he calls the "magic and miracles" of every size he sees in the halls of his school.
"Miracles occur every single day in public schools," Warnock said. "It may be as big as someone becoming the first kid in their family to go to college, to as little as getting a kid to read ten pages one night. The miracles are big, little, and everything in between. People don't hear that, and people don't see that outside of our world, and they should, because those miracles happen every single day in every single school across this nation."