Preston Hollow People: Legislator Takes Over School

For the full text, follow the jump.

Legislator Takes Over School

By Margaux Anbouba

The students of Withers Elementary School received a special treat during Tuesday's morning announcements.

"Good morning, Withers Wildcats," said state Rep. Jason Villalba, who was serving as "Principal for a Day." "I'm going to get a chance to walk around and meet some of you today, and I'm so excited."

After announcements, which included a forecast of "cloudy with a chance of meatballs," principal Connie Wallace took Villalba on a tour of the school, which included visiting his daughter Sophia's first-grade class, speaking Spanglish with a dual-language classroom, and a Q&A with Student Council members.

During the meeting with the Student Council, Villalba addressed everything from his favorite college sports teams (Baylor Bears and Texas Longhorns, his alma maters) to why Texas should declare chocolate-chip-pecan-oatmeal the state cookie. He also described how he started his career in politics.

"My leadership is about being a community servant," Villalba said. "I call myself a servant leader. I'm someone who is more concerned about people than politics."

After an assembly for third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders, the students went outside to see a Dallas Fire-Rescue engine, a Dallas Police Department SWAT vehicle, and mounted police up close and personal.

Although most of his responsibilities as principal for a day were fun and games, Wallace wanted to ensure that Villalba, a strong supporter of public education, understood what it takes to keep a school up and running.

"I want him to walk away with a clear sense that great things are happening in our public schools," Wallace said. "You hear things in the news about the struggles that public schools have, but here at Withers, we are on target for success and have great things happening."

It was hard to tell who was having more fun — the students of Withers or the principal for a day. Perhaps after retiring, Villalba will join the world of teaching.