STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Superintendent Keith McBurnett described the Burnet school district’s two new principals in sports terms.
“This is like getting two first-round draft picks for us,” he said.
The education stars to whom he’s referring are Barbara “Bobbie” Steiner, the new leader at R.J. Richey Elementary School in Burnet, and Alicia Harris, who was hired at Bertram Elementary School. Both hail from Leander Independent School District.
Steiner has spent the past six years as principal of Faubion Elementary School and was named the 2018 Texas Parent-Teacher Association Outstanding Educator of the Year.
She spent 11 years as a special education teacher then five years as an assistant principal.
“She has a special place in her heart for struggling students and seeks to help them find positive direction and opportunity through education,” McBurnett wrote in a media release.
Over at Bertram Elementary School, Harris will take on the role of principal for the first time.
In her 13 years in education, she has been a teacher, an instructional coach, a summer program coordinator, and an assistant principal at Camacho Elementary School.
“Alicia has been an outstanding assistant principal,” McBurnett said. “She was a future principal in Leander ISD.”
In writing about her, McBurnett penned, “Mrs. Harris is a gifted leader, and partners with teachers to honor their expertise by making them an integral part of campus improvement processes. Mrs. Harris believes that strong, trusting relationships are essential to the long-term effectiveness of the school community.”
McBurnett said both women rose to the top of the candidate list during the interview process, adding it was evident the two are highly regarded at Leander ISD. While checking references, he heard the same thing over and over again about both.
“I kept hearing these comments that Burnet CISD would hit a home run if we could get these principals,” he said. “There is a difference between a good reference and a great reference. They had nothing but great things to say about Alicia and Bobbie.”
Today, it has become a challenge for school districts to build “that pipeline of future educators,” McBurnett said, as the application pool of qualified candidates gets smaller and smaller.
That’s another reason why McBurnett is so positive about the recent hires.
“They’re excited about being a part of our community,” he said. “We know we can be so much more successful when we can all work together.”
The school district plans to host a meet-and-greet event for Steiner and Harris at a future date.