By LaNell Taylor
Some may call it déjà vu, but unfortunately the situation is not rumored but rather it is true. The leadership at Sam Houston High School is changing once again. Last, week an article was published in a local newspaper and much chatter took place via social media that Dr. Mateen Diop, Principal at Sam Houston High School would no longer serve as the school’s principal at the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year. The announcement came as a surprise to some while others applauded the SAISD board’s decision. It is believed that the decision was solidified following the class valedictorian’s graduation speech that vilified the school, Dr. Diop and his administrative team.
Not much has been shared from either party (SAISD nor Dr. Diop); however, SAISD Board of Trustee Alicia Perry did offer the following statement:
“We will have a change in leadership at Sam Houston High School next school year. These changes are always made with students in mind and their best interests at heart. We value the community and will ensure that stakeholder input is considered as we search for a new leader. We will strive hard to ensure that the campus moves in a positive direction. We take the concerns of our students seriously and we want to ensure that they have a successful learning environment. District Administration will review the concerns in an effort to ensure that they are addressed appropriately.”
As an alumna of Sam Houston High School in the San Antonio Independent School District, a former teacher of the school, a parent of a Sam Houston athlete, a tax payer in the District, I personally know that the stability of leadership at Sam Houston H.S. has been on shaky ground for at least almost two decades now. When I taught there from 2001-2006 we had 5 principals (Donald McClure, Joanne Cockrell, John Simpson, Joanne Cockrell again, and Melanie Iglehart – Hammonds) in the five years that I was there and unfortunately that cycle of the forever changing leadership hasn’t changed much since then; therefore, making it a very systemic problem and not good for kids.
Again, not many details have been released as to why this current principal change has occurred, but for many outsiders looking in, we are in an awaken state of looking at the systematic failures of organizations and institutions that have failed Blacks (particularly Black men). I just believe folks need to make sure history isn’t repeating itself. In speaking to other individuals, a former principal, mentor, and friends of mine, it was expressed that if I were to dig deeper I would probably uncover evidence of suppression of Black men in SAISD. Immediately in my mind I reflected back to the likes of Mr. Donald McClure; Mr. Everett Fuller; Mr. Charles James; Mr. Lewis Barr; Mr. John Simpson; Mr. Derrick Cade; Mr. Darnell White; Mr. Stanton Lawrence; and Dr. Mateen Diop and wondered what adversities they may have faced within the system.
To all who have walked in the shoes of educators they know “Teaching Ain’t Easy” and sometimes it is not for everyone. Again, I am not defending nor agreeing with anyone on the matter; however, I know that “Great Leaders” are important, but no one leader should EVER stop a show. If ALL parties (parents, students, community, principals, administrators, board members, stakeholders, etc.) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and are doing their part within an institution, despite the efforts of whomever the principal is, SUCCESS WILL PREVAIL! I’m part of that proof. As I mentioned earlier, I taught at Sam Houston H.S. when we had 5 principals in five years; however, as a campus we were still able to perform and on some occasions even outperform other schools in and out of the District to include areas of academics, athletics, graduating children., etc.
People should also consider that in most school systems today, most principals don’t run campuses like the days of old. Administrators, Vice Principals, Assistant Principals, Academic Deans, Counselors, etc. are the day to day faces we encounter because principals are like CEOs, they are often required to attend meetings and trainings at the District office, on and off campus, in the community, out of the city and state, perform classroom and campus walkthoughs, manage construction, manage budgets, and lets not forget those infamous “other duties as assigned.” I say all that to say that it should not be a surprise that at many campuses individuals are confused as to who is running the campus.
In closing, I’d like to note that when I worked at other schools in SAISD principal turnovers were just as frequent then as they are today, and I never understood how that was good for kids. Much can be said about schools that have or had consistency in leadership. Shouts out to Mr. Charles Muñoz former Principal at Edison H.S. who served for two decades or more; Ms. Raquel Sosa, former Principal, Highland Hills Elementary in the 80s, and two of my current favorite principals Mrs. Natasha Pinnix of M.L. King Academy and Dr. Derrick Thomas of St. Philip’s Early College High School. Much can be said for their leadership and track records.
I challenge all to look at ALL the data in order to make best decisions. And please let the good outweigh the bad.
Carver’s Jo Long Passes
Some people leave such an indelible mark that their loss is a palpable absence for all who knew them. Jo Long Williams was one of them. In the days since her passing on Tuesday October 12, 2021 at the age of 71, so many individuals across so many different communities have paid tribute to her. While it is hard to find words to adequately honor someone whose life and legacy continues to have such far reaching impact, some that have been used most frequently this past week to describe her are visionary, legendary, beacon, generous, fierce advocate, force of nature, uncompromising, brilliant, activist, humble and so many more.
The impact Jo Long Williams had in shaping the cultural landscape of our City and beyond cannot be overstated. Many have spoken of her visionary and transformative role as an arts administrator and advocate, of her supporting the early work and careers of so many artists, of bringing up a generation of cultural leaders and laying the framework for so many other cultural arts institutions to come into existence and thrive. Almost all have spoken of her fierce love of and commitment to community, representation, inclusion and equity. In the world of the arts, Jo Long is indeed legendary. However, this is just one aspect of her identity. She was also beloved by her family, circle of friends and faith community. Her life, legacy and loss are felt deeply by so many.
Jo became the first executive director of the Carver Community Cultural Center in 1976…a position she remained in until 2000. Under her leadership throughout those two decades, the Carver Community Cultural Center became globally recognized as a leading cultural institution trademarked by Jo’s visionary multicultural programming and uncompromising commitment to equitable access for all. These hallmarks continue to be the guideposts by which the Carver carries on the work today.
Prior to coming to the Carver, Jo began her career at Southern Methodist University (where she had received her MFA in Music History) as founding director of the Community Center for the Arts Association from 1972 to 1976. Her legacy of service continued after her tenure at the Carver as well when she went on to serve as an administrator at the San Antonio College Christian Student Center.
She was preceded in death by parents, Samuel Aaron and Marie Thompson Long, grandmother Willie B. Williams and grandfather Clark Thompson. She is survived by husband Woodrow Williams and stepson Ryan, siblings Sammye Shelvin (Charles), June and Michael Long, niece Adrienne Scales (Brandon) and nephew Samuel Shelvin (Amber).
A memorial service in celebration of her life will be held in the theatre named in her honor at the Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry St., San Antonio, Texas 78202 on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Carver Community Cultural Center or Church of Christ Student Center.
Carver Community Cultural Center – Jo Long Theatre
226 N. Hackberry
San Antonio, Texas 78202
Saturday, October 30, 202111 AM
Joe Webb Sr. passes away
Joe Webb Sr. Longest serving SATX politician D2 Councilman passes away
On Saturday, September 17, 2021 Joe Webb Sr passed away at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Born in Beeville Texas in in 1935. It was in Beeville that Mr. Webb learned the value of community. He graduated from High School in 1952 and married Frances Dee Toliver in 1953. In 1955 Joe Webb Sr moved back to San Antonio. He began his work at the YMCA in 1957. During these years Joe Webb began to understand the power of higher education and what it could mean for his family financially. He attended San Antonio College and St. Mary’s University.
In the late 1960’s Joe Webb Sr. began his career with HEB. Charles Butt traveled from Corpus Christi Texas to personally hire Joe Webb Sr. In 1969 he entered the HEB Managerial program. He then became the manager of several HEB grocery stores. Most notably the first African American to manager HEB store #1 and the East Side flagship HEB on N. New Braunfels.
Joe Webb’s relationship with San Antonio’s East Side began with his employment at the YMCA. There he met and networked with many of the city’s movers and shakers. They were impressed with his ability to effectively communicate and express the needs of the people within his neighborhood. It was here that he was encouraged to use his gift to seek greater employment opportunities and political office. Joe Webb’s campaign began as all grass roots campaigns do. The use of family and friends to make phone calls and knock on doors, he spoke at various Church’s and public gathering. Soon his idea of a bigger and more dynamic East Side caught on and in 1977 the East Side cast their ballots for Joe Webb Sr as their representative City Councilman for District 2. Mr. Webb would retain this seat through many elections, finally ending his City Council career in 1991. Those years between 1977 and 1991 were years of great change not just for the East Side but for the City of San Antonio at large. Joe Webb served on the City Council with names are we are still familiar with today. His contemporaries included former San Antonio Mayor and United States HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, former TX St. Representative, Senator, Mayor and currently Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff as well as former Mayor and Author Lila Cockrell.
PRIDE IN THE EAST SIDE
While in and out of office, Joe Webb used his name and clout to support and encourage many East Side causes. He owned and operated his own grocery store on the East Side. He was an early supporter of the MLK celebration, and he helped to secure the Alamodome. He has been awarded numerous times for his contributions to San Antonio. In 1992 The City of San Antonio renamed Durango Bridge the Joe Webb Bridge. In 1995 Ruth Jones McClendon read into the City Council minutes a proclamation honoring Joe Webb Sr. for his service to the community. 2016 saw then Councilman Alan Warrick II award Joe Webb Sr. the Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2017 the Bexar County Historical Society interviewed and entered his biography into their official database. Joe Webb Sr. was a Minister of the Gospel, a lifetime member of the NAACP as well as a Grand Master of the Masonic Masons.
In 1999 Frances Webb passed away and Joe Webb Sr, became a widow. He later married current wife, Mrs. Barbara Webb. The couple remained an active part of the community and Joe Webb Sr. continued to engage in East Side politics through speaking engagements and support of various District 2 candidates and Councilpersons.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Announces New Collaboration to Eliminate Inequities
− New collaboration with Black EyeCare Perspective sets sights to drive more equity among eye care professionals in optometry
− First major eye health company to sign 13% Promis
Johnson & Johnson Vision*, a global leader in eye health and part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**, today announced a collaboration with Black EyeCare Perspective, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to redefining the color of the eyecare industry 1% at a time. As part of the collaboration, Johnson & Johnson Vision signed the 13% Promise, an initiative to increase equity and representation in the eye care industry and in optometry schools by increasing the number of Black students to mirror the 13% of Black people in the U.S. population.
According to data from Black EyeCare Perspective, only 3.2% of students and 3.8% of faculty in optometry colleges are Black or African American, and this number drops to only 1.8% among practicing optometrists. Johnson & Johnson Vision is the first major eye health company to sign the 13% Promise, furthering a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through awareness, education, and empowerment in collaboration with associations, public and community organizations.
Johnson & Johnson Vision will contribute to the 13% Promise by continuing to:
- Support sponsorships and new programs to improve representation of people of color in optometry.
- Bring more diversity and equity into the eye care industry.
- Create more culturally relevant information and eye health education materials.
“As one of the largest eye health companies, we have an opportunity to drive change and bring more diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry for the greater good of the many patients and doctors we serve,” said Thomas Swinnen, President, North America, Johnson & Johnson Vision***. “Our partnership with Black EyeCare Perspective is one of the many ways we can further support the future of optometry and work together to create quality, equitable experiences along with healthier outcomes across communities.”
To learn more about Johnson & Johnson Vision visit www.jjvision.com.
About Johnson & Johnson Vision*
At Johnson & Johnson Vision, part of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, we have a bold ambition: to change the trajectory of eye health around the world. Through our operating companies, we deliver innovation that enables eye care professionals to create better outcomes for patients throughout their lives, with products and technologies that address unmet needs including refractive error, cataracts and dry eye. In communities with greatest need, we work in collaboration to expand access to quality eye care, and we are committed to helping people see better, connect better and live better. Visit us at www.jjvision.com. Follow @JNJVision on Twitter and Johnson & Johnson Vision on LinkedIn.
About Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**
At Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, we are helping people live their best lives. Building on more than a century of expertise, we tackle pressing healthcare challenges, and take bold steps that lead to new standards of care while improving people’s healthcare experiences. In surgery, orthopedics, vision and interventional solutions, we are helping to save lives and paving the way to a healthier future for everyone, everywhere.
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