Teacher Highlight – Carla Dupree
Pleasant Grove Independent School District – August 2022
Carla Dupree grew up in Atlanta, Texas, and attended Atlanta Independent School District from Kindergarten to 12th grade, and in these years, Carla prided herself on being a risk-taker, a hard worker, and a kind person. “All of those traits play a large part in my career path,” Carla says. “These traits are still a very large part of who I am, and they play a part in all decisions I make.”
In high school, Carla’s main activity and passion was the Lincoln Douglas Debate, and she learned many important life lessons from her debate coach, Mrs. Sue Tomberlain. “The skills I learned from that class have served me well in my career and personal life. I learned how to listen and try to see issues from different perspectives. I learned how to listen not with the goal of arguing against but with the goal to understand,” Carla says. “I also learned how to read an audience and how to keep my composure in difficult situations and to strive to be the best in the state.”
After high school, Carla Dupree decided to go into education because she recognized how much teachers had influenced her life. “I wanted to have that same opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others,” Carla says.
Carla began her career in education as a high school teacher from 1995-2000 in Queen City. Then, she went to J.K. Hileman Elementary in Queen City ISD in 2000 and served as assistant principal and then principal. In 2014, she went to Queen City High School as principal, and in 2017, she moved to Texas High School in Texarkana ISD as Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. In 2018, Carla became the principal of Texas High School and served in that capacity for three years and in 2021, she joined Pleasant Grove ISD as assistant superintendent and has been in Hawk Nation for one year. “In my role as assistant superintendent, I believe that the most important part of my job is to do my part to ensure high levels of learning for all students,” Carla says. “I do this daily by communicating with administrators, supporting the faculty and staff of Pleasant Grove ISD in growth, and showing my appreciation for them as often as I can. Our educators sure deserve it!”
Carla says that the most rewarding part of her job is being a part of a team united with one mission: ensuring high levels of learning for all students. “It is exciting to see such unity in mission and purpose. That mission drives all of the decisions that are made for the students of Pleasant Grove ISD,” Carla says. “Even though I have only been in the district for one year, I see evidence of monumental progress instructionally and academically. It is rewarding to be a part of that.”
Carla is proud to say that she is a part of carrying on the mission of PGISD by taking part in the growth of all district educators. “I attend the workshops, I am involved in discussion regularly with our administrative team, and I do whatever I can to encourage and assist our administrators, teachers, and the rest of the faculty and staff of Pleasant Grove ISD,” Carla says.
In her experience, the most challenging part of education is the learning curve that many educators experience as they change subjects, roles, schools, and districts. “Though this first year in a new position has been challenging, I have a large toolbox of experiences that helped guide me in my job after twenty-one years in campus administration. Even though the schools and some of the experiences were different, the basics were the same,” Carla says. “Serving in a district level role for the first time has opened my eyes to new angles and new experiences. A large part of the credit for me overcoming these challenges has been to have a great mentor and team. Mr. Pirtle, our superintendent, and the rest of the Central Services and District Administrative team have been such a blessing in this new journey. I celebrate each and every one of them for helping me grow in my role.”
On those really tough days in education, Carla knows she can utilize the wisdom she has gleaned from her years in education. “During the trying times, I think about something that came to me on my first day as principal at another district. At the time, I wondered if I had messed up by taking a step and making a change, and then it hit me: This too shall pass. Whether it is good or bad, this too shall pass,” Carla says. “So if it is good, be present in and savor every moment because this too shall pass. If it is tough, just hold on, fight the good fight, put in the work, and be tougher than the situation because this too shall pass.”
In an effort to serve the Texarkana community, Carla serves on the General Board of United Way of Greater Texarkana and the Community Impact Committee. Carla also attends church at Union Chapel United Methodist Church, and she is a part of a book club with friends that caters to two things that Carla enjoys: reading and growing personally and professionally. When she has time off, Carla enjoys exercising, fishing, spending time with family and friends, and going to concerts with her husband, Scott. “My family is my world. My husband, son, mom, and dad are my biggest supporters. I have been inspired by each of them in different ways, and I value all of them more than they know,” Carla says. “I think with work, as much as people are valued, every position is fillable. With family, especially one like mine, no positions are fillable. No one and no thing can replace my family. I love them more than they will ever know, and I am so very thankful for their support.”