LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

« Return to Nominee List

Vanessa Stuart

Position: Elementary Principal
School: Degan Elementary School
School District: Lewisville Independent School District
City, State: Lewisville, TX


Vanessa Stuart was nominated by Amanda Willingham, the parent of a student.

Mrs. Stuart not only changes the lives of every student at Degan Elementary School; she also affects the lives of her colleagues and parents as well. She strives to be her best self and brings out the best in everyone she touches.

Under her guidance, Mrs. Stuart has helped her school become a "No Excuses University," which is one of only 50 schools in the state of Texas. NEU is a network of elementary, middle and high schools across the United States that actively promote a comprehensive model of college readiness to all students from the moment they begin elementary school.

"From little things, like making an appearance in every single classroom for holiday parties, to big things, like winning the Strategic Design award for the District, Mrs. Stuart sets the bar for what a principal should be," Willingham said. "Under her leadership, Degan Elementary School has become THE school that sets a standard for the district. Degan Elementary School has also been named a Schools Transforming Learning Campus by the Principals Institute."

Mrs. Stuart is always there for students, teachers and parents. She guides and encourages her students to be the best they can be, and to live the NEU principles every single day.

"She is so much more than an essay could ever express - from Think College Thursday to Wacky Science Night to training her teachers to be the best, Mrs. Stuart does it all," Willingham said. "I encourage you to find a parent that does not think she has made a positive impact in their child's life."


Comments (51)


Bob Lennard Posted 5 days ago

Mrs. Stuart has not only been a great administrator and principal, but she exemplifies leadership, dedication, and caring to our students every day. As the parent of two students lucky enough to be part of her program at Degan, I can testify to the tools she gave them for success. With her encouragement and guidance my children (and many others) have learned to importance of determination and grit, how to make successes of failures, and are now driven to get more out of educcation and life. She has created a strong foundation to build the rest of their lives upon. We are very thankful to have Mrs. Stuart as out elementary school principal. We know she’ll always strive to produce the best future she can for all of her students.

SARITA RICHARD Posted 13 days ago

My daughter is a second grade student at Degan. After moving out of the zoned area of Degan we elected to stay at Degan as a transfer student. Mrs Stuart and her Teachers are the reason why.... There is no doubt ever who is in charge and her staff is grateful and respectful in saying and acting so. Mrs. Stuart leads with grace you just want to follow ...... She makes the 5th graders feel special and they all carry themselves in way that they are proud of themselves, and are excited to head into their future.where each child believes they CAN go to college.4th grade is excited and pride themselves on growing into 5th graders. It is like that all the way down to pre-k. Every Friday, Mrs. Stuart leads a pep rally that is so inspirational and positive I always want to attend, and I can honestly say I have never missed this half hour time slot. Each child in that room from pre-k to 5th grade believes they can achieve anything . They know they can grow their brain because they literally are. And they trust themselves to learn something new because they like how it feels. There is no doubt in their minds they can go to college if they choose too.This honor is so well deserved. Mrs Stuart is someone I am so hspptl to encourage my daughter to look up to. I admire her and her staff and her exceptional Teachers that she leads..I am proud to say that my daughter is a Degan student . Sarita Richard

Wyvona Ulman Posted 13 days ago

Under Vanessa Stuart’s leadership, Degan Elementary does amazing things to impact the learning of students and teachers as they cultivate an environment of lifelong learning and achievement for all. Her positive leadership also has tremendous influence on students attending other campuses as she makes herself and the Degan campus available for others in the LISD family and those outside our district. She is always willing to collaborate and share what she and her staff have worked so hard to accomplish, whether it is how they became a No Excuses University campus, created a Professional Learning Community, or built a community of support and universal achievement. She welcomes others with open arms to come and observe and learn. She will be the first to let you know that what works for Degan may not work for you. However, as many have visited, they have left inspired to create their own path for their students. And, because of this inspiration, students at others campuses are achieving at a higher standard because of her example and willingness to share.

Reagan Tennant Posted 14 days ago

Mrs. Stuart has been the best thing that I have ever seen happen for Degan. Her vision for our kids school not only helps the kids succeed in school but also in life. Also, as I am a parent that has had two children go through this school, I can tell you that the culture with teachers and the kids has changed in wonderful ways since she took over. She has change the lives of many people and truly embodies what this award is about.

Ken Helvey Posted 14 days ago

I had the honor of presenting Vannessa's campus with an award for Schools Transforming Learning. As I was making my way through the parking lot a child was assertively (but politely) urging his parents to hurry up, "we don't want to be late. Our class might be getting an award". Upon entering a cafeteria filled with extremely excited students, parents, and staff members I landed by a school board member. I was completely unknown to her and, unsolicited, she began talking about the remarkable transformation at Degan. As we watched Vanessa leading the rally she commented about how this campus was in trouble and Vanessa has led a transformation to tremendous community pride with an incredible commitment to student engagement, learning, and personal responsibility. I was in awe and so inspired by her work. No one more deserving!

Sandra Relich Posted 14 days ago

As president of the Degan Elementary PTA, I am fortunate enough to work closely with Vanessa Stuart and I get first hand knowledge of how geniune she really is. This is a person who cares deeply about her staff and students and their well-being. She is an educator, mentor, care giver, motivator and friend. My son is in the 4th grade and started Kindergarten the first year that Vanessa was principal. I have seen the growth, spirit and determination of each teacher and student rise every year. I am so proud to represent the PTA and stand behind Vanessa and all of the goals she is determined to achieve to enrich the children's lives! As a parent, I realize how lucky Degan is, and my son, to have this wonderful lady as our leader!!

Veronica Villegas Posted 14 days ago

Our son is a second grader at Degan and loves to go to school every day. I hope this never changes and greatly appreciate what Degan stands for. We love the open mindset of NEU mentality, positive attitudes as we enter the school, and the teamwork. As a previous concerned parent I'm now more comfortable knowing that our son will academically succeed in the Degan environment and will be able to handle any/all challenges that come his way. Thanks again for all you do!!!

Presley Spinuzzi Posted 15 days ago

My son, now a 4th grader, was chosen to interview Mrs. Stuart as part of his GT curriculum last year. I have never seen him so excited or nervous. He loved it, and Mrs. Stuart was so kind to him and put him right at ease. My now 3rd grader loves to come home and tell me all of the silly antics that the teachers and Mrs. Stuart get

Samantha Bradley Posted 15 days ago

I am truly blessed to be both a teacher and a parent at Degan. I can't imagine working with any other administration because I truly believe we have the best here at Degan. I live out of district but still strive to bring my daughter to Degan via transfer so she can also experience it's greatness. I believe that Degan staff does what's best for students in teaching them life skills, striving to grow their academics, and holding all students to high expectations. Mrs. Stuart takes the time out to make sure the staff and students feel loved and valued. She always has our students best interest in mind and strives to make our school better, even though it's already great! At Degan we are a family!

Roz Keck Posted 16 days ago

Vanessa was nominated by her superintendent to participate in the 2016-17 Principals' Institute because she is willing to think outside the box, take risks and do things differently on her campus. As one of the facilitators of the institute, I was fortunate to work with her and learn along side her with 60 other outstanding principals from Texas. Vanessa has transformed learning on her campus with an attitude that state test scores do not define the child, the teacher or the school. She has led her campus to be data informed, but they are truly student driven. She does not make excuses about a child, their abilities or their support system as a reason why a child is not successful. Vanessa's school was awarded the prestigious recognition by the Principals' Institute as a School Transforming Learning because Vanessa has led them to understand how and when they can think outside the box by being innovative and creative. She also understands the importance of the balance of routines and procedures when consistency is important. Other schools are learning from her campus through collaboration and transparency. Vanessa talks about the importance of hope, and she defines it as "control over destiny." It is through that hope that she leads with determination and perseverance to make sure that she and her staff are changing the lives of the students at Degan Elementary School. I believe that Vanessa Stuart exemplifies a life-changer for students and staff and colleagues, and it is an honor to recommend her to you as Lifechanger of the Year.

Dr. Lori Rapp Posted 16 days ago

Since joining the Lewisville ISD team, Mrs. Stuart has had a significant positive impact on the students, staff, and community of Degan Elementary school. Through her leadership, Mrs. Stuart has fostered a culture of lifelong learning for students and staff. Through the implementation of No Excuses University she has worked to ensure that students are focused on their future success. In LISD our mission and vision are centered on ensuring students are future ready through a focus on student experience, student learning, community engagement, and resource stewardship. Through establishing Professional Learning Communities for staff at Degan, Mrs. Stuart maintains a focus on the important content and skills that students are expected to learn in each content area and grade level. Student experience and community engagement happen through the SOAR ceremonies where the campus and community are able to recognize and celebrate student accomplishments. The positive influence of her leadership she is impacting and changing lives on a daily basis. As a result of her passion and commitment, future generations of learners, leaders, and active citizens will shape the lives of others and the communities in which they live.

Sam Wong Posted 16 days ago

On first day as principal in Degan, she was immediately hands-on helping with car lines. Later I heard when sends her teacher to train, she herself also attends the classes so she knows what her teachers are being taught and want to keep learning herself. A person who works for a company that evaluates schools and gives advice on what needs to improve in the school, informed my wife that she had no advice to give Mrs Stuart. Mrs Stuart makes every Thursday as College Day, reminding every student to wear a college shirt, embedding in the young minds the importance of college. Instead of teaching students on Star Tests, she instead focus on curriculum so that when Star Tests comes, it is just another test, because their curriculum has more than prepared them to excel in what is being covered in the Star Test. Forrest Gump: "I guess that's about it."

Cam Fioretti Posted 16 days ago

Vanessa Stuart is well deserving of the Lifechanger of the Year Award. Since her arrival at Degan Elementary 5 years ago, she has completely transformed how the staff interacts, teaches and serves the students each day. She has also transformed how the students learn each day. Being a Title 1 school, the students often times come to school each day having overcome challenges that many other students don’t ever face. Knowing the daily life challenges that her student body encounters, she does all she can to embrace and reach each child. This includes her desire to love, respect, listen, help and ultimately care for each one. She is each student’s biggest cheerleader in their journey in life always encouraging good choices and grit and a growth mindset, while also holding each one accountable for their choices- a REAL life lesson. She is an educator who truly touches each student’s life and strives to improve each one every day. She is truly a life changer!

Ronn Hicks Posted 18 days ago

A Incredible young lady. I’ve worked with her for 4 yrs, it was a great experience. She’s Beautiful and Genuine. She’s Definitely A LifeChanger!

Eddie Coulson Posted 18 days ago

Mrs. Stuart is a true leader. She cares deeply about her students, teachers and parents, and she puts into practice initiatives at her campus that truly make a difference. School is more than math, reading, science and social studies at Degan Elementary. It's about helping students find their strengths and then accentuating what they do well. It's about teachers having the autonomy to explore, take risks and have a safe place to prototype new ways to meet the needs of kids. It's about teaching grit and perseverance to students so that can push through adversity. And, Mrs. Stuart leads with an authentic and genuine heart. She values relationships, leads by example, has high expectations for all and pushes people to excel. Ms. Stuart is the chief learner at Degan Elementary School and is a great example of what a principal should be!

Delma Johnson Posted 19 days ago

My daughter is a kindergartener at Degan. Although this is our 1st year at Degan, we are so grateful that our daughter is in such great hands. Greatness begins at the top and trickles down to the teachers and staff. It is apparent that all the children are in loving hands! Way 2 go Eagles!

Kristi Regan Posted 19 days ago

It's my pleasure to support the nomination of Mrs. Stuart as a life changer. From the very first meeting we had with her to learn about PPCD, to the most recent ARD, we feel fortunate to have a true advocate, a partner, helping us set forth the best educational program for our daughter. Mrs. Stuart is the reason why our daughter attends Degan ES. She changed our lives as she helped us evolve from parents hoping we were making the best educational decisions on behalf of our daughter, to knowing we were. That's a big deal! Mrs. Stuart creates excitement for students, staff and parents. She instills confidence, an ambition to do your best and genuinely cares about how students are progressing. Her leadership skills are remarkable. We're proud to help support this nomination and feel it would be well-deserved!

Nhan Wong Posted 19 days ago

Mrs. Stuart is an excellent principal. She sets a high standard for Degan Elementary and I am blessed to have both my children attend the school. My daughter who is in the 4th grade enjoys school and says "CAMP" makes learning fun.

Amber Bell Posted 19 days ago

Mrs. Stuart changed our family dynamic in the way we see education and the growth potential of every single child! She amazed us every day!!

Katrina Stanton Posted 20 days ago

There are not enough words to express how deserving Mrs. Stuart is for this award! We began our teaching careers at Bozeman Elementary in Lubbock, Texas, many years ago! Those years teaching with her were some of the best years in my career! She set the standards high for teachers and students back then too. She has encouraged and guided everyone she has ever worked with! Life changer and Mrs. Stuart are the perfect match!!!

Estella Rupard Posted 20 days ago

Ms. Stuart is a Lifechanger not only for her teachers, students and parents but for her community as well. She continually shares ideas on how best to improve the lives of all students everyday with everybody she meets. She not only worries about them while they are with her, she also worries about them when they leave. Ms. Stuart takes the time to support the continued learning of her community by providing continue opportunities for learning and growth.

Braydon Stuart Posted 20 days ago

Vanessa Stuart is my mom. When I was in elementary school, she took me to her school with her, a Title I school, because she wanted me to know the value of all people. As I was about to enter high school, she told me we had to move and I was pretty angry to leave my friends and start over. I found out years later that we moved because or a new leadership philosophy that she felt didn't show value for all people. The fact that my mom refused to be a part of a philosophy that didn't value diversity and that she stands up every day for those who need a champion makes me so proud of her. She would rather walk away from a career she loved rather than support something she couldn't believe in. Because she stood up for what she believed in, things worked out for the best and she is a great principal. She continues to learn and grow as she works toward her Ph. D. and she shows everyone the power of education to change your life for the better.

Leigh Roberts Posted 20 days ago

My daughter attends a half day PreK program at Degan, but with the fantastic teachers she has, I can tell the principal is amazing. A school's leader can either encourage teachers to be their best or to stay the same. Mrs. Stuart obviously encourages the staff to be their best selves, and us parents to be responsible and involved. I love the school atmosphere, which is due largely to the exceptional administration of Mrs. Stuart.

Fatima Alibhai Posted 20 days ago

I think Mrs. Stuart inspires everyone around her to be their very best and work hard every single day. Her vision for education keeps everyone moving in the right direction. She is truly a unique and inspirational leader, compassionate above all. It is a pleasure to have landed at Degan under her guidance and try to make a difference everyday.

James Willingham Posted 21 days ago

I am Amanda Willingham's husband and I completely agree with the nomination of Mrs. Stuart as a life changer. In my school life I was fortunate enough to have not one but three educators that I still remember today. One of which I still keep in contact with. Being that I am in my 40's it shows what an impact those educators had on my life. I believe that Mrs. Stuart is a perfect example of what an educator should be and I hope and pray that the impact that she has on my kids lives and education is something that they will like me remember for the rest of their lives.

Ami Malvo Posted 21 days ago

I'm so happy Mrs. Stuart is the principal at Degan. She is serving with parents to instill work ethic, academic competitiveness and servitude in our students. We build relationships with the parents and students to be their best. To find their "greatness", set goals and work for it, accept the challenges that might surface and finish. I'm excited and thankful my son is apart of her World and Life Changing leadership.

Lucretia walker Posted 21 days ago

My son recently had to have ankle surgery and the first thing he said when he was coming out of the anesthesia was “I want to go to school.” She makes a HUGE and POSITIVE impact on her students and teachers. This would be very well deserved.

Dion Fleitas Posted 21 days ago

Ms. Stuart’s leadership success is very evident at Degan Elementary. You can go to one of the “shuffles” or SOAR ceremonies and see first hand how she inspires those young students. It is not a simple “you are great, you can do” speech, but the summation of many things. She motivates them with encouraging words and with a “No Excuse University” mentality. She makes the students accountable for their success. Although not all student get “medals,” she genuinely buys medals for all of them because she believes that every single student can improve and succeed. She cheers and dances with them, she nurtures, hugs, and, when needed, rebukes them with great wisdom. She even has a chant for the 5th grades that include the words “Class of 25’.” She clearly believes that every student will finish high school and go to college. My son has been ‘indoctrinated’ (in a good sense!) to believe that not going to college is not an option. He has flourished in the last few years at Degan under the leadership of Ms. Stuart and the great work of the teachers. I love this school. Ms. Stuart is, without any doubt, the best school principal I have met.

Trona Jurden Posted 21 days ago

Mrs. Stuart was my assistant principal years ago as I was an elementary teacher. She nominated and encouraged me to serve on the State Textbook Committee for TEA. I had no idea about this event and what it involved but she knew my love of curriculum, reading, TEKS, and checklists. It was tedious and thankless work, but I enjoyed it so much. I enjoyed not only the process of actually doing all the verification, but I enjoyed seeing the state side of the curriculum process. It opened my eyes to very new and different parts of education. I am thankful she saw things in me that others might have missed and encouraged me to try something very out of my normal work.

Melinda Newton Posted 21 days ago

I have never met anyone more deserving of this award, Nor have I ever met a principal more active in each and every student's school career. I have two children that attend Degan and I couldn't be more prouder to say that my child is apart of an NEU campus. The school activities, the acknowledgments for a job well done, and most of all the staff make this school incomparable to any other school. My children have a desire to learn and a goal worth reaching, from the "Think College Thursday" benefits that lead to a trip to the college store, to being apart of the S.O.A.R club and proudly wearing a medal of honor. My children are excited to learn and each one of them bring that desire home. The fact that parent involvement is promoted so much it creates a bond with the our children that will last forever. We have read together and earned rewards and we have built and disguised turkeys together that earned us bragging rights. I only wish that everyone could be a part of what's going on here at Degan. We are so very proud to stand up and say our school makes a difference! Congratulations Mrs. Stuart! You are so very worthy of this nomination and so much more!

Ami Malvo Posted 21 days ago

Our school is building relationships, teaching successful habits without excuses. Mrs. Stuart has a vision for the people who walk our halls at Degan to do great things, whatever "your" great is. . . Embrace it, work for it and make it happen. I'm so happy she has shared her world changing, life changing attitude with my family.

Tanja Gamill Posted 21 days ago

From inspiring hope, to exemplifying a growth mindset, Vanessa Stuart is a role model to many, as well as a respected change agent in the community. Having worked for Mrs. Stuart as a teacher and instructional facilitator for the past five years, I can say without a doubt that she is a servant leader through and through. For her staff, she is a coach who truly cares about the personal development of each professional. In just a few short years, she has inspired countless teachers to continue their education and seek personalized professional development. For her students, she is a consistent role model who puts relationships and compassion above all. She utilizes restorative practices to model honest discourse to students who face behavior challenges. She also steps out of her comfort zone to take the stage every Friday for Eagle Shuffle, just because her Degan Eagles need a dose of hope and happiness at least once a week. It’s not uncommon to see former Degan students visit before class to take part in the Friday festivities as well. For the parents and community members she serves, Vanessa is a trusted advocate for public education. She stands up for the needs of our most challenging students and fights for their right to a quality, public education. Through sharing our journey at the national and state level, to opening our campus to visitors, to encouraging parent and community mentors to help us put Degan students first, she continually proves that public education can serve the diverse needs of all students effectively. No matter what she has on her plate, she is visible throughout the school and loves to sit in classrooms and involve herself in classroom activities. Despite the negative attention that public schools receive in the media, her conviction to do what is best for students never fails. Her passion is to set the flywheel in motion and watch as public schools reach unprecedented success throughout our nation. In short, not only is Principal Stuart a life changer, she is a world changer as well.

Kelly Gray Posted 21 days ago

I have had the privilege of working at many of our fine schools in the district, but Degan elementary is definately doing something right! Mrs. Stuart is an amazing principal who truly cares about her students and staff. Turning the campus into a "no excuses university" and providing the opportunity for children to think about and strive for a dream that one day could be a successful future. All because she created a positive and nurturing start. My child is Autistic and since enrolled in the pre-k classes i have already seen an incredible change. The provide such a great learning environment that is all for the benefit of the child. I'm thankful to the teachers, auxiliary staff, and administrators of Degan for providing such an incredible learning environment. She is a true Life Changer and for this i I am forever thankful for placing my child at Degan Elementary.

Brittany Sartain Posted 21 days ago

Degan Elementry is absolutely the best school we could imagine. Miss Stuart goes above and beyond and then even more. She is truly an absolutely amazing. My son Dakota has excelled so much from learning from his teachers from began who truly care so much about the students. Every student matters it again and it’s a beautiful thing we are blessed to have such amazing people teaching our kids. Thank you for all you do!!

Traci Griggs Posted 21 days ago

Vanessa Stuart was my son's first diagnostician when she was employed by the Wylie ISD. Our family was just learning of my son's disability and Vanessa helped us understand the process and mounds of paperwork that was ahead of us. She took my son under her wing and helped him through this journey we were on. She is a caring and loving individual and has a heart for all children. She has touched our hearts then and she still does to this day.

Amberly Depue Posted 21 days ago

Mrs. Stuart is very deserving of this award!! My kids had struggled at their previous school. We came to Degan last year and they all had received the SOAR award and have all had A’s and B’s since they started at Degan. I am very grateful for Mrs. Stuart and Degan for the care and effort they put into their students.

Christi Cox Posted 21 days ago

I worked for this amazing lady in Wylie ISD and I can say without hesitation that everything I learned about kids, I learned under her leadership. She taught me that I can do hard things and that I can reach hard kids with love and respect. She taught me to always see beyond the behavior and to find the cause of the behavior. She taught me how to love kids and families right where they are. The relationships I have built with kids and families in the last decade can be directly traced back to the things she modeled for me. She never asked me to do anything she wasn't willing to do, and would do, right along side me. She changed my life and the lives of all of the families that have had the privilege of coming into contact with her greatness.

Denise Parsons Posted 21 days ago

I cannot begin to tell you how incredible Mrs. Stuart is. She truly, deeply, and genuinely cares for her students. Since her arrival, test scores have continued to improve year by year and Degan has become a place where learning is fun. She began Eagle Shuffle, an all-school "pep rally," which promotes school spirit and pride. She is revolutionizing learning and uses out-of-the-box strategies to promote growth in her students. She encourages them to have grit and determination and gives them the tools and opportunities they need to grow. She helps students and their families to take an active role in their education and assists each child in becoming the best they can be. She is truly deserving of this award. We are truly blessed in having her as our principal. She is a life-changer for sure!

Misty Todd Posted 21 days ago

I agree with Amanda. Mrs. Stuart has helped change my daughter in so many ways. She has helped us get her help through her challenges and sees that she become anything she wants to no matter what! Learning challenges don't define the child what you do to overcome it does. She makes learning and school fun, which before I don't feel was before. Mrs.Stuart is such a great role model to all our children!! My oldest that never even had her loves her and wants to go back to elementary to be with her. Can't say enough good things about Mrs. Stuart and Degan elementary.

Melissa Little Posted 21 days ago

Mrs. Stuart is one of the hardest working, most goal oriented, driven, kind, wise people I have ever met. She challenges and encourages all around her to be the best people they can be. She leads and loves by example. I have worked under her leadership for the past 5 years and am so proud of what our school has accomplished. It has been possible because of Vanessa's vision and dedication. She walks in her purpose every day. She's definitely a life changer!

Angie Kephart Posted 21 days ago

We have had our children at Degan for 12 years and seeing the huge difference that Mrs. Stuart has made has been remarkable! My son enjoys the Think College Thursday and Eagle Shuffle programs. It's wonderful to see our children thinking of their futures at such a young age and setting goals and plans on how to achieve them. I enjoy the positive reinforcement of Eagle Shuffle and the challenge for the Soar Award, it has pushed my son to work harder than he may have been willing to. Thank you for all that you do!!

Kimberly Morris Posted 21 days ago

Mrs. Stuart is most deserving of this award. She works tirelessly to make sure her students and staff are successful.

Josh Posted 21 days ago

Mrs. Stuart and her teachers have done more for my daughter in the past few months than 2 other schools and 1 other school district have done in the past 2 years. She is amazing! My only regret is that I wish that my daughter could have spent more time with her before moving to middle school. She brings the spirits up of every child in that school.

Joseph Coburn Posted 21 days ago

Principals who believe passionately in their students and support their staff are the ones who are successful and transformative, and that is the embodiment of Vanessa Stuart. Just last week, Mrs. Stuart literally came running up to me to share some student success stories: not to glorify herself, but to talk about how the work done by K-2 teachers three and four years prior was now advancing achievement in the upper elementary grades and enhancing efficacy school-wide. This represents who Vanessa Stuart is and why she is a huge difference-maker in the lives of her students, their families, and our community at large.

Buddy Bonner Posted 22 days ago

No doubt exists in my mind that Mrs. Stuart is worthy of this recognition and exemplifies the very title of the award! Vanessa came to Degan ES several years ago, and I had the great opportunity to serve as her immediate supervisor. I recall the first time she met the staff at the school who were wary of a new principal. The first meeting she conducted, a get-to-know-you sort of event, included a professional learning component and a parable about molding students reinforced with the clay the teachers had been given. I knew then that we had hit the ball out of the park in finding a principal to lead the school! I have not been disappointed one minute during Mrs. Stuart's leadership as she has focused the campus on improved instruction for all students during her tenure. Without question, she is worthy of this recognition and I wholeheartedly support her therein!

Syeda Akhter Posted 22 days ago

I Subbed at LISD since 2011 to 2017. Now I am a paraprofessional at Degan. I met many principals at different schools. I never met a principal like Mrs. Stuart. She is the best principal ever. I agree with Amanfa Willingham.

Allison Stamey Posted 23 days ago

Congratulations to Mrs. Stuart! She is so deserving of this award. My three sons all went to Degan Elementary and my youngest was already in middle school when you started Degan ES as their principal. I had struggled with the way things were run before Mrs. Stuart arrived at Degan ES. I run the mentoring program at our local high school and work with our students that mentored Degan's students. I pushed hard for someone that put the students first in Degan ES and someone who would bring fun, learning, and proper behavior into that school. Once Mrs. Stuart became the Degan Principal, she changed the climate of the school and brought innovative ideas into the classroom. When I met her and observed our mentoring program there I saw a more motivated school with highly engaged students and teachers that loved what they do each and every day. I appreciate Mrs. Stuart and admire her for all of the positive programs she's b brought into Degan since she became the principal. She is definitely a LIFECHANGER for the students that attended and attend Degan Elementary School!

Damen Lopez Posted 24 days ago

As the founder of the No Excuses University Network of Schools, I witness amazing educators at work every day. The bar that has been set by the work they do exemplifies who we are and what we stand for as an organization. Knowing this, it's without hesitation I share the impact Vanessa Stuart has on her school and our network as a whole. Her wisdom of how to lead a school is something to be modeled after and her heart for children is immense. There's no doubt that she is a Life Changer for the kids she serves as well as the parents and colleagues she works with. I'm honored to know her.

Gladys Richardson Posted 24 days ago

Mrs. Stuart has established and continues to foster a positive school environment and supportive influence across her campus for both the students and staff.

Cindy Lou Smith Posted 25 days ago

I am a teacher at Degan Elementary School. The positive impact that Mrs. Stuart has made on our students, parents, staff and district is amazing. Each year we have implemented something that has a huge positive impact on our students lives. Mrs. Stuart's mantra is all about "Do what is best for kids". To that end we have become a No Excuses University school, and implement Depth and Complexity, learned about trauma, implemented Eagle Time, implemented a process that has improved our students writing campus wide, shown the students the important of thinking of the future and what happens after high school, and this year we have implemented relationship agreements. All of these innovations have been implemented with an eye directly on how to "Do what is best for kids". I am proud to be a teacher at Degan Elementary.

Amy Foskey Posted 25 days ago

100% agree to all that is said about Mrs. Stuart. She lives for the children of Degan. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that EVERY child is successful. She is constantly thinking out of the box to better our staff, students, and community. She is the epitome of a life changer!