When students arrive Aug. 22 to start a new school year at University Park Elementary School, Candace Judd will have already settled in to her new role as principal.
“I am delighted to welcome Candi Judd to our leadership team,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said in a press release. “Her instructional leadership combined with her experience, enthusiasm, and ability to collaborate with parents and other stakeholders makes her an outstanding choice to lead University Park Elementary. I am confident that she will help UP soar to even higher heights.”
Born and raised in Lubbock, Judd didn’t stray far from home when she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech. She comes to Highland Park ISD from Richardson ISD where she served as the principal of Spring Creek Elementary for the past seven years, part of an almost 20-year career in education.
“I’m looking forward to looking at all the great things that are in place and seeing what we can do to make it greater,” Judd said. “I really want to engage my staff and students so that they love where they come to work and where they go to school.”
Judd comes to the district with experience in professional development, education, and curriculum writing. She has led and participated in classes for gifted and talented endorsements, autism training, professional learning communities, and a new teacher academy. During her time at Spring Creek, the school earned five out of six gold distinctions from the state.
“There are always challenges, things come up,” Judd said. “I don’t foresee any in the near future. This is a great school, a great community; my staff is excellent.”
A safe school environment for teachers and students is among Judd’s top priorities, particularly as the school looks ahead to its temporary relocation to the new elementary campus for the 2017-18 school year, when the current campus will be rebuilt. She intends to implement protocol that will keep the UP Elementary community safe as they prepare for the moves over the next two years.
“I love a good challenge,” she said. “I opened an elementary school in Richardson and I am certainly familiar with delays and having a gym full of books the night before school starts, just being flexible and assuring everyone it’s going to be fine.”
Since her official start in late July, Judd has met with UP’s leadership team, and has been preparing for the first week back to school.
“I’m really trying to set the stage for a great school year and making my teachers feel appreciated,” she said.