A quick visit with somebody who has recently made news in Phoenix
Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)
June 17, 2006

Author: Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

A quick visit with somebody who has recently made news in Phoenix.

Carolyn Taylor is the new principal at Herrera School for the Fine Arts in Phoenix. She started the job in April, just two months before school let out for the summer. She's trying to squeeze too many students into an already bulging building and juggle the priorities of kids in the school's two magnet programs - fine arts and dual language.

1. How are you handling the school's enrollment of 780?

The popularity of the school's magnet programs has swelled enrollment. To accommodate as many students as possible, the physical education program already is housed at the Westlake Community Center next to Herrera. Next year, art classes will be held there, too. That makes room for two new classes, one each in second and fifth grades. "I would love to open up another class of seventh grade, but I just don't have the room."

To get into the arts magnet program in seventh-grade, students must audition, either dancing, singing or acting, and write an essay. This summer, 141 students tried out, but only 60 were chosen. "It would be nice if we could accept all of them, but we just don't have the space."

2. What are the school's greatest strengths?

"We really have excellent teachers. The staff is outstanding. They genuinely care about the children. They put in a lot of extra hours to assure that the students have an enjoyable experience at the school," both academically and in related activities.

3. What are your greatest challenges?

"Space is a challenge, making sure that we have the space to run the programs." Another challenge is meeting the needs of children and their parents in both the magnet programs and the rest of the school: "It's a diverse community, and we'll need to identify similar goals and work on those goals together."

Also, Herrera was recently named an A+ School of Excellence, an award given by the non-profit Arizona Educational Foundation. Taylor will need to keep the focus on academics and coordinate programs so that students can be in the school's Shakespeare production and also play basketball: "The students would love to be able to do both."

4. Are you glad to be back in Phoenix?

"I consider Phoenix my home." Taylor comes to Arizona from Virginia where she was the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Newport News, Virginia Public School System. She replaces Tracey Pastor, who now is principal at nearby Bethune Elementary School. Taylor used to work in the Creighton Elementary School District in Phoenix, where she was an educational services director, school principal, assistant principal and teacher. Her grown son and grandchildren, ages 7, 8 and 13, live here. She likes being back in a school instead of administration: "It's nice to be back at a school because I missed the children. I get to see the children every day, and they are darling."

CAPTION: Carolyn Taylor
Edition: Final
Section: Phoenix Community North
Page: 2

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Record Number: pho140958527