SAN ANGELO, Texas – As we dig deeper inside Black History Month, it is important to illuminate the salience of high-quality leaders of color in schools here in San Angelo. Nationwide, only 10% of principals are black, yet principals and leaders of color are essential to schools contributing to diversifying the teacher workforce.
“Being able to be a principal at one of the elementary schools here in San Angelo is paving the way for others that are going to come after me,” Bowie Elementary School principal Darius Flowers said. “I think just making sure that we understand that hey, we have an opportunity to continue this movement and continue to really give other African Americans the opportunity to be in leadership positions.”
Mr. Flowers looks up to Barack Obama as one of many examples for Black leaders across the country. Research shows that schools with more black principals have higher percentages of black teachers, increased student performance and increased enrollment of black students in gifted programs. flowers enjoys his recognition around town.
“They treat you like a celebrity,” Flowers stated. “Especially if you are walking around they see you a lot, they hug you and they want to be around you and it’s a really cool experience to be able to say, man I was a huge influence.”
Flowers developed his passion of leadership through his mentors. Starting off as a coach at Lincoln Middle School and eventually leading to multiple assistant principal positions within SAISD, he learned he loves helping kids.
“I was kind of moving in the direction of being a head coach, and then some of my other colleagues moved in the direction of becoming assistant principals,” Flowers expressed. “They guided me and said hey, this is something that you want to think about because you’re passionate about kids.”
Although these past 11 months have brought a lot of uncertainty, Flowers says it made him more appreciative of what he has and he’s optimistic for the future of the city.