My discussion with Ms. Malott

My discussion with Ms. Malott

February 2021 – Ms. Malott, O. Henry’s principal, has had a very interesting four years at our school. She has had a new adventure every year, including a boil water notice in October 2018 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.  Let’s look into Ms. Malott’s past at O. Henry, how she became our principal, and how she has dealt with these challenges.

Question: What has it been like being a principal in the pandemic?

Malott: It has been challenging and rewarding to find solutions to problems. It is very different not having as many students in the building. We have to be innovative to try to figure things out.

Question:  How did you prepare to become a principal?

Malott: First, I was a teacher and then I was an instructional coach. I had several jobs as a teacher and an administrator, including assistant principal.  A lot of jobs led to this job, but this job is nothing like what you learn about in school. I went to LSU (Louisiana State University) and UT (University of Texas).

Question: What was the weirdest thing that happened at O. Henry?

Malott: Every year, something has happened at school. One year we didn’t have any water because Austin flooded and we couldn’t use the water. All of the water had to be bottled.

Question:  What was O. Henry like when you became principal? How is it different?

Malott: The physical space was the same. We brought on more programs and electives. We started eating lunch outside more and we changed the rule about hair color. We also changed the ACES program.

Q:  What was the hair color rule?

Malott: Students were not allowed to dye their hair. We changed that. It doesn’t make a difference what color your hair is; you can still learn.

Q: How long did it take you to easily find your way around the school?

Malott: It took 3-4 weeks to learn the school by heart. It took just a couple of days to learn how to get around.

Q: What was the first thing that surprised you about O. Henry?

Malott: How close the community is. A lot of teachers and staff have been here for a very long time. Also, parents of students went here, as well as brothers and sisters.

The school pride and what it means to be a Mustang is very strong.

— Ms. Malott

Q: How many years have you worked at O. Henry?

Malott: This is my fourth year as principal. I have had four starts to the school year.

Q: What animal, if any, has ever trespassed through O. Henry?

Malott: We have had dogs, cats, rats, birds, and bats. Nothing really unusual. In the tower, there was a Chimney Swift, a special bird. Last year, there was a Great Horned Owl in the tree, but nothing big like a mountain lion.

Q:  What is your favorite part of your job?

Malott: Getting to know the students, as well as having fun and goofing off.