Alyce Bell is the new face on the Cleburne High School administrative team, following five years as assistant principal at Coleman Elementary School.
Bell said she is excited about the opportunity to work with the ‘big kids’ of the district. Her first experience with CISD students came in 2012 when she joined the Wheat Middle School faculty as an instructional coach. She was named an academic dean at the campus the following year. She spent one year at Irving Elementary School as the assistant principal before transferring to Coleman.
“It’s all about instruction and working with kids,” Bell said. “The bodies may be bigger at the high school, but my goal is the same — to provide a positive learning environment for kids. A lot of them are going to be taller than me, but they are still kids — and learners.”
Bell began her career as a first grade teacher, working at the elementary level until she accepted the position at Wheat, coming to Cleburne from Mansfield ISD. In leaving the classroom for administration, she viewed it as an opportunity to have a wider impact on students.
“It’s been exciting, as an educator, to go from a classroom of 22, to a school of more than 500,” she said. “Now I’m at Cleburne High School where I’ll be working with 1,800 students. I believe as an administrator, you’re also an instructional leader at every grade level. You’re getting to work with the whole picture of the child in providing instruction along with emotional support and helping them find the resources they may need — it’s a tough world out there for a lot of our kids.
“My parents are missionaries. Service to others has always been viewed as our purpose in my family. I think the field of education gives that opportunity to serve.”
Coleman kindergarten teacher Amy Thomas can attest to Bell’s desire to serve both students and staff.
“She is an AP who cares about you, and she lets you know by her actions,” Thomas said. “I saw her on so many occasions take a kid who was having a hard day and just give them the love and attention they so desperately needed to have a successful school day. She knew academics was important but she made sure the basic needs of students were met first.
“If I had a problem or question at school, I could always go to Mrs. Bell and know that she would give me good, sound advice, with the students’ best interest always leading the decision. She was willing to do any task at Coleman. She would be greeting kids in the morning, mopping up spilled milk in the cafeteria at lunch and often ended the day with kids who were waiting on their rides home.
“She will no doubt be such an asset at CHS, but she will be so missed at Coleman. The high school staff and students are sure lucky to have such a class act as their AP.”
Thomas’ daughter, Lilly, will be among the former Coleman students Bell knows she will be guiding — for the second time — in her new role at CHS.
“I’ll be seeing Coleman kids — again,” she said. “There will be a whole slew of them, and that will be fun. I’m not nervous about being the new kid. I’ve done this enough to know you go out there, meet the kids and staff and get the job done.”
The high school is the largest campus Bell has ever served on. In her first week on staff, she’s pleased to report she has yet to get lost.
“I know I won’t have any problems getting my steps in each day,” she said. “Everything is so shiny and new and I love walking in the front doors of the school and into that beautiful lobby. I’m coming from a campus built in the 1950s to the newest school in the district. It’s different — and it’s nice.”
Among the familiar faces on staff is Counselor Tina Barnes. The two worked together when they were on staff at Irving Elementary School.
“Mrs. Bell is already well known by a lot of our students and staff,” Principal Ben Renner said. “I am very excited to have her at our campus. She has a wealth of experience. She is a great fit and is really going to help us out. I have already had a parent and student tell me how excited they are that she is going to be at Cleburne High School.”
As Bell begins her new post, she welcomes the opportunity to learn and experience all that will come with it.
“I’m excited to be here — it’s a new challenge,” Bell said. “I’ve done elementary most of my career. There will be new things to learn.
“Being an administrator, I think one of the greatest qualities you can have is going with the flow — being able to adjust and being flexible. If ever those skills were needed, it’s this year as we deal with the ongoing impact of COVID-19.”
As Bell gets settled in her new surroundings, she plans to add some more black and gold to her wardrobe after five years of Coleman purple.
She said she is also excited about cheering for the Jackets and seeing students engaged in fine arts and career and technical education.
“I’ve heard we are going to be opening a restaurant at the high school this year,” she said. “I know it’s going to be interesting to see all the things our students do in CTE. Even though I’m over social studies, I’ll be working throughout the building.”
After serving scholars at Wheat, roaring with the Tigers at Irving and running with the Colts at Coleman, Bell is ready to help students who have moved beyond crayons and are now getting ready for college and career. She’ll be the assistant principal for students in the alpha group Fe-Le.
“I’ve had to put up some of my elementary stuff,” Bell said. “I’m at high school now and want my office to look like it. I’m ready to work with the Jackets.”