One great principal
Regarding “Principal denies threat, dress fracas” (Page A3, Thursday), I’ve known Dr. Bertie Simmons for 12 years and have been astonished by the miracles she has wrought at her school. Furr is located in northeast Houston and serves a low-income, racially diverse student population. Ninety-two percent of the kids qualify for reduced- or free lunches.
When Simmons came to Furr High School 17 years ago, the graduation rate was 47 percent. This past year, it was 96 percent. When she arrived, there were 16 gangs at the school, which she set about breaking up, in large part by instituting a uniform policy to keep gang members from wearing “colors.” She created a student court where kids can peaceably settle their differences. Her mantra, “When you show kids respect, when you listen to them and show you really care about them, they give respect back,” has worked.
Simmons’ innovative model for educating inner-city children has commanded the attention and respect of educators across the country. Great school districts like HISD need great principals like her. B. Glenn Wilkerson, Houston