Becky Weber is 32 years into being an educator in St. Charles Parish and is still excited about coming to work.
When Weber was named St. Charles Parish’s Principal of the Year, it became evident her passion was noticed. Without hesitation, Weber emphasized this success comes from teamwork that she credited to students, parents, teachers and even the community.
“I’m proud of Norco,” she said. “Now, it’s the place to be. Everybody wants to come to Norco, and we’re up there with the rest of them. It’s about ‘I know you at the end of the day,’ and our teachers take pride in knowing our children and letting parents know we do care. “It’s not about the test scores and the homework and the grades. It’s about you. I should know all these kids – and I do.”
The community approach to education isn’t new, but Weber is the one making it the focus as principal of Norco Elementary School.
“That’s key – relationships should be first,” she said. “If you don’t have those relationships, you can’t build on that culture.”
At the heart of this connection between parents, children and educators must be trust, Weber said. It’s a formula for success that she said is based on the most common sense of approaches – the Golden Rule.
“I always think as a mom what would I want someone to do that shows they care about my child,” Weber said. “I believe you can’t go wrong when you treat others as you want to be treated.”
Weber wants the closeness of family at her school, where she’s been principal since 2013.
“We have teachers who have taught families and, with that generational thing going, it’s a strong culture,” she said. “I pride myself on knowing all my kids, and making sure each child is growing to their potential.”
Weber also credits her success to being married to a principal, Stephen Weber who heads Destrehan High School, and having a supportive family.
“I’m the fortunate one,” Weber said. “Not that many people can write that kind of story. I haven’t done anything great,” she said she told her husband about her recognition. But she said he replied that being a principal is something in itself great.
“These kids are going to be the future of our society so we have to be sure we teach them to be lifelong learners,” she said.
And Weber, knowing what all goes into making Norco Elementary an “A” performer in state rankings, had to agree. Yet, she also recognized her work would be ongoing in ensuring improvement continued.
“This community expects it … our business partners expect it,” she said. “They have high expectations from Norco Elementary and we need to start performing that way.”
When she observed fellow principals and what made them successful, Weber saw them strong in relationship building. In 2014, the need became readily apparent to Weber when the decision came to merge Norco Primary and elementary schools.
“Everything we did had to say ‘We were together.’ I didn’t want parents seeing us as two separate entities,” she said. “It was important to me that we do everything together.”
And they did.
Weber recognized the success of it in higher test scores and common goals, as well as how student’s families appreciated the connection.
“But it took everything to bring the parents on board, which required schedule changes and a lot of listening to people,” she said. “It took our people to take a big walk of faith and it worked.”
For Weber, when she sees her students at school or in Norco, the proof of her success comes with endearing affirmations when they wave and yell, “Hey, Ms. Weber,” and ask how’s doing. She sees a growing community that is also home to her family.
“It’s a sweet place to be,” she said. “And I’m glad I’m there.”