It wasn’t an announcement that Thomas Jefferson faculty was expecting from their principal, but it was one that made them sad — and proud — at the same time.
“It’s time for me to move on,” Sandi Massey said last week at a meeting.
(Read: ‘She Has Created a Community’)
A collective “Whaaat?” and gasps went through the group assembled in the auditorium at Thomas Edison Middle School, where Thomas Jefferson students have attended since a tornado ripped through their school in October 2019.
“I have a great opportunity that I could not pass up,” she explained. “I signed a contract to work in Colorado Springs for very, very, very good pay. I’ll be third in command in a district there.”
And as the group applauded her new move, Massey — who has been principal at Thomas Jefferson for seven years — couldn’t help but get a little choked up.
“I always said I would never leave TJ for another high school, it would have to be something really special,” she said. “I wanted to tell you so you guys wouldn’t hear rumors.”
“Please don’t be one of those people that says, ‘If Massey goes, I’m going because TJ needs you,'” she concluded. “And we want to keep this school going well – I don’t want to see anyone leave just because I’m gone. You guys have been through a freaking tornado and COVID – if you can be resilient through that, you can be resilient through any leadership change.”
Massey saw her school through a tornado and a pandemic, but prior to that she also saw her school through a transition from a struggling school to the second ranked comprehensive high school in Dallas ISD.
In January, Preston Hollow People named her their Person of the Year for 2020.
“She is a thoughtful, caring leader who has, time and time again, risen to every challenge before her,” Dallas ISD school board trustee Edwin Flores said of the longtime educator.
Her boss – Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa – calls her a “rock star.”
“Sandi did a phenomenal job trying to keep everything together,” he recalled. “It was surreal for someone like Sandi. She’s our longest-serving high school principal – and I think she’s like 13 years old.”
“She is contagious with her passion for TJ,” Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association president Missy Huber said.