Welcome to West U Elementary’s New Leader
After 23 years, West University Elementary is welcoming a new principal.
Scott Disch recently took his permanent position to lead the beloved school in a neighborhood he knows well. “I grew up playing West U Little League,” Scott says, “and I’ve got a lot of friends in the community. It’s a special community, and I’m excited to be an integral part of that.” Scott was born in Houston, and his dad lives in the West U house that Scott’s grandmother bought in the 1930s.
Scott earned his master’s degree in teaching at Rice University. “I knew I wanted to stay in Houston,” he says, “and I knew I wanted to work in public education.” That led him to a several-year stint at Grady Middle School (now Tanglewood Middle School). The principal there, Gretchen Kasper-Hoffman, made sure Scott had a varied experience. “I coached football, basketball and baseball the first two years I was there, and then for the next four years coached basketball and baseball.” With Hoffman and the community, Scott started the baseball program at the school. “We had a little club team playing other middle schools in the district,” he says.
After teaching PE for two years, “I knew I wanted to be in administration and wanted to get into the classroom to have that experience, so that when I was working with teachers I could fall back to it and be a little more relatable,” Scott says. Wanting to stay at Grady but not quite fitting any open position, Scott began teaching special ed. “Then an English teacher left [mid-year], and Mrs. Hoffman offered me the opportunity to teach English. I hadn’t thought about that before, but it ended up being just an awesome opportunity. I just loved working with the kids and relating what was going on in their lives to the novels and stories we were reading.” His last year at Grady, Scott taught Texas history.
Scott’s next move was to Westside High School, where he served for five years as a dean of students. “There are 11 or 12 deans of students,” Scott explains, “because there are no assistant principals or counselors at Westside. So you do scheduling, you do discipline, you do college planning, you do social and emotional support.
“I was concerned about going from the classroom to administration, that I wouldn’t have the same relationships with the kids. But the really cool part of that position was that when the students come in as freshmen, they stay with you four years. So you get to know the whole child, not just one element of them, and you build a relationship with them throughout their time in high school. So even with 3,000 kids, every student knows at least one person they can go to who knows them well and can support them. It was a really cool role.” Scott followed those years with one as dean of instruction at Westside, working closely with staff and teachers, looking at the academic focus and making “whole school” decisions.
“I was with a great leader there who eventually pushed me to put my hat in for a principal position and to make that leap,” Scott says, explaining how he wound up applying for the position at WUE. “It’s a great situation, because [former principal John] Threet has done so well, the school’s phenomenal, there’s high community involvement,” Scott says. “We’re going to continue to do what y’all have done to do well. I’m going to work on building relationships with the teachers, with the community, and then go from there. If we see little minor things that need to be adjusted, we’ll do that, but for the most part we want to continue building on what Mr. Threet has done.”
Scott and his wife Rhianna, who works in investor relations at Crestwood Midstream, have two little girls – Scarlett, 3, and Blaire, 5 months. “I’m looking forward to getting plugged back in to the community,” Scott says. “Even though it’s a large school just under 1,300 kids, it’s one where the community’s heavily involved. The kids that go here live near the school. So I think it’s not just the elementary school that’s unique, but all of West U.”
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