Paul Baez, principal of Rees Elementary in Houston’s Alief ISD, is a modern-day superhero who flies seamlessly and purposefully from one task to another, pausing only to wave at a group of students, consult with an assistant, spruce up a bare wall, tidy up the library, monitor a teacher’s classroom, lead a staff meeting … you get the idea.
“I’m a micromanager at heart, no doubt about it,” he says, a trait that could potentially foil any effort at effective leadership. But Baez has grown more comfortable with delegating and empowering others. He exercises his meticulous bent for the good of his school, from carefully leading his teachers step-by-step through the labyrinth of social media to planting perennials in the front yard of the school building.
When Baez arrived at Rees Elementary four years ago, he knew one of his first jobs would be to get his staff comfortable with using some of the many online tools available to improve instruction, learning, and parent engagement.