Educator of the week

Reny Lizardo 
Carter Junior High School

Arlington Independent School District

Favorite Subjects: Computers and Literature

Hailing from the Lone Star State, Mr. Reny Lizardo credits his father’s high expectations, encouragement, and support for his success. Inspired by his father’s educational journey, Mr. Lizardo recalls how his father, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, successful graduated at the top of his class. However, this feat required an enormous amount of grit and perseverance. “He moved to Puerto Rico when he was ready for college. He went to the university with $100 to his name. They told him it would not be enough to enroll. He slept on the steps of that university until they changed their minds but had him working three jobs to pay his way. When we were born he taught us that education was the key to success in life. He not only told us but also showed us.” Mr. Lizardo is incredibly proud of his father, who is now a professor at AUD in Orlando, Florida. We can assume that Mr. Lizardo’s father is also proud of him, as he went on to attain higher education at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas after graduating from high school. He currently is the principal at Carter Junior High were he hopes to instill his father’s passion for education to his son and students.

At Carter JHS, his mission is to prepare students to have a productive life and to contribute to society. Mr. Lizardo believes that students can achieve this by pursuing a STEM profession. He shares, “there is not a person in our United States who does not rely on some aspect of STEM on a daily basis. With the way the world is going, skills in STEM will be critical no matter what you want to do.” In order to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders at Carter JHS, the school started a STEM club that was sponsored by General Motors. Next year, he hopes to expand the club and bring more STEM awareness to the community. Eventually, Mr. Lizardo hopes that Carter JHS becomes a recognized STEM focused school.

Mr. Lizardo credits a close friend, (that happens to also be a principal) as the driving force that inspired him to become a principal himself. Mr. Lizardo recalls, “I remember how everyone looked up to him, respected him, and yet could be real with him. He was never quick to 'throw the book' at me, instead he would have a conversation and mentor me. He did this for everyone and I saw how many lives a great principal can impact and I wanted to have that kind of impact on others as well.” Although Mr. Lizardo is in his second year as Principal at Carter Junior High School, he has positively impacted the lives of students for years in multiple roles. He began his career in education by supporting students as an ESL teacher at Boles Junior High School in Arlington, TX. In this role, Mr. Lizardo helped 7th and 8th grade students of diverse backgrounds improve their reading, writing, and speaking skills in English. Mr. Lizardo then transitioned out of the classroom as an assistant principal at Bowie High School and then at Bailey Junior High.

Aside from his principal, Mr. Lizardo’s senior English teacher in high school, Mr. Simmons, was also a big inspiration. English was always a difficult subject for him to master, since he also shared an ESL background like many of his former students. “Some of my teachers always made me feel like I was not very good at it and probably would never be. However, Mr. Simmons made English come alive for me, especially the literature. I fell in love with reading when he became my English teacher.” Although he became a fan of literature, Mr. Lizardo shares that sometimes he wasn’t the best student. “I was a student that tested the boundaries with my teachers and tried to rebel against the system. However, at the same time I got all my work done and was an honor student as well.” We hope that there aren’t many students at Carter JHS that currently feel this way! If there are, we are confident that Mr. Lizardo will be there to share his personal stories, tips for success, and will continue to mentor the entire student body.

During his spare time, Mr. Lizardo enjoys playing with his son, traveling with his family, watching movies, and playing video games.

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