The Waco Independent School District named James Stewart the new principal of Waco High School on Thursday night, replacing Ed Love, who accepted an administrative position with Transformation Waco.

It is a full-circle event for Stewart, who graduated from Waco High School. Currently, Stewart serves as principal of G.W. Carver Middle School. He has 17 years of experience in education, all of which were spent at Waco ISD.

Interim Superintendent Hazel Rowe said Stewart is the right choice for the school because he relates to students well.

“He’s almost like a big kid himself” Rowe said to laughter from the audience. “He will make Waco High an exemplary campus for all kids.”

After the public announcement, Stewart introduced his family and friends, who were there to support him, to the boardroom. He said Love, who has spent five years as Waco High’s principal, served as a mentor and friend to him, teaching him “the ropes.”

Love stood up and shook hands with Stewart, passing him a red baton and embracing his protege.

“They say Lion pride runs deep,” Rowe said, referring to the Waco High mascot.

“Mr. Stewart, you have some big shoes to fill,” board member Norman Manning said from the dais.

Stewart started his career in education at Lake Air Middle School, where he taught social studies, math and science, according to a Waco ISD press release. He also served as the campus athletics coordinator and coached football and track.

Stewart moved to Waco High School, where he worked as a teacher and coach before ascending to assistant principal. In 2017, he was selected as the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Region 12 High School Assistant Principal of the Year.

“I am beyond excited to return to Waco High,” Stewart said in the press release. “I’ve enjoyed every day that I have been Carver’s principal, but Lion pride runs deep. As a proud graduate of Waco High and a former Waco High teacher, coach and assistant principal, I know just how special this campus is.”

Rowe said in the press release that Stewart is an “excellent educator, a great leader and has a decade of experience at Waco High.”

“James understands why Lion pride runs deep and will build on the school’s tremendous legacy,” she said.

Love’s last day as Waco High School principal is June 30. Then, he will assume the role of executive director of school leadership for Transformation Waco, the five-school charter system in Waco ISD.

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Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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