Founded in 1998, Life School has grown from a single campus of 266 students to now 10 campuses with over 5,600 students in North Texas. And for the last 11 years, current Superintendent, Dr. Brent Wilson, has been leading the charge for the charter school’s success.
With a passion for education, students, and the community, Dr. Wilson sat down with the Life School Mountain Creek Elementary’s 6th-grade Student Council and discussed Life.
Here’s what they asked:
Q: Why did you choose this career [of being Life School’s Superintendent]?
A: I started my career in the private sector, but ultimately transitioned to education because I grew up in a home where my parents taught me that leaders invest in other people. Working for Life School gives me a chance to lead educators who help prepare students for life. It is exciting to see our students succeed at Life School and then go out into the world and accomplish even greater things.
Q: What’s the best decision you’ve ever made in your career?
A: The best decision I have ever made in my career was to transition from the private sector and going to work at Life School. I chose to work at Life School because I wanted to do something that mattered and leave a legacy for the community. I believe when our students feel they are adequately prepared for life after high school, we did our part to help students succeed. I also believe Life School graduates will someday instill the same leadership and character concepts they learned in our school system into their kids. The work we do at Life School impacts a generation one child at a time.
Q: What did you want to be when you were younger?
A: Growing up a pastor’s son, I remember business people in the church who gave generously of their time and resources to help the church demonstrate love to the community. As an adult, I always wanted to be like one of those who inspired me and give of my time and resources to help people feel loved and supported so they can grow personally.
Q: Has anything changed that?
A: Working in the private sector for 14 years before joining Life School, I learned many things that I now apply as a public school superintendent. I love my job as the superintendent of Life School because I am able to work with other educators to help students reach their full potential.
Q: What is it like being a superintendent?
A: Being the superintendent of Life School is challenging and demands a lot of time, but it is very exciting to watch students grow both academically and personally.
Q: What do you love the most about your job?
A: I love the people I get to work with every day at Life School. Together, we have created a friendly and welcoming environment which benefits of all of the students and families we serve. The thing I love most is when former Life School graduates come back and tell me what they have achieved and share what they are working on next. I believe it is important for our Life School graduates to come back and share with current students how they worked hard and overcame challenges to accomplish their goals.
Q: What's the best thing about your job?
A: The best thing about my job is when I get to meet interesting and diverse people. While some are fans of school choice, others may not be. Through experience, I have learned that listening to the views of others and having meaningful conversations on different topics allows me to potentially influence those who may have opinions that are different from mine.
Q: What is your goal as superintendent?
A: My primary goal as Life School's Superintendent is to support every campus as they help each student reach their full potential. Student growth occurs when we are all ‘Ready to Learn’ every day, ‘Ready to Lead’ ourselves first then others, and a daily commitment to being ‘Ready for Life.’
Q: How do you balance this job with your home life?
A: Everyone is busy. There are always more demands on each person that can be fulfilled within a given time frame. I believe every person and leader has to be honest with themselves about how they manage their time and make adjustments accordingly. I value my job and role as superintendent at Life School, but I have failed as a person if I do not invest in my own family and make them a priority. Time is a valuable and finite resource. There are some seasons of life where I have to spend more time and focus on things besides my family. Some examples of things that require a drain on time could be a project at work or going back to school as an adult. If this is only for a season of life and my family understands, it can be managed. Sustained time away from family without reprioritizing could lead to family problems. I am constantly assessing my work-life balance so my professional and personal life are successful.
Q: In one word describe your job as our superintendent.
Q: What would you say is your greatest strength?
A: I love people enough to give them grace, but also challenge them to be the best version of themselves. I try to model the belief that I never want to stop growing. This means that I must be willing to take constructive feedback. If I listen, I can potentially improve. If the superintendent of Life School can be a LifeLeader and Life Learner, so can everyone else. We can grow together!
Q: In what way did your father inspire you?
A: Dr. Tom Wilson, my father and founder of Life School, inspired me to find a way to learn and get better every day. He challenged me to listen to words of truth, regardless of from who it came. It was truth that I needed to learn and I did my best to apply it. My dad also taught me how to have a strong work ethic and a high standard for excellence. I believe it is important to expect a high standard of excellence for yourself and others because the work we are doing on behalf of the students we serve is such a huge responsibility and honor. Dr. Tom Wilson modeled a passion for helping students be prepared for life and that is an example we can all follow.
Q: What impact do you want as a superintendent?
A: As superintendent of Life School, I want to leave a legacy of excellence for our school system. I am working to create a school environment where students understand that they are not limited to what they can accomplish. I desire for them to learn to be leaders. My hope is that they graduate from Life School and train their kids and other children with the same leadership skills they learned here. I want for our students what I want for my own kids… a life where they make a positive impact on others around them. A life of leadership and service! It’s not just school. It’s LIFE.