Welcome Waugh: Ann Richards brings in Ms. Waugh as full time principal


Ms. Kristina Waugh on her first day as the official principal of the Ann Richards School.

Since former ARS principal Ms. Jeanne Goka retired, Ms. Kris Waugh has been filling in as interim principal, but the time has come to get a permanent placement for that position. Austin Independent School district collaborated with parents, students, teachers, board members, and Ann Richards community members to compile a principal profile of things they want in a principal. The profile was sent out in the February 5 – February 9 weekly update. The list is long and has many important factors on it, but here are a few standout points:


  • Allows teachers to have control over classroom, try and fail, and create curriculums
  • Insists on Spanish translations for parents and they can speak Spanish themselves
  • Experienced working with Title I students
  • Advocates for all-girls education
  • Embraces the Ann Richards mission statement
  • Sense of humor
  • Someone who is approachable
  • Advocates for diversity


“Our part is done. So what we did is the district narrowed down all the applicants to six and we [the staff elected] interviewed the six and we made recommendations, so now it’s totally up to the Superintendent and the Associate Superintendent,” Ms. Shamaa Lakshmanan said.

The students also have a say in their future principal. The Student Council got the chance to give examples of things that they wanted in a new principal.

“I thought it was really important that our girls, that are leaders, got to have a voice in who they chose,” Waugh said, ‘That they are compassionate, a listener, they have a sense of humor, that they know how to prioritize, easy to talk to, willing to make a fool of themselves, try to keep drama to a limited amount, and are understanding of us.”

The process of interviews and advice started in late December/early January. The faculty elected three staff members to represent the school. As of February, the school has narrowed it down to three candidates, one of them being Ms. Waugh. By February 26, the decision was final. 

On February 27, the new principal of the Ann Richards School, Ms. Kristina Waugh, was announced to the faculty and student body. Waugh had previously served as the assistant principal to original principal, Ms. Jeanne Goka, working specifically as Academic Dean of High School. Following Ms. Goka’s retirement in October of 2017, Ms. Waugh stepped into the position of Interim Principal. The job of an Interim Principal is temporary, while the candidates for the full-time job are debated. Starting on February 27, Ms. Waugh assumed the role of principal, extending her run as an administrator. This is a welcome extension by many students and teachers, as it eliminates the transition time that would be required of a new administrator.

Ms. Waugh was selected based on a series of interviews, recommendations, and approval from AISD Superintendent, Dr. Paul Cruz, and Associate Superintendent of High Schools, Mr. Edmund Oropez.

Under her leadership, Ms. Waugh intends to continue to work under the guidance of the Ann Richards School mission statement, moving toward the goal of sending each student to college.