Webber’s Altruistic Desire: AP moves to Arkansas to head special ed.


Principal Vinson Lewis and assistant principal Paula Webber grill at a faculty cookout

Written by Elizabeth Lozano

Paula Webber has always been willing to do what is necessary to help students.

She started teaching middle school and high school students composite social studies in 1980. Webber noticed that the older students couldn’t read very well and wanted to learn why. “I also finished certification in elementary composite, because I was interested in why students that were older were struggling with reading. And I wanted to learn how to teach reading.

In addition, Webber felt that a change in law wasn’t beneficial for the students in special education.

“And then the law changed and students in special education were mainstreamed back into our regular classes, and I saw the struggle they were having. So, I went back to school and finished my certifications in special education.”

After completing those certificates, she worked for a few years as an elementary school teacher. Eventually, she made her way back to middle school and high school, teaching in special education classes.

She arrived at Alief when she began teaching at Holub Middle School. From there, she went on to Alief Middle School with Principal Vinson Lewis, and followed him to Elsik Ninth Grade Center.

This year, she and Lewis came to Kerr. He says they have become a team after working closely together.

“I think Ms. Webber and I complement each other very well. So, when you work with someone very closely… you really get to know her, not just on a professional level but on a personal level, too. Having the opportunity to kinda get to know her and her family, I consider Ms. Webber as part of my extended family.

“But more importantly when it comes to working here at Kerr, and the various schools that we had the opportunity to work together, I think just the fact that we complement each other very well. There’s strengths that I have that may not necessarily be strengths of hers. But then there’s strengths that she has that are not necessarily my strengths, or passions. But then when we bring those two together, I think that we have been real successful in the campuses that we’ve had the opportunity to work at.”

Those who have worked with Webber at Kerr have gotten to know a little bit about her.

“She is very engaging,” hall monitor Tinsley Jones said. “She enjoys working with the students.”

Nancy Villegas, who as the assistant principal’s secretary has probably worked most closely with Webber, says she has benefitted from the experience.

“I have learned different ways to approach a situation. How to be a better person and a team player.”

But now Webber’s efforts to meet students’ needs take her out of Alief. Webber applied for position in Bentonville public schools in Arkansas early in May, because it is close to family members.

“I didn’t take the position that was offered to me, and then the school district called me just recently, and ask if I would interview for the director of special education, which I did.”

October 18 was her last day at Kerr. Former counselor Sara Tones was named assistant principal October 30.