Henry Taylor, principal of Thomas Haley Elementary, was recently awarded the Maurice and Ruby Walker Educator of the Year award by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Irving-Carrollton chapter. The NAACP is a historic organization that has been at the forefront of civil rights movements for over 100 years to ensure equality for all. The Maurice and Ruby Walker Educator of the Year award was named after Mr. Maurice Walker, the first recipient of the NAACP Irving-Carrollton Educator of the Year award and mentor to Principal Taylor. It was Walker that introduced him to the Irving Independent School District. 

Principal Henry Taylor (left) pictured with NAACP Irving-Carrollton chapter president and Irving Independent School District board member, Tony Grimes (right).

Principal Taylor was home working one night when he received notice that he was nominated for the award – an experience he describes as very humbling and exciting. 

After running track and field as a college athlete, Principal Taylor decided to pursue a career in education. He’s changed the lives of students from Louisiana to Texas in various areas of education as a PE teacher, special education teacher and administrator. He first served as an assistant principal at Thomas Haley in 2016 before transitioning to his current position. 

“Being an educator means having the ability to change the world,” says Principal Taylor. “We’re superheroes. We have the opportunity to change children’s trajectory in life.”

As the leader of Thomas Haley Elementary, we asked Principal Taylor what’s one thing he hopes the students and staff learn from him, and in two words, he summed it up: “Dream big – bigger than your current circumstances..” He believes there are no limits to what an individual can achieve.