When meeting my friend, Virdie Montgomery, for the first time, one may likely ponder who he is and take notice when he drifts off to another conversation, another event, another parade, another rave, or another opportunity he has concocted to make kids and community members feel special. Like Taylor Swift or Beyonce, his antics often include wardrobe changes and walkup music. Though seasons, styles, and people may change, Virdie Montgomery does not. He may be the singular constant in my life. He remains the same, and I love him.
My first “Virdie experience” began as a rival. He was the principal of Levelland High School in West Texas. Like the Virdie we all know and love today, his presence was not forgotten and will always be remembered. Without creating a burden of details, I will share that the shenanigans we see today were alive and well long before he was made a Pirate. To put it simply, be glad when he is on your side.
“Do you remember me?”
One of the first emails I received as the new superintendent in 2011 was from Virdie Montgomery. He welcomed me to Wylie and reintroduced himself by asking if I remembered him. For those who aren’t aware, this question is equivalent to asking if Shaquille O’Neal can be identified on a third-grade basketball team. A year later, the principal position for Wylie High School opened, and my first call was an obvious one. It was one of the most important calls I have ever made.
You may not know that Virdie is nationally recognized as an exemplary principal. The Virdie Montgomery Principal of the Year Award, presented by the character education group called Rachel’s Challenge, is bestowed upon a principal who leads with the tenets of caring and building relationships with students. But wait, there’s more. Alongside Texas legends such as Chuck Norris, Virdie was recognized as the Texas Ambassador of the Year by the Friends of Texas Public Schools. When Chuck Norris gets involved, it’s serious business. After all, he may be one of the coolest humans to walk the planet.
Folks don’t typically know about these awards and the many others that Virdie has received, but they do recall the impact that Virdie has had on their lives. I certainly recognize the difference he has made in mine. Providing his best version of Elf on a Shelf, serving as the Pirate Ambassador on Talk Like a Pirate Day, or handing out a Snickers bar to the 600+ 2020 WHS graduates are just some of the examples of times when he has brought joy to those around him. We remember the handwritten notes, the pictures he took of our children, the atmosphere he created to make our day special, and the kind words he spoke which helped to brighten our day. He loves us. He loves our kids. He loves Wylie High School. And for the rest of our lives, he will hold a special place in our hearts.
On Oct. 26, we officially dedicated the new multipurpose facility at Wylie High School in honor of former principal, and my good friend, Virdie Montgomery. Thousands of Pirates will experience this great facility for many years to come, and there is not a name more fitting than the Montgomery Center. Virdie embodies the spirit and pride that is Wylie High School. When you think of the Pirates or AHMO, you think of Virdie, too. He poured his heart and soul into the students and staff at Wylie High, and he brought life back to the traditions we hold dear to us today. I am honored to have been part of such a special moment for our community.
“Do you remember me?” Yes, Virdie, we do. Thank you for loving our kids and living the Wylie Way. Thank you for making a lasting impression on our lives. AHMO!
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