Chief Academic Officer to retire after 41-years with Pearland ISD
Longtime Pearland Independent School District chief academic officer, Dr. Nyla Watson, announced her plans to retire this year.
Watson, who received her master’s in Humanities from University of Houston – Clear Lake, joined the district in 1981 as a journalism and photography teacher at Pearland High School. “I loved being a teacher, I had so much fun with my kids,” Watson said. “I loved taking them to camp, banquets, theater, I just wanted to create opportunities for them to see and experience new things.” After dedicating many years as an assistant principal, associate principal and eventually being named the principal to the district’s first ninth grade center, now known as Turner College and Career High School, Watson shared “I am a dreamer, I wanted to have students go to college or be employable after high school. It was important that they be able to make choices and grow as a leader and as a follower.”
As the first principal of the Pearland Ninth Grade Center, she was recognized for having the highest TAKS scores amongst all ninth graders in the state of Texas in math and English, two years in a row. The achievements were impactful and throughout her 41 years with the district, there is no stone that was left unturned. From helping to develop Pearland High School’s motto “Pride, Honor, Success,” to being named one of the “75 Great Legends in Texas UIL,” earning the titles of Teacher and Principal of the Year and serving as a member of Commissioner Mike Morath’s Chief Academic Officer Advisory Council providing state-level input of educational best practices, Watson played an integral part in almost every milestone within Pearland ISD.
Her achievements did not go unnoticed, and after receiving her doctorate in Educational Administration, she was named Executive Director of Instructional Programs in 2006. Eventually earning the role of Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Programs and now, Chief Academic Officer, Watson has had the opportunity to develop the curriculum framework for the district leading campuses to success in student performance, benchmark assessments, classroom coaching and teacher training. “I have hired every person in the Curriculum and Instruction department, and I am proud of the friendship, collegiality, and support everyone supplies for teachers and campuses,” she said. “The people in this department were all exemplary teachers and they continue to perform this way; they help people improve their craft. I am very proud of the support system that we have built.”
In 2013, Dr. Watson was named Rotarian of the year and subsequently was presented by the Pearland Masonic Lodge with the Community Builder Award for her outstanding community service. Undoubtedly, the impact she leaves travels well beyond the classroom and our community. While her chapter in education will come to a close in the coming months, Dr. Watson’s legacy will live on through the countless lives touched and she will continue to build Pearland strong.
Dr. Watson’s last day as Chief Academic Officer is set for the end of June. She looks forward to spending time with family, traveling and enjoying time on her ranch.