Phillip De La Pena has a passion for history. The upcoming 2019-2020 school year at Neil Armstrong Elementary School at the South San Antonio Independent School District will mark a new chapter for his educational career.
De La Pena will now preside as principal at Armstrong after three years as an assistant principal. The Texas A&M University graduate holds a bachelor of arts degree and a master’s degree in history from the University of Texas in San Antonio. He was a teacher for eight years and spent two years as an instructional coach before making his move to South San ISD from another district.
The history buff says he is ready to do whatever it takes to make a difference in the lives of the students and his staff at Armstrong.
“When I first entered education, I just wanted to be a good history teacher and help my kids develop an appreciation for a subject I was very passionate about,” De La Pena said. “The reason that I was able to become a successful teacher was that I had the support of excellent administrators and I want to give those same opportunities to other teachers…I felt like I could have a better impact on student success and help more students by being in a leadership role.”
Calling his love of history central to understanding what makes him tick, De La Pena says he’s been involved in historical re-enacting since the age 16, has portrayed historical characters and been involved in television productions for the History Channel. One of his favorite historical figures is former president Ulysses S. Grant.
“He [Grant] could remain cool and calm in times of uncertainty and it was really that aura of confidence and the fact that he could remain so calm that gave inspiration to the men serving under him,” De La Pena added.
While he’s preparing for a busy school year, De La Pena manages to take time to join his family in Rockport to go fishing. Once he returns to San Antonio, he stops by the B&B Smokehouse on Pleasanton Road for one of his favorite meals of brisket and sausage.
To contact De La Pena, email him at email@example.com.