Ross principal retiring after long career in education

After 36 years in education — 27 of them with Ector County Independent School District — Ross Elementary School Principal Becky Phillips is retiring next month.

Having started out as a PE teacher at Goldsmith for seven years, Phillips has served at a variety of campuses in a number of jobs. Before coming to Odessa, she taught at Lubbock and Fort Worth ISDs.

Phillips, who grew up in Graham, earned a bachelor’s degree in PE and elementary education from Texas Tech University and a master’s in counseling and a certification in educational leadership from the University of Texas Permian Basin.

“This is Year 36. I always loved going to school, so I knew would love teaching school,” Phillips said.

She has been principal at Ross for four years “and a little bit.” Her last day is June 13. The school staff will get orange keychains that say “Go be Rossome,” cookies that say Ross with the coordinates of Odessa frosted on them and tiny gift bags that say “Best Day Ever.” 

Previously, she was at Ector Junior High, magnet director for two years and has been at Bowie Middle School and Blackshear Magnet Elementary.

“Mauricio Marquez (now principal of Odessa High School) was assigned the principal at Blackshear and he called me. We had worked together at Ector. He said, ‘I’m going to have an assistant principal. Are you interested?’” Phillips said.

After brief consideration, Phillips accepted.

“We were a really good team. I really enjoyed being at Blackshear. I was there for eight years. I was with him for four then with Marcos Lopez (now the Downing principal) for four. I think it was about that,” she said.

She went to Ross for two weeks before a spring break to substitute because the principal had to be out on a family matter.

“They asked me to stay and I got to stay forever,” Phillips said.

Phillips has two grown children and five grandchildren with one on the way. Her son teaches seventh-grade social studies and reading at Ector College Prep Success Academy.

“The job got harder,” Phillips said. “I didn’t feel like I could be effective anymore. I think there are good people in place now, but before I just didn’t feel as confident that I could help make things better. My daughter’s pregnant with No. 6, so I thought it was time to get back closer to her.”

What she has enjoyed the most about being in education are the students.

“They say the funniest things. They love you no matter what; hug on you; drive you crazy sometimes. Then, I have just worked with some fabulous people; teachers that just really care about the kids and want to do what’s right by them,” she said.

She said she would miss the going to work every day. 

“… I’m very much a schedule person, so I’ll miss the routine for sure. And I’ll miss just … being around adults and kids and just that interaction that we’ve had for all this time,” Phillips said.

Marquez said he was fortunate to work with Phillips at Ector and Blackshear.

“She was my assistant principal at Blackshear and was a great asset to the campus. I truly enjoyed our years together and I certainly wish her the best on her retirement,” he said in a text message.