Education a calling for Seymour

Corey Seymour’s second-grade teacher inspired him to go into education. And except for a stint as a Houston police officer, that is the field he has made his career in.
Seymour has been a superintendent, principal, teacher, coach, football player and consultant to name a few. The Houston native earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Rice University, a master’s of education administration from Texas Southern University and a doctorate in organizational psychology from Walden University.
He now serves as an executive director of leadership at Ector County ISD and is a principal supervisor. He oversees eight schools: Permian High School, Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School, and Noel, Pease, San Jacinto, Blanton, Alamo STEAM Academy and Blackshear elementary schools.
Having read about West Texas and Odessa, Seymour was curious enough to check it out. Seymour has been in Odessa with his wife and family for about five months.
Seymour grew up with three siblings and a single mother who worked two jobs. He said he didn’t have some of the things other children had. In first grade, his teacher who didn’t think he would amount to much but his second-grade teacher, Ms. Donley, saw potential in him and thought he should skip a grade. That set his course.
“But I think one of the things that pulled me here is just a need. There’s a need for someone to come in and help support in some areas, education-wise, for this area,” he said.
“I really believe that I was called to be a part of the work that’s going on and I really have a lot of respect for (Superintendent) Dr. (Scott) Muri and the work that he’s doing and his vision and wanted to come help to be able to achieve some of those things with the vision that he has,” Seymour added.
Having recently arrived in West Texas from Portland, Ore., Seymour noted that the climate is different and the people are the biggest difference. He has found them to be genuine, polite, respectful and accommodating.
“… I think that’s one of the draws that I don’t think people get to see as much unless you actually come here to visit, or live, the wonderful people that you have in this community. That’s what I’ve seen here …,” Seymour said.
He’s even had family that lived in the Odessa and the South Plains areas that he didn’t know about.
Work-wise, Seymour said, the district has challenges.
“I think that’s one of the wonderful things about being here is to be part of that now. Other people can kind of see the things that are happening, the vision that’s being set and the work that we’re doing to make sure those things are successful,” he said.
Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard said ECISD is lucky to have Seymour. He is a principal supervisor, which she said is a fairly new role. He acts as a liaison between campuses and administration and is an advocate for the campus principals and advocates for what they need.
Howard said Seymour had been a principal supervisor in Portland before coming to Odessa.
With his variety of experience, Howard said Seymour brings a perspective that is very valuable.
“He asks great questions. He knows things can be done differently and offers solutions to improve our work and brings passion and a commitment
Seymour said education is probably one of the most rewarding things he could do. He did pause for four or five years to be a Houston police officer. What brought him back to education was a burglary call involving one of his former students. The call made him realize he needed to return to the campuses.
Being a police officer has helped him in many aspects of his work and life.
“As an officer you have to investigate everything thoroughly. I think sometimes we jump to reactions quicker than what we should instead of just kind of pausing and taking our time,” Seymour said.
“It forced me to plan more, so when you’re an officer you go into a situation you don’t just run in there and do it. That’s your life. You kind of think about it, plan it, put yourself in situations. What are we going to do if this happens?”
When he got back into education, that viewpoint stayed with him.
“… More than anything else it made me realize the influence that educators have on lives; how we can touch lives and change lives. That was a really, really good thing …,” Seymour said.
Seymour is a member of ECISD’s Equity Task Force. In Oregon, was trained heavily in equity.
“When I heard about the Equity Task Force they had created here, I immediately told them that I wanted to be a part of it and they have been very open to whatever suggestions or ideas I had,” he added.
“Growth is going to continue to happen as people continue to join in, provide ideas, make suggestions and that’s the wonderful thing about it,” Seymour said.
The task force has just started, but over time, it’s going to get better. He noted that it has given people in the district who didn’t think they had a voice or enough of one a say in things.
“I think it’s necessary,” Seymour said of the committee. “… Providing equitable education for those students is paramount. We have to be able to educate them and provide them with the things that they need to remove those obstacles that are preventing them from receiving the type of education that they need. … I think once you understand equity you’ll … see a shift in academic performance for our students and that’s when you’re really, truly going to see the growth that we’re wanting to have and expecting to have.”
In his job, Seymour said, he has personal goals like wanting PHS to be the top high school, Wilson & Young to be the top middle school and all the elementary campuses to reach the pinnacle as well.
“My goal as executive director … is to continue to grow people and to develop people and to help them to reach their potential. … I think sometimes in education we think about students; sometimes we forget about the adults and making sure they can reach their potential, as well. That’s one of my goals just to help them to become better. I have been really blessed to have a group of principals that I’m working with that are really absorbing what I’m giving them and looking forward to growing themselves. If they’re doing well and they’re growing, they’re going to be able to pass it on to their teachers and they’re going to pass it on to their students. It kind of trickles down,” Seymour said.
Seymour and his wife, Jeannie, have five children Alexis, Andrew, Aleria, Adam and Aaron. Jeannie Seymour teaches first grade at Burnet Elementary and Alexis works in the front office at Wilson & Young.
Wherever they go, Seymour said, they are a package deal.
“We’re going to use all our talents that God has blessed us with to help make this a better place,” he said.