Meet MHS’ new principal, Dr. Potter

Dr. Potter with student volunteers at MHS Veterans Day celebration

Dr. Philip Potter is a new change of pace this year at Memorial. Since Dr. Potter took over as principal and started the school year, students and teachers alike have noticed his drive to create a strong learning culture. Although Dr. Potter is new to MHS, he is not new to education, beginning his 13th year in the field- having held many school leadership positions throughout the years. He has spent the last three years as the principal of Walnut Hill International Leadership Academy, and previously administrated in other Dallas high schools. His mission to create a world-class learning environment inspires members of MHS to have passion in their learning. I spoke with Dr. Potter to learn more about his plans for this school year.

Q: When did you begin working in the academic field? What made you find your love for it? 

PP: ​I began working in education in 2009 in Chicago public school and came to Dallas ISD in 2013. My academic background is in music education and I was afforded several leadership opportunities throughout my career. I love school leadership and seeing students succeed, supporting staff, and deepening relationships with our community. 

Q: What is your “mission” for this school year? How have you been taking action?

​PP: The mission for this school year is to create a world-class learning environment where students find their purpose in life and pursue it with passion. The actions around this mission for this year have centered on Future Ready Learning skills Respond and Innovate. The systems and structures we have in place are the beginning of a journey to create a world-class learning experience that is sustainable for years to come. Ultimately, I want our students and staff to be excited when they come to Memorial each day to engage in a vibrant learning community.  

Q: What do you think about maintaining school safety?

​PP: Safety is on my mind daily, minute by minute, and I am always looking for opportunities to strengthen and refine the safety practice in our school. It is extremely important that our students, staff, and community feel safe at school each day and that we are never complacent regarding school safety. 

Q: From the beginning of this year, you’ve emphasized the importance of community and family at Memorial. How do you encourage students to reflect this?

PP: ​Building a learning community with traditions of excellence takes time, effort, and vulnerability. I encourage students to find a place where they can find their purpose and pursue it with passion. Through this process, students often realize that they have things in common with others who are on the journey. I want Memorial to be a place where relationships drive the learning process and students feel connected with others as they grow. 

Q: How have you applied what you learned while administrating in your past school districts to being the principal at Memorial?

PP: ​I have been fortunate to work in school leadership in a variety of settings. I am extremely grateful for each of these experiences and find that my previous professional learning and experience has been valuable to applying them in new ways at Memorial. One of the things that energizes me the most is connecting with students and staff around new ideas and reflecting on ways to continually improve the school. I enjoy considering research-based educational practices and how they apply in a variety of contexts and experiences. Memorial is truly unique and I am so grateful to begin the journey of leading and learning at MHS. 

Q: In what ways do you believe the new changes you’ve instated will positively impact the school? 

PP: ​I truly value collaboration and feedback and want us to continue to be intentional as we consider ways to make our school world-class. Ultimately, I am convinced that our collaborative efforts have the potential to create a legacy and tradition of excellence at Memorial High School. Excellence is a journey and I am proud to lead a school with amazing students, excellent staff, and a wonderful community. I look forward to continuing our journey together for years to come.