Associate principal to start fresh as principal of Doerre

Associate principal Nicole Patin stands with the Bearkat, Warrior’s ribbon in hand. Patin will move to Doerre Intermediate as principal on January 5, leaving Klein after three years. Photo by Carlie Byrne.

Each year brings the promise of fresh beginnings, opportunities for growth, and new adventures to discover. This coming year will be one for associate principal Nicole Patin.

Klein will bid her farewell as of January 5, 2015, when she steps into the position of new principal at Doerre Intermediate School.

“I’m looking forward to being at a campus that has already had a lot of success and carrying on their traditions,” Patin said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the staff, the faculty, the students and the parent involvement. Doerre has a good reputation, and the fact that I get to be a part of that now makes me feel really honored.”

This is the first time that she will work with middle school students. With 15 years in the education profession, Patin spent nine years as both a biology teacher and soccer coach at various high schools. She’s been an administrator for six years, the last three of which has been at Klein.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking just because I’m used to high-schoolers, so I don’t really know how middle-schoolers are going to act. I’m looking forward to doing fun things with them and being more engaging with the students,” Patin said

In addition to adapting to a different environment, she will accept a role that she initially thought that she wouldn’t find herself.

“When I first started my teaching career, that hasn’t even crossed my mind,” Patin said. “However, when I started into administration at Dawson High School and then came here, I had the ability to work with two really good head principals. They’re the ones that taught me what I needed to know to feel like I was ready to make that step.”

Having dreamed of being a sports medicine doctor, Patin found her true calling when she began working with kids as an assistant soccer coach and teacher. After working three years each at Westside High School and Clear Creek High School, she then went to Dawson, where she was promoted to an assistant principal following three years of teaching. She served as an AP there for three years before coming here.

She now takes charge of her own school.

“One of the biggest challenges is going to a campus where I don’t really know anybody and no one knows me. I kind of go in with a clean slate,” Patin said. “Everybody that’s going to work for me has a clean slate, so it gives us the opportunity to start from scratch and get to know each other.”

Like former associate principal Jessica Haddox, who is currently the principal of Kleb Intermediate School, Patin will transfer to Doerre mid-year.

“It’s going to be difficult. When you have a changing of the guard mid-year, people could get nervous,” said Patin, “but I actually think it can be to my benefit. I can immerse myself to what Doerre is for next semester and discover what makes the school tick.”

Now donning the Warrior’s red and gold instead of the infamous Bearkat blue and gold, she will not forget the aspects of Klein that made her AP experience an influential one.

“I will miss the school spirit, the traditions, the kids, and the friends that I’ve made here; I can honestly say that the student body at Klein High is what truly makes Klein High so great,” Patin said. “They’re the most welcoming kids that I’ve ever been around in the 15 years I’ve been teaching.”

Patin said she hopes to emulate the sense of school spirit as well as how the staff feels about the students – believing that every kid can learn and trying to get to know them – at her new den.

“Probably the biggest thing that I would take from Klein is that I want to be the kind of leader that Mr. Whitehead is; I want to be as respected by the student body and by the staff as he is,” Patin said. “I’m going to take a lot of the things that he’s taught me and put my own spin on it. The foundation of what he’s taught me is what has been able to get me the job in the first place, and I think that the foundation is what’s going to carry me to be a successful principal.”