David Boatright: A father, a grandfather, a teacher, a coach, and an administrator-- and now the principal of Eastwood High School. After a national selection process with more than twenty-five candidates, Boatright was the right person at the right time.
The passing of the torch: From Mathews to Smith and now Boatright
Boatright is a figure ingrained in the history of Eastwood high school. Hired twice by former principal Juni Mathews, first as a brand new teacher in 1993 at Eastwood, and then again as an assistant principal at Montwood High, Boatright sees her has an important mentor.
“She was a great role model; she taught me a lot,” Boatright said, “She’s one of many people that I’ve been fortunate enough to work for.”
After some time spent working together, Mathews realized Boatright had all the right qualities to become a school administrator.
“He’s just a smart individual. He has follow through: he’s going to do what he says he's going to do when he says it,” Mathews said. “He treats people very well and understands the needs of teachers and parents. He understands what makes things work and he has a great sense of humor. I knew that he had the ability before I hired him as an assistant principal.”
Mathews had an extreme sense of pride in her former protégé when he got the job. Especially at Eastwood-- a school she holds close to her heart.
“When it finally happened, I was very proud of him,” Mathews said, “He could be principal of any school but for him to be principal of Eastwood was very gratifying. Eastwood has a special place to me and I was very anxious for Eastwood to get a good principal after Ms. Smith. I could not be prouder for him to follow in my footsteps."
Fort Eastwood and the community going forward
Many regard Boatright as the right person at right time to lead the community through what is a tough transition moving forward.
“Mr. Boatright is the right man at the right time. He knows the community, coming from Eastwood Middle, and then all those kids are coming here,” Adolfo Sanchez said, “Secondly, he’s very knowledgeable about construction he knows a lot about buildings. Finally, he knows the community and is very well invested in it.”
Upon first coming to Eastwood, Boatright thought the phrase “Home of El Paso’s Finest” to be somewhat arrogant. After some time spent at Eastwood, he realized the meaning of this message. Then and know he still feels the energy coursing through the school.
“My impression from the first day is that this place has a lot of energy, and it’s a good energy,” Boatright said, “Students still want to be the best; they’re very competitive in everything they do. But as I worked here I learned it wasn’t really arrogance but really about confidence. It's more like a self-belief more than it is a message to everyone else outside. It’s a message within.”
With this tough period of construction for students, some students look to Boatright for advice being a person with experience in construction Junior Nicholas Martinez asked, “What advice can you give to students, being a principal with experience in construction?” Boatright recommends patience and looking toward the end result.
“I recommend students to be very patient and look at the big picture,” Boatright said, “Ultimately this is bigger than us. It’s about the future. I know the juniors and seniors are sacrificing a bit because they won’t have the building. But they still have the people and the people is where it's at.”
Boatright has one message to relay to the Eastwood community as a whole. A message of continuing the traditions and moving forwards as El Paso’s finest from Fort Eastwood into the new building.
“We're all in this together and our sole purpose is to develop young leaders that can contribute to society,” Boatright said, “I want to continue with traditions and being competitive. Keep standards high. I don’t want us as a community to retreat from what we believe. I want us to stay focused on being the best at everything, and if we continue with that mindset, no one can stop us. I want this building to impact as many lives as possible.”