Moments after Truman High School’s emotional Noland Road Rivalry volleyball win at William Chrisman earlier this week, Ronda Scott was high-fiving players, while visiting with energetic students who made the Patriots feel like they had the home-court advantage.
Later in the week, the 1987 Truman grad and first-year principal was walking down the halls of her alma mater calling nearly every student she met by their first name.
“She knows my name,” one young student said, as he walked away with a trio of friends. “She called me by my first name.”
She showed the same love of her students following the volleyball victory, asking them when their teams were playing later the week.
“I’ll be there,” she said, as two football players walked away, giving each other a big thumbs up.
Inside the Truman classrooms and hallways, and outside the building, Scott is quickly becoming a difference maker.
The past three years Scott was an assistant principal at Truman, but when Pam Boatright left to join the Independence School District administrative corps, Scott took over the corner office. Her Independence roots run deep, and she is thrilled with the challenge of being the principal.
“Bulldog born, Patriot proud and ISD strong,” said Scott, referring to the William Southern Elementary School Bulldogs, her Truman Patriots and the Independence School District. “This job, oh my goodness, what a wonderful gift.”
“The students, the faculty, all the great new things that are happening at our school, what a tremendous gift – and I get to enjoy it every day.”
“And what can you say about our amazing community? Patrons in our community voted a 76 percent approval to allow us to make all the new additions at our school. I’ve been here three years, and we have our wonderful new football stadium and our second gymnasium and so many other things that our voters can’t see when they drive down Noland Road.”
“But the new TRUMAN PATRIOTS signs, and the new facade on the front of our building are getting so much attention. I just love it when someone wants to come up and talk to me about my high school – and I feel like it’s my high school, and I love that, because I graduated from here.”
Scott also has had one son (T.J., 2017) graduate from Truman, while daughter Ainslee is a senior and son Sam is a sophomore.
“I love the fact that T.J. graduated from Truman and that I have two other children who are still here attending Truman,” Scott said. “It’s funny – I’ll be walking down the hall and someone will say, ‘Hi Mrs. Scott,’ and it will be a student who spent last Friday night at our house.
“While I have had three kids attend Truman, I think of every student here as one of my kids. I really do.”
Moments before a bell rings, sending students from one class to the next, Scott and an Independence police officer stand in the newly renovated foyer, that is wide open and spacious as mural of Harry and Bess Truman has been moved to the school library.
Students go out of their way to give Scott a fist bump or high five. It’s hard to tell who enjoys this new ritual more, the new principal or her “kids.”
“This is my fourth year back at Truman,” said Scott, who had spent the previous three years in the Park Hill School District, “and I don’t have one regret about returning to my hometown. There are times – when I think about the past principals we have had here at Truman (including the late Leroy Brown, who was principal when Scott was a student) – it is terrifying.
“But I love this job, I love it!”