New assistant principal Lisa Farris transitions to high school after years as a middle school educator


Briana Martin

New assistant principal Lisa Farris receives a warm welcome to MSD from the faculty members. Farris has been an educator for over a decade, teaching English and debate.

Ivy Lam, Senior Feature Editor

Silent rooms and booming voices. Bus rides and after-school rehearsals. One individual leads middle school students to debate competitions and judges regional tournaments; however, a new opportunity arises for her to guide and educate adolescents at a higher level. From being an English teacher to a debate teacher, Lisa Farris has now assimilated into a new role: assistant principal.

While it is her first year as part of the administrative staff, she has been an educator for many years at both the middle school and high school levels. Before working at MSD, she worked as a ninth and tenth grade English teacher at Boyd Anderson High School and as an English and debate teacher at Coral Springs Middle School.

“I live in the community. My kids went to school in the community so I felt a strong connection to MSD. When the opportunity presented itself to apply, I went for it because I know so many kids and so many families and I thought I’d be a good fit for the school,” Farris said.

Farris was born in Chicago, Illinois. A few years later, she moved south into Mississippi and Louisiana. Farris attended Louisiana State University and moved to South Florida in 2005 after her husband received a job opportunity.

“I [felt like education] was my calling. I always had a connection with kids and people, I was like why not [teach] English because English Literature was one of my favorite subjects. I love to read, I love writing. Why don’t I use passion and on other students?” Farris said.

After transferring to CSMS because she wanted to be closer to home, Farris taught sixth grade English for one year and then eighth grade. However, she transitioned to the debate side in the last five years of her teaching career.

“I didn’t know it was exciting at the time. I just thought it was another job, but it turned out to be a pivotal point in my career because it opened the door for me to teach other students in a different way from a core subject,” Farris said. “I got to meet a lot of different students, which quickly became my favorite thing to do.”

MSD junior Noldine Belizaire was one of the students under Farris’s Speech and Debate program at CSMS. As an active member in and outside of the school, Belizaire often consulted Farris for advice on her personal and competitive endeavors.

“Mrs. Farris was always so supportive of all of her students. I always saw her as my school mom,” Belizaire said. “I’m really happy that there’s now representation in administration for Black students with her now being an assistant principal. I definitely think that other students will be able to create a strong bond with her knowing how great she was with all her students.”

Additionally, Farris’s debate experience and subsequent networking opened opportunities for her to start looking towards a leadership position within the education field as opposed to working in a classroom; teaching debate enabled Farris to receive a district position to support debate as a program at a larger scale.

Her special work with the administration of Coral Springs Middle School also greatly influenced her switch to a leadership role.

“I had an opportunity where one of the assistant principals at Coral Springs Middle really felt that she saw something in me and she asked me to fill in for her when she was on maternity leave,” Farris said. “You really can’t say no to something unless you really tried it. I just needed that push and that’s what happened. I was able to fill in and it kind of changed my outlook on the administrative side.”

The opportunity to fill in as an administrator allowed her to understand how things work, which ultimately led her to join the administration team this year.

Farris believes her personality enables her to bridge the communication gap between administrators, teachers and students.

“I truly believe and trust in the process, and I really feel like this was what was meant to be because it came up right on time. I want to be at a school where I can do the most good and make the most connections. I really feel like this is the school where I can do that,” Farris said.

Farris’s favorite aspect of being in the education field is the connection she develops with students over time. She enjoys watching students flourish, find their niche and recognize their abilities. Due to her experience at Coral Springs Middle School, which is a feeder school for MSD, Farris knows several current students on campus at present.

“I am super excited that Mrs. Farris is a new assistant principal. She was by far my favorite teacher in middle school, and I have so many great memories from her class,” sophomore Carly Rogalla said. “She easily connects with students and always puts them first. I will never forget everything she taught me and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my high school years with Mrs. Farris as our assistant principal.”

Not only has Farris left an impact on her students as a teacher, but she has helped them cope through emotional situations.

“During my first year at Nationals for Speech and Debate, none of my teammates made it to elimination rounds and it really shattered my heart. As soon as we got on the bus during the last day of the tournament, I cried and she reminded me that it was okay to not win and that I gave my all that week,” Belizaire said. “She was one of the first teachers I’ve had that actually believed in me and wanted to see me do better. I’m so grateful to close out my last two years at MSD with her.”

Outside of school, Farris spends quality time with her family. She enjoys reading, singing, dancing and relaxing, such as getting manicures and pedicures.