(Editor’s Note: For more profiles on new principals in Dallas Catholic Schools, be sure to pick up our Aug. 30th print edition)
By Cathy Harasta
Renee Ozier admitted that she can’t hide her enthusiasm for her burgeoning dreams for James L. Collins Catholic School in Corsicana.
As she familiarized herself with the 23-acre campus during the summer, everywhere she looked gave her ideas and fueled her vision for the school, said Ozier, a first-year principal at Collins who previously taught at St. Monica Catholic School.
Among potential innovations for James L. Collins Catholic School, Ozier said that she envisions an outdoor environmental classroom with a greenhouse to inspire young botanists and entrepreneurs.
“What if we could grow vegetables on campus to sustain our cafeteria?” she said in a rush of excitement. “We just can’t wait to utilize our beautiful 23 acres. We have lots of new things that excite us.”
She said that she plans technology improvements and additional upgrades for the school, where a new comprehensive security system was installed in July, thanks to a grant.
Ozier, who holds a master’s degree in educational administration, said that she is delighted to work with Father Jason Cargo, the pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Corsicana. They collaborated on religious education projects when Ozier taught at St. Monica and Father Cargo was serving as parochial vicar at St. Monica Catholic Church.
“He and I share a vision of growth,” said Ozier, who has six children ranging in age from 16-27. “We want to increase enrollment. We work really well together. We’re going to work hard to get the good word out.”
Father Cargo said that Ozier’s profound faith and many abilities position her to be an excellent principal.
“Her passion as a principal combines her love for the church, knowledge of multiple educational techniques, and centers on the development of a child’s character,” Father Cargo said. “She thrives on engaging people to be part of her academic vision. She has an innate talent in marketing and presenting her vision to the outside community.”
Ozier succeeded Jessica Starek, who retired in June.
Phil Riley, the principal at St. Monica Catholic School, said that Ozier’s work ethic will endear her to the James L. Collins community.
“She has a lot of energy and tremendous passion for everything she does,” said Riley, a former principal at James L. Collins. “She definitely sees things from the positive perspective.”
Ozier, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, moved frequently because of her father’s Air Force career.
She devoted herself to numerous jobs and activities, including owning a bakery and working in fund-raising, before she taught for 11 years at St. Monica.
Ozier’s daughter Brittany, 27, performed as a vocalist during her early teen years in Branson, Missouri, where the family lived for several years. Ozier, who most recently taught first grade and headed several administrative initiatives at St. Monica, said that she home-schooled her children and other children who performed in the long-running Branson shows.
Brittany is working on a Ph.D in clinical psychology in Los Angeles, Ozier said. Her son Blake, 24, works in the hotel industry in Colorado while he studies for a career in physical therapy. Daughter Brianna, 22, is a nursing student at the University of Texas at Arlington. Son Brandon and twin sons Barrett and Bryce are students at Jesuit College Preparatory School.
Ozier said that she does not mind commuting from Dallas to Corsicana, a 65-minute drive each way.
“I have this wonderful job,” she said. “We are blessed with great parents and teachers at James L. Collins. It’s going to be my second home, just like St. Monica was.”