The town of Prosper has expanded over the years, and with the growth came a need for change, or a wow factor, to show that small dot on the map as a name people could recognize. That’s when Principal Greg Wright transformed Prosper High School and inspired the town to unite as a community. After five years of serving as principal of the high school, Wright officially announced his retirement from the Prosper school district on Feb. 7 while delivering a heartfelt message to the students and faculty of the high school. He said he intends to leave alongside the graduating class of 2017.
After 32 years in education and 22 years in administration, Wright has embedded a standard of excellence in every school he has led.
“I have been in this business a long time, and I feel very fortunate that I have ended my career at Prosper ISD and Prosper High School,” Wright said, tears welling in his eyes.
He added that the Prosper Independent School District and the Prosper High School has been his favorite district and campus that he has ever worked for during his educational career.
“I came here because I heard about the excellence that Dr. Watkins exceeds for the schools, and I wanted to work for a district where education was a huge priority,” Wright said.
Prosper Superintendent Drew Watkins was unavailable for comment, but expressed his appreciation for Wright in a press release.
“Thank You to Mr. Wright for five years of dedicated service to the students and families of Prosper,” the release said. “The PHS campus culture is truly second to none and the envy of high schools across the state. PHS ‘rumbled’ its way to many firsts during your tenure that will not be soon forgotten. We sincerely thank you and wish you all the best in your retirement back to East Texas.”
Senior Zack McConnell has had Wright as his principal all four years of high school.
“His dedication to work and acknowledge each students fosters such a sense of unity and family,” McConnell said. “There will never be a person as dedicated to excellence and collaboration like Mr. Wright — he truly is an inspiration and role model.”
Wright leads on a trend called “Winners and Champions,” where he makes sure every student is recognized for his or her achievements and acknowledged by the entire school. He finds ways to make it to as many activities, competitions, academic, athletic and fine arts events as possible to watch students excelling in their niches.
“I am all about relationships, and I am all about being right in the middle of everything, because that’s how you connect,” Wright said.
From receiving awards such as Prosper Person of the Year of 2014 to competing in the senior games of Texas masters competition and receiving gold in high jump, Wright has continued to raise the bar on personal accomplishments, causing students to do the same. When he joined the PISD staff, he had a mission to leave a lasting effect on the student body and allow them to enjoy coming to school. By wanting students to know him as a principal, he has allowed them to know that Prosper is a place for everyone.
In his office, Wright has a large bulletin board full of pictures of PHS, which is daily reminder of why he is an educator and that he comes to the school each day for the students of PHS. By holding each pep rally with its own unique twist, along with MC’ing each one, Wright has found his way into the center of what he believes to be one of the most important aspects of a school, which is school spirit and the student body’s acknowledgment for other students’s work, which he believes is the foundation to build the culture of the school. Wright said he firmly believes that in order to have excellence in schools, one must first have a positive culture and climate.
“There is nothing more rewarding than being an educator, and seeing students achieve success,” Wright said. “The ultimate fulfillment for me is knowing that God had a purpose and a plan to come to Prosper and create ‘wow moments’ at PHS.”
Wright plans to retire and settle down in his hometown of Tyler, Texas, to be near family, but that will not result in the end of his career. Following his retirement, Wright plans to give back and continue to work full time as being an independent consultant where he will work with other principals and administrators to mentor them, as well as working with Herff Jones, a company that creates class rings and graduation cards, to stay connected with students for graduation preparation, ring orders and work with the Herff Jones Impact team to mentor school principals.
Each time while announcing on the intercom and recognizing the achievements of students, Wright concludes by stating, “Be champions in the classroom and be blessed.” By doing this, Wright has shown his emphasis on education and challenges students to excellence at PHS.
“I thank Dr. Watkins and the PISD school board for giving me this opportunity,” Wright said. “I was hired in May of 2012 and every day has been a blessing to me personally.”
From Wright’s back flip for the senior class of 2014 to the unforgettable pep rallies, traditions, senior privileges, crowd surfing above the senior class and being every student’s biggest fan and biggest motivation factor, Wright has cemented himself into the Prosper High School legacy.
Prosper alumni Austin Garcia graduated the class of 2016 and received one of Wright’s special awards, the Outstanding Spirit award, at the end of the year for his display of school spirit that kept the whole student body on their toes.
“Mr. Wright was one of the most influential people I knew in my four years at Prosper,” Garcia said. “He made my high school experience the best anyone could imagine and we will miss him dearly.”
For Wright, it’s always been about unity, which can perhaps be summarized best through six words he often repeated — “We are Prosper, we are ONE.”