Roan talks on overcoming past hardships, ‘encouraging’ students to take risks

Amanda Hare

By Gabriella Winans and Amanda Hare

Morning after morning, students can expect to be greeted at the door by Assistant Principal Dr. Kari Roan. What some may not know, though, are the details behind Roan’s journey — including the trials she’s faced — to convey her message of moving on from past hardships to her students today.

Six years ago, Roan’s husband, Quincy Roan, passed away after a six-month long battle with cancer. Looking back, Roan is using this “terrible” experience to encourage her students that taking risks, especially during high school, is ‘worth it.’

“Bad things are going to happen in this world, and what matters is what we do with that information, and how we process that,” Roan said. “I first want them (students) to realize that all the things that seem so important in high school, when you take a look at that span of your life, they’re fleeting.”

12 years ago, Roan, who comes from a family of educators, started her doctoral program to become an educator herself, before moving into corporate education. There, she met now Assistant Superintendent Gregory Bradley, who would encourage her to interview at Prosper.

I met Dr. Roan in 2010, while we were both pursuing our doctoral degrees, and it was evident from the beginning that she was passionate about education and students. We are a better school district because of leaders like her, and I am proud to work alongside of her.”

— Dr. Gregory Bradley, Assistant Superintendent

“All of us in the (doctoral) program saw each other go through different changes,” Roan said. “He (Bradley) had just moved to Prosper, and I remember sharing at the beginning of one of the classes how I was not happy in the job that I was in, and wanted to return to a traditional school building. And he said, ‘You should consider Prosper’ and I looked at him and said, ‘Okay, maybe I will.’ And so I interviewed at his campus, because he was the principal at Reynolds Middle School then, and I fell in love with it. I’ve been here ever since.”

After moving into her job as an assistant principal at the high school, Roan said she found herself “encouraging” students day after day.

“I want students to know that you don’t just come see the assistant principal just because you’re in trouble,” Roan said. “That is a thing, we do have to deal with discipline issues, but I also love when I deal with discipline, helping students see that, ‘Hey, we all make mistakes. If you’re living, and you’re a person on this planet, you have done something you probably shouldn’t have done.’ So, I love to teach it and help (them) see it as a growing experience. But a lot (of her job) is also checking in on students. I help kids with college applications, and talking with them about my experience, so students is the biggest part of my job.”

Though her students may be a priority, Roan said that helping out teachers and the parents of those who she guides also remains “important.”

I love Dr. Roan. She’s amazing, especially being a Talonette. I get to see her a lot, and I know anytime I go into her office, whether it’s for Talonettes or I just want to have a random conversation with her, she’s always there and her door is always open, and she’s just super fun to talk to.”

— Senior Carrington Langston

“The other part of my job is teachers — supporting the departments that I work in, trying to figure out how to provide for them, whatever it is that they need so they can get their jobs done,” Roan said. “Then, the other big part of my job is parents. All of us have parents, or guardians, or someone who loves us and is releasing us to the school, and is trusting us that we’re doing our best with their best. I try to remember that everyone can advocate and should advocate for their kids, or their grandkids, or whoever it is that they’re raising, and at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We may disagree on how to get there, but we all want the same thing.”

Roan said that one of these things is seeing her students at graduation.

“I want everyone who graduates to imagine themselves walking across the stage,” Roan said. “Someone told me once that some kids don’t even think about that, and I didn’t think that that was true, because I thought everybody knew that they were going to graduate. So I started asking kids, ‘Have you ever thought about yourself, and visualized yourself walking across that stage?’ And the kids that I was talking to, they were like, ‘No,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, stop right now. Visualize that.'”

Though she said her plan is to offer encouragement, Roan also said she hopes to help her students realize that life doesn’t always come how it is “imagined.”

“When the door opens, and students are in here having a hard time, I can share advice with them,” Roan said. “I can’t take credit for this saying, but — joy and pain are twin emotions. And so, a lot of time, we want to block out pain. Like, ‘I don’t want to try this thing because I may not make it,’ or, ‘That’s going to be really painful for me,’ and that’s true. But, I learned, that if you block out pain, then you block out joy, too.”

I really enjoy working with Dr. Roan. She brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to pretty much everything that we do.”

— Dr. John Boeringher, Assistant Principal

Carrying this motto and that of the school year’s, which is, “Connect and Grow,” with her, Roan said she is looking to do just that with her students.

“I think we’re trying to do a really intentional job at students, and as teachers and support staff like us, in the things that we do to make sure that we do help us connect and grow with our kids,” Roan said. “I hope that (this year) we learn the value of connection.”

Just as she took a risk of her own coming to Prosper, Roan said she is “looking back” at her past to share lessons that she’s learned with her students.

“I think that it (her experience) has helped me with my perspective, to realize that things aren’t always going to be happy and cheerful, but I want kids to know that there are lessons to be learned,” Roan said. “So, sometimes, things are worth the risk. I just want all the kids I interact with to know that, yeah, there are risks in this world, but most of them are worth it.”

The watermark shown on the video package was created by Raquelle Smith.

This story was originally published on Eagle Nation Online on August 24, 2021.