High school principal welcomes challenges

Lee Sanchez

Alpine High School recently welcomed an already familiar face to its campus, as former interim principal Lee Sanchez has now taken the helm to become the new chief administrator and instructional leader on campus.

Originally from O’Donnell, a tiny town between Lubbock and Lamesa, the 20-year educational veteran has stepped up to become the new leader at the high school, after starting out as assistant principal in 2019. In February, Sanchez stepped into the interim role after the departure of Principal Justin Gonzales. Sanchez, a Red Raider who graduated from Texas Tech University for his undergraduate degree, brings with him 20 years in the education field, and thorough knowledge in educational technology leadership from Lamar University.

Sanchez proudly admits his only connection to Alpine is the fact that he was born in the same town where one of Sul Ross State University’s most famous alumni grew up, famed Bonanza actor Dan Blocker.

“We have a bronze bust of him in our town square,” quipped Sanchez, who admits he was not aware that Sul Ross even existed when he was in high school. Otherwise he would have attended the same college Blocker did.

While a sophomore at O’Donnell High School, Sanchez knew he wanted to pursue a teaching and coaching career.

“I had great teachers when I was in high school, and my goal was just to finish teaching out, and to wind down as a coach,” said Sanchez.

He also inherited the education bug from his grandmother who was a kindergarten teacher’s aide for 40 years at the same school Sanchez attended.

Back in AISD, Sanchez credits fellow principals Verl O’Bryant and Cody Patterson for giving him plenty of support as he delved into the interim part of the principal job.

“There were some challenges to it, and I knew what part of the job was, but I had a lot of great help here. I had a pretty good support system,” Sanchez said.

He’s also pumped for the upcoming athletics season, as he was a former football and powerlifting coach when he was assistant principal. He enjoys traveling with the Fightin’ Bucks and Lady Bucks to their athletic events and joining the softball and basketball teams. Sanchez is looking forward to the new academic year ahead, and getting back to what the high school truly represents.

“We have some things to work on, and I have plans for the upcoming school year,” said Sanchez. “I look forward to being able to get back on track and do our best to educate the kids, support our teachers, and do what is right for the students and community,” he said.  

Sanchez said now that he was the high school principal, there would be more interaction with students, parents, teachers, and the community at large. He knows he has a challenge ahead, but fully embraces it. This should help him boost Alpine ISD to be the best district it can be.

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