EARLY — Early Elementary School will welcome Julie Schafer, who previously taught dyslexia students at Early Primary School, as its new principal this fall.


Schafer has been in education for going on 18 years, all in the Early district.


Schafer, who grew up in Snyder, was influenced by her mother, who was a teacher.


“I watched her and just saw the impact she had on kids’ lives,” Schafer said.


But, Schafer said, she resisted becoming a teacher herself and worked as a pharmacy tech for several years.


“The pharmacy closed, and the pharmacist and his wife actually encouraged me to go back to school because they saw how I was with kids,” Schafer said.


Schafer believed she was meant to touch children’s lives, so she “jumped right in” and went back to school. “I’ve been at it ever since,” Schafer said. “And I love it —love it.”


Schafer said she was encouraged by several people including some principals to go back to school once again so she could become a principal.


“I dove in and worked on it and got it done, and now here I am,” Schafer said. “I’m excited to start here and have fun. I’m super excited.”


Schafer and her husband, Robert, are the parents of five.


Sharon Watson served as principal of Early Elementary until around Christmas, and Watson will become the crisis counselor for the district.


Chad Burleson, who is principal of Early Middle School, has served as principal of the elementary school in the interim.