WACO, TX — A woman's troubled teenage years has had an impact on helping troubled teens today. And now, she acts as a guide to helping students with their journeys.
“It’s definitely been a journey. I would say a great journey," Lisa Linton said.
Lisa is the head administrator at Premier High School, a school model that provides help for at-risk students, as well as others who thrive in a nontraditional direct-teaching environment.
She says she knows what it's like to be in the shoes of an at-risk teen. It was a journey that began in her hometown in the early 1980s as a freshman after her parents divorced.
“I graduated from Bonham High School in the year of 1984, but to get there was a tough struggle for me. I would think the low point would be the divorce, alcohol and drugs,” said Lisa. “I would say my mom, when she left my dad, got on drugs really bad and my dad, to cope with the divorce, started really drinking. So, we just kind of lost out on that, and so my lowest point was not having that family structure, not having that wholeness for me.”
She was Lisa Roundtree at that time. She says she got the initial support she needed from her volleyball coach.
“I believe that’s when I received my turning point that I had someone behind me that was cheering for me, that was cheering me on, that really saw the potential in me that I didn’t see," Lisa said. “It was just kind of being able to move forward. School became my safe haven I would say. I never missed school. I changed from fighting to doing really well and excelling.”
Lisa excelled going forward.
She earned degrees from McLennan Community College and Baylor University. She now excels in teaching her students at Premier High School.
Lisa said she's glad to share her story of struggles to help students ease their own.
"I share it with them, so they know where I come from,” Lisa said.
She says the sign that reads, "it is what it is" on her desk, is a testimony of her journey and her helping hand in other students' journeys.
"I’ve written my own life story, and that no matter what people say, that you can’t or you won’t or you don’t, that you truly can. It starts with you. You begin your own pages of life,” Lisa said.
Many of Lisa's students are not hesitant to gather at tables outside of her office. Several said they've been positively impacted by Lisa.
“She’s helped me a lot. She’s been through it all for all four years. She’s never turned away from helping us," said senior Eric Gallegos.
“I definitely wouldn’t be here without her. She helped me throughout my schedule. She definitely works with us, and does one-on-one classes with us," said senior McKenzie Ketchum.
“She’s had a really good influence. She was always really helpful, very kind. Every time I had a question she would always answer," senior Brian Kleibrink.
“I love Mrs. Linton. She’s just a good role model. She’s a great influence, and anything you need help with all you have to do is ask," said senior Christianna Alexander.
Lisa stresses she hopes she reaches all of her students through mutual respect.
“I call them the ladies and the gentlemen. But, they know. I can walk into the learning center and it’ll get quiet if they’re talking. I don’t know what it is about it, but they respect me—maybe because I respect them," Lisa said.