Head of School Message
Dear Meridian Lions,
The vision for every student at Meridian School is to have the highest regard for learning and an unwavering belief that all students are responsible partners with their parents and our staff for student learning.
Meridian School is a community of learners where we all have important expectations and responsibilities. We expect students to accept the role of learner with enthusiasm and curiosity. We expect them to explore learning and to challenge themselves intellectually while the staff will encourage them to reach their highest potential. As educators, we accept our responsibility to teach our students, to challenge their intellect and to invite as well as to encourage their curiosity. We are committed to help students achieve in every possible way. However, it is most important for everyone to recognize that when students, parents and staff work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation, we can learn together and accomplish great results.
Albert Einstein said, “The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community." For me, having been given the opportunity to help build our new school has allowed me to experience community like never before and as our mission statement says, “enjoy a good life with others.” I hope that all Meridian stakeholders experience a terrific school year filled with many successes and that any disappointments turn to successes as a result of the new learning they provide.
As we continue on our journey of becoming an International Baccalaureate continuum school, I would like to remind you of the importance of making the 10 Learner Profile traits a part of your common language. Meridian School learners are knowledgeable, thinkers, inquirers, caring, communicators, risk-takers, principled, reflective, open-minded and balanced. It is important for everyone to recognize and appreciate these traits as universal in nature and applicable to all Meridian learners of all ages and abilities. I am confident that if our scholars think of themselves in these terms, they will find that many—even all—define themselves as a learner.
At Meridian, students will receive a quality, well-rounded education, but they should also be prepared to give back to their school, their community and their world.
Head of School
On March 21, 2011, Mr. Rick Fernández became Meridian School’s first Head of School. He serves in the capacity of superintendent and secondary principal. He brings a rich experience in pedagogy with a passion for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. He shares the Founders’ vision of building a K-12 school that will develop responsible citizens who can “artfully navigate our complex world and enjoy a good life with others.”
Mr. Fernandez comes to us from North Hills Preparatory, an IB continuum charter school in Irving, Texas and the flagship of the Uplift Education charter school system. There, he served in several capacities: the Director of IB for all seven schools in the Uplift Education system, high school principal and K-12 Dean of Instruction. He takes pride in his work to develop the IB Middle Year’s Program and helping the school earn the rank of tenth best public school in the United States identified by the Washington Post.
Previously, he served eight productive years as the IB Diploma Coordinator at Plano East Senior High School in Plano, Texas, where he took a troubled IB program and transformed it into one that produced the highest number of IB Diplomas in Texas for six years. During his time at Plano East, he worked as an official IB authorization site visitor, trainer, and consultant.
Additionally, as president of the board of directors of Texas IB Schools, Mr. Fernandez helped champion the passing of Senate Bill 111, which now grants IB Diploma recipients twenty-four college credit hours in any Texas public university.
Venturing outside of Texas, Fernandez worked for the International Baccalaureate Organization as the IB North America Regional Diploma Program Manager in New York City as well as serving as the Gifted/Talented Coordinator and IB Diploma Coordinator for George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia. During his time there, 100% of the IB Diploma candidates earned their IB Diplomas.
Mr. Fernández comes full circle as he returns to the community that gave him his start. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors Degree in English, he began his career as an educator in Round Rock ISD that spanned 10 years, first as a student teacher, then as an English teacher, and finally, as technology coordinator. He was at Chisholm Trail Middle School when the school earned the United States Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Award and at Westwood High School when the school earned its award. He served as one of the primary authors of the Westwood award application and was the only teacher selected to accept the award along with his principal at The White House in Washington D.C. He also authored the special USDE Blue Ribbon Award application for Technology. Westwood High School was the only high school in Texas and one out of 13 in the country to receive this special recognition.
Mr. Fernández has completed graduate coursework in gifted and talented education at The University of Texas at Austin and educational administration at the University of Virginia.
When asked what he wants for Meridian he answered, “I have been fortunate to have worked in top schools and to have collaborated with accomplished educators from all over the world. I’m not looking to replicate any of those schools. I want Meridian to follow best practices and establish its own traditions, culture, and identity that exemplifies success as mapped out in the community developed charter. I want to be part of the excitement of granting access to a well-rounded curriculum and character education to highly motivated scholars in Williamson County. My ultimate goal is to be able to see a student go from an IB Primary Years student to walking the graduation stage as an IB Diploma candidate to a future leader.”