Christal Hollinger is the principal of Tolar Elementary School. She is going into her 25th year of education, and this will be her fourth year at Tolar Elementary.
Hollinger grew up in Dublin before going off to Tarleton State University. She taught one year in Dublin then 10 years in Glenrose.
After getting married Hollinger moved to the DFW metroplex and taught in the Euless-Bedford area for six years then Saginaw for four years.
Hollinger decided to apply for the open principal position because she heard good things and wanted to put her family first and be close to home.
“When I interviewed what I loved about it was it reminded me of where I grew up, it was very small and very close knit. In a small town were all one. I just loved the fact that there was a strong community support,” Hollinger said.
Tolar Elementary is the first school that Hollinger has been a principal at, which is the biggest in the Tolar district.
“To me, it’s the best profession. Every single day, there’s someone to help, there’s a kiddo, there’s a staff member, there’s someone to be able to help and service. There’s never a day that there’s not a grand opportunity for service, so that’s very rewarding,” Hollinger said. “I just feel like it’s my job to just make sure that people walk in here and know that they’re loved, and that they belong, they’re cared for, so that they can do the work they need to do.”
During her first year at Tolar, COVID-19 hit and since then it hasn’t felt completely normal yet.
“I feel like we’ve kind of gone through trails together and we’re finally getting to a place where were getting to come together,” she said.
When it comes to the 2023-24 school year Hollinger is very excited for what is to come. She has loved getting to work with her staff thus far and can’t wait to continue to make a difference within their school.
“I love these people and I love what they’re doing for kids. I just think there’s so many good things that are coming out of this school, and that are helping our kids, so that makes me very proud to be here every day and have them represent our work,” she said.
One of the main focuses on the upcoming year is creating student leaders all over the school. Hollinger is looking at ways with her team to incorporate leadership practice for every grade level.
“Leadership is about influence. So how do we help every kiddo build some leadership capacity and then utilize it? We’re pushing to help them with that and become more responsible,” Hollinger said.
The first day of the 2023-24 school year will take place on Thursday, Aug. 10.