This year, Aylesworth Elementary welcomed a new principal – Taria Taylor. She is a 15-year veteran in education, and never really imagined herself doing anything else.
“I have wanted to be an educator for practically my whole life,” Taylor said. “My earliest memory of wanting to be an educator was in 2nd grade, when I told my teacher that I wanted to be a teacher just like her. I’ve never seriously considered anything else.”
Taylor is a Region native from Merrillville. She credits her parents as the biggest influence in her life, even now.
“They always provided a good role model of what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. “All of my successes are because they taught me to be strong and instilled in me a great sense of right and wrong. Their influences will never fade because I want to make them proud at all times.”
After graduating from Merrillville High School, she enrolled at Indiana University Northwest, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. Then, she settled into her role and found it just as satisfying and meaningful as she’d imagined back in 2nd grade.
“When I think about why what I do is important I always think about those students who felt comfortable enough to share difficult times in their lives, cry on my shoulder, or to come to me for life advice,” Taylor said. “Having students trust me enough to let me be a part of their support system and guide them through tough times is the most important work I can do.”
Taylor spent nine years as a teacher. Her talent and passion for the work left an impression on her principals and assistant principals who encouraged her to explore working as an administrator. Inspired by the idea, she returned to her own education and earned a master’s degree. Then she spent three years as the assistant principal at Willowcreek Middle School before settling in as principal at Aylesworth this year.
“I absolutely love being an administrator,” she said. “Being a principal has its challenges, but it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.”
The Portage Township School district is filled with a support network of amazing educators.
“Stepping into the principal role can be difficult, but I have a lot of great role models in the other principals throughout the district,” Taylor said. “At any time, I can call them and know they would help me in any way they can. I’m also privileged to work with so many great teachers who show me how to be a better educator every day.”
With how happy and proud she is to be principal at Aylesworth, Taylor wouldn’t want to change much about her life. She would, however, give her the same piece of advice she tells herself every day.
“Travel more, have more adventures, and make more memories.”