‘These students made a mark on me’: Estes Principal makes good on 2019 promise after test scores rise drastically

‘These students made a mark on me’: Estes Principal makes good on 2019 promise after test scores rise drastically
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 1:26 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - At Estes Elementary, Principal Ryan Williams says students and staff left their mark on him, and he took that literally.

At Estes Elementary, a normal Friday morning got underway with the weekly assembly.

This week looked a little different though.

Principal Williams decided it was time to make good on a promise he made back in 2019, when test scores were at an all time low.

He promised the students and staff if they could turn them around, he would celebrate with a special declaration to Estes.

“I was looking for a way to motivate students to want do better and perform better, so I came up with idea that we would go with a tattoo on my arm,” said Williams.

In 2019, Williams says “at the time we were a two star school out of five stars, then COVID hit and we didn’t get to take the test that year, and just like everybody else in the world our scores plummeted.”

Now, recent test scores released by the State of Kentucky, show drastic improvements at Estes.

That’s when Williams said it was time to follow through on his promise.

So on Friday, Williams got a tattoo of the Estes bulldog mascot on his arm and he did it in front of the entire school.

Some may call getting a tattoo in front of an entire elementary school unconventional but Williams says that’s the perfect word to describe how he operates.

“In this world you want to leave this world a better place, as educators we want to make the world a better place, but these students made a mark on me, and it’s literally going to be left on me,” said Williams

He says he couldn’t have gotten Estes to this point alone.

“Our teachers and staff here are the most dedicated people in the world, this is not about Ryan Williams the principal this is about our students and what they were able to accomplish in a short period of time,” said Williams

A proud principal, with equally proud students, celebrated their success.

Even through the pain of getting tattooed, Williams says he has no regrets.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling, I’m very proud to see what our students and staff have been able to accomplish” said Williams, “I believe in doing good things for people and leaving a mark, but these kids flipped it and left their mark on me.”