Porter’s route to high school campus stems from love of languages


Nandini Muresh

Coppell High School assistant principal Zane Porter greets students before school on Aug. 28 in the main hallway. Porter became one of the assistant principals for CHS in May after teaching at New Tech High @ Coppell for four years. Photo by Nandini Muresh

Akhila Gunturu, CHS9 Editor

As a sophomore at Lake Havasu High School in Arizona, Coppell High School assistant principal Zane Porter began his literary journey by reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck in his honors English class. His teaching career began after he graduated from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, where he studied religion, English and Spanish. 

Eleven years later, Porter continues to enjoy working in education. 

“I would have never got to this point without my sophomore English teacher, [Mrs. Cichinski],” Porter said. “I was the kid that, when we went to the library, got the nonfiction book about an athlete. But, because I lived in Arizona and I lived near Route 66, I could see [the setting from The Grapes of Wrath] in my mind and it became real to me. Something went off in my head, saying, ‘Hey, this reading is kind of cool.’ That really propelled me to want to do the same thing for kids.” 

In May, CHS welcomed the former New Tech High @ Coppell teacher to the administrative team as one of five assistant principals. With more than 10 years of experience in education, Porter places high value on relationships within CHS and across the district. 

Porter started in Coppell ISD as an English teacher at New Tech, where he taught AP English literature and composition, English IV honors, creative writing, AP English language and composition, dual credit English composition I and II and American studies (English III) during his five year tenure. After completing his principal internship at New Tech, Porter came to CHS briefly last year to work with CHS Principal Laura Springer after former administrator Chase Vaughn’s departure

“As a teacher, I taught classes that nobody else taught in New Tech,” Porter said. “[Assistant principals] work together as a team and we get whatever needs to get done, done. Being part of that team and having that team environment where we’re all equal, sitting at that table just trying to figure out what’s best for kids, that’s refreshing. That’s been the best part.”

Building relationships across campuses will help everybody. They say they say a rising tide lifts all boats. So, if we can work together and we can raise the water level, everybody is going to be better.

— Zane Porter

Relationships also take the forefront through Porter’s Twitter bio, which is partly written in Hindi, to reflect the diverse student body of CHS 

“I was learning [Hindi] letters and I realized how to [write] my name and so I’m like, ‘Hey, cool. I’ll put it on my Twitter,’” Porter said. “I’ve studied English and Spanish, ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew. I like languages. So, when I saw and heard a lot of Hindi being spoken in this area, [I thought], if I can say a few words, if I can recognize a few characters, when I’m talking to parents, or when I’m talking to kids that have that in their background, that helps build relationships, right? So if they see that I care about their culture, because I genuinely do, I think it builds a bridge that you can’t get any other way.”

While each day as an administrator looks different for Porter, his main tasks focus on building relationships with others, whether that be through greeting teachers and students in the morning, monitoring lunches and conducting  meetings with parents, teachers and students. 

“[Porter] truly will dig deeper to get to know someone,” said CISD Career and Technology Education coordinator Dr. Kristin Petrunin, who taught with Porter at New Tech. “He always tries to see where you’re coming from before jumping to conclusions. [I’ve seen] him develop his leadership skills and still have that side of him that is deeply rooted, caring and understanding [of the] student perspective. That’s why he makes such a great leader today.”

Porter also runs a blog called Porter’s Draft House that he started in 2018. The blog allows Porter to share his teaching ideas, philosophies as well as connect and build relationships with others. The posts range from detailing mini projects done with students to reflecting over his core beliefs as an educator.  

“Porter is one of the most genuine people I know,” New Tech AP U.S. history and AP seminar facilitator Brian Hussey said. “One of the most admirable things about him is that he knows what he stands for and he is going to stand up for it. That’s not something that’s very common in people and he really lives that out in everything he does, big or small.” 

As an assistant principal, Porter is seeking to bridge the gap between New Tech and CHS. New Tech, as a smaller campus, emphasizes deeper relationships down to the individual level, and now Porter is trying to find ways to shift that relationship-building to a larger campus. 

“In the future, I would like New Tech and Coppell High School to be able to communicate and share learning a little bit better,” Porter said. “Although we teach things slightly differently, we have a lot to learn from each other. As we grow our community and our culture, building those relationships across campuses will help everybody. They say they say a rising tide lifts all boats. So, if we can work together and we can raise the water level, everybody is going to be better.” 


Follow Akhila (@akhila_gunturu) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.