Meet KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School’s New Principal - KIPP Nashville

Meet KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School’s New Principal

We are excited to introduce Halima Labi as the new Principal of KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School. Ms. Labi originally moved to Nashville from Atlanta to attend Vanderbilt University and found herself in the education space after realizing she wanted to make a difference by teaching literacy. Ms. Labi began her career teaching fifth grade English, and has held positions in school leadership, including most recently as a principal. 

Ms. Labi comes from a long line of educators and family members who worked in schools, including her mother who was a teacher, her grandma and aunt who worked in school cafeterias, and her great grandmother who taught Sunday school. 

Question: Why did you want to become a principal?

Answer: It wasn’t necessarily the vision I had for myself from the beginning. Another leader believed in me and saw leadership qualities in me that I didn’t see in myself. As Principal, I have grown to appreciate the impact that you have on the breadth of the school experience. It’s not just from a place where you impact kids. As a principal you get to be there for adults and develop them, and when you develop adults you widen the impact. The relationship with families is also different when you’re a school leader, because you’re the one they come to when things are happening in or out of school, and you hear their concerns that extend far beyond the scope of the building. Being Principal means being able to impact an entire community of people as opposed to just children.

Q: Why work at KIPP?

A: I’m excited about being able to extend my impact and start in a new space where I see black leaders as the head of schools. It’s about being able to be in a space with people who look like you in positions you hope to attain, but also people who are authentically themselves when you meet them. I don’t have to abandon any part of me if I want to ascend in this organization. I can be myself as a Black woman, I can show up as myself, and I can still persist and excel.

Q: What is your vision for Collegiate?

A: You can’t make an impact without relationships. My first step is getting to know the kids and families and not assume I have a grasp of what everybody wants and needs. I want this to be a safe space where kids can fully be themselves, and a safe environment where adults hold high expectations for them each day that honors the vision parents have for their kids. I want this space to be a space that pushes our students not just in their character to ge good people, but academically, so by the time they leave Collegiate they can say their time here made me a better person and prepared me for life outside of school, and they’re able to go to a 4-year university – or wherever they want to go – and have the tools to persist through.

Q: What do you want families and students to know about you?

A: I’m committed to the work in the south in particular. I’m from Georgia, and I went to Tennessee on purpose for college. There’s a history pervasive in this region that I feel called to work here to right some historical wrongs. On one side of my family from Alabama, my grandpa had an 8th grade education. Now, all his grandkids have all graduated college. That’s the power of education. 

Q: What’s your favorite movie/book?

A: Anything historical fiction, books or movies.  

Q: Favorite food or drink?

A: I only drink Milo’s sweet tea, I will not drink any other sweet tea. I’ve tried other brands, and I will not deviate. 

Q: What are you doing when you’re not at work for fun?

A: I love to travel to other cities and experience the culture there. I like to go to little known places, not touristy places. I love going to Jackson, Mississippi. The people are so nice there and the food is so good. And I like learning about the history of the specific space.

Q: What’s a fun fact about you?

A: I am almost done getting my Doctorate of Education, and I have nine kids, including two sets of twins.