Inside Carroll 2016

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WE’RE ALL IN FOR THE DRAGONS! L i s a : 8 17- 6 5 7-12 9 4 • K e l l y : 9 7 2 -74 3 - 9 17 1

INSIDECARROLL A Publication of the Carroll ISD Board and Community Relations Department 2400 NORTH CARROLL AVENUE SOUTHLAKE, TX 76092 817.949.7080

STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS CISD Superintendent Dr. David J. Faltys Assistant Superintendent for Board and Community Relations Julie Thannum, APR Assistant Director of Communications Rick Herrin Assistant Director of Marketing Jill Webb Communications Specialist Hayley Herring

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mary Johnston, Ed.D. Monica Gatshall Laura Grosskopf Jessica Richardson Lori Stacy Kyle Conway

Superintendent’s Message There’s a motto that states, “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it. That’s what makes it special.” Being a Dragon is something truly special. The greatness of it cannot easily be explained. It’s not just wearing a Dragon hat or shirt, or having the logo on your car or locker. It goes much deeper than that. It has to do with your heart, mind and spirit. It’s about protecting a tradition that has endured for decades. Many great Dragons walked the halls, fields and classrooms before us, and it is our job to continue to build on the tradition of excellence that was fostered by those who have gone before us. Being a Dragon isn’t just about winning games or competitions—it’s about giving your best and doing your best. I believe you truly win and outshine all opponents by being great kids, great staff members and great members of a TEAM, regardless of the score or final results. I believe that being a Dragon means that you have the character to overcome all obstacles in order to be successful. Being a Dragon certainly means, “Protecting the Tradition,” but it also means passing traditions forward to all the young Dragons who are watching from afar. It’s about knowing that others are watching, and counting on Dragons to do the little things right … all day, every day. It is about believing that you should help others around you achieve their goals before you achieve yours. Inside Carroll is an annual publication dedicated to explaining what it means to be a Dragon. We are a proud community that believes in the value of education and wants what is best for our children. But more than that, we strive to help each student find his or her voice, to discover individual talents and to help our Dragons, big and small, make a difference in the world around them. As you read the stories and features in this year’s Inside Carroll, I hope that you’ll see examples of how we value excellence, relationships, character & integrity, innovation, open & honest communication and compassionate service. I am extremely humbled and honored to have served this district and community since 2006, and as your Superintendent, I look forward to another decade of Dragon excellence.



Dr. David J. Faltys Superintendent INSIDE CARROLL • 01




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ON THE COVER Laughing and learning are all in a day’s work for every Dragon. Carroll ISD Superintendent David Faltys aims to keep it that way. more on page 17

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COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Carroll ISD students, faculty, and staff are constantly encouraged to get involved in the community and practice one of Carroll ISD’s core values, compassionate service. The Dragon family works together to engage the community and create an active and safe environment for all.




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WE CARE SPONSORS HAVE SUPPORTED CISD STAFF FOR MORE THAN A DECADE Carroll ISD is home to over 1,000 public educators who serve the community’s children in a variety of ways. From the classrooms to the cafeterias, on buses and on ball fields, these dedicated men and women have helped create a long-standing tradition of excellence. They do more than just teach lessons from textbooks; they serve as friends, confidants and mentors for tomorrow’s leaders. They love and nurture the students of this district in an effort to help them achieve their goals. Call it Dragon Spirit or simply service to children, CISD employees have worked hard to make this district what it is today, and for more than a decade, the district has shown its appreciation for these hardworking individuals through the We Care program. The We Care program is an employee appreciation initiative that is focused on supporting and appreciating Carroll ISD employees throughout the school year. Whether it be a small token such as a birthday card, a surprise sweet treat at various times throughout the year, or a token of appreciation upon retirement, We Care uses its funds to give back to employees through acts of appreciation.

“I think some of the best ideas we’ve ever come up with were written on a napkin at a school PR conference as we brainstormed ways to support Carroll ISD,” says Julie Thannum, Assistant Superintendent for Board and Community Relations. “We Care is a simple concept with a sincere message, and it has made a powerful impact, I believe, on employee morale here in our district. Without the generosity of our We Care sponsors, many of our efforts to recognize and thank staff would not be possible.” The We Care program is independent from the district’s general operating fund, but instead uses money raised through the support of local businesses, organizations and even individuals to recognize and thank CISD staff. Sponsors of this program are giving back to their local school district, and have the added benefit of advertising directly with Carroll employees. We Care sponsor levels range from $100 to $1,000 annually, which includes advertising opportunities throughout the year to Carroll employees, and even a logo license for the Platinum Level sponsors. All We Care sponsors are listed on the district website, with the Platinum level sponsors receiving the added benefit of a link to their website directly from the CISD page. continued on page 11


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COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT WE CARE SPONSORS HAVE SUPPORTED CISD STAFF FOR MORE THAN A DECADE CONT’D “All the birthday cards, baby t-shirts, appreciation plaques or recognition receptions we do are made possible because of the We Care program,” says Thannum. “It’s been one of the most successful recognition programs I’ve seen and a number of other school districts in Texas have used We Care as a model for starting similar programs in their own communities.” In 2009-2010, Texas School Business magazine chose Carroll ISD’s We Care program as one of 12 school district programs in the state to include in their 3rd Annual Bragging Rights special edition. We Care helps sponsor employee-centered special events during each school year, such as the annual Administrator’s Retreat and the New Hire Orientation Breakfast, as well as other small gatherings throughout the year. One of the largest roles We Care sponsors play in employee appreciation is through the End-of-Year Reception, which is funded entirely by We Care dollars. Employees are invited to come and celebrate the end of the school year with an afternoon reception, which includes honoring the Teachers of the Year, those with milestone years of service within the district, and employees who are retiring. The We Care program is open for any business, organization, community group or individual who would like to advertise within Carroll ISD and play a major role in appreciating the district’s employees.

them. This website has been a one-stop resource for all things Southlake, from breaking news to humaninterest stories,” says Pilar Schank, Deputy Director of Communications for the City of Southlake. “We are always looking for new ways to communicate with residents and because we know most people go to the internet first when searching for information, we believe is a valuable, credible tool.” Intended to inform not only residents, but also visitors and the business community, includes city government news, development reports, construction updates, upcoming events and public safety information. For Carroll ISD readers, the site provides information on School Board actions, safety notices, student accolades, and other district news such as sports, fine arts and academic coverage. The project has been one of the most successful communications projects in the history of the school district. recently underwent a Phase 2 redesign to freshen the look and make the site even more user-friendly. As a result, continues to be one of the most popular sites for city and school news.

If you are interested in being a part of this unique employee appreciation opportunity, please contact the Board & Community Relations Department at (817) 9497080 or email

MYSOUTHLAKENEWS.COM: A SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL AND CITY JOINT VENTURE Responding to the ever-changing world of online news and social media, Carroll ISD and the City of Southlake partnered in 2010 to launch a unique, joint news website. Six years later, serves as a digital newsletter offering consistent coverage of Southlake school, business and community happenings. was modeled after mainstream news websites and encompasses a broad range of topics including business, sports, community, arts and entertainment. News articles, combined with photo galleries, newsfeeds and Twitter updates, provide continuously updated, real-time news and information for Dragon families and Southlake residents. “There were so many untold stories and newsworthy items that weren’t getting covered in traditional media and therefore, many people never found out about

HELPING HANDS DAY This year marks the 11th year students at Dawson Middle School have given back to their community through Helping Hands Day. Former DMS social studies teacher Candice Bouton Hermansen had the dream to show Carroll students the importance of serving community needs in their own area. With the help of then DMS Principal Trudie Jackson and DMS parent Teresa Kearney, it took just three years for the project to grow into the off-campus service project it is today. On this day annually, students and staff leave school and disperse across the DFW area sharing their time and talents at local charitable organizations. continued on page 12


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT HELPING HANDS DAY CONT’D Students are assigned activities based on the type of service that most interests them. Students are involved in delivering toys collected at the school for Grace’s Christmas Cottage, cleaning up and doing odd jobs at Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake, lending a hand at an animal shelter, and unpacking and organizing donated canned goods at local food pantries. In addition, the Dawson band and choir share their musical talents by performing at local nursing homes while other students play games and interact with residents. Once returning to school, the students end the day with a pep rally that includes reliving the day’s efforts through photos showcasing their day of service.

CARROLL EDUCATION FOUNDATION CELEBRATES OUTSTANDING FUNDRAISING FOR CARROLL ISD For two decades, the mission of the Carroll Education Foundation (CEF) has been to enrich, expand and protect excellence in education by creating and distributing resources for the benefit of students in Carroll Independent School District. With a vision to champion innovation and excellence in education, the Foundation has given Carroll ISD more than $1.2 million in innovative education grants and $200,000 in senior scholarships. The Foundation provides funds for educational programs not covered by the district’s normal operating budget. Foundation funds are used to facilitate student achievement and skill development and to recognize and encourage staff excellence. “We are so fortunate to have the ongoing support of the Carroll Education Foundation here in our community,” says


Superintendent David J. Faltys. “Year after year for two decades, the men and women of CEF have raised money that has had a direct, positive impact on the classrooms of this district. We are forever grateful for their efforts and look forward to the next two decades supporting Dragons.” This year, CEF celebrates its 20th anniversary. All these years have been spent working for the betterment of the students in Carroll ISD. The organization will host its 20th Anniversary Celebration – Boot Scootin’ Dragons – this fall as a celebration of the success of the Foundation through the years. The celebration will be held Saturday, September 10 at the Hilton Southlake. Chairpersons Sarah Mason and Kathy Talley, with years of event planning experience in other area organizations, have exciting new plans for the western-themed event. “I’m honored to be chairing the Carroll Education Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, Boot Scootin’ Dragons,” says Kathy Talley. “It is truly wonderful that the Foundation has been supporting CISD students and teachers for 20 years, and we look forward to carrying on the tradition.” Sarah Mason agrees. “This year’s 20th anniversary celebration is shaping up to be the biggest event to date, and we look forward to seeing our community parents and businesses to benefit CISD’s teachers and students,” Mason says. The event will feature local chefs at their personal small-plate station where they will provide delectable food tasting to tease the palette. The restaurants generously donate their time and talents to help support the students and educators of Carroll ISD. Guests will not want to miss out on this opportunity to dine with some of the best local chefs. Exclusive Cash Sponsorship opportunities are selling quickly! Contact Laura Grosskopf, Executive Director, at to reserve preferred level and exclusive benefits today. Sponsorships provide an incredible opportunity to promote your business while supporting the students and educators of Carroll ISD. This year’s 20th Anniversary Celebration speaks volumes about the successful work done by the Carroll Education Foundation, and the work this amazing organization will continue to do for the next 20 years and beyond.

THE POWER OF THE HASHTAG What used to be a simple pound sign for Baby Boomers has transformed into a social media tool to connect conversations and group messages by topic for the Millennial generation. In Carroll ISD, the hashtag is used to identify safetyrelated messages under the code name #SAFEdragon. The marketing effort has grown beyond anyone’s expectations. “What started as a simple marketing tool to communicate safety news to Dragon families has turned into a major buzzword among Carroll students and their socially active parents,” says Julie Thannum, Assistant Superintendent for Board and Community relations. “#SAFEdragon, which stands for Safety Awareness For Every Dragon, is an identity campaign to spotlight safety initiatives and messages for Carroll Independent School District.” Little did Thannum know that the hashtag campaign would become one of the most popular safety communication programs in CISD history. Whether you find it on coffee mugs, t-shirts or 140-character tweets, #SAFEdragon has quickly become as recognizable as the iconic trademarked Dragon logo. “I had no idea when I first created the #SAFEdragon program that people would pick up on it and follow it so easily,” says Thannum. “Kids in other districts have mocked and copied the hashtag – like #SAFEIndian and #SAFECardinal - and there’s no higher form of flattery from teen followers.” In fact, a number of people have attached the #SAFEdragon title directly to Thannum who has led the CISD communications program for nearly two decades. As the district spokeswoman, Thannum denies the title is a direct reference to her, but says she is pleased that Dragon families pay attention when they see targeted messages with the #SAFEdragon hashtag. “The beauty of a marketing campaign is that it catches on and is remembered,” Thannum says. “When we began the effort to package our school safety program around the #SAFEdragon hashtag, we had no idea that it would be so easily recognizable and effective. It has certainly surpassed our expectations and taken on a life of its own.” Lucky for Carroll ISD, #SAFEdragon’s nearly 11,000 followers were paying attention.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TRADEMARKED LOGO The origination of the Dragon as Carroll’s mascot dates back to the 1950s. Students of the then-Carroll Common school, were looking for a mascot when student Tony Eubanks suggested the school’s coed softball team be named “The Dragons.” The name stuck and years later, a search began to create an official Dragon logo for the newly formed Carroll ISD. The fire-breathing dragon Southlake has grown to love was originally inspired by the insignia of the U.S. Navy Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-130), also knows as the “Zappers.” A storied electronic warfare squadron established by the Navy in 1959, the Zappers originally flew AD-5Qs and EAK-3B Skywarrior planes during Carrier Airborne Early Warning missions and electronic countermeasures. Back then, the squadron was deployed from aboard aircraft carriers based throughout the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In 2013, the Navy’s oldest electronic warfare squadron supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In 1984, Carroll Freshman Shawn Lynch was asked by a teacher to modify the Zappers squadron logo. He drew a tougherlooking dragon and set it within the state of Texas. Former Carroll Football Coach and Athletic Director Bob Ledbetter liked what he saw. “The next year it was on the football helmets. I was pretty proud of it,” Lynch said. Two years after Lynch’s drawing, it was on the cover of the Dragon yearbook—and 32 years later, the 46-year-old Grapevine resident and General Motors employee can find the trademarked Dragon logo on a wide variety of items from hats and shirts to pillows and smartphone cases.


CARROLL LEADERSHIP ACADEMY ENGAGES COMMUNITY LEADERS CLASS is an exciting leadership opportunity started by Carroll ISD back in 2008. An acronym for Carroll Leadership Academy for Supporting Success, CLASS exists to provide Carroll ISD parents and the greater community an exceptional opportunity to learn about the organizational operations of the district. “The vision of CLASS is to create a network of the most highly informed school community leaders in Texas,” said Carroll Superintendent David J. Faltys. “Our goal is to engage 35-50 new taxpayers and business leaders each year in an effort to create greater public understanding of our mission, vision and goals.” Monthly breakfast meetings are held on topics of school finance, operations, curriculum, instructional technology, communications, marketing and more. Several of the meetings feature roundtable discussions by a panel of students, principals and School Board members. In addition, CLASSmates, as the participants are sometimes called, get to visit classes in session at Carroll Senior High School before graduating during a special presentation before the Carroll School Board. “These face-to-face interactions with our constituents involved in CLASS help district leaders engage the public in more meaningful, two-way dialogue,” said Dr. Faltys. “It’s a powerful communications program that directly impacts our ability to stay connected with those who live and work in the greater Southlake area.” Participants of CLASS are nominated by school leaders and Trustees, and approved into the membership each year. Nominees are typically chosen on the basis of their past


and/or present support of CISD. School officials say they prefer that participants not already be engaged in a prominent leadership role. Individuals who are graduates of CLASS also have the opportunity to nominate others for consideration in the next group of CLASS leaders. At least four members of the current Carroll ISD School Board are graduates of CLASS, and a number of CLASS participants served the district on the Strategic Planning Committee, as Booster and Parent-Teacher Organization officers and as part of the Capital Needs Planning Committee. “We couldn’t ask for a better program to introduce the community to what we are about here in Carroll ISD,” Faltys added. “Building community support helps CISD achieve both short-and long-range goals and expand services for students.” Fully supporting the District’s core values of excellence, relationships, character and integrity, innovation, open and honest communication and compassionate service, the leaders and members of CLASS also believe the following: • Partnerships with parents and community members are essential to enhance the educational experiences of children. • High levels of open and honest communication must be fostered. • Building collaborative community relationships based in integrity and character is of utmost importance to benefit all students. • An informed public must be have an increased knowledge base. • Innovation must be encouraged to create an environment of continuous improvement leading to excellence. Each new CLASS year begins in February. Meetings are held once a month at the CISD Administration Center. Local corporate partners sponsor the breakfast refreshments each month.


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SERVICE WITH A SMILE After a decade of service, which includes a dozen school years, Carroll ISD Superintendent Dr. David Faltys still thoroughly enjoys his role amongst the staff, parents and students of Southlake Carroll who expect and achieve excellence every day.


A DECADE DRAGON Celebrating the Tenure of Superintendent Dr. David Faltys


or school superintendents, the average tenure is just north of three years. But Southlake is anything but average. This year, Dr. David Faltys, Carroll Independent School District’s superintendent, is celebrating 10 calendar years on the job, leading the students, parents, teachers and administrators of this district. In the past decade, Carroll has received countless awards and accolades, including winning four consecutive UIL Lone Star Cups, an award given to the Texas school district achieving the highest number of points in academics, athletics and fine arts competitions. Other honors include receiving a superior rating for managing school funds from the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas and being named the 2009 Corporate Business of the Year by the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Faltys, too, has received accolades including being named Region XI Superintendent of the Year in 2010 and named as Southlake Citizen of the Year in 2014. But getting the father of four (three of whom are still students in CISD) to admit to the importance of his achievements at Carroll is a bit like getting a Carroll football fan to give up his season tickets at Dragon Stadium. “There’s nothing special about Dave,” he says of himself. “I’m just driving the bus.” Indeed, if you didn’t know he wasn’t being metaphorical, you might think Dr. Faltys drove the bus too, in addition to the many hats he wears as superintendent. Dr. Faltys is a visible presence in the district and in the community. He attends games and sports competitions, school functions and community events. He is active on Twitter (with more than 1,500 tweets), even surprising a student or two by responding personally to tweets, such as the time a student asked, perhaps with a glint of hope, whether school would be cancelled due to weather. He is the type of superintendent that, if the need arose,

would quite literally take the wheel for his students. But if it hadn’t been for the Texas energy crisis during the 1980s, Dr. Faltys’ life might have been steered in another direction.

SWITCHING COURSE FROM ENGINEERING TO EDUCATION Dr. Faltys was born and raised in the small west-central town of Early, Texas, where his father was a maintenance director and his mother, as fate would have it, served as secretary to the superintendent of the town’s school district. After graduating from Early High School, he left to attend Abilene Christian University but transferred to Texas A&M to pursue the field of petroleum engineering. His junior year was in 1985, and if you know a thing or two about Texas history, you know that ’85 was a bad year to consider a career in petroleum engineering—especially in Texas. His counselor suggested he consider teaching as an alternative, and a spark was lit. “I realized teaching would enable me to impact hundreds of kids,” says Dr. Faltys, who thus began a career in education, impacting not just hundreds, but thousands of children along the way. His first teaching job was in the small town of Winters, Texas, where he also served as a coach. He later moved to Bryan and taught for nine years. There, his principal, seeing Dr. Faltys’ leadership skills, suggested that he pursue a master’s degree so that he could take on more of a leadership role in education. Dr. Faltys received his Master of Educational Administration degree from Texas A&M in 1999, the same year he joined Navasota ISD. “I was named principal of their Alternative Campus,” says Dr. Faltys. The position came with a unique set of challenges, the greatest of which were the low expectations held by not just the students but the school as well. continued on page 21


A DECADE DRAGON Dr. Faltys, though, saw the challenges as opportunities, rallying the teachers and the students to think differently and encouraging kids to try to get their general education diplomas. By the middle of his second year, the school held a graduation—the first the campus had seen in 13 years—for the students who had beat the odds to receive their GEDs. Some were headed on to junior college; others were leaving with jobs. “Eighty people showed up to support them,” Dr. Faltys proudly recalls. Soon thereafter, he was tapped to become principal of the high school and later, while still serving as principal, assistant superintendent of the district, a challenging time that Dr. Faltys still considers one of the most stressful times of his career, having to balance the needs of the school and its students along with fulfilling his role as assistant superintendent and dad. While moving up the ranks in Navasota, Dr. Faltys continued his education at Texas A&M, earning his Ed.D. “Getting a doctorate gives you the keys to the clubhouse,” says Dr. Faltys. “It opens the doors to the network of school superintendents.” Those doors eventually opened for Dr. Faltys to join the Carroll Independent School District in January 2006.

DRAGONS GET A NEW LEADER “When I came to Carroll, the advice I received for the first year was don’t do anything major— just get to know the people,” he recalls. He also knew that to get through that first year, he needed to be a centrist, to be willing to look at all sides of an issue. Still, there were a few crises that year that he needed to tend to, including a cheerleading controversy that had been brewing. “I was baptized by fire a little bit,” he admits. After his first year at CISD, though, Dr. Faltys was ready to make enhancements to the school district. Namely, he wanted to put into words the high standards to which CISD is committed. “We needed to verbalize what we were committed to,” says Dr. Faltys. So in January 2007, the school district established the CISD Core Values, the guiding principles and standards to

which students, teachers and administrators are held. These values were identified as Excellence, Relationships, Character & Integrity, Innovation, and Open & Honest Communication. The school’s vision—creating an environment that fosters excellence—had already been set, but as Dr. Faltys explains it, “The vision is what we want to be, but the core values are who we are. So if a child or teacher has done something wrong, we can refer back to our values to explain why it was wrong.” Dr. Faltys says the School Board has revisited the Core Values over the years, deciding at the 2015 Strategic Planning meetings to add an additional value: Compassionate Service. Says Julie Thannum, Assistant Superintendent for Board and Community Relations, “Dr. Faltys put these values into words, and that’s been a key piece of his administration.” Dr. Faltys uses the values himself in thinking about the future of CISD. One in particular that’s been on his mind is Innovation. “The top jobs today didn’t exist 20 years ago,” he says. “I don’t know what a child will need 20 years from now. So we have to be innovative, to teach kids to be innovative and think out of the box. “Every child has a different set of experiences and skills when they walk in the door,” he adds. “It’s about helping them achieve excellence. We want every child to feel like a rock star in their own way.”

A DISTRICT AND COMMUNITY UNLIKE ANY OTHER He feels strongly that in Southlake, the community and the parents have contributed to the success of the school district. As he puts it, “The parents bring us great kids.” Shortly after arriving in Southlake, Dr. Faltys learned something else about the parents in this community: They will rally around those in need. In November 2006, Dr. Faltys’ wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, something she continues to fight 10 years later. When community members found out, they came together to support him and his family. “For a five-month stretch, I did not have to cook or buy a meal,” he says. “We had a cooler continued on page 23


A DECADE DRAGON on our front porch and people would deliver meals to us each day. People that didn’t even know us personally were taking care of us.” As a community leader, Dr. Faltys has also had to attend to CISD families that have endured tragedies themselves. Clayton Reed, pastor of Southlake Baptist Church, has served alongside Dr. Faltys during some of these tragic times and has seen firsthand how Dr. Faltys has dealt with families in pain. “Much of our personal work together has focused on the needs of kids going through incredible personal crises,” says Pastor Reed. “I have seen David sit with grieving families and provide unbelievable comfort to those going through unthinkable tragedies. He has modeled a kind leadership style in a city with demanding expectations.” One of the expectations in the community is excellence; certainly, Dr. Faltys would not be celebrating 10 years here if he didn’t understand that. But even in a school district that boasts a zero-percent dropout rate, Faltys admits there are challenges. One of the biggest, the “elephant in the room,” as he puts it, is the state’s “Robin Hood” system, otherwise known as Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code. This year the state recaptured more than $17 million from CISD, leaving the school district with a $5 million budget deficit. Last year, the school district received $35 less per student than it did in the 2006-2007 school year. With 80 percent of the budget going toward salaries, the losses from the budget deficit can be felt other places. Says Dr. Faltys, “Our buses are 10 years old; our technology is eight years old.” Not surprisingly, a large part of Dr. Faltys’ job is to ensure that the school district has the funds needed to make up for these deficits. In 2009, Southlake voters approved the largest bond in CISD’s history, approving funds to build Carroll Middle School and Walnut Grove Elementary; to expand Dragon Stadium; and to improve safety and security on campuses. “If you think about it,” says Dr. Faltys, “we are dealing with two of people’s most precious assets: their kids and their money.” As such, Dr. Faltys is careful and thoughtful in how he and the school district handle both. “There’s a saying: in loco parentis [in the place of a parent],” he says. “For six to seven hours a day we are all [at CISD] acting in place of a parent.” Thanks to Dr. Faltys and his 10-year-plus tenure as the school district’s leader, there is no doubt the parents in this community know their children are in good hands.

ACCOLADES FROM AROUND THE AREA “Congratulations to my friend David Faltys on a decade of service to our local kids. David is to be commended for his long service to our city and to our kids.” —Clayton Reed, Pastor, Southlake Baptist Church “I would like to thank David for his 10 years of dedicated service to Southlake. I look forward to working with him and the Board of Trustees now and in the future. I admire that David’s passion for our children is what drives his pursuit of excellence. We are blessed to live in such a great community and to have people like David Faltys help make it even better.” —Laura Hill, Mayor of Southlake “I had the privilege of working with Dr. Faltys during my entire term as mayor and most of my term on council. David has done an outstanding job with the schools and more importantly, our children. He has a great heart for kids and it is evident in everything he does.” —John Terrell, former Mayor of Southlake “We have been fortunate that Dr. Faltys has served our district, kids and community for over 10 years now. It has been an honor and pleasure to work with him in my role as president for the CISD School Board. I feel that he is one-of-a-kind and CISD is lucky to have him lead our district.” —Christopher Archer, President, CISD School Board “I think it’s rare to have a superintendent in Texas serve the same school district as long as David has. I’m proud of the people in CISD for recognizing what a great job David does every day. This continuity of leadership says a lot about the organization—and about David. He’s just the whole package.” —Dr. Robin Ryan, Superintendent, Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District


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TEACHERS OF THE YEAR Every year one teacher from each CISD campus is singled out as his or her school’s Teacher of the Year. All eleven teachers are then recognized for their devotion and achievement in creating excellence in their classrooms. However, only one elementary and one secondary school teacher can be chosen for the district’s highest honor. Get to know Amy Evans and Leslie Elkins, the 2015-2016 CISD Teachers of the Year! INSIDE CARROLL • 25

photo courtesy of Paula Joyce Photography

CISD 2015-2016 TEACHERS OF THE YEAR Amy Evans–Old Union Elementary School


tudents love Mrs. Evans because she makes learning fun. The parents of the students in her class and her principal think so, too. That’s one of the many reasons Amy Evans was named Carroll ISD K-6 Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016. Evans is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in education. She is also a graduate of Columbia University Teachers College with a Master of Arts in technology and education. She taught elementary school in Irving before joining the staff at Old Union Elementary School in 2011. She earned her English as a Second Language certification in 2014. Evans teaches first grade, but becoming a teacher is not what she originally envisioned for a career. “Not once in my childhood did I dream of being a teacher,” she says. “It was the furthest thing from my mind. Did I love a brand new 64 box of crayons with a built in sharpener? Absolutely! Did it make me happy to get a new lunch box every year? You bet!” (Evans still has her Bionic Woman lunch box from 1979 proudly displayed behind her teacher’s desk at Old Union.) “I wanted to be an actress,” Evans says. “It was my thing.” She notes that she was involved in every single school play she could be a part of in first through 12th grade. “I was Who’s Who in Theatre,” she adds. “I went to TCU as a theatre major.” Evans even had a prepared Oscar acceptance speech ready. But she soon lost her passion for acting in college and found teaching. “I strongly believe that God knew I needed to be a teacher long before l felt it,” she notes. “I innocently and randomly went into the education department thinking, ‘Why not?’ That’s when my life changed. “It was in that department that I met the most inspirational professors who made me want to change lives. Nay, change the world!” Evans says. The classroom would eventually become Evans’ stage.“By the way,” she says, “l still act. Guess what? I’m the lead role every day! But now, it’s for a precious and hilarious audience of 7- and 8-year-olds. It’s the best part I’ve ever had. They think I’m funny. “Am I self-involved enough to enjoy making my class laugh? Ding, ding, ding!” she jokes. “As the presenters say on award nights, ‘And the winner is’....” Evans’ greatest contribution in the classroom is her true love for students. She makes personal connections and her students know they can lean on her for any kind of help. She was quoted in the yearbook as saying

“Secretly, I love when I make my students laugh.” Evans is also active in the community with her elementary-aged daughters. Her philosophy on teaching ties into her love for students. Words are a powerful teaching tool, and Evans uses them toward encouragement that lasts a lifetime with her students. “No matter what content she is teaching, she always finds a way to blend hands-on, music, movement and plenty of laughter into her classroom,” OUES Principal Jon Fike says of his star teacher. “You should see Dance Party Fridays!” Fike says Evans has a tremendous impact on students and even though they move on to the next grade level at the end of each year, they are forever “her kids.” Old Union Elementary parent Tracy Patton agrees. Her son Grant was in Evans’ first-grade class. “Mrs. Evans is a great example of what makes Southlake an incredible community and CISD so special,” says Patton. “From the moment Grant stepped into her class in August 2015, she made him feel at home. She is genuinely very kind and has a heart for teaching.” Parents say throughout the year Evans encourages her students to always try their best and when they fall short of what they may have expected of themselves, she praises them for trying. “As a parent, I appreciate that my son was in a nurturing, loving environment that allowed him to feel comfortable learning and growing,” adds Patton. “Mrs. Evans was able to instill in our kids the need to respect themselves, other students, staff and to take pride in their school. Her leadership demonstrated how to be respectful and compassionate to others. Mrs. Evans is very much a team player and it shows through her relationship with all the staff at Old Union.” “I have positioned myself in a district that challenges and encourages me to have a growth mindset,” Evans says. “Some of my greatest administrators have always said, ‘lf you raise expectations for your students, they will meet you there. If you lower your expectations... they will meet you there.’” Parents are quick to explain why they believe Evans was named the district’s K-6 Teacher of the Year. “Our class word for Mrs. Evans was ‘Inspire,’” says Patton. “That’s something she has done on a daily basis for our children and it will continue not only for our class, but for future Dragons as well.” You certainly don’t have to convince Grant Patton. “Mrs. Evans is the best teacher in the whole world,” he says. “She is nice, smart, funny and helped me learn.”



photo courtesy of Paula Joyce Photography

CISD 2015-2016 TEACHERS OF THE YEAR Leslie Elkins–Carroll Middle School


iddle school is not for the faint of heart. But for Carroll ISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year, it’s surprisingly become her happy place. Leslie Elkins has loved school since she was a young child, so much so that she can clearly recall crying on the last day of elementary school each year because she was sad to leave her classroom for the summer. Through her youth, Elkins’ eyes were opened to her passion of helping kids also discover their love of learning, and she pursued a degree in elementary education. Elkins graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s in applied learning and development. Although she had anticipated teaching elementary school, a temporary job as a classroom instructional aide at Carroll Middle School completely changed her perspective. Elkins realized she had a connection with middle schoolers. “Something strange happened,” Elkins recalls. “These crazy, spastic humans turned out to be quite lovable, and I was able to connect with them in a way that was unlike my connection with elementary kids. My training as an elementary teacher gave me the patience, warmth and sense of humor that is required for relating to young teens. On the other hand, my own drive and determination gave me the structure needed to survive in this metaphorical zoo and to challenge students to grow.” One student says of Elkins, “She makes sure you know your stuff, but sometimes it’s so fun you don’t realize you’re learning.” In addition to a busy schedule teaching language arts, Elkins serves as the Gifted and Talented representative for the school leadership team, as campus coordinator for the Spelling Bee, as a member of the CMS Site-Based Committee, and as sponsor of National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). She also is a mentor teacher and gets to work with teachers new to the profession and new to Carroll ISD. She says being NJHS sponsor at CMS gives her an opportunity to teach middle school students about the importance of community service as a life-long mission of serving others. “It is so rewarding to serve alongside my students and to see them grow as the next generation of leaders in their community,” says Elkins. She has worked with her students at elementary carnival nights, serving local food pantries, helping with the school recycling program, and teaming up with Student Council to support

victims of domestic violence during the holiday season. Elkins strongly believes that classroom teaching should not all be uniform, because each child is different and that makes each student special and unique, including how the student learns best in the classroom. Accommodating every student based on his or her temperament, emotions, motivations and thoughts is definitely a challenge for Elkins, but it is one she is willing to rise up to if it means a better learning experience for her students. “This sounds so cliché, but Leslie truly has a heart for kids and a passion for teaching,” says CMS Principal Stephanie Mangels. “These things are so obvious when you watch her in action—both inside the classroom and out. She hooks students in to her lessons by making them fun and relevant. “Because she builds a relationship with every single student, she is able to engage and motivate them,” adds Mangels. “Her perspective is not that she just teaches language arts, but more importantly that she teaches kids. They know, without question, that she cares about them and will help them succeed. For all those reasons, students love her, trust her, and flock to her.” CMS parent Heather Bristol agrees. Her daughter, Bristol Fitzgerald, was a student in Elkins’ class at CMS. “Ms. Elkins takes a personal interest in her students’ development both intellectually and emotionally,” says Bristol. “She creates a healthy learning environment in her classroom by promoting the importance of community and fosters a safe place to make mistakes, ask questions and learn. Her integrity is contagious!” “Ms. Elkins is a hardworking teacher who does her job well. She cares about her students and is always there to help them out,” adds Fitzgerald, now a ninth grader at Carroll High School. “As newcomers to Southlake, it was challenging to connect all my children into the community,” says Bristol. “Ms. Elkins took a personal interest in my daughter to make her feel welcome at CMS and was instrumental in engaging her in the classroom and out to foster new friendships.” Bristol says Elkins teaches with her heart and makes a personal connection to mentor all her students. “She’s a great teacher!” Fitzgerald exclaims. “She is good at explaining things while keeping the class entertained and on task. I learned more from Ms. Elkins outside of the classroom than I did in other subjects. Ms. Elkins is cool and was my favorite teacher I had (last) year!”


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LEARNING & EDUCATION Carroll ISD is devoted to fostering a safe, caring, and creative learning environment that inspires students to realize their full potential as they positively impact the world around them. The faculty and staff work day in and day out to protect a tradition of excellence in Carroll ISD.



CARROLL SENIORS HONORED AT FIRST-EVER FINE ARTS RECOGNITION DAY Members of the Dragon family came together in April 2016 to start a new tradition in Carroll ISD. The celebration was similar to a college signing day for athletes, but this time honored 27 students from Carroll Senior High School who are attending college to pursue fine arts degrees. “It was a long time coming and a welldeserved celebration,” says Shawn Duhon, Carroll Senior High Principal. “Scott Lanier and Lily Tapp came to me in March to discuss the possibility of the event, and I loved the idea. So we started putting a plan in action to begin the tradition of FAR…Fine Arts Recognition!” More than 200 friends, family and faculty filled the CSHS Student Activity Center as one by one, the students were called on to stage to be recognized. For many of them, the spring ceremony capped off an already stellar high school career that brought accolades to their respective programs. The process for pursuing a degree in fine arts is rigorous. Students looking to move on to collegiate studies in these disciplines go through a two-step process. They must be accepted into both their university and go through a portfolio,


interview or audition process to be accepted to their chosen fine arts program. Many students audition and interview for months as collegiate fine arts programs are often looking for the “right students” to fill specific roles or to be mentored by faculty with specific skills. For prospective art students, this process can include a persuasive cover, resume and portfolio displaying a variety of media and techniques used in their art. For prospective music students, this can include a repertoire list discussing the music studies and roles performed, recommendations, recordings of original work or performances and finally live auditions playing memorized music and sight-reading. For prospective theater students this process can be very similar to that of music students but may actually include applying to multiple departments. Theater students may be required to provide resumes, videos, and audition in person, performing songs to show off their vocal range and performing both classical and contemporary monologues. A total of 27 Dragons from the Class of 2016 succeeded in navigating this process and took the next step towards their future.

DRAGON MINI BUS HITS THE ROAD Carroll ISD has taken its mission of excellence and its widely recognized school logo to the streets. Last fall, officials purchased a brand-new 15-passenger activity bus. This Dragon mini bus is the only one of its kind in the CISD transportation fleet. It boasts a wrap design featuring the Dragon logo and Carroll ISD branding. The Dragon mini bus is primarily utilized for student activities that are too large for an eightseat suburban, but not large enough to require the use of a full-sized school bus. The new

15-passenger mini bus allows these student groups to stick together and not be separated between two vehicles while traveling to their competitions, meets, field trips and other group activities. Multiple coaches and teachers are currently in the process of receiving their mandatory bus certification to drive the mini bus, which will allow even more groups and teams to utilize this vehicle when applicable. The Dragon mini bus has received only positive feedback from both Carroll ISD staff and community members, and continues to portray the Dragon spirit around the streets of Southlake.



STEM STUDENTS DESIGN SOLAR BOATS AND CATAPULTS The sounds of bright students hard at work can be heard when entering the third floor hallway of Carroll High School, home to the district’s Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program, coordinated by Alice Fitzgerald. On one spring day, students were found either building one of four types of catapults they had studied in Fitzgerald’s class, or solar-powered boats designed, engineered and printed with the district’s 3D printer. Part of succeeding in the STEM program, the students learn, is finding out where a project design went wrong and how best to modify and re-engineer it to improve performance. “The objective of the solar boat design project is for students to follow the Engineering Design Process to create a vessel, attach a solar-powered propeller, and compete in a solar boat race against their classmates,” says STEM Instructor Leah Schwedler. She teaches concepts of engineering and technology and robotics at CHS. Concepts of engineering students explore various fields of science, technology, engineering and math and the relationships they share. Lessons include using design software to create 3D printed objects, woodworking and robotics as well as other valuable academic skills used in the field of engineering. For the solar vessel project, each CHS student was asked to research and design a boat hull and present their design to the rest of the class. Schwedler says


students worked in groups to create an AutoDesk Inventor 3D model of a vessel that incorporated aspects of each team member’s design. After a final design review, students then used the 3D printer to print their vessels and attach the solar panels, motors and propellers. Patience was required because of the high volume of spring rains and cloudy skies; students waited patiently for the sun to show up to power the vessels so they could race their boats and record times. Ultimately, the students were able to have fun, while testing their designs against those of their classmates. Schwedler says students were required to submit a report that documented the process that they followed in designing and creating their solar boat. In addition to the coursework, STEM students used some of the extra materials at the end of the year to design and 3D print a bow tie for Principal PJ Giamanco. “With this evolving program, we are continuing to strive for change just as the engineering field does daily,” says Giamanco. “We truly believe the projectbased learning set-up will help our students become more interested with the hands-on approach in engineering and learn to see how things work and how can I use these to solve other problems. “Engineering, while science- and math-based, is truly about creativity and we hope we will continue to meet student needs through our teachers’ creativity,” he adds.

CARROLL DRAGONS ARE SEEING STARS Carroll ISD has launched into space with the addition of its very own astronomy observatory. The Dragon Observatory had its grand opening on October 29, 2014, and has been used by students and staff, as well as the Southlake community. The Dragon Observatory and portable star lab is located at the Johnson Elementary School campus. These destinations offer students and community members the opportunity to view planets, galaxies, star clusters and nebulae. The creation of the Dragon Observatory was made possible by the generosity of a grant through the Hudson Foundation, which already had a history of supporting Carroll ISD educational endeavors. In addition to

the funding for the Dragon Observatory, the Hudson Foundation also provided the grant for the foundation of the Carroll Medical Academy, which has grown to serve approximately 200 students since it began in 2004. Before funding and construction began on the observatory, the Carroll ISD science department worked tirelessly to make the dream a reality by creating an Astronomy Committee. Composed of science curriculum coordinators, teachers and community members, the advisory committee supported the program start-up by providing insights for constructing the observatory, generating volunteers, communicating excitement in astronomy among Carroll students and the Southlake community, and evaluating all logistics for bringing this exciting opportunity to Carroll ISD. The grand opening in October was an astronomy event within itself, during which attendees were able to be present for the dedication of the building and be among the first to experience the state-of-the-art telescope and astronomy equipment that is housed in the observatory. Over the last year and a half of its existence, the Dragon Observatory hosts the regular meeting of the Carroll Senior High Astronomy Club. Eighth-grade Carroll students also participated in a stargazing event that took place over the course of three nights. The Dragon Observatory instilled an excitement for astronomy in the Southlake community. Carroll students, families and community members are able to experience the night sky like never before thanks to the hard work of the Astronomy Committee and funding from the Hudson Foundation.



CARROLL SCHOOLS WELCOME BUDDY BENCHES TO PLAYGROUNDS Carroll ISD elementary schools added some important items to their playgrounds during the 2015 – 2016 school year: their very own Buddy Benches. Unlike the other equipment on the playground, this new item is not meant to be swung on, climbed on, or raced down, but rather plays the important role of helping kids who are in search of a buddy. The Buddy Bench phenomenon began a few years ago in a Pennsylvania elementary school when a young boy wanted to find a way to make sure everyone had a friend to play with on the playground. The idea of the bench is for kids who are in need of a buddy to sit on the bench, which signals classmates to invite that child to play. Over the past few years, the Buddy Bench has become very popular, with an estimated 2,000 schools in the United States adding one to their playgrounds. Approximately a dozen countries worldwide have also adopted Buddy Benches. Rockenbaugh Elementary’s 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year, Cindy Ryon, can be credited for bringing the Buddy Bench to Rockenbaugh. After reading the story of schools across the country taking part in the Buddy Bench movement, it struck her interest in having something similar at her campus, where she teaches


kindergarten. In Ryon’s kindergarten classroom, a hot topic of discussion at the beginning of the school year was about empathy—how to be sensitive to other’s feelings and how to recognize if someone is feeling sad or lonely. Ryon saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring the Buddy Bench to Rockenbaugh and give all children the opportunity to make a friend if they are in need of one. In order to get the Buddy Bench project implemented on her campus, Ryon and her kindergarten class discovered Donors Choose, an organization that allows individuals to make donations to fund classroom projects, and began fundraising for their campus Buddy Bench right away. The class needed to raise almost $1,000 in order to bring the bench to Rockenbaugh, and each day the class colored in the “Dragonmeter” to show the amount of money they had raised thus far. In addition to independent donors, many of the parents in Ryon’s classroom helped fund the project, as well, and the Rockenbaugh PTO paid to have it securely installed on the playground. Ryon’s students each wrote five thank-you letters to the 20 different donors that helped fund their Buddy Bench through Donors Choose.

“When the class decided to take on this project, I explained how once the bench arrived is when their job begins,” explains Ryon. She encouraged her class to be aware of the Buddy Bench and if it was being occupied, and they even practiced how to approach others on the bench. It took a little while for the entire school to get used to how it operated, but it has since become an integral part of recess at Rockenbaugh. “Now, I have students proudly run by me on the playground and report how they asked a friend to play who was sitting on the bench and needing a friend,” says Ryon. All five Carroll Elementary schools are implementing the Buddy Bench practice on their campuses, which further emphasizes the Carroll core value of relationships among students, faculty and staff. The Buddy Bench concept also helps ensure students are transitioning better if they are new to campus or are feeling isolated and in need of friends. The CISD Strategic Plan emphasizes the district’s focus on developing the whole child, not just academically, but socially, emotionally and through involvement in extracurricular activities. The Buddy Bench is a wonderful new tradition that teaches students to watch out for and care for others.

CARROLL ISD EARNS FIFTH CONSECUTIVE AP HONOR ROLL AWARD Every year, the College Board honors school districts around the nation with an AP Honor Roll Award for simultaneously increasing participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses while maintaining or improving the number of 3s, 4s and 5s scored on the AP tests. The AP Honor Roll Award is the most prestigious academic award that a district can receive. College Board reviews the data from all districts that participate in Advanced Placement exams, and based upon their data, select a small number of districts that fit the criteria that College Board feels represents an exemplary school district. “Carroll ISD is truly honored to receive this recognition again this year. We are extremely proud of the efforts of our students, staff and community,” says Gina Peddy, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction. “Advanced Placement courses are our most rigorous courses offered and for us, as a district, to receive an award not only for our scores, but also for continuing to increase the participation in this program shows the commitment level from both our students and our staff. “In Carroll, we are committed to excellence, and receiving this award is a nice way of honoring the hard work and devotion that our staff and students exhibit daily,” Peddy adds.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS ON RISE IN CISD Carroll ISD continues to grow in the diversity of learners, with English Language Learners (ELL) on the rise, up 60 percent from last year. CISD English Language Learners speak 27 different languages and they have much in common: They are learning English while also learning content, participating in extracurricular activities, and assimilating to a new culture. While the numbers are relatively low in comparison to other school districts, Carroll ISD is enjoying the benefits of having students in the classroom whose first language is not English. These English Language Learners bring cultural and language experiences to the classroom that are often different than those of native English speakers. “This was my first year in CISD and I love my job,” says Joan Myers, ESL teacher. “I get to work with amazing families from all different cultures. The students have taught me so much about their cultures and what it’s like assimilating into ours. I feel so blessed to be on the ESL team.” The CISD English as a Second Language Department consistently works through a variety of mediums to assimilate ELLs and their families into the district. They sponsor a Family Technology night at the beginning of the school year to help parents learn how to log on to computers to use the educational technology that is available for instruction and practice at home. Also, in true Dragon tradition, the ESL Department sponsored a Blanket Drive in December to help Phillip’s Wish, donating more than 85 blankets to the homeless. Additionally, The Reading Buddies Volunteer Program celebrated its inaugural year. In this program, native-speaking adults are paired with students who need reading and vocabulary practice in both English and their native language. Each year, an All-American family picnic is held at Bob Jones Park, where ESL students and their families interact with CISD staff and meet new friends in a fun environment. This summer, the district hosted a three-week Language Acquisition Camp for students entering 2nd-6th grades. This camp focused on learning academic vocabulary and practicing listening, speaking, reading and writing in English in a fun and interactive environment. CISD continues to be proud of the excellence and relationships built in the ESL program. If you would like to volunteer or assist in any way, please contact Monica Gattshall at MonicaGattshall@



RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR DRAGON DEBATE TEAM The 2015-16 school year was a year for tremendous growth and opportunity for the Dragon Debate team, with more than 100 students either enrolled in debate classes or actively competing in competitions. The Dragon Debate team has traveled all around the country participating in competitions, all while continuing to break district records. The Carroll debate team kicked off an exciting year by hosting the annual Dragon Faire TFA State Qualifier competition at Carroll High School in November. CISD hosted nearly 40 schools and more than 600 students at this qualifier event, which led straight into an extremely successful year for the Dragon Debate team. In January, the team traveled to the University of Texas in Austin to participate in the UIL State Congressional Debate Tournament, where Juniors Emma Lin and Dru Patel were both finalists, placing 10th and 12th respectively among all Class 6A competitors. Carroll boasted the most Congressional Debate qualifiers, including Emma Lin, Sunny Daggubati, Mafaaz


Tanzeem, Dru Patel, Chris Dao, Priyanka Reddy, Sowmiya Baskar, Hafsa Zuberi and Sahaj Singh. Carroll’s debate team accomplished another first in school history: qualifying its first-ever debate team in Public Forum Debate to the annual Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky, the most prestigious national tournament in Congressional Debate. The Dragon Speech and Debate team also defended its UIL Team Championship this year, with a district championship in Informative Extemporaneous Speaking, Persuasive Extemporaneous Speaking, Poetry Interpretation and Cross-Examination Debate. The team also captured the overall Top Speech/Debate team award for this year’s UIL 6A District 7 contest. The Dragon Debate team also participated in the UIL Regional tournament held at UT Arlington, the Kandy King Round Robin in Houston and the Texas Forensic Association State Tournament in Austin. The team also had the exciting opportunity to travel to Harvard University for the Harvard Debate Tournament in February. “In debate, coaches and competitors are allowed to challenge the use of their opponent’s evidence among other things. Despite protests from other schools, Carroll eventually found its way to Nationals for a record 14th time in school history,” says Coach David Brown about the team’s journey to the national tournament. “It was a stressful but transformative and memorable experience.” The debate team finished out their incredibly successful season with four students qualifying to compete in the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. Qualifying for Nationals were Sam Bonham and Austin Meek in Public Forum Debate, Emma Lin in Congressional Debate and Alex Frederick in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, with Bonham and Meek finishing in the Top 20 in Public Forum Debate out of 280 qualifying teams. Lin finished as a semifinalist in Congressional Debate. The Dragon Debate team has reached the Carroll ISD core value of excellence this year. Through their hard work and dedication, this incredible team accomplished success after success, breaking school records and constantly improving the program along the way. The Dragon Debate team will kick off the 2016-17 school year not as the underdog, but as the team to beat.

ODYSSEY OF MIND PROGRAM PROMOTES CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLVING When it comes to creativity and problem solving, no one does it better than the Dragon students and coaches involved in Odyssey of the Mind. OM is a competition that incorporates many different skills and talents. Each team is made up of no more than seven participants coached by volunteers. The group constructs a solution to a problem a national organization overseeing OM releases. These solutions require students to produce a script, back-drops, costumes and more depending on the specific problem. Teams may be required to build a functioning vehicle, or a structure that supports weight, or devices that perform several tasks, or a solution containing historical facts that revolve around a specific task. With a rich history of success that dates back to 1999, Dragon OM teams continue to represent the area with excellence at local, state and national competitions. In fact, a total of eight Dragon OM teams competed in the World Finals this past May at Iowa State University. Countries from around the world attended the OM competition, including Africa, China and Poland. What began as three teams and only 15 students back in 1999 has grown to 23 teams and 150 students representing grades K-12 at each CISD campus in 2016. Diana DiCesare serves as President of the local OM parent booster organization, which is a 501c3 non-profit that accepts sponsorships from within the Southlake community. Parent volunteers coach the OM teams, and meetings are held outside of the school day in the homes of participants/coaches. DiCesare’s daughter started on an Odyssey team in the second grade and is now going into eighth grade. She is a six-time OMER (the nickname of

kids who participate in Odyssey of the Mind and the name of the national OM mascot) and has been to World Finals with her team four consecutive years. DiCesare says Dragons have been successful in OM due to the commitment and passion of the teachers and parents who started the program. Some of those parents serve today as mentors to new coaches, on the Executive Board and are Problem Captains at the North Texas Tournament. Cindy Featherston, Rockenbaugh Quest Teacher, and Ann Dachniwsky, a Dragon mom, are two of the key individuals whose passion for the program has helped it grow so much in the Southlake community. “So many parents in Southlake understand the important skills and values their children learn through Odyssey, which will benefit them no matter what they end up doing when they grow up,” DiCesare adds. “Our parent coaches are dedicated to helping students learn to think differently, solve problems with others, and have a great deal of fun.”



COMPASSIONATE SERVICE For faculty, students and alumni alike, the joy of being a Dragon is only second to the joy of helping others.


Tristan Bankhead • Dawson Middle School

GLOBAL GIVING Dragon Staff Exhibits Compassionate Service Internationally


he faculty and staff at Carroll ISD wear many hats: teacher, mentor, confidant, friend and leader. In addition to the academic and educational guidance they offer the students within Carroll ISD, their actions also have the ability to teach students about compassionate service, a core value at Carroll ISD, and the importance of helping those in need. Many Carroll staff members have spent time serving others internationally, showing students that compassionate service can be exhibited not only in the hallways at school, but across the globe. Sarah Millhorn, Carroll High School English teacher and Student Council Advisor, went to Costa Rica in 2013 and was able to visit a rural elementary school, delivering much-needed school supplies and having the opportunity to visit and interact with the students. Millhorn was able to spend the day with the students there, seeing their school and watching as they put on a recital for their visitors. A little further south in Siguatepeque , Honduras, Special Education Teacher Tristan Bankhead also spent some of her time in 2014 working with children at an orphanage that doubled as a school for additional children in the community. Bankhead moved to Honduras “to show love and help students grow,” and spent her time there working with special needs students, just as she does now at Dawson Middle School. During her week off of school for Spring Break in 2012, Kristie Johnson, a campus instructional technologist for Carroll ISD, traveled to Haiti to work with an organization called

Mission of Hope. During her time there, Johnson helped out in the local villages, painted houses, offered backyard Bible clubs for children and visited with the people of the Mission Hope compound. Johnson Elementary second-grade teacher Riley Thannum participated in numerous international mission efforts before joining Carroll ISD as a first-year teacher in 2015. Thannum lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for an entire summer and worked at Chiang Mai University teaching English as part of Abilene Christian University’s World Wide Witness program. The summer before her first year of teaching at JES, she traveled with Pro2G Mission to Kenya to help build a church in the village of Bungoma. While there, she was able to visit with Kenyan teachers and their students who attend oneroom, mud classrooms to learn the alphabet and how to read and write. “It was humbling to see how the educators in Bungoma were able to do so much for children with so little resources,” Thannum says. “We are immeasurably blessed here in the United States to have so many materials and a comprehensive curriculum. The teachers in Kenya were so enthusiastic about teaching and displayed relentless love for their students. It was an incredible perspective to gain before entering my own classroom at Johnson.” Gian Arefi, a third-grade teacher at Old Union Elementary, spent the summer of 2015 not working with children, but with animals. She spent the month of July in La Antigua, Guatemala, working at Unidos Para Los Animales, an animal shelter. Arefi cleaned kennels, walked continued on page 45


Kristie Johnson • CISD Campus Instructional Technologist

GLOBAL GIVING the dogs, trained puppies, cleaned cat litter boxes, brushed cats and dogs, and gave these abandoned and abused animals some rare love and attention. When school bus driver Mark Cooper is not transporting the students of Carroll ISD, most of his time is spent working with the ministry he founded in 2012 in Uganda. In July 2015, Cooper took a trip to Uganda to hold the second annual three-day Pastor Symposium, leading more than 200 village pastors and church elders at Zion Community Center in Seeta Nazigo, Uganda. During the trip, Cooper also set up a Bible Seminary program, visited a preschool and a number of orphanages. The preschool and orphanage visits were to research facility needs, orphan school sponsorship and clean water necessities. Alison Hessling, a speech language pathologist at Walnut Grove Elementary, has spent several of her Spring Break vacations in Tepeyac, Nicaragua, with a group from Texas Christian University. These service groups worked on a variety of community-based needs during their week-long stay, including physical labor cleaning and clearing wells to provide a water source for the community, but also spending time with the children in their schools. “The people of Tepeyac left a lasting impression on my heart, for sharing so much joy despite having so little compared to what is the norm here in the states,” says Hessling. One special project she fondly remembers was taking photos of each of the students, many of which

were the first photo they had ever seen of themselves, and decorating picture frames together. Rick Herrin and his son, Hunter, CSHS junior traveled to LaCeiba, Honduras in the summers of 2015 and 2016 to help transform communities in need. Herrin is the Assistant Director of Communications in Carroll ISD and Hunter is entering his junior year at Carroll Senior High School. The Herrins traveled with a team, which included relatives from Colorado Springs, with New Life Church providing work and support for the mission group Transform Honduras. This group helps Hondurans with providing fundamental needs physically and spiritually. On last year’s mission trip, the team built an adobe brick home for a family in need. They worked in remote conditions in the mountains of Loma Linda, stacking brick after brick, then stucco and finally a roof. The Herrins have now committed time each summer to return to help in Honduras. This experience of seeing the reward for the families and children is something that will keep them returning each year to help. These Dragon staff members may serve different roles, at different grade levels, and on different campuses, but all are knit together by one common denominator: their heart and dedication to serving those in need. Their sincere hearts of compassionate service are just a fraction of the work done by Carroll faculty and staff, both locally and internationally, modeling the CISD core value of compassionate service across the globe.


MUMZ4KIDS Carroll Student Starts Organization to Feed the Hungry


umz4Kidz is a fundraising organization that blossomed from the passion of four high school students in 2013 and grew quickly into a burgeoning effort that involves multiple high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The concept behind Mumz4Kidz is really rather simple; instead of buying the expensive traditional Texas mums to wear at high school homecoming games, students donate the money they would have spent on the mum to a charity. The idea was the brainchild of Mumz4Kids founder, Carroll Senior High School student Destiny Rose. The money raised in 2013 went to Youthworld, helping to feed 16 families. Youth World Dallas Learning Center is a nonprofit youth organization that reaches out to at-risk children, providing them with food, school supplies, shoes, backpacks and holiday gifts. Students wore T-shirts to raise awareness for Youth World in south Dallas. The second year of the program was a huge success as it involved what Rose describes as the Mumz4Kidz Homecoming Challenge. The effort raised $13,250 from students in nine schools around the DFW Metroplex. The group also gained 14 corporate sponsors and nine media outlets that joined the effort to spread the word about Mumz4Kidz. Amazingly enough, last year Mumz4Kidz raised $30,150 from students in 16 schools. The group’s support increased to 27 corporate sponsors and 12 media outlets. “Together we made a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of children in south Dallas. We were able to provide 500 families groceries for a full Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner,” says Rose, who walked the stage and accepted her high school diploma in June 2016 along with 629 other classmates from Carroll Senior High. Rose, 18, says she doesn’t have anything against those who choose to purchase a tradi-


tional Homecoming mum, but for her, the money could be used for a greater purpose. Many of her friends decided to participate as well. Youth World’s goal during the Thanksgiving season is to bring dignity to families by providing groceries, so they can be a part of the tradition of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner together. “Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what you have, and living with a generous spirit,” says Rose. “Mumz4Kidz is a chance for students to give, and be a part of something huge. Every small act of kindness is part of a big impact. “How exciting is it to think about how this generation could be known as the Generation of change, of selflessness and of courage,” Rose adds. “An immense number of young people are questioning their duty on earth. Maybe, just maybe, this is the first step. I am so proud of my fellow students who have participated in the past years.” Although Rose is leaving for college in the fall, her sister, Chaney, a Carroll High School 10th grader, will follow in her footsteps to make sure the Mumz4Kidz tradition of giving continues, and hopefully even grows, to help more families.


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SCHOOL BOARD Board of Trustees Model... #CompassionateService


t takes many moving parts to operate a school district, and the Carroll ISD Board of Trustees is just one of those vital parts. Made up of seven individuals with diverse backgrounds and careers, all are joined together by their common goal to serve the community and Carroll ISD. There is one other unique common denominator between these Trustees: their heart for compassionate service. In addition to her role on the CISD School Board, Trustee Michelle Moore spends her time volunteering with the Carroll Education Foundation, serving as the Teacher Grant Co-Chair for Southlake Association of Gifted and Talented, leading National Charity League as the 2016

Fashion Show Sponsorship Co-Chair, and working alongside other CISD parents on the Carroll Elementary (CES) PTO. Noted as her favorite, Moore says that “it has been a true honor to serve on the CES PTO as this was my springboard to volunteering in Carroll CISD and serving as a trustee.” Moore also served as the former Eubanks Intermediate School (EIS) president in fundraising, where she was recognized as the EIS Volunteer of the Year in 2015. Board Trustee Bradley Taylor is currently serving as the President of the Southlake Kiwanis Club, an organization that is focused on helping create better opportunities for underprivicontinued on page 45

The 2016-2017 Carroll School Board (from L to R): Read Ballew, Michelle Moore, Danny Gilpin, Christopher Archer (President), Sheri Mills, (Vice President), Matt Kormann (Secretary), and Bradley Taylor.



#CompassionateService leged youth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. These opportunities range from a meal or a pair of shoes, to a backpack for school or gifts during the holiday season. In addition to his Kiwanis Club presidency, Taylor spends his time serving the homeless with Phillips’ Wish, an organization that reaches out to the homeless population in DFW. Taylor enjoys taking his smoker to cook anywhere from 400 to 700 barbecue sandwiches for homeless individuals on the street looking for a warm meal. Taylor values sharing these experiences with his daughters, both Carroll students, exemplifying the core value of compassionate service. Board Vice President Sheri Mills’ passion is for her volunteer work at GRACE, a Grapevine organization focused on demonstrating compassion for those less fortunate by providing assistance to individuals and families in crisis and guiding them toward self-sufficiency. Sherri and her husband, Mike, have served on the Board of Directors of GRACE for several years, and in 2015 named Southlake Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year for her work at GRACE and on the GRACE Gala. “Sometimes you make a difference in someone’s life that changes their course, and that is awesome,” she says. Sherri is definitely doing life-changing work through her continual service with those in need at GRACE. “Much like my role on the CISD Board of Trustees, I have a passion for helping and whether it be the kids of Carroll ISD or the recipients that are helped through GRACE, it is great to be able to see your hard work positively affect those in your own community,” says Board President Christopher Archer. GRACE is also close to the heart for President Archer, as he and his wife, Stacey, have volunteered there for many years. The Archers served as the Co-Chairs of the GRACE Gala in


2014, and were named Southlake Chamber of Commerce volunteers of the year in 2016. Archer is also an active member of the Southlake Kiwanis Club and will co-chair the Bob Jones Nature Center annual fundraiser along with his wife. Archer is proud that compassionate service is a core value of Carroll ISD because “it gives all of us at CISD the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of others.” Trustee Danny Gilpin has served on the CISD Board for two separate terms. His service to the community includes being past Chairman and Treasurer of the Carroll Education Foundation. Fellow Trustee Read Ballew has also served as Chairman of the CEF, in addition to coaching youth soccer and basketball in the community. Ballew has served as a board member for the March of Dimes and has been leading area Boy Scouts in the community for many years. Last but not least, Carroll ISD’s newest Board member Todd Carlton is also extremely active in volunteering within Carroll ISD and other community organizations. Todd has served on the Carroll Education Foundation Board for the last five years, and served as the CEF Treasurer in 2015. Todd has also participated in the CLASS program, served as a co-leader for the Strategic Action Committee on Safety and Security, and just finished serving as a Co-Chair for the Capital Needs Planning Committee. Additionally, his wife, Liz, was named Volunteer of the Year at Dawson Middle School for the 2015-2016 school year. Carlton was appointed to replace Kormann in July 2016. The Carroll ISD Board of Trustees is made up of servant-hearted leaders who lead by example as they encourage the core value of compassionate service in the students, faculty and staff of the district.



MIKE RHODES Once an Educator, Always an Educator


ike Rhodes likes to say he graduated in 2012. This is when he retired as principal at Carroll Senior High School after a 31-year career in public education. Only Rhodes didn’t “graduate” to enjoy carefree days on the golf course or putter around the garden. He had much bigger plans for the second phase of his life … and it all started with a book. One Friday afternoon, Rhodes recalls eyeing a copy of “Halftime” by Bob Buford as it sat on his desk. Someone had given him the book and encouraged him to read it. So he picked it up and began to pore over the pages. About 100 pages in, he had an a-ha moment: He was ready to move on from his career. “The book planted a seed in my heart that I wanted to retire,” Rhodes says. “I loved my career and had been incredibly blessed, but it was time.” When Rhodes informed his wife Teri, a Carroll ISD teacher, she was shocked. Then she thought, “Why not?” She decided to retire, too. “Everybody thought we were crazy and too young,” he says, “but we were at peace with our decision.” The couple hardly had time to ease into a slower pace of life, though. Only a few months after retiring, Mike was approached by Family Legacy, a nonprofit committed to caring for orphaned children in the African country of Zambia. The organization wanted him to examine the country’s schools to determine how they could be more effective. Mike met with Family Legacy’s founder and within two weeks, the couple was on a plane to Zambia, a massive country in which 60 percent of the people live in poverty. They didn’t know it then, but this would be a journey they’d make often. Over the last three and a half years, they’ve traveled to Zambia seven times, each visit lasting 20 to 28 days. For Mike and Teri Rhodes, retirement didn’t mean closing a chapter in their lives; it meant starting a whole new book.

LIVING OUT “HALFTIME” “During the first half of our lives, Teri and I were focused on careers, family, raising children and paying for college while pursuing success,” he says. “As we enter the second half of our lives, we are focused on leaving a transformational legacy. We feel called to share our knowledge and experiences.”

What started as a trip to look at Zambian schools led to Mike stepping into the position of consultant and director of education for Family Legacy. When he assumed the role in 2012, there were 14 schools and 55 teachers serving 1,600 students comprised largely of orphan and vulnerable children living in compounds and slums of Lusaka, Zambia. Today, more than 300 educators serve more than 12,000 students in 22 schools. It wasn’t an easy journey building a foundation of effective teaching and leadership practices; it took an incredible amount of human compassion. Mike and Teri saw firsthand the deplorable conditions faced by the Zambians. People live in shanty towns with no electricity or bathrooms. They walk miles to find clean water. They scrounge through dumps just to survive. And yet despite their hardships, Zambian children are filled with hope and happiness. “We see how they live and what they’ve lived through,” says Teri. “They still have the biggest smiles. Their hearts are filled with such joy.” For Teri especially, it was humbling to see the eagerness of the teachers and children to learn. She says, “They were sitting on the edge of their seats, writing every word we were saying. I realized I took for granted everything I knew. I realized I have something to say, and they needed to hear it. They’re starving for education.” Not everyone has access to education in Zambia; only 10 percent of children get to go to school. Children who attend school through Family Legacy wear uniforms, which are a huge source of pride. “They mean you’re getting an education and going somewhere,” says Mike. Giving children the hope of a better future is exactly why Mike and Teri pursue their passion. The couple has expanded their educational outreach globally, working with organizations and children in Guatemala, Nepal, Lebanon and Burundi. Wherever they go, they ask the same question: “How can we make a difference?” If Mike had not read “Halftime,” his life as a retiree may have looked quite different. “We never envisioned doing what we’re doing—it fell in our lap. I wanted to play golf and go fishing,” Mike admits. “This journey has changed our lives. We will never be the same as a result of meeting children, teachers and leaders who hold out for hope.”



Dawson’s Megan Malnar and adopted son Eli are living and loving together


egan Malnar’s dream was too vivid to forget. Her spiritual beliefs told her this was a significant sign. She remembered everything when she awoke on this hot summer night in Zambia. Malnar, in the midst of another servant-filled summer helping teach the young children of Zambia, had a dream she was caring for a young boy. Then, she had another dream. She was his mother. “That’s when I said, ‘We’re done,’” Malnar recalls. “There is a kid in Zambia, and I’m supposed to get him out of a difficult situation and I was supposed to do it myself.” Over the next five months, motherhood weighed on the heart of this middle school teacher. She was going to find a son to adopt, but how would this unfold? During dinner one night with her teaching staff, Malnar was cooking when a friend shared pictures from a local orphanage she had recently visited. One photo in particular was unforgettable. It overwhelmed Malnar emotionally. She buckled over and shook. This is what the young boy looked like in her dreams. It was a photo of a young boy in a bright orange sweater with an electric smile. Malnar would soon adopt the boy from the facility, which had steel bars on the windows, broken glass atop its walls and 10 boys who shared three twin beds. She named him Elijah and soon enrolled him in school while she continued her duties as a teaching administrator in the town. Malnar and Elijah, who was three at the time, formed a special bond right from the first hug on the orphanage’s playground. “I just held him,” Malnar says, “looked in his eyes and said, ‘I am going to fight for you.’” The adjustment period began as they went through the foster care process to adoption. “I went from single, to a mom with a child who didn’t speak English,” Malnar says. “We were just trying to learn how to communicate.” As an English teacher, Malnar’s background was perfect for her new son who only spoke Njanja – the tribal language of Zambia. The bond began to build as the two slowly learned to communicate and express feelings.

While Malnar was adjusting to parenting, a retired couple from Carroll ISD entered her life—Mike and Teri Rhodes. The Rhodes would soon be hired by Family Legacy Mission International to become instrumental teachers in Zambia and other areas. Malnar toured with them and created their connection to the region. In turn, this new relationship with the Rhodes became a career starter for Malnar and a fresh start for Elijah. Mike Rhodes, the former principal at Carroll Senior High School, connected Malnar with CISD as she sought a return to teaching in her home state of Texas. Rhodes helped Malnar, a native of Lufkin and a graduate of Texas A&M, land a position with Dawson Middle School in 2013 as a language arts teacher. “Once back in the states, she’s been bringing that same passion to work every day,” says Ryan Wilson, Principal at Dawson Middle School. “Eli is an immense and added bonus. His sweet smile and endless energy is inspiration to tackle another day. Eli is who he is because Megan swept him up, brought him home, and doesn’t let anything stand in her way to provide for his tomorrow.” Indeed, Malnar and Eli are a special pair. Her new son has helped shape and challenge her in ways she never imagined. “He is my life,” Malnar says. “He has taught me more than I have learned in my first 25 years.” Eli, who is now seven, is a special young boy. He just finished first grade at Old Union Elementary. “He shines wherever he goes,” Malnar says. “He gives me joy every day. I walk in the school and see the impact he has on others and look at the lives that are changed.” At the same time, he is just like every other young boy. He loves to run, play football and basketball and attend summer camp. “Ever since the first moment that Eli entered Old Union he has had a smile that could light up the world,” says Jon Fike, Principal at Old Union Elementary. “His joyful spirit is contagious and it has been such a blessing watching him acclimate to his new world.” It’s Megan and Eli’s new world, and it shines bright every day.




t was a near miss with the weather at Dragon Stadium as 630 members of the Senior Class of 2016 walked across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. And in spite of a weeklong threat of Texas torrential rains, it ended up being a beautiful night to celebrate, reflect and remember the good times they shared. One Carroll parent posted online after the ceremony that all the Carroll graduation speakers spoke of friendships, tradition and being a part of the Dragon family. “Looks like Carroll ISD did their job,” she tweeted. Speaker after speaker walked to the podium and reflected on what it means to be a Dragon, why students and staff share core values and the many special memories and opportunities being a Dragon affords students. Senior Class President Brooks Ragsdale set the tone for the event by talking about being a part of a Dragon family. “As I look back on these years, there’s one thing that is evident about this class. We are family,” he said. “The main purpose of a family is to demonstrate unconditional love and to support each other through the ups and downs of life.” Ragsdale said, “Seniors: Look behind you at your parents in the stands. Look to your left and right at your teachers. And most importantly look around you. Over the past four years, these are the people who have been next to you, en-


couraging you, and who have become your family. You may leave here and never see ninety percent of these friends again, yet know that they will always be your Dragon Family.” The Class of 2016 earned five consecutive AP Honor Roll Awards, four consecutive UIL Lone Star Cups and boasted 18 National Merit Scholars. They earned $23.3 million in scholarship monies and completed 56,000 community service hours. They will attend a myriad of colleges and universities across the nation. Valedictorian Wongyeong Seong plans to attend Stanford University to study human biology. Seong told classmates “failure is essential; it is as much a part of the tradition as success because success is impossible without failure. Every time an attempt is made, it is as much a dare to achieve as a dare to fail.” Seong, who also holds the honor of being named Carroll Prom King, told his classmates that the only true failure is the failure to try. Salutatorian Nikhil Venugopal Ravi plans to attend Duke University to study computer science. He reminded his classmates that time is measured by friendships made and moments spent together. “The common thread in all of this is friendship,” Ravi said. “I believe that this is what defines our time together as a class—our ability to share, support and lean on each other as we endured the highs and lows of the past four years.”

The Class of 2016 celebrated under cloudy skies and humid temperatures on the night they received their diplomas. They were the first class to ride yellow school buses down Southlake Boulevard to Dragon Stadium behind a police escort. “There is a tradition we leave behind here, one of excellence, of being the best, of blonde hair and personalized I LOVE SLC license plates,” said Student Council President Natalie Richardson, a 14year student of Carroll since elementary school. “But tradition is only protected when it is not left behind. So as all 630 of us go on to our next chapter, I hope we bring tradition with us—a tradition of kindness, of service, of fighting for what’s right.” Carroll ISD’s graduation rate is 100 percent, and 97 percent of CISD’s graduating class goes on to attend two-year or four-year colleges and universities.

HEADS OF THE CLASS The Carroll Class of 2016 was an accomplished one, full of dreamers and achievers, and scholars and state champions. Out of all 630 graduates, each who played an important role in the success of this graduating class, two stood out above the rest: Valedictorian Wongyeong Seong and Salutatorian Nikhil Ravi. Both Wongyeong and Nikhil have been in Carroll ISD for many years, Wongyeong for the last seven, and Nikhil for his entire education since kindergarten. Nikhil is an only child, while Wongyeong has one younger sister, Mogyeong, an incoming senior at CSHS. Both students enjoyed growing up in Southlake, and the community spirit, which embodies this town. “It’s wonderfully quiet and comfortable, and has such lovely people I am honored and beyond blessed to have met in my life,” says Wongyeong. In addition to maintaining the superb grades keeping them at the top of their class, both Nikhil and Wongyeong were extremely active in extracurricular activities within the district. Nikhil spent his extracurricular time as the team captain of the Carroll Robotics Team and the Carroll Computer Science Team, a member of the Carroll Medical Academy, and a volunteer with the Southlake Special Olympics Team. Nikhil was also a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honor Society. When asked what being a Carroll Dragon means to him, Nikhil says, “It means always trying your hardest, being supportive of your friends, and taking pride in the effort that you put in and not just the victories.” Wongyeong was also very active in extracurricular activities while at Carroll, participating in the Carroll Dragon Band, the Carroll Latin Club and the National Junior Classical League chapter.

“My favorite part of being a Dragon is the unapologetic pride there is in being together, in being one, and the way the community is proud to band behind any one of the efforts made by fellow Dragons,” says Wongyeong. Both Nikhil and Wongyeong will carry their Dragon pride to opposite ends of the country next year. Wongyeong plans to attend Stanford University in California, while Nikhil will travel to North Carolina to attend Duke University as an Angier B. Duke Scholar. “The intellectual rigor at CISD makes me feel confident about tackling the academic challenges ahead,” says Nikhil, whose merit scholarship was only awarded to a handful of applicants. As an Angier B. Duke Scholar, Nikhil will receive not only the full cost of tuition and living expenses, but a research stipend and a six-week summer session at Oxford. Wongyeong decided to attend Stanford University because of the unique culture of intensity on both work and leisure, as well as their excellence in a long list of subjects. Wongyeong says his Carroll ISD education taught him how to embrace a wide range of interests and opinions, which he is confident will help him learn the most and make the most of his experience at Stanford. Advising incoming freshmen who are planning for high school, Wongyeong says, “Do it. The thing you were thinking about? The class you’re not sure if you ought to take? Do it. Do what you want and what you feel you want to do, what you ought to do. There can only come good.” Both Nikhil Ravi and Wongyeong Seong have represented Carroll ISD extremely well during their time in the district, embodying the excellence that Carroll stands for in all areas. Both students are outstanding examples of what it means to be a Dragon, and will wear their Dragon pride well in their next chapter of life.



KINDERGARTEN POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE In Carroll ISD the pomp and circumstance of graduation is not just for the senior class. In fact, Dragons in both the preschool and kindergarten grades participate in graduation ceremonies each year. One of the most popular and sweetest traditions surrounding Kindergarten graduation began at Johnson Elementary School where the littlest Dragons on campus culminate their first year of learning by wearing the white button-up shirt of their daddy or special someone. These tiny Dragons fidget nervously as they wait for the chance to walk down the auditorium aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance.” The kindergarteners proudly wear the white button-up shirts backwards, similar to a graduation gown. The resulting scene rarely leaves a dry eye in the room, especially when the kiddos collect their diploma, hug their principal and then sing the traditional “First Grade, First Grade,” to the tune of New York, New York by Frank Sinatra.

FOURTH GRADE CLAP OUTS Moving from elementary school to intermediate school in Carroll ISD can be a big transition for students and an even bigger transition for Dragon parents. The sense of family and involvement at the elementary grades is extremely high, and CISD sometimes struggles to try to emulate those same feelings in the upper grades. Still, there’s something special about those early years in education. For that reason, Carroll schools work diligently to celebrate the accomplishments of their eldest elementary students. One of the time-honored traditions at each of the five campuses is the Fourth Grade Clap Outs. Students in the lower grade levels line the hallways with their teachers on the last day of school, to clap and cheer for the parading fourth graders who take one last stroll through the building before leaving for the summer and heading on to intermediate school. Most of the schools have fourth graders sport matching t-shirts with slogans from their home campus, like Once A Dragon, Always a Dragon. The Fourth Grade Clap Out is an emotional experience for smiling Dragons walking their elementary school hallways for the last time, and for teary-eyed parents who enjoy this special tradition to reflect fondly on their child’s final moments of childhood.

THE GREEN JACKETS Each year, Carroll Senior High School selects male and female students from the junior class to serve as ambassadors and representatives of the school when they become seniors. These students are chosen annually from a highly competitive group of hundreds of eligible students. The Green Jacket ambassadors are comprised of 16 juniors who have a 95 average or better and who the faculty believes to be exceptional leaders. Eight boys and eight girls with the most votes from the esteemed CSHS faculty receive the honor of becoming the new representatives. The Green Jackets are known for being an honorable group that serves in many capacities. According to Carroll Senior High tradition, they sport a green blazer, and usher at graduation, musical/theatrical events, employee convocation and sports events, as well as volunteering for civic events.

POLICE ESCORT AND FINAL BUS RIDE The Class of 2016 took part in a brand new tradition the night of graduation this past June. They gathered together in the Carroll Senior High School Auditorium one last time to watch the senior class video before boarding 15 Carroll ISD yellow school buses bearing the Dragon logo in the rear right window and heading to the stadium for commencement ceremonies. Understanding that starting new traditions is as important as cherishing the old, Principal Shawn Duhon coordinated the effort with the CISD Transportation Department and Southlake Police Department. Students wore their traditional green caps and gowns as they boarded for their final bus ride together. Along Southlake Boulevard the parade of graduates were given high honor and priority with a police escort to Dragon Stadium where they walked the stage, accepted their diploma, hugged their principal and sang the Carroll Alma Mater one last time. – Hail to Carroll High.





4,184 MALE

3,884 FEMALE









WRITING 561 454




1,490 20.9










.9 20






MATH 607








26 .6









21 .0




314 247 241 200 190


1,740 20 13


1,701 20 12

20 15

1,465 20 11


20 14



CISD students are taking AP exams in record numbers

20 10

*26.6 is CISD composite score



WALNUT GROVE Landers-Fike Team Up to Lead CISD’s Largest Elementary Campus


he newest administrative team in the Carroll Independent School District is located at the district’s newest and largest elementary school, but the Principal-Assistant Principal duo is no stranger to Dragon Nation. Walnut Grove Elementary School, which opened in fall 2011, is expected to have nearly 700 students this school year, making it the district’s largest elementary school. Assistant Principal Mike Landers was chosen in February to succeed Dr. Betty McIlvain after she retired mid-year during the 2015-2016 school year. Landers had served for seven years as assistant principal at Johnson Elementary before becoming McIlvain’s assistant principal at WGES for two years. A committee of central office administrators, campus teachers and Walnut Grove parents recommended Landers for the job. He was officially approved by the Carroll ISD School Board in February 2016 and served as principal for the remainder of the school year. “It’s a goal to make this community proud and to do what’s best for kids always,” Landers says. “It is truly most humbling! This may sound a bit cliché, but I feel so honored and privileged to be named principal of this dynamic school. For me, it has been my goal for the past several years to someday lead an elementary school, but to now actually have this opportunity at Walnut Grove and in Carroll ISD is unbelievable. “I’m so proud to team with this community of students, teachers and parents, and I’m genuinely looking forward to partnering with our community to make excellence happen for kids,” Landers adds. With 16 years of experience in public education, Landers served in management roles in areas of accounting, finance and human resources in previous stops. Although born in California, he has spent his entire life in the Hurst area. A graduate of L.D. Bell High School, he earned his

Bachelor’s at the University of North Texas and Master’s at the University of Texas in Arlington. Nearly two decades ago, he was serving as an accounting executive and decided to leave the business world to venture into the field of education. After several years serving as a children’s pastor and director of childhood education, he taught elementary and middle school students his two favorite subjects: math and science. In 2003, Landers was recognized as an Elementary Teacher of the Year. Additionally, he was nominated for the Disney All-American Teacher in 2004 and Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2005. One of Landers’ first orders of business as the new WGES Principal was to interview and select an assistant. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go far to find a qualified candidate who is familiar with Carroll ISD and understands what it means to be a Dragon. Landers chose Allison Fike who has worked in Carroll ISD since 2012. Fike says it’s like she has “come home” as she served the WGES campus as a Care Reading Teacher during the 2012-2013 school year. She most recently served CISD as the Response to Intervention District Specialist. Fike has served nearly 20 years in public education including time spent in Coppell ISD. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas. Dragon green is in the family, too; she is married to Old Union Elementary Principal Jon Fike. “I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve as the Assistant Principal at Walnut Grove Elementary,” Fike said of her new role. “I look forward to serving the learners, teachers and community while always keeping in mind the reason I chose to dedicate my life to educating children- the heart of every decision must be centered on what is best for students.” Landers said he considered over 150 applicants and ultimately interviewed seven candidates. His AP interview committee consisted of continued on page 63


LANDERS & FIKE five grade level team leaders, a special-education representative, an Encore team representative, and the WGES counselor. “Allison Fike brings to Walnut Grove a high knowledge and experience with early learning literacy, as well as a complete knowledge base of the RtI process,” said Landers. “These qualities, in combination with her classroom experience and relationship-building skills, make her a perfect match for our students, teachers and parent community. In addition, she compliments our administrative team with her high energy and organization skills, plus she has a genuine sense of humor and a strong passion for kids. She really is a perfect fit!” Landers and Fike agree that being at the largest elementary campus in Carroll does present interesting and dynamic challenges. Last spring, the Carroll School Board approved additional positions at Walnut Grove to address student enrollment increases until a more permanent solution to the growing elementary population can be found. “We reviewed our Encore schedule and added an additional Science Lab teacher and PE support,” Landers said. “In addition, we are supporting our CARE reading program with an additional part-time teacher – we are certainly grateful to our Carroll ISD Board for supporting these initiatives!” Physical changes to the building are also a part of Carroll ISD’s plan to accommodate the nearly 700 students at WGES during the 2016-2017 school year. “To make sure all students have a superior learning environment, we added three and a half new classrooms in each of the grade-level hallways,” said Landers. “Our campus Leadership Team is actively reviewing several instructional initiatives, with great support from our PTO, to lead our students and teachers.” Landers said WGES held professional development during the summer months to bring proven instructional strategies into the classroom, which will increase student engagement and build powerful learning teams.

Superintendent David Faltys points out that both Landers and Fike have been important members of the CISD leadership team for several years, but they bring a sense of energy, enthusiasm and a positive perspective to their new roles. “I’m looking forward to seeing what these two are going to do for our kids, staff and community,” Dr. Faltys added. “Anyone can look at the TEA website and see that WGES clearly has some of the highest testing scores in the state,” Fike said. “I am sure that was enticing for many applicants, but I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see the heart of the campus as a former WGES teacher and from a district support position. Walnut Grove is so much more than test scores. They possess a passion for students, partnerships with parents, and relationships with colleagues that feel more like family than coworkers. I knew that I wanted to be part of this dynamic campus.” Although Walnut Grove already has a strong sense of excellence in place, the Landers-Fike leadership team has several goals they hope to accomplish. “First and foremost, our desire is to build strong relationships with students, teachers and our parent community,” said Landers. “Through this unified mission, our desire is to offer a customer service-oriented learning environment. You could say our Administrative Team motto is Be Our Guest!” Landers said he and Fike have a strong desire to empower WGES teachers to excel. “Certainly, our goal this year is to lead our dynamic teachers by offering the resources and the support to guide our students to excellence,” he added. “Mr. Landers and I are enthusiastic about our role in supporting the campus as it continues to grow,” Fike said. “Nurturing the culture of the campus, cultivating a unified mission, and partnering with families is our vision as we strive to help our learners reach their greatest potential.”



SPORTS FACTS & FANDOM The traditions of Dragon Nation are many and varied. Achievements both in the classroom and on the field are integral parts of the Dragon way of life.


DRAGON SPORTS: FACTS AND FANDOM after him, and the Southlake Kiwanis annually award a “Heart of a Dragon, Charlie Stalcup” scholarship each year. The Carroll Dragon is easily one of the most recognized mascots in the state, and “Charlie” will forever leave a mark on Carroll ISD and the community.


CHARLIE THE DRAGON BEHIND EVERY GREAT MASCOT IS A STORY. In 2004, Carroll students decided the Dragon mascot needed an official name. So the high school conducted a contest to officially name their mascot. The student body voted and named the Dragon, “Charlie.” It was a heart-warming and inspirational choice because the mascot’s namesake is Charlie Stalcup, a former Dragon defensive coordinator who lost his long battle with cancer before the 2004 school year began. Coach Stalcup’s impact first started when he arrived in 2000 with Head Coach Todd Dodge. The coach remolded the Dragon defense and helped return the program to prominence. While battling his illness, Coach Stalcup fought to stay on the field and coach, to teach and walk the halls. The students, staff and community watched him fight year after year and saw him as a source of courage. The players dug deeper, played and worked harder as they saw their leader fighting his toughest opponent: cancer. Coach Stalcup could later be seen riding in a golf cart at practices because even though the disease attacked him physically, he never stopped inspiring, nor did he let cancer take his spirit. Protecting the Dragon tradition started with student Kathleen Cash as the first “Charlie the Dragon” and remains strong 12 years later. Senior Claire Unruh has the honor of being “Charlie” this school year. It’s a role of celebrity status in this community, as all the little Dragons look up to and admire the beloved mascot. Following Coach Stalcup’s death, the team dedicated the 2004 season to him. It was an unforgettable and emotion-filled run as Carroll went 16-0 and won its second Class 5A state championship in three seasons. The mascot is just one of several ways Carroll ISD has honored Stalcup. The Carroll Dragons indoor workout facility was named


The Carroll Dragons are headed into a new district for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years. The University Interscholastic League announced its biennial Realignment and Reclassification in February. Carroll is moving to District 5-6A and will join four schools from Lewisville ISD: Lewisville, Marcus, Flower Mound and Hebron. The Dragons will also rejoin Trinity and L.D. Bell (all three are in the former 7-6A) and add Byron Nelson. This new eight-team district includes five programs with football state championships: Carroll, Trinity, Marcus, Hebron and Lewisville. This will mark four consecutive years Carroll is paired with Trinity and Bell. This is also the official alignment for football and basketball. One notable subtraction will be Coppell as Carroll loses its long-time rival, which will move to District 9-6A. The Dragons’ new bi-district will be 6-5A which includes Allen and Denton Guyer. Teams from this district will pair against Carroll’s district in the first round of the playoffs. Carroll will also have a new-look nondistrict football schedule. The Dragons open the 2016 season with home games vs. Tulsa Union and Martin and will play on the road at Rockwall. The Dragons will scrimmage Arlington High School. NEW DISTRICT 5-6A Carroll Byron Nelson Lewisville Marcus Flower Mound Hebron Trinity L.D. Bell

HOMECOMING PARADE IN TOWN SQUARE When the late Brian Stebbins stood in a field on FM 1709 imagining families coming together in the cool evening to enjoy a downtown area in Southlake, it seems he had something like the Dragon Homecoming Parade in mind. The visionary developer passed away in October 2012, which is about the same time each year that families now gather for Homecoming celebrations in Southlake Town Square. Stebbins, also one of the founders of the Carroll Education Foundation, was a strong supporter of Carroll ISD, and would be extremely proud to see hundreds of Dragon families line the streets around Rustin Park. CISD Student Council students work in conjunction with the Board and Community Relations department to host a Homecoming carnival, parade and even a pep rally on the steps of Town Hall. One of the culminating moments of this new tradition is the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen on the Mayor’s Balcony of Town Hall. No doubt, Homecoming in Southlake Town Square is exactly what Mr. Stebbins envisioned as he stood in the field along FM 1709/Southlake Boulevard so many years ago, dreaming big and longing for a strong sense of Dragon pride for the Southlake community.

of the Meet. Dragon teamwork was put to the test in the relays during the state meet, and three Carroll boys’ relay teams finished in the Top 6 of the 16 relay entries. The 2015-2016 Dragon Boy’s Swim/Dive Team scored 6,262 points in the NISCA Dual Meet PowerPoint competition, ranking #1 of all Public High Schools in the United States for the 2nd year in a row. This NISCA competition uses objective point values for each timed swim and each timed relay swim, along with diving scores, to establish an overall “depth” evaluation for a HS Swim/Dive Program. The Boys’ Dragon team finished 2nd overall in the US behind St. Xavier, a Private Prep School in Cincinnati, who scored 6,397 points. The Dragon Swimming and Diving Team finished out the year on top and is poised to carry on the tradition of excellence into the next sentence.


DRAGON BOYS SWIMMING/DIVING EARNS 6TH CONSECUTIVE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP The Carroll Dragons boys’ swimming and diving team continued its history-making success at the UIL state meet in February. The Dragons won their sixth consecutive State Championship and scored a state record of 295 points. Carroll sophomore Alex Zettle was the 6A Boys’ Swimmer of the meet, with 314 NISCA (National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) “Power Points” for his two individual events. Close behind was Jack LeVant, also a sophomore, with 313 NISCA “Power Points” for his two individual events. Additional Dragons shined with individual recognitions at the state meet. Recent Carroll graduate Nate Hernandez was awarded the 6A Boys’ Diver of the Meet, and Carolyn Hryorchuk was recognized as the 6A Boys’ Diving Coach

The Carroll Dragon tennis program experienced an exciting record year in 2016. The Dragons claimed two Class 6A state championships— boys singles and boys doubles — at the UIL State Tennis Championships in College Station. Dragon singles player Arman Dave became the first Dragon singles player since 1998 (Justin Hunter) to win a state championship. Dave battled through a rain delay and defeated Jeremiah Gonzalez from Harlington South 6-3, 6-1 in the championship. Dave joins Hunter and Doug Fike (1996) as the only boys singles state champs. Dave becomes the first Dragon to win a 6A title. Dave, a sophomore, won his quarterfinal match 6-1, 6-0 and defeated Roger Chou of Austin Westlake 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinal. Dave led his title match 4-1 before a one-hour rain delay. The doubles team of Matt Landers and Alec Reusche won the first doubles state title in school history. They won in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 against a team from New Braunfels. Landers/Reusche won their quarterfinal match 6-4, 6-3 vs. Lake Travis and 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 vs. McAllen Memorial in the semifinal.



WRESTLING WITH GREATNESS DRAGON WRESTLING HAS ARRIVED. The program has grown over the past 14 years into a fully established area powerhouse that continues to get better year after year. Carroll ISD athletics have built a tradition of excellence for more than 50 years, and wrestling is adding to the wealth of success. Wrestling is no longer a sport trying to gain traction like it was in 2002. Dragon Wrestling is now among the top finishers in area, region and state competitions in Class 6A. Participation has grown, and Coach Joe Hathaway has developed a wrestling culture that has captured the Southlake community and interested youngsters.


Success breeds more success. And the tradition of excellence seen across Dragon Nation now includes wrestling, as more trophies and honors come toward the program. Dragon Wrestling produced its greatest success story with a historymaking season in 2016. Hathaway led the Dragons down a path of milestones, which included sending a record six wrestlers to the Class 6A state tournament. It marked the best team season in school history, and the top finisher, Jack Duval, was the 160-pound class state runner-up. Also, Carroll’s Region I state runner-up finish was a program first. The Dragons’ jump to become one of the area’s top programs can be attributed to the fast growth of the sport in the state and in Southlake through youth clubs, middle school programs and summer camps. “I’m very proud of the hard work, effort and time that our wrestlers, parents and community members have invested into building our program to where it is today,” Hathaway says. “We are now at a place where we can compete for district, region and state titles every year.” The University Interscholastic League (UIL) added wrestling as a state-recognized sport in 1999. Six years into the program, Carroll produced its first State Champion with Robert Prigmore in 2008. Other Dragon State Champions include Stephan McPeek in 2009 and Michael Basler in 2014. Due to the sport’s foundation, school commitment and success, more and more athletes are interested in wrestling. Carroll ISD has been committed to the sport’s growth. In 2011 the district added a wrestling competition/training fieldhouse, weight room and locker room at Carroll High School. The future appears very bright for Dragon Wrestling as middle school and youth programs are flourishing. The varsity’s success only adds more exposure to Carroll’s newest sport which is gaining perennial power status. “The sky is the limit for our entire wrestling program,” Hathaway says. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the tradition established by our past student-athletes carried on by the younger groups that they have inspired throughout the years. It’s a special thing when those kids come back and are proud of the family and foundation they have fought to build.”


DRAGON FOOTBALL BOOK CHRONICLES STORIED PROGRAM The Carroll Dragons have one of the most prestigious football programs in the nation. Now there’s a book that captures the essence of this perennial power. Southlake Carroll Dragon Football: Images of Sports is now available, providing a 128-page look at this storied program with decades of history and tradition. Author Connie Cooley, president of the Southlake Historical Society, provides a look at Dragon football from its rural country beginnings to its rise in Class 6A. Cooley spent one year writing and researching for the book and did 18 interviews, including one with every living former head coach. This is the first book written about Dragon football and provides a behind-the-scenes look at all the big games, athletes, coaches and much more that made this program so successful. Take a step back in history and get all the details from Carroll’s first state title in 1988 to its eighth in 2011. Also, feel the great history that Old Dragon Stadium provided when all of Southlake gravitated to this now iconic field. Much of the history and background was compiled from an August 2004 program the Southlake


Historical Society sponsored on Dragon football and nine scrapbooks from the late Superintendent Jack D. Johnson. The book offers many historical photos through the decades of action and features photos of the eight state championship teams. Former coach Bob Ledbetter wrote the book’s forward and was the architect of championship football in Southlake in the 1980s and ’90s. He provides a first-person glimpse into what coaching the Dragons meant to him. Coach Todd Dodge, the former Texas Longhorn quarterback who Ledbetter hired in 2000, wrote the afterward in the book. Dodge led the Dragons to four state championships and returned the program to dynasty status. The book also features the early years of Carroll’s history before the district was formed and the Dragons were born. This is Arcadia’s second book about Texas high school football – the other featured the Stephenville Yellow Jackets. Flipping through the pages of the book provides a fun ride back through the history of the district. Some of the images include old rosters, former Dragon logos and images of the earliest classes. The book can be purchased at the Carroll ISD Administration Center, located at 2400 North Carroll Ave., or by emailing

Meet the star of the game.

“PROTECT THE TRADITION” Former head football coach Todd Dodge enacted the phrase in 2000 in an effort to have his teams, and their fans, embrace the school’s storied past. With this philosophy as the foundation, Dodge returned Dragon football to its former dominance, winning four 5A state championships in a span of five years. Today “Protect the Tradition,” remains a prevalent phrase throughout the district, as it has grown to encompass effort and enthusiasm displayed by all of Dragon Nation both on and off the field of competition.

Go Dragons!

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DRAGON NATION Show your pride for the greater Southlake community with the new Carroll Dragon World Rewards Credit Card*, issued by EECU Credit Union.

CARD HIGHLIGHTS REWARDS FOR TRAVEL & MORE* Every $1 spent on new purchases earns 1.25 points, redeemable for travel, merchandise, gift cards or donations to Carroll ISD. NO ANNUAL CARD FEE Other rewards credit cards charge $50 on average per year.

Whether dining out, traveling, or buying gas, your Carroll Dragon World Rewards Card helps support Carroll ISD programs — at no additional cost to you.

NO BALANCE TRANSFER FEE* Other rewards credit cards usually charge 3%.


CHIP ENABLED - ADDED SECURITY Embedded chip provides enhanced security and wider acceptance when you make purchases at chip-enabled card readers in the U.S. and abroad.

*Membership in EECU is required, visit for details. Financing subject to credit approval and lending policies. Some restrictions apply. Cardholder benefits are subject to change at any time without notice. Purchases must be qualifying signature rewards purchases in order to receive points and bonus points. Balance transfers, convenience checks, and any fees associated with the card do not qualify for rewards points. Refer to World Rewards MasterCard® terms and conditions for full details.

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BLENDED PRESCHOOL PROGRAM Carroll’s Youngest Dragons Thrive


f you walk down the halls of Rockenbaugh Elementary, Old Union Elementary or Carroll Elementary, you might catch a glimpse of our smallest Dragons. While it may look like any other Carroll ISD classroom from the outside, a close look on the inside reveals an educational setting that is unique to Carroll ISD. The Carroll ISD Blended Preschool Program was originally created more than a decade ago to provide typically developing role models for children with disabilities. Over time, preschool in Carroll ISD has become a self-sustaining program in which students learn in an all-inclusive environment, similar to other classrooms throughout the district. As the district continues to grow, the Blended Preschool Program provides an opportunity for our youngest Dragons to begin striving for excellence as early as age three. Students are exposed to foundational academic skills needed for future success in Carroll ISD. The program continues to grow with 12 Blended Preschool classes and more than 40 English as a Second Language (ESL) students who represent 12 languages. Tracy Fair, lead preschool teacher at Rockenbaugh Elementary, believes that “our Blended Preschool Program fosters acceptance, learning, love and kindness. It is an awesome opportunity for our children to learn and grow alongside all children regardless of their abilities.” The Blended Preschool Program provides early educational opportunities for children with disabilities, children who meet eligibility for pre-kindergarten, such as ESL, as defined

by the Texas Education Agency, as well as three- and four-year-old children who reside within Carroll ISD on a tuition basis. All of the preschool teachers are highly qualified with certifications in Early Childhood, ESL and Special Education, unlike private preschool programs in the area. This educational experience of CISD teachers ensures that the needs of all learners are met. Additionally, each classroom has an educational aide that supports the teacher, allowing for a minimum of two adults in every classroom daily. The preschool curriculum is based on the Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines developed by the Texas Education Agency, which focuses on social/emotional development, language/ communication, emergent academic skills, fine arts, physical development, and technology. Each day, preschool students are engaged in large and small group activities that nurture growth in all areas through weekly themes. Each theme is designed to not only prepare students for academic success, but also develop essential functional skills that will extend beyond the classroom walls. Catherine Cannon-Kribs, Rockenbaugh Elementary preschool parent, expressed that since her son began attending Rockenbaugh “... we have truly seen [him] blossom. He is excited every morning to come to school… and comes home happy every day.” During the past two years, the preschool program has been striving to increase access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities in each classroom. Daily, our preschool students continued on page 77


participate in engaging and innovative activities, even without adult intervention. With everyday materials, preschool students create and/or build innovative objects and participate in imaginative play with others. Through trial and error, students learn to share ideas for new designs “reinforcing their abilities to work together in a team atmosphere, problemsolve, and begin to build a mathematical foundation. Within these classroom walls, students experience early intervention and differentiation in language rich classrooms. “Language improvement and improved speech is central to school success. Early intervention in a classroom setting and targeted individualized instruction ensures that each child has the opportunity to meet his or her full potential,” says Amanda McGuckin, CISD speech-language pathologist. All students are assessed much like elementary students to assist with the development of appropriate instruction. Students are met where they are and provided with educational opportunities that allow them to flourish. It is the goal of the preschool program to ensure kindergarten readiness for each child. We are fortunate to have our Preschool Program at Rockenbaugh, Old Union and Carroll Elementary, affording us every opportunity to utilize many things these campuses have to offer. Preschool students eat in the school cafeterias, play on the playgrounds, attend school-wide programs, go on field trips and enjoy time in the gym. Our preschool students are not the only Dragons who benefit from the program at elementary campuses. Older elementary students are provided with opportunities to be role models, exposing our youngest Dragons to the culture of excellence and compassionate service. “When I am not having the best of days, I can always count on visiting our youngest Dragons for an attitude adjustment,” says Carroll Elementary Principal Stacy Wagnon. “Their happy, sincere and innocent smiles always put a smile on my face.” We continue to be proud of the amazing work of our teachers and principals on our preschool campuses. For more information about our program, contact Jessica Richardson, preschool coordinator, at


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ADMINISTRATION Barbara Yelton, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and Board, is but one of many smiling faces who are integral to the behind-the-scenes workings at Carroll ISD.


FACILITY NEEDS PLANNING District Continues to Study Capital Needs Committee Recommendation


40-member Capital Needs Planning Committee met for more than eight months during the 2015-2016 school year in an effort to identify projects to support the Carroll ISD Strategic Plan. Their recommendation was given to Trustees in June for further study and consideration. Referred to as the CNPC, the group was made up of parent/taxpayers and school employees who met with the CISD administration regularly during the 2015-2016 school year to address potential projects for the district in areas pertaining to technology, maintenance, transportation, security and safety, capital improvements and building use, and extracurricular and co-curricular activities. The CNPC heard numerous presentations on the last capital needs campaign, including debt capacity, operational budget constraints and enrollment projections. The group was tasked with identifying options for accommodating a growing elementary student population while addressing the strategic objectives of the Boardapproved strategic plan. After several meetings to learn all they could about CISD, the group divided into four subcommittees to begin more in-depth study of existing facilities. Dawson Middle School teacher Mark Pedroza helped lead the Technology Subcommittee along with CISD parent/taxpayer Rebecca Hindman. Members of the Tech Subcommittee evaluated the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical) program facilities, and the relevant spaces and equipment for CISD’s growing STEM student enrollment. The Technology Subcommittee also prioritized staffing, infrastructure, student devices, teacher presentation tools, language labs, fine arts/gym/cafeteria sound systems, and furniture as part of their district-wide assessment. Currently, the district implements a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) philosophy, which can put teachers at a disadvantage spending time managing different student devices during class time. Carroll ISD’s Strategic Plan calls for a 1:1 technology solution, which calls for one device per student and staff. Plans being studied involve


iPads at the elementary grade levels and laptops in the upper grades. The Extracurricular/Co-curricular Subcommittee focused on existing and potential facilities for Fine Arts, Athletics and Co-curricular programs in Carroll ISD. This particular subcommittee, led by CISD Band Director Ken Johnson and CISD parent Bill Webb, spent time touring both Carroll ISD facilities as well as the facilities of neighboring school districts, some of which have been built in very recent years. CISD has a significant portion of the student population participating in extracurricular and co-curricular programs—more than 86 percent of the students in grades 7-12. Particular areas of focus for this subcommittee included updates to the Aquatics Center, Carroll Senior High School Auditorium and athletic facilities, as well as potential new construction to provide a competitive and safe environment for students. The group identified possible field turf projects that could make fields safer for athletes, easier to maintain and create a revenue source through facility rental. Among the top projects recommended for the arts was construction of a new fine arts center at Carroll Senior High School, band instruments and uniforms. The Subcommittee for Maintenance, Transportation, Safety & Security spent time over the last eight months touring facilities, studying mechanical, electrical and plumbing reports, and learning about the current status of the Carroll bus fleet. Subcommittee Chairman John Reynal is a CISD parent and taxpayer. He said the subcommittee’s project list includes roofs, carpet, paint, playground surfaces, HVAC systems and buses throughout the district. The group worked with consultants to consider ongoing maintenance solutions, cost-cutting operational ideas and security options. They also looked at the aging bus fleet, the current bus types/fuel options and a possible multi-year purchase plan to help ensure safety. The group recommended additional security cameras and keyless access points throughout the district. Their findings went hand-in-hand with the district-conducted employee and parent safety

surveys that were issued last spring as part of the CISD Strategic Plan, as well as an independent audit by security experts Combs & Associates. The Capital Improvements/Building Use Subcommittee studied capital projects including classroom additions at CISD elementary schools, bigger elementary gymnasiums, canopies at campuses, and improved acoustics. The subcommittee, chaired by parent/taxpayer Hyke Link and CISD teacher Chad McCoy, reviewed additional classroom space for STEM, and a reconfigured cafeteria for Carroll Senior High, as well as other projects. Two of the biggest issues studied by this subcommittee were the future home for the CISD preschool program, and additional K-4 classroom space to accommodate student growth. Although the CNPC ultimately recommended a sixth elementary long-term, members acknowledged that the operational dollars may not be available to make that happen in the next five years. So they recommended a short-term solution to build classroom space at existing campuses and/or consider a possible recon-

figuration of existing grade levels housed in each CISD building. The CNPC recommended the preschool program remain on at least two elementary campuses, but also retained the option of renovating the vacant space at Durham Intermediate School for preschool, if needed. CNPC Co-chairs Todd Carlton and Annie Zvonecek presented the CNPC recommendation to Trustees in June. The Administration and School Board will continue to study project options and costs, and will likely call a bond election for voter consideration in 2017. Carlton represented the south feeder system for CISD and Zvonecek the north feeder system. They led the work of the CNPC from September 2015 through the June 2016 recommendation in an effort to provide the Board & Administration with guidance from a grassroots citizen/staff committee. To learn more about Carroll ISD’s long-term capital needs plan, visit the School Board drop down menu on the district’s website:


CISD Tax Rate Remains Among Lowest of Tarrant County School Districts


arroll Trustees reduced the overall tax rate by another half-cent this past year, giving local taxpayers a slight break despite significant increases in home values. The local school tax rate is among the lowest of the 21 schools in Tarrant County. “Our Trustees have been very mindful of the impact the tax rate has on our local residents,” says Superintendent David J. Faltys. “Sometimes all people see is the bottom line and we certainly understand that. However, it is not the rate that is increasing, bur rather the value of their homes.” Carroll’s taxable value increased more than 11 percent this past year, according to Tarrant Appraisal District estimates. Unfortunately, CISD does not control home values. The Carroll School Board voted in September 2015 to lower the debt service side of the local school tax rate from $0.36 per $100 valuation to $0.355. The rate has been lowered more than 54 cents from $1.937 back in 2002 to today’s $1.395 in 2015. The district’s maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate is capped at $1.04 per $100 of a home’s valuation. To raise the rate beyond that amount would require a Tax Ratification Election, or TRE approval from voters. The interest and sinking tax rate (I&S, or debt service), is currently $.355 per $100 of valuation. This rate is set each year by the board to meet the district’s debt obligations. Over the last several years, Carroll Trustees have reduced

the overall school district tax rate. The M&O rate has been reduced from $1.50 to $1.04, and the I&S rate has been reduced from $.435 to $0.355. “Carroll Trustees have been very mindful of trying to maintain the lowest rate possible in order to fund our schools locally,” says Dr. Faltys. “Out of the 21 school districts in Tarrant County, 15 of them have higher total tax rates than Carroll ISD.” Each year, Carroll ISD’s tax rate is proposed in August and adopted by the School Board in September, just in time for the new fiscal year to begin. The maintenance and operations rate funds the annual operations of the district. These funds go to pay for staff salaries, supplies, utilities and other ongoing expenses to operate school. The district’s M&O rate is currently at $1.04 per $100 valuation. The first $1 of the tax rate is equalized under the state’s school finance formula, requiring Carroll ISD to surrender “recaptured” funds to the state under the Chapter 41 (Robin Hood) plan. The money generated by the other four pennies stays entirely in Carroll ISD. The $0.355 I&S rate funds the repayment of principal and interest of bond issuances approved by voters with a maximum rate of $0.50 per $100 valuation. The bond issuances fund capital needs such as building construction, buses, technology networks and refresh cycles for computer equipment.

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SCOTT WREHE PROFILE CISD Has a New Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services


cott Wrehe has always had a love for numbers. He’s now in charge of some of Carroll ISD’s most important numbers. Wrehe (pronounced Rare) joined Carroll last December as the district’s new Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services. Wrehe has over 20 years of experience as an accountant and school finance leader. Before joining Carroll ISD, Wrehe served as Joshua ISD’s Chief Financial Officer for the past five years. What helps Wrehe in his new position is his experience working in various-sized school districts. This was one of the top aspects of Wrehe’s resume which also included stops at Fort Worth ISD and Burleson ISD.


He is a registered Texas School Business Administrator with the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) and currently serves as the President of the TASBO affliliate. During his tenure at Joshua ISD, he was a member of the team that assisted in the successful passing of a school bond program. He also developed a strong customer service record for his finance department, as well as a departmental strategic plan and a campus scorecard program. While leading Burleson ISD as the Director of Accounting, he handled all investments and cash management for the district. He also assisted in creating and implementing Campus Activity Fund procedures and Booster Club/ PTO procedures. Wrehe earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from TCU (’95) and started his financial career with Earnst & Young. Soon thereafter, his public school career began as part of the Fort Worth ISD in 1998. While there, he served roles as internal auditor and budget coordinator. His wife, Stacie, is also a CPA and former teacher. The couple has two sons – Thomas and Jonathan who will be starting in Carroll ISD in 2016-2017. “I feel fortunate to have joined this outstanding district,” Wrehe says. “And I’m looking forward to my children starting school here in the fall and becoming part of the Dragon family.” Outside of the office, the Omaha, Nebraska, native is an active youth sports coach for both his sons’ baseball and basketball teams. He and the family support both the Horned Frogs and Cornhuskers whenever possible.

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f you love Texas high school football and its rich history, pull up a chair next to Darren Allman. The Carroll athletic director has a playing and coaching resume that reads like a roadmap of the who’s who of Texas high school football. It all started in his playing days, growing up and playing for the famous Odessa Permian Panthers during the late 1980s. He graduated before the best-selling book Friday Night Lights was released, but lived the culture and later returned as the head coach from 2005-2009. Allman, who played safety at Permian and Hardin-Simmons University, started his coaching career at Cleveland High School, and after one year, he landed a position with the Brownwood Lions in 1995. Brownwood’s legacy was created by the legendary coach Gordon Wood. While Allman coached the Lions, Wood still had a presence around the program and became a mentor. Following an eight-year stint at Brownwood, Allman became the defensive coordinator at


two more historic programs: Temple and then Highland Park. Allman returned to Odessa Permian in 2005 to tackle his first head coaching job with the Panthers. With his systems in place, he helped return the program to prominence with three state quarterfinalist appearances. After much success in his hometown, Allman earned the opportunity to join another wellknown Texas program in Austin Westlake. A one-high school town full of tradition was a breeding ground for such NFL quarterbacks as Drew Brees and Nick Foles was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. During his tenure in Westlake, Allman’s teams finished in the top five of the Class 5A Lone Star Cup standings and finished second twice. He also led Westlake to the Class 5A Division I state finalist finish in 2009. Allman left Westlake for Colleyville Heritage in 2014. With a career record of 89-37 and more than 19 years of coaching experience at some of the state’s most elite programs, Allman arrived in Dragon Country—home to four consecutive UIL Lone Star Cups and eight Texas High School football state titles. Allman decided to step away from coaching when he came to Carroll. “Although there are many aspects of being a head football coach that I miss, the responsibility of leading the Carroll athletic program provides many new challenges that have proven to be very rewarding,” Allman says. “The quality of Carroll coaches and athletes, along with the support of the parents and Carroll ISD administration makes the position of athletic director in Carroll the best job in the state.” Some of his accomplishments while serving as athletic coordinator or director include: creation of public-public partnership for construction of a multi-purpose indoor training facility, the development of new marketing and advertisement packages which included television, radio and videoboard partnership with local booster clubs. From the “Mojo” to the Dragons, Allman has an impressive history with plenty of stories to tell.


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Carroll ISD’s Partnership With Ozarka Spring Water Enters Third Year


he 2016-17 school year will mark the third consecutive year for Ozarka Brand 100% Natural Spring Water as the exclusive bottled water at Dragon Stadium, home of Dragon Soccer and the eight-time State Champion Dragon football team. For the last two years, Carroll fans have experienced Ozarka brand ambassadors at Dragon Stadium home games doing everything from photo booths to green-out game promotions. Last year even saw Ozarka donate Dragon football T-shirts to the Carroll Athletic Booster Club to sell as a fundraiser. At the final home game of 2015, Ozarka provided a catered dinner for various fans including cancer survivors at the annual Dragon Football pink-out game. The original partnership between Nestle Waters North America (Ozarka) and Carroll ISD was unanimously approved by the CISD school board in 2014. Revenue from the marketing agreement goes into the district’s general operating fund, which pays for school materials, staffing, student programs, buses and more. The contract includes video messaging, a digital animated game for fans on the video scoreboard, public address announcements, social media campaigns and Ozarka signage and branding throughout Dragon Stadium. The east end zone seating for the Dragon Band and Emerald Belles contains the largest Ozarka signage at the stadium. Aside from the marketing benefits at Dragon Stadium, Ozarka and local Girl Scouts teamed up to begin a stadium recycling program. Purchasing for CISD concessions is also included along with in-kind water donations for CISD student groups participating at varsity football games, which include the Dragon Band, Emerald Belles, Dragon Cheer and The Crew. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Ozarka,” Carroll ISD Superintendent Dr. David Faltys says. “The dollars generated from this contract provide a significant


financial impact to our district and assist funding the educational needs of our students. As a bonus, we believe the partnership between a trusted Texas brand such as Ozarka and the Carroll Dragons enhances the overall game experience for our fans.” Dating back to 1905, Ozarka’s heritage is rooted in Texas for generations. Today, Ozarka® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water is bottled in Texas and comes exclusively from high-quality spring sources throughout the state. This agreement connects two prominent names in the state and provides added exposure for both. “Ozarka’s support of the Carroll Dragon football program is our way of demonstrating our commitment to the local communities we have called home for many years,” says Greg Berumen, senior marketing manager at Nestlé Waters North America. “Ozarka is thrilled to be a part of an important Texas tradition and our role in these traditions is something we are truly proud of.”

Photo Credit: Shannon Faulk for Ozarka




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CISD TRAINING Carroll Getting Results From Crucial Conversations Program


hat exactly makes a conversation crucial? The New York Times bestselling authors of the book, Crucial Conversations, know exactly what it takes: opposing opinions, strong emotions and high stakes. They have put together a training program that is taking the corporate world by storm. Carroll ISD’s leadership team has implemented the training program to teach administrators, classroom teachers and support staff tools for talking when stakes are high. Since July 2015, the district has trained more than 100 Dragons, and the feedback has been extremely encouraging. “This is not a communications course,” says CISD Trainer Julie Thannum, Assistant SuperIntendent for Board and Community Relations. “Crucial Conversations is about getting results, about identifying when a conversation becomes crucial and moving back into healthy dialogue.” “Conversations about behavior and how it impacts learning can be difficult and emotional for both parties,” says Julie Harrison, CISD Behavioral Specialist. “The steps of the program have helped me to create safe and action-based discussions with parents, staff and students.” Harrison says Crucial Conversations made her more aware of the importance of quality and effective communication tools to use in a variety of situations in schools. Thannum became certified by Vital Smarts to train Carroll staff. She said the two-day course provides a corporate model for identifying where conversations are “stuck” and participants have moved to either silence or violence. The training course is divided into nine different content-rich modules which teach participants real-life skills that work in their professional and personal lives. In turn, Thannum uses the corporate model to give realistic school scenarios to which educators can easily relate. “I haven’t seen any training as impactful as Crucial Conversations in helping our staff respond effectively during critical conversations with each other, their supervisors, parents and even students,” Thannum says. “The feedback


we are getting from our participants at all levels of the organization is extremely encouraging. “What we thought would be a good training program to help our staff deal with parents has turned into an extremely effective way for school staff to interact with one another and move past emotions and opposing opinions to get results,” adds Thannum. “We are finding significant power in having a common terminology and simple strategies for moving from high emotions to deeper and more meaningful conversations. Nearly all of the Carroll ISD District Leadership Team (DLT) has completed the two-day course in the first year it was implemented. Thannum is now training classroom teachers, assistant principals, diagnosticians, counselors and support staff. The rigorous course content identifies ways to draw people into conversations, teaches them to listen more emphatically, and to create safety and encourage greater understanding. “Two things from the training really resonated with me,” says Melissa Bailey, sixth grade language arts and GT teacher at Durham Intermediate School. “It all starts with me. I have a choice in how I respond when I see or hear something: I can tell myself a negative story, a positive story, or I can decide to wait to react to any feelings until I have all the facts. Crucial Conversations has helped me with my coworkers and with my family, as well.” Carroll Middle School Assistant Principal Joey Calvillo said in the week after he completed the training, he had three different crucial conversations where he utilized the skills he was taught— two work-related and one personal. “This was by far one of the best trainings I have ever had,” Calvillo says. “Growing up in my generation, no one ever taught me how to have a crucial conversation without emotions running high and people getting defensive and their feelings hurt. The training gave you steps, techniques and role play scenarios to help familiarize you with different situations that might occur.” Paul Pinson is a Curriculum Coordinator who works with hundreds of teachers across the district.

“Crucial Conversations training has provided me with verbal tools and relational insights that have aided me in addressing circumstances that might otherwise have gone unresolved,” says Pinson. “As one who often avoided or mismanaged crucial conversations, the ability to maintain, and even improve professional relationships, through adversity, has benefited me immeasurably both personally and professionally.” “When people move to silence or aggression in a conversation, it’s typically not because they disagree, it is because they feel unsafe to share honest thoughts and feelings,” Bailey says. She isn’t alone in her assessment of the effectiveness of the training program. Fellow DIS teacher Ashley Lambert said what she thought would help her as a future administrator, ended up being highly effective training for her classroom teacher role. “I went into the training hoping that I would learn skills to make having those tough conversations a little bit easier,” says Lambert, Durham Intermediate 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year. “I do not like confrontation and I do not like when people are upset with me. I went in hoping to learn how to become a better communicator and how to handle conflict better.” Lambert says she has regularly used the skills she learned in the two-day workshop at home and at work. “This training was easily the best workshop I have ever attended in my professional career,” Lambert says. “I rave about it to anyone who inquires about it and I recommend it to anyone who can sign up.”




A lot has changed over the years, but school spirit is as strong as ever!

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From academics and athletics to the arts, we keep our tradition in supporting our Southlake Carroll Dragons! Carroll Athletic Booster Club

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