TSB—February 2012

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February 2012

Through thick and thin Regional ESCs support districts in lean times

TASBO President David Garcia Midland ISD

In the Spotlight LaTonya Goffney Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD

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TSB contents news and features

That’s not allowed! Expert shares compliance tips for spending grant money


by Rebecca Estrada

photo features


Cover story Regional ESCs support districts in lean times

TAGT hosts annual professional development event


President Profile

TASPA/TAEE hosts winter conference in Austin


The numbers add up for TASBO’s David Garcia


by Bobby Hawthorne

From Our Readers



Who’s News


TSB Professional Development & Events Calendar


Ad Index


columns From the Editor


The Law Dawg  —  unleashed


Tech Toolbox


by Katie Ford

by Raven L. Hill

by Jim Walsh

by Terry Morawski

The Back Page

In the Spotlight


by Riney Jordan


COCISD superintendent knows firsthand the power of education by Jennifer LeClaire

Cover story photo: Teacher Certification Program consultant Lucille Vaughan leads an alternative certification training for ESC Region 18. The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication. February 2012 • Texas School Business


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Texas School Business • February 2012

From the Editor School funding has never been more complicated and, frankly, hard to come by! All across Texas I’m hearing about school administrators and classroom teachers who are getting super creative about finding ways to keep programs, staff and classrooms operating in full gear. There are grassroots fundraisers, grant applications and countless budget meetings to revisit priorities. In the midst of all this, our regional education service centers have always been there, offering solutions, support and professional development to administrators and educators in the field. In fact, a recent client satisfaction survey revealed that Texas ESCs offered more than 6 million training hours in one year! Additionally, a little more than 99 percent of school districts and charter schools in Texas are participating in shared service arrangements to maximize their resources and support one another. In this issue, writer Raven Hill explores the history of education service centers, what they offer and how their relationships with school districts have changed over the years. We also invited Rebecca Estrada, executive director of finance for Lackland ISD, to give some pointers on how to ensure compliance when spending grant money. And we spoke with David Garcia, chief financial officer of Midland ISD, who steps up to serve as the president of the Texas Association of School Business Officials this month. We believe his business acumen and sharp head for numbers will serve the state organization well. Lastly, we had the pleasure of interviewing LaTonya Goffney, superintendent of Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD. Her story epitomizes how a child’s formative years in school can determine the kind of adult he or she will grow up to be. Read on and be inspired! Please keep the feedback and story ideas coming to katie@texasschoolbusiness.com. Always love to hear from you! Katie Ford Editorial director

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(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) February 2012 Volume LVIII, Issue 5 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-478-2113 • Fax: 512-495-9955 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Publisher Ted Siff Editor in Chief Jim Walsh Editorial Director Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Riney Jordan, Terry Morawski, Jim Walsh Advertising Sales Manager Jim Johnson Director of Marketing and Customer Relations Stephen Markel Office Services Ambrose Austin ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620 Published monthly, except for July/August and November/ December, and for the Best in Class issue published in August and the Bragging Rights issue published in December (12 times a year) by Texas School Business Magazine, LLC, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455, Austin, TX 78701. Periodical Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas School Business,1601 Rio Grande Street, #455, Austin, TX 78701. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $28 per year; $52 for two yrs; $72 for three yrs. Group rate: 10 or more, $18; single issues, $4.50.

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Texas School Business • February 2012

Dear Katie Ford: I always enjoy reading your magazine. It’s fresh, up to date and helpful! Thanks for what you do! A very good friend of mine is Riney Jordan, so I always look forward to seeing his article. Sometimes I laugh; sometimes I cry. But I always agree that Riney and you have your finger on the pulse of what is going on in our state. Thanks again! Paul Jennings Principal, Eagle Mountain Elementary Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Thank you very much for including Alvarado ISD in Texas School Business’ Fifth Annual Bragging Rights 2011-2012 issue! We were honored and humbled to be considered and ecstatic that we made the cut! I think that Mr. Carmack did a wonderful job on the article and represented our program/community extremely well. I enjoyed working through the process with him. Thank you again and God bless! Kenneth Estes Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Alvarado ISD I wanted to take a moment to convey my thanks for the wonderful article in Bragging Rights regarding Rising Star ISD. I appreciate your outstanding work and the way the article came out. Again, THANKS! Max Thompson Superintendent Rising Star ISD Not just because he is my boss and friend, but the story “Northside ISD’s John Folks fights the good fight for public education,” by Bobby Hawthorne (November/December 2011), is so well written and really tells Dr. Folks’ story and why we love him so much in Northside ISD. Thanks for sharing our Dr. Folks with the rest of Texas. Pascual Gonzalez Executive Director of Communications Northside ISD

Dear Jim Walsh: Each week, I find magazine or newspaper articles about world, state or national news that I think will be of interest to the students in my pre-AP English classes. I also look for articles about young people and topics that pertain to their interests. The students are to write a minimum of a one-page response, giving their opinions and/or reactions to the article. We call this our Weekly Homework Assignment Material (WHAM). Our junior high principal had put a copy of your Law Dawg column, “Queen of charm loses her crown” (September 2011) in the faculty mailboxes earlier in the year. After reading it, I felt this would be a topic my students would really get into. We read and discussed the article together in class, approaching it from several different angles. Cyberbullying and bullying in general, of course, were the main topics we discussed. But we also brought in ideas about how much responsibility the school system has in teaching moral responsibility to the students and whether it should be left up to the parents to teach this. The students also discussed the question of whether the punishment was appropriate for the behavior. Several thought the punishment of 90 days of social suspension was too severe. The article brought out much interesting discussion, and the students really enjoyed responding to this topic. The students were quite impressed with the fact that one of their peers was interested enough in the assignment to go the extra mile and write to you to seek more information, and so was I. Also, the students were impressed — and so was I — that in your response, you said that you thought what we were doing in class was “cool.” Thank you for being interested in education. Ruth Schoenhals Eighth Grade English Teacher Perryton ISD TSB

THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh

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Tebow flash mob leads to litigation


eople sometimes wonder why school districts need lawyers. Ha! In response to that question, I encourage you to consider what happened in Blusterville ISD when a couple of football players decided to pay homage to their hero — Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Throughout the football season, many of the Blusterville Bulldawgs engaged in frequent Tebowing. This is the practice of dropping to one knee and reciting a short prayer of gratitude. Tim Tebow does this so regularly that his name has become a verb. The co-captains, two seniors and good Christian boys, decided that Tebowing should not be restricted to the football field. Why not Tebow after acing a test? How about Tebowing in the cafeteria to thank God for the good food? And what about when that special girl says yes to the request for the date to the prom — Tebow time! Well, the practice spread. Blusterville High has had more genuflection in the past month than you would see at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at midnight mass. This was all just fine until last week. That is when the football team organized what they called Flash Mob Titanic Tebow Time. Unfortunately, the time they chose was between third and fourth periods, in the school hallway. With kids hustling to get to the next class, all of a sudden 65 kids — football players, cheerleaders, tuba players and assorted friends — dropped to a knee to give thanks to the Almighty. Ms. Downyshanks was the first casualty. This teacher already had been advised that she should not wear those high heels to school anyway, and that she should occasionally glance up from her iPhone as she navigates the hallway. All to no avail. She tripped over the backup tight end and tumbled into the melee. She tore her ACL. She is out the rest of the year and has filed a claim for assault leave and damage to her iPhone. Mr. Paradiddle, our chemistry teacher, crashed into the scrum in his motorized

wheelchair. He has filed suit for disability discrimination. The kid he ran over has filed a tort claim against the district for the negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Betsy Boopinski, a sophomore and wellknown “hottie,” was caught unawares in the middle of the flash mob. As everyone around her went down on one knee, she was left standing there like the candle on the birthday cake. That is, until she got pulled into the pile by some members of the offensive line. She claims those boys were doing things in that pile that were inconsistent with their professed Christian morals. She has filed a sexual harassment claim against the district. It took school administrators and teachers 45 minutes to get all the bodies, books, backpacks, flotsam and jetsam untangled and back to class. The principal called a student assembly the next day and made it clear that there will be no more Tebowing in this school. Now the local ministerial alliance is suing the school for infringing on the constitutional rights of the kids to practice their religion. But the ACLU also has sued, claiming that the school encouraged and supported an overtly Christian exercise in violation of the Establishment Clause. Tebow his own self is coming to town next week to speak at the athletic banquet, and the media is, to say the least, paying attention. The school attorney says that all these cases should be consolidated into one lawsuit to be titled: Downyshanks, Paradiddle, Boopinski, Christians and Atheists v. Blusterville ISD. He says the case has a good chance of keeping the school finance lawsuits off the front page for awhile. That’s why you need a school lawyer. JIM WALSH is editor in chief of Texas School Business. He is also a school attorney with the firm of Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green and Treviño, P.C. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com.




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Tech Toolbox

your policies and procedures and outlining a strategy for how ads will be incorporated on the website, set up a meeting with the administration, the board and the community to discuss the policies and game plan. Be prepared for negative reactions from the public, as some people aren’t comfortable with the idea of school districts selling advertising. Ultimately, advertising may not be a good fit for your community. Advertise your advertising efforts. Be sure to explain why the district chose to sell advertising and where money will go. If the advertising revenue will be used to pay the utility bill, let people know. If the advertising money will fund an innovative program, then share that information. Once people hear what the advertising revenue will support, they often warm up to the idea. In addition, advertisers also get excited to hear their money will be used for a specific target. If ads aren’t selling, talk to potential advertisers. Businesses often will be very frank with you about why they have chosen not to advertise. Maybe they think it’s too expensive. Maybe they weren’t aware of what their advertising dollars will fund within the district. Integrate their feedback into your advertising strategy. Regularly review your web analytics and stay up to date on advertising trends in your community. Then repeat and refresh. It’s always a good practice to re-evaluate your plan regularly to ensure your strategy is relevant to advertising trends in your area. Advertising can be a great tool for school districts to generate revenue. Your website is a great place to start. Once you’re comfortable with web advertising, you can expand that same strategy to other areas, such as enewsletters, billboards in high school gyms and stadiums, event sponsorships, and more. To see a few examples, visit my district’s site at www.mansfieldisd.org or our friends in Carroll ISD at www.southlakecarroll.edu. TERRY MORAWSKI is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. He writes online at www. communicationsjetpack.com. He can be reached at terrymorawski@gmail.com.



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s budgets continue to be cut in districts throughout the state, school leaders are challenged to come up with ways to create new revenue streams. Many districts are looking at a revenue source that some educators consider taboo: advertising. Although it’s becoming more common to see advertisements in schoolrelated communications, there’s still a philosophical leap required for school leaders, board trustees and communities to understand the need. There are many ways districts can generate revenue through advertising, so for simplicity in this column, I’ll focus on website advertising. Get a handle on your analytics. Start the process by getting a handle on the traffic your district website generates. You can do this through web analytics, or stats. Some website management systems have built-in stat counters. If not, you can install the free Google Analytics program on your website. This will enable you to see which pages receive the most hits and how much traffic your site receives. To advertisers, these numbers will matter. Find out who is advertising. Peruse websites that are popular in your community to see who is advertising on them. Also, scope out the advertisers in local publications, on billboards, on television and in direct mail. This will give you an idea of who is spending advertising dollars in your community. Most likely the businesses already advertising online will transition the easiest to advertising on your site. Draft a set of advertising policies and procedures. The immediate concern most administrators and school boards have about advertising is whether the advertising companies will adhere to guidelines concerning products and content. The good news is that you control the content on your site, including what types of businesses advertise there. Draft a set of policies and procedures to help screen out inappropriate companies and content. Include a clause that gives the school district permission to reject inappropriate advertisers or content. Hold a policies discussion with school leaders and board trustees. After drafting

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That’s not allowed! Make sure you’re compliant when spending state and federal grant money By Rebecca Estrada


exas public school districts spend billions of state and federal grant funds every fiscal year to supplement local funding and to support district and/or campus goals. Although these funds can bring much-needed resources to school districts, they also demand accountability to ensure that the funds are spent in accordance with federal, state and local guidelines. If school districts spend these funds inappropriately, they could be required to use already limited local resources to reimburse the granting agency. To avoid this sticky situation and to ensure all expenditures are allowable costs under state and federal grants, school administrators should consider four major areas.


Use the state and federal funds to meet district and/or campus identified needs.

The District and Campus Improvement Plans are the core documents to support how you use grant funds. After conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, the district and/or campus should develop goals, strategies and activities to meet identified needs. The available state and federal grant funds should be matched to the identified needs, as appropriate, based on the purpose of the grant funds. For example, identified needs related to staff development for teachers could be funded from Title II, Part A, federal funds, whose purpose is professional development for teachers.


Include all planned expenditures in the grant application.

Some grant fund applications are more comprehensive than others. While some grant applications require the district to indicate how it intends to use the funds in one of five major categories (salaries, contracted services, supplies, travel and equipment), other grant applications require a list of planned expenditures in much greater detail. For instance, it may require a list of specific staff positions to be filled or equipment to be purchased. If the grant application requires a list of


Texas School Business • February 2012

planned expenditures, all stakeholders should come together to develop the grant application. Failure to get the right people at the table during this step could result in spending the grant funds inappropriately due to a breakdown in communication. Or worse yet, your district could end up with an approved grant budget that does not meet identified needs.


Ensure that all expenditures are reasonable and necessary.

The Texas Education Agency Guidelines Related to Specific Costs (updated September 2011) defines “necessary” as essential to accomplish the objectives of the project. It defines “reasonable cost” as consistent with prudent business practice and comparable to current market value. These are broad definitions that school districts need to define more clearly to ensure that expenditures meet these guidelines. For example, a school district’s local definition of reasonable cost as it relates to student awards may be that all student awards (ribbons, certificates, etc.) must cost less than $5 per item.


Comply with the OMB-A87: Cost Principles for State and Local Governments.

This is the most comprehensive area of compliance. “State and local govern-

ments” include school districts, education service centers and open-enrollment charter schools operated by government entities. The cost principles contain an A to Z list of costs, such as advertising, awards, compensation, entertainment, equipment, field trips, food costs and so on. The guidelines dictate whether the cost is allowable, unallowable or not addressed. In some cases, a cost is listed as allowable, but then followed by an extensive explanation that provides guidance on obtaining prior approvals, setting limitations or requiring additional documentation to ensure the cost is allowable. The same holds true for unallowable costs. A sampling of cost items is listed below to illustrate the complexity of this section. Compensation for personnel services Although salaries, wages and fringe benefits are generally allowable costs if they are reasonable, they must be supported with time distribution records. According to TEA’s No Child Left Behind Program Appendices (Appendix 3: “Documentation Required for Charges to Payroll”), the compensation costs must be based on one of the following: certification, time and effort records or a substitute system. Failure to comply with at least one of these requirements could result in all compensation costs being determined

as unallowable. Considering many school districts budget a substantial amount of state and federal grant funds for personnel, this should be a critical area of concern and compliance. Food costs To determine which food costs are allowable or unallowable, we need to look at not only why the food is purchased, but what is purchased and for what type of participant. For example, food costs are allowable for light lunch during an allday meeting or training and for a working lunch during an all-day meeting or training. Documentation must support that the meeting and/or training session participants could not obtain the meal on their own or were engaged in activities during their normal mealtime. Clearly, the best type of documentation would be a training agenda that lists the scheduled lunch period. As far as the type of food, the guidelines indicate that nutritional snacks for students and children may be allowable for extended day or child care activities. For parents, the allowable food costs are limited to food used during nutrition classes and refreshments to encourage parents to attend parental involvement activities. The guidelines state that full meals for students and parents are not allowable under any circumstances. There are other food costs that are specifically listed as unallowable, one of which is breakfast. To avoid spending grant funds on food costs that may be deemed unallowable, a school district should develop a list of food items that are or are not allowable by type of event. Share this list with all stakeholders to ensure compliance. Travel costs This cost item contains a lengthy explanation of what is allowable for in-state, out-of-state and foreign travel. It changes constantly due to the economy’s impact on the federal per diem rates for lodging, meals and other travel costs. Therefore, the limits on hotel, mileage and other costs should be read carefully to ensure compliance with the cost principles. Also, school districts should review their local travel reimbursement rates, if any, prior to spending state and federal grant funds for travel costs. The OMB Circular A-87 clearly states that: “Travel costs may not exceed local policy or maxi-

mum allowable rates for in-state or out-ofstate travel, whichever is less.” Documentation of travel costs is also critical. A travel voucher or similar document should reflect the name of traveler, the destination, purpose of travel, date(s) of travel, actual mileage or other transportation cost, actual lodging and meal expense and the total amount reimbursed to the employee. If the district advances anticipated travel expenses, it must substantiate all actual travel expenses with a settle-up process. The actual travel costs should be supported by receipts and/or documentation as required by state and

Every campus and department that spends state and federal grant funds should be aware of what is and is not an allowable cost.

federal guidelines. TEA’s letter, “Current Mileage and Travel Reimbursement Rates Applicable to State and Federal Grants from the TEA” (dated Sept. 19, 2011), states that: “Travel allowances for in-state and out-of-state travel, in which the traveler receives a flat per diem for lodging and/or meals, regardless of the amount expended, are not allowable in Texas.” Who’s responsible for compliance? So, who is responsible (or which department is responsible) for verifying that all state and federal grant expenditures meet allowable cost principles? Often it’s the grant administrator — if your district even has one of those — or the business office at central administration. Considering that many Texas school districts are relatively small (a student enrollment of less than 1,000), the grant administrator and business administrator may be one and the same. Even though the largest school districts in Texas have a grants department, that department alone cannot ensure compliance throughout the district. There might be only one or a handful of individuals directly responsible for managing state and federal grants, but it takes

the entire school district to be in full compliance. Every campus and department that spends state and federal grant funds should be aware of what is and is not an allowable cost. To accomplish full compliance with the cost principles, every school district should develop, implement, and communicate written policies and procedures for state and federal grant funds. Clearly defined processes will enable all stakeholders in the school district to make knowledgeable decisions about spending state and federal grant money. The processes should include a requirement to submit and/or retain the appropriate documentation for every grant expenditure. This documentation will be critical if your school district is ever subjected to an audit by a federal agency or the Texas Education Agency. REBECCA ESTRADA is the executive director of finance for Lackland ISD and a former president of the Texas Association of School Business Officials.

Don’t take it for granted: resources that can help you Developing policies and procedures for spending grant money can be quite overwhelming, especially for a small school district. Don’t panic! Many larger school districts have developed comprehensive grant handbooks, and you may be able to obtain a copy and revise it to suit your district’s needs. The Texas Education Agency has sample grant management handbooks and other grant management resources in the “Funding: School Finance & Grants” section of its website, www.tea.state. tx.us. Also, the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) offers online help, training and workshops. For upcoming dates and more information, visit www.tasbo. org. February 2012 • Texas School Business


Alpine ISD Superintendent Stephen White comes to his new job from Granger ISD, where he also held the top position. Boerne ISD A new superintendent is in place. He is David Stelmazewski, who was principal of the district’s Champion High School since it opened in 2008. Before joining Boerne ISD, he was principal of Kingsborough Middle School in HarlanDavid dale ISD, from 1998 to Stelmazewski 2001. He then spent seven years heading McCollum High School in Harlandale ISD, where he was named 2008’s ESC Region 20 Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. Additionally, his early career saw him serving as assistant principal of Clark High School in San Antonio’s Northside ISD and as a teacher and basketball coach at Jay High School in the same district. Stelmazewski holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in education, from Eastern Illinois University. Brownsville ISD Carl Montoya has been named the dis-

Who’s News

trict’s superintendent after having served as interim superintendent since June. An educator for 35 years, he has been an administrator in Dallas ISD and in New Mexico school districts. Prior to coming to Brownsville, where he also served as area superintendent of the district’s Rivera cluster schools, he spent six years as superintendent of Aransas Pass ISD. He has been with Brownsville ISD for four years. A certified police officer, Montoya served on the Texas School Safety Board as an appointee of Gov. Rick Perry. Delores Emerson, most recently principal of Morningside Elementary School, is now principal of a new campus, Breeden Elementary, which will open next year. Kimberly Hopkins will serve as the interim principal of Morningside Elementary. She has been an assistant principal at Gonzalez Elementary for the past 10 years. Michelle Seney, who has been the administrator of the district’s Hanna Technology, Medical and Health Professions Magnet School, is taking on the same duties at Brownsville ISD’s new Science, Technology, Architecture and Medical Professional (STAMP) College Preparatory Program. It is scheduled to open in the fall at Veterans Memorial High School. She was in her previous position for 10 years.

Cooper ISD Denecia Hohenberger is the district’s new superintendent. Cotulla ISD The district has a new superintendent. He is Jack Seals Jr., who had been serving as interim superintendent. He began his career as an eighth grade earth science teacher and coach in Rice CISD, going on to serve in the same capacity in Jack Seals Jr. Beeville ISD. He next was an administrative intern in Killeen ISD, then spent nine years with Taylor ISD as an assistant principal and principal of Taylor High School. He was the district’s business manager and, ultimately, assistant superintendent for finance. From 1988 to 1990, he was with the Texas Education Agency as executive director of the data resource unit in the division of accreditation and school improvement. He was named superintendent of Dilley ISD in 1990, where he remained until accepting his new job in Cotulla. Seals earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Southwestern University and both his master’s degree and doctorate in See WHO’S NEWS on page 24

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Texas School Business • February 2012

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TASBO PRESIDENT profile Whether managing or serving, it all adds up for David Garcia


avid Garcia is a numbers guy, which should come as no surprise. He’s the chief financial officer for Midland ISD — a $42 million-a-year outfit that is the city’s largest employer, biggest food-service provider and biggest transportation contractor. He also stepped up this month to serve as president of the Texas Association of School Business Officials. “As school business professionals, we need to adhere to the philosophy that only when we take responsibility to develop the organization will we have an organization that can be relied upon as the most-trusted resource for school business officials,” he says. “I am privileged and honored to be part of the team that will lead TASBO into the future.” Garcia is surrounded by numbers. He’s up to his assets in them: contracts, salaries, state mandates, federal grants and so forth. But two numbers are particularly meaningful to Garcia: 200 and 20,000 (or thereabouts). They explain who he is and how he got this way. Let’s begin with 200. “I played sports, particularly football and baseball,” Garcia says of his childhood in Hobbs, N.M. “I actually thought I might play pro baseball.” He was good enough to walk on to the Texas Tech University baseball team as a pitcher and outfielder, but then reality whizzed by like a fastball, high and inside. “I figured out pretty soon there were at least 200 players better than I was,” he says, and so he embarked on Plan B. A business management major, he took a couple accounting courses, enjoyed them and pursued a career as a CPA. After graduating from college, he worked in public accounting for seven years, auditing all kinds of business, industry and government entities, including an education service center. He found public school finance particularly interesting, so when a position as an accounting supervisor with Midland ISD opened, he

Midland ISD Chief Financial Officer David Garcia reviews some important numbers during a staff meeting. Garcia will start applying his business acumen to statewide issues in the coming year as he steps up this month to serve as president of the Texas Association of School Business Officials.

went for it. “The education service centers correlate very well to schools in terms of expenditures,” Garcia says. “So, I had a little background and insight into what a school district does when I went to work here.” Except for one year working for Katy ISD, he has been with Midland ISD ever since — through the best of times, in terms of public school finance, and recently, through the worst. “Back in college, my teachers stressed the need to forecast where you want to be in five or 10 years,” he says. “Well, that’s virtually impossible in school finance. Everything is measured on a two-year basis, and the revenue streams change every time the Legislature meets. That really makes it challenging.” Of course, every session at the Texas Capitol brings an influx of new laws, rules and mandates. There’s also the

spate of federal programs, regulations and deadlines — especially deadlines. Hundreds of them. Garcia estimates that his staff this year has hustled to meet at least 800 deadlines to satisfy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) guidelines. “I’ve figured it out,” he says. “I have to live through three more legislative sessions before I am eligible to retire. If I can just make it that long, I will have earned my retirement.” He kids, but Garcia loves his job — especially performing old-school accounting when the opportunity presents itself, such as when a staff member gets stuck in the numbers. “I really enjoy digging down and trying to solve a problem or account for something,” he says. After all, he is a numbers guy — See PRESIDENT on pag 14 February 2012 • Texas School Business


PRESIDENT continued from page 13

which bring us to the number 20,000 and how it also shaped his career path. Here’s the story: Garcia’s father was a self-made man who worked as a cowboy on the famous King Ranch in Kingsville as a youngster. He then moved to New Mexico, where he took whatever work he could find. He landed a job pumping gas and eventually bought a Shell station and then a Texaco station, which he operated

for more than 30 years. The senior Garcia believed in hard work, particularly from his four sons and daughter, whom he considered built-in employees. “It was about the time the automated carwashes were being installed, back in the 1970s,” says Garcia, the youngest of the five. “The cars would go through the carwash, and my brothers and sister and I would be sitting out front, waiting to dry them off. I bet I dried off at least 20,000

cars. “I knew pretty early on that working at a gas station wasn’t for me,” he muses. BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.

FUN FACTS ABOUT DAVID GARCIA If money were no object, my dream vacation would be: a three-week stint in Europe

To truly unwind, I like to: sit back with my wife and two kids Book I’m currently reading: “Swing Your Sword” by Mike Leach

Vision for TASBO presidency: It is well known that the TASBO staff does a fantastic job in managing the dayto-day operations of the organization. Striving to improve upon that high level of membership support is my vision for TASBO this year. In these challenging budget times, we need to ensure that TASBO leads the industry in providing enhanced value for our membership.

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Texas School Business • February 2012

BY THE NUMBERS Through thick and thin

Regional education service centers find ways to support public school districts in lean times by Raven L. Hill


hen John Petree decided to change careers after years as a high school principal, he didn’t look further than the nearby regional education service center (ESC) for his new job. Petree was familiar with its programs, having taken advantage of several as an educator, and he didn’t hesitate when presented with the opportunity to be on the other side as an ESC employee. “I jumped on it,” says Petree, who now serves as Region 18 associate executive John Petree director in Midland. “Most service center employees are former district employees. That’s our recruiting pool. The centers have a lot to offer school districts.” Regional education service centers — commonly known by the acronyms RESC, ESC or SC — have been around for more than four decades. The centers, which serve public schools and charter schools, are charged with assisting districts in improving student performance, operating more efficiently and implementing state initiatives. Petree’s positive stance on ESCs is shared widely by school district personnel, according to a recent University of Texas study that gauged the satisfaction levels of districts with ESC programs, trainings, technical assistance, administrative support and products. In the survey of 1,271 superintendents and charter school administrators, overall responses fell between 4.52 and 4.73 on a five-point scale, with five being the most satisfied. The highest-scoring items in the survey were support services for the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and for compliance guidelines and support concerning state and federal regulations. Another study, “The Consolidated Report of Texas Education Service Centers,” which is required by state statute and prepared for Education Commissioner Robert Scott, found that school districts incurred significant savings when using ESC products and services. Among 20 items in the study, ESC prices were lower in 14 comparisons. Funding and perceptions Despite the high marks, however, ESCs have struggled with funding and misperceptions. There’s

a sense among some lawmakers that the service centers don’t provide enough “bang for the buck” when it comes to serving larger, more urban districts. The impression is that ESCs mainly benefit smaller, more rural districts. In the wake of brutal state budget cuts last year (almost 40 percent of ESC funding was slashed), these questions have become more pronounced. “I don’t think people understand what (ESCs) do provide,” says Rep. Jim Pitts, a former school board member from Ellis County. “I don’t think a lot of small school districts tell their legislators and taxpayers, ‘If we did not have the service centers, our tax rate would have to go up so we could find people to provide these services.’” Ron Simpson, a spokesman for ESC Region 10 in Richardson, says the idea that ESCs are most useful to smaller, more rural districts is simply wrong, especially in today’s climate of budgetstrapped school districts in all corners of the state. “As time has passed and needs of school systems have grown, the products and services have changed,” says Simpson, who counts Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and Dallas ISD as major consumers. “We have a balancing act that we have to provide. We work very hard Jerry Maze at maintaining a relationship with our big districts.” Adds Jerry Maze, executive director of Waco’s ESC Region 12: “We continue to evolve based on customer needs.”

Number of school board members trained: 6,210 Number of training contact hours delivered: 6,185,201 Number of products and services offered by ESCs: 275 Number of individuals trained (duplicate count): 1,071,232 Source: “Consolidated Report of Texas Education Service Centers,” Gibson Consulting Group

In the beginning More than four decades ago, ESCs were proposed as media centers that would supply educational and professional training videos to districts that otherwise couldn’t afford them. After the state Legislature authorized the media centers in 1965, the State Board of Education created the 20 regions in which the centers would operate. By 1967, there was talk of expanding the centers’ roles, which led to the models that exist today. In the 1980s, the state directed regional ESCs to work with the Texas Education Agency to “raise the quality of district programs and enhance See NUMBERS on page 16 February 2012 • Texas School Business


ESC Region 12 education specialist Debby Green (second from right) leads a CSCOPE LINKS session for high school world geography teachers. NUMBERS continued from page 15

the uniformity and consistency in district operations,” according to an online history of the centers. The operating rules were revised a decade later, giving more oversight to the state education commissioner in the areas of personnel and budgeting, and clarifying the centers’ role in improving student performance. Since then, ESCs have been on the front lines of efforts to improve reading and math scores among Texas youth by serving as a primary professional development center for elementary and middle school teachers. ESCs assist more than 550,000 staff members and 4.1 million students each year. “The role of regional ESCs is to meet the needs of school districts, whatever that need may be,” says Nancy Oliver, deputy director of administrative services for Region 6 in Huntsville. “Regional ESCs have adapted and evolved over the past 45 years to meet that need.” The concept of regional education service centers isn’t unique to Texas. In 42 states, there are an estimated 620 service centers, some dating back to a century ago, with few these days serving as regulatory agencies. They’re especially needed in larger states, Petree observes. “In smaller states, you don’t have to travel a long way to get across the state. In Texas, you can drive for three days and still be in Texas,” he jokes. “Part of what makes service centers in Texas an efficient model for operations is that we can provide services face to face.” Nationwide, the centers go by different names — Board of Cooperative Educational Services, County Office of Education, Education Service Unit and Intermediate School District, among them. But no matter what they’re 16

Texas School Business • February 2012

called, many can best be described as partners in education, focusing on customization, efficiency and delivery. “Everything we do — whether it is training, support or direct services — focuses on saving districts money and leveraging resources and time,” says Katie Chenoweth, coordinator of purchasing, marketing and communications services for Region 7 in Kilgore. And officials boast that no two centers are alike. “Each of the 20 service centers has its own personality,” says Petree. “We’re all a little bit different, but we operate as a system. We share ideas, commonly produce products. We meet to plan, to organize, even to share staff sometimes. Although we are 20 different entities, we do function as one system.” While they perform similar functions, their methods of delivery may differ depending on the locations and types of districts served. One size does not fit all. “A smaller district may want to send several of their teachers to a new training at the ESC, while a larger district may want to send one educator or have one of our specialists travel to their district,” says Chenoweth. “The needs of our large and small districts can be very similar, yet vary by scale.” Funding and the future ESC directors and associate directors throughout the state say demand for services is on the rise. However, the budget cuts have sparked considerable unease and service cutbacks. As school districts experienced drastic funding cuts, many ESC officials began plan-

ning for the worst, says Kyle Wargo, executive director of Lubbock’s ESC Region 17. “Some service centers have had to narrow their focus,” he says. “Other service centers began to find creative ways to continue the services they provide to districts.” Prior to 2003, ESCs received approximately $67 million each biennium. In the last legislative session, that figure was cut almost 40 percent, from $42 million to $25 million. Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, a member of the house appropriations and public education committees, says he expects ESCs to “become closer to self-funding.” “Wherever there is a way to consolidate services and gain efficiencies, I think that will be looked at real hard” by the Legislature, Aycock says. Dominic Giarratani, assistant director of governmental relations for the Texas Association of School Boards, is concerned that ESC funding cuts will change the playing field. “The Legislature urged schools, in the face of unprecedented cuts to school revenue, to seek out efficiencies to provide the same quality of education with less funding,” Giarratani says. “Education service centers — which are optimally positioned to help schools become more efficient because of their programs, knowledgeable personnel and organizational expertise — will find it difficult to help schools to the same extent they did in the past as a result of the massive state funding cuts within their own organizations.” The centers certainly are feeling the pressure. Region 6 cut staff, grant services and delivery services. Region 7 is offering more online training to offset travel costs. Region 8 in Mt. Pleasant discontinued an early intervention program for young children with special needs. Still, staff cuts have been the most painful, Oliver says. “The ultimate resource of the RESC is its staff,” she says. “Due to staff cuts, we have had to assign additional responsibilities to remaining staff to continue service offerings. This potentially may impact the quality of those services, as well as the timeliness of the delivery of those services.” Other directors say they’re trying to remain focused on their districts’ funding woes and not their own. “In our current environment, I think service centers are the lifeblood of schools,” says Petree. “They have stepped up and filled a major hole. School districts just do not have the resources.” Despite challenges, ESC directors remain optimistic about future growth in services and utilization. Their 2010-2015 strategic plan lists four main goals:

Assist the educational community with achieving educational excellence for all students. • Improve capacity as a system to maximize efficiency. • Secure and allocate financial resources to provide quality services to our customers. • Enhance and sustain customer/stakeholder relationships with education service centers. Karen Whitaker, ESC Region 8 deputy executive director for administrative services, says her center is offering “the best support we’ve ever provided” in curriculum and instruction, despite the economic climate. The center Karen Whitaker provides support for districts using the CSCOPE curriculum. “We have a highly qualified, very experienced curriculum and instruction staff,” she says. As state funding for school districts decreases, Maze chooses to see only opportunity. He estimates that annually districts save a little more than 25 percent on professional development consultants by using a service center; in Waco ISD, that amount came out to $90,000 last year. Across the region, it amounted to $3.5 million. The Waco center recently was awarded a federal grant to track college readiness for 4,000 students. “Our future is very strong,” Maze says. “School boards know us, and even though superintendents may come and go, we have relationships with those communities that allow us to work with them in ways that others couldn’t.” Advertising their services to school districts remains a top priority, he says, to ensure districts receive information about services and programs. The center also conducts surveys and needs assessments to maintain the quality of the ESC’s customer service, Maze says. “We really have a good participation rate — with some of the very small districts, all the way up to Waco and Killeen,” he says. “We see school districts utilizing service centers more and more. We believe we provide an excellent product, and that’s the feedback they give us.” Whitaker maintains a positive outlook as well. “We know our schools, and our schools know us,” she says. “The way that we can be most effective is through developing partnerships. We accept responsibility for what’s going on in those districts. We’re willing to say, ‘If District A is not being successful, what can we do to help them?’ We’re in it together.”

TSB Calendar

RAVEN HILL is the former education reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.

Professional Development & EVENTS WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27 February 27 - March 2

TASBO Annual Conference Brown Convention Center, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $290; nonmembers, $380.

February 28

TASB Region 8 Grassroots Meeting ESC Region 8 offices, Mt. Pleasant For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org

February 29

6+1 Trait English and Spanish Writing: Developing Writing Skills in Two Languages Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. TASB Region 7 Grassroots Meeting ESC Region 10 offices, Kilgore For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Region 10 Grassroots Meeting ESC Region 10 offices, Richardson For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org

February 29 - March 1

Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy V (session 1 of 3 sessions) Pat May Center, Hurst Euless Bedford ISD For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

March 1

TESA STEM Class: Professional Growth Mesquite ISD offices, Mesquite For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

March 1-3

TMSA Annual Conference: Cruising Through the Middle Convention Center and San Luis Resort, Galveston For more info, (512) 462-1105. www.tmsanet.org Cost: By Jan. 15: TMSA members, $200; nonmembers, $250. After Jan. 15: TMSA members, $250; nonmembers, $300.

TASPA Workshop: Essentials of Educator Certification and Assignment Rules ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: $50. TASSP Region 19 Meeting Jaxon’s on Airway, El Paso For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org

March 6

Identification and Assessment of Gifted/ Talented Learners Harris County Department of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

March 7

Great Explorations in Math and Science: Cabbage and Chemistry Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. TASB Region 3 Grassroots Meeting ESC Region 3 offices, Victoria For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Region 14 Grassroots Meeting ESC Region 14 offices, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TEPSA District 14 Meeting Location TBA, Abilene For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Texas ASCD Workshop: E=MC2 Science Training (grades K-5) Victoria ISD Conference Center, Victoria For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

March 8

TASB Region 15 Grassroots Meeting ESC Region 15 offices, San Angelo For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org

March 4-7

TASB Regional Workshop: HR Legal Issues for Supervisors ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org


Texas ASCD Workshop: E=MC2 Science Training (Middle School) Victoria ISD Conference Center, Victoria For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

Texas High School Athletic Directors Association State Conference Omni Hotel, Dallas For more info, (469) 593-0121. www.thsasa.org

March 5

Nature and Needs of Gifted/Talented Learners Harris County Department of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

March 10

TESA STEM Class: Managing Change Garland ISD offices, Garland For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

See CALENDAR on page 18 February 2012 • Texas School Business


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS

CALENDAR continued from page 17

WEEK OF MARCH 12 No events listed.

WEEK OF MARCH 19 March 22

Legal Series: Advanced Special Education Update Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $129.

Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

Marriott Airport South, Austin For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org

Librarian Leadership Group Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted/ Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

March 28

Texas Association of Community Schools East Texas Spring Conference Ornelas Activity Center, The University of Texas at Tyler For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org

TESA STEM Class: Effective Office Practices Spring Branch ISD offices, Houston For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

TASBO Workshop: Business Skills for Campus Secretaries and Bookkeepers ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $180; nonmembers, $220.

March 23

Bilingual/ESL Leadership Group Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

March 29

TEPSA District 7 Meeting Hide-A-Way Lake, Lindale For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org

School Finance Council Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8249. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.


March 25-27

April 2

Texas Retired Teachers Association Annual Convention Westin Galleria, Houston For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

TASBO Workshop: Developing a Fiscal Manual TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $180; nonmembers, $220.

WEEK OF MARCH 26 March 26

Gifted/Talented: Identifying and Serving Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students

April 2-3

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Leadership Conference

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Texas School Business • February 2012

TCASE/Legal Digest Conference Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by March 5): online, $135; off line, $165. Regular registration (after March 5): online, $165; off line, $190.

April 4

Creativity and Instructional Strategies of Gifted/Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

April 5-6

TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (part 3 of 4) Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 7258272. www.tasanet.org Cost: $2,450 for four sessions.

WEEK OF APRIL 9 April 10

TASB Training Workshop: Asbestos Designated Person ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425.

April 11

TCASE/Legal Digest Conference Convention Center, Arlington For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by March 12): online, $135; off line, $165. Regular registration (after March 12): online, $165; off line, $190. Texas Association of Community Schools Hardin Simmons Conference Johnson Multipurpose Room, Hardin Simmons University, Abilene For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org


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April 3


TASB Training Workshop: IPM Coordinator ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425. TASBO Workshop: Federal and State Compliance Issues ESC Region 8, Mt. Pleasant For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $180; nonmembers, $220.

TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS TEPSA District 10 Meeting Hackberry Country Club, Irving For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org

TESA STEM Class: Professional Growth Spring Branch ISD offices, Houston For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

TEPSA District 16 Meeting ESC Region 16 offices, Amarillo For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org

TESA STEM Class: Profile for Success Garland ISD offices, Garland For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

April 12

TASB Training Workshop: Indoor Air Quality Coordinator ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425.

April 21

April 21-23

National School Boards Association Annual Conference Convention Center, Boston, Mass. For more info, (703) 838-6722. www.nsba.org

WEEK OF APRIL 23 April 23

TEPSA District 17 Meeting Lake Ridge Country Club, Lubbock For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org

Early Childhood Leadership Group Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

April 12-13

April 24

Conversational Spanish for School Personnel (Beginner and Intermediate) Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $120.

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 9 ESC Region 9 offices, Wichita Falls For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

April 13

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 3 Grace Lutheran Church, Victoria For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

School Finance Council Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8249. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge. Social Studies Leadership Group Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

April 25

April 26

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 2 St. John’s Lutheran Church, Corpus Christi For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

April 27

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 1 First Baptist Church, Harlingen For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

WEEK OF APRIL 30 April 30

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 18 ESC Region 18 offices, Midland For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

May 1

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 7 Holiday Inn Select, Tyler For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

May 2

TEPSA District 3 Meeting Carino’s Italian Restaurant, Victoria For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org

May 3

TEPSA District 5 Meeting Sanderson’s, Nederland For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org TESA STEM Class: Professional Image Garland ISD offices, Garland For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

See CALENDAR on page 20

April 14

TESA STEM Class: Interpersonal Communication Spring Branch ISD offices, Houston For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org

April 15-17

TASB Risk Management Fund Members Conference Hyatt Regency, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org

Challenge us to discover the mission of your next project.

WEEK OF APRIL 16 April 17

TEPSA District 2 Meeting Harrison’s Landing, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 2523621. www.tepsa.org

April 19

Legal Series: Legal Update for School Counselors and Health Services Personnel Harris County Dept. of Education For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $129. February 2012 • Texas School Business


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS CALENDAR continued from page 19


Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 10 First Baptist Church, Allen For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

May 8

TEPSA District 12 Meeting Location TBA, Killeen For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 11 First United Methodist Church, Granbury For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

May 9

TASBO Workshop: Federal and State Compliance Issues ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org

Facility Contracts

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 6 ESC Region 6 offices, Huntsville For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org May 10 TASBO Workshop: Federal and State Compliance Issues ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, Region 8 College Church of Christ, Paris For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 16 ESC Region 16 offices, Amarillo For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

Procurement Made Easy

May 11

Legal Contracts for Renovation, Maintenance and More Construction

• Job Order Contracting • Trenchless Technology Rehab

• Flooring • Roofing

• Modular Buildings

Custom Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment • Furniture: Instructional, Office, Science Lab, Cafeteria • Whiteboards: Electronic, Replacement Vinyl, Smart Boards

Building Exterior and Grounds • Playgrounds

• Water Quality/ Waste Management

• Exterior Cleaning

Energy Conservation /Management • Energy Conservation (ESCO) • Purchase and/or Aggregation

• HVAC (Equipment & Service)

WEEK OF MAY 14 May 16

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 17 Lubbock Women’s Club, Lubbock For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

May 18

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 4 Memorial Church of Christ, Houston For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

WEEK OF MAY 21 May 22

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 13 First Christian Church, San Marcos For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

Disaster Recovery/ Restoration

May 23

• Smoke/ Water Extraction • Consulting & Public Adjustor Services • Power Generators • Tree Trimming /Debris Removal

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 15 For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

Building Infrastructure

May 24

• Digital Archiving

• Security Systems

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• Signage

Sign an interlocal agreement to use CFP premium facilities contracts. Download form at www.choicefacilitypartners.org/members.php.


877-696-2122 20

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 5 First Baptist Church, Nederland For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

Texas School Business • February 2012

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 14 ESC Region 14 offices, Abilene For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

May 25

Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 12 ESC Region 12 offices, Waco For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

WEEK OF MAY 28 No events listed.


TAGT hosts annual professional development event From Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, more than 2,500 administrators, specialists, classroom teachers and parents attended the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented’s annual Professional Development Conference. The gathering featured 15 content strands with hundreds of intensive training sessions for professionals and parents in every subject area and at every grade level.

Pearson representatives Morris Williams and Karen Barclay with TAGT board member Merrill Hammons of Brownsville ISD and Kevin and Sheila Griffith, representatives of Knowsys. TAGT Associate Director Tracy Weinberg, Linda Phemister of Garland ISD and Mary Ann Clark of El Paso ISD.

TAGT Past President Laura Mackay and Nicole Shannon of Round Rock ISD.

TAGT Legacy Book Award recipient Thomas Hébert of the University of Georgia and TAGT President Lynette Breedlove of Spring Branch ISD.

Deborah Mersino of Ingeneosus.net, Joel McIntosh of Prufrock Press, Ian Byrd of Byrdseed.com and TAGT President Lynette Breedlove of Spring Branch ISD.

Joelle DeLandtsheer, TAGT Legacy Book Award recipient John DeLandtsheer of JD Seminars and TAGT President Lynette Breedlove of Spring Branch ISD.

Barbara Cofer of Spring Branch ISD with JJ Colburn, TAGT executive director. February 2012 • Texas School Business


In the


COCISD Superintendent LaTonya Goffney says ‘one constant’ in rocky upbringing was school by Jennifer LeClaire


ough. In a word, that’s how LaTonya Goffney describes her childhood. Born to a 15-year-old mother and an unknown father, Goffney at age 10 moved in with her poor, hardworking grandma. “As things were rocking along in my personal life, the one constant I had was school,” recalls Goffney, superintendent of Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD, near Houston. “My teachers always told me I was smart, so I became a teacher pleaser. I wanted to be like my teachers when I grew up.” Goffney was a top student all the way through 12th grade. She was the first in her family to attempt college — most hadn’t finished high school. To fund her higher education, Goffney earned a scholarship and worked a full-time job at a prison while attending Sam Houston State University. “I entered education to make a difference. My life could have easily gone another way if it had not been for caring teachers,” Goffney says. “The power of education can change futures no matter where you come from. I’m an example. My path was ordained.” Goffney’s first teaching assignment was in an eighth grade language arts classroom at Lincoln Junior High in Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD. She was hired to teach writing at a time when there was a major push in the district to raise the writing scores of African-American students. By the end of her first year, Goffney had been promoted to department chair. Within three years, the assistant principal position opened and she was chosen to fill it. “At every step, there was turmoil — there was no system for discipline, and the school suffered from low expectations — but we were able to overcome,” Goffney says.


Texas School Business • February 2012

Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Superintendent LaTonya Goffney spends a few extra minutes with her daughter, Joslyn, who is settling in for the first day of school.

She served as assistant principal at Lincoln Junior High for two years before being promoted to principal of Coldspring Intermediate School in 2004. For three years, Goffney tirelessly worked to turn the failing intermediate school into a Texas Education Agency

“recognized” campus before returning to Lincoln Junior High as principal for another year. Finally, after a competitive interview process, she was selected to serve as superintendent in 2008. “I had no intention of becoming a superintendent. I was getting my doctor-

ate because I was trying to find ways to increase student achievement,” Goffney says. “One of my mentors told me to get my résumé together and apply for the position because I had nothing to lose. I didn’t seek the position. It’s almost like the position sought me. And here I am.” Goffney tells her story with true humility. As she sees it, to whom much is given much is required. She carries a burden to make a difference because she’s seen too many young people — who share some of the same struggles that she has overcome — give up on their future. Over and again, Goffney will tell you she simply wants to make a difference. When she talks about “no child left behind,” she really means it. Goffney teaches kids to find motivation in their struggles. “I didn’t know who my father was, but I always wanted to be on the honor roll because I thought my father might read the paper and write me a letter,” she says. “I was a great athlete because I thought maybe he would hear about it. “Not having mother and father relationships has haunted me my whole life. But I did have a grandmother who worked awfully hard to provide for me. She taught me a work ethic that’s comparable to none,” Goffney says. When she’s not working to change the lives of students, Goffney enjoys reading. But even her personal life is filled with activities that aim to help people. Her husband is a minister and sings in a quartet group, so Goffney travels with him and does her fair share of church work. Her daughter, Joslyn, is active in gymnastics and various other extracurricular activities that keep both of their schedules full. “As a campus principal, I challenged students not to think about where they came from or even where they are, but where they can be with an education. I’m able to speak to kids, but I also try to empower leaders and teachers to look at a student’s potential,” Goffney says. “When you are failing kids or when you are not teaching, you are eliminating their choices after high school. More than anything, I’m an advocate for children.” JENNIFER LECLAIRE also has written for The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor.

Fun facts about LaTonya Goffney

A skill I’d like to master, but haven’t: golf A pet peeve: not showing professionalism in attitude, appearance and accountability Best advice I’ve ever received: Treat others like you want to be treated. Five guests (living or deceased) at my fantasy dinner party: Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Michele Rhee, Shirley Neeley

TxEIS selected as a State-sponsored Student Information System by the Texas Education Agency! www.txeis.net

Comprehensive Business and Student administrative software, including:  Human Resources  Purchasing  Warehouse  Graduation Plan  Historical  PID Enrollment Tracking (PET) export  Scheduling  Texas Records Exchange (TREx) extract tx  Gradebook ** teacher grade book  txConnect ** parent portal  txMyZone ** student portal  And much more... ** Mobile device-compatible! PEIMS-compliant TCC software used by over 900 Texas school districts and charter schools Contact your regional education service center or Education Service Center, Region 20 John McCauley, Information Technology 210.370.5250 john.mccauley@esc20.net February 2012 • Texas School Business


WHO’S NEWS continued from page 12

educational administration from The University of Texas at Austin. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD The district’s first police chief was appointed in December. He is Alan Bragg, who comes to the district from Spring ISD, where he spent 21 years as chief of police. Additionally, he was a lieutenant in Houston ISD’s police departAlan Bragg ment from 1981 to 1990 and a police officer for Midwestern State University for three years. He also served with the Wichita Falls police department from 1972 to 1978. Bragg studied criminal justice at Midwestern State University and graduated from the Wichita Falls Police Academy, the FBI National Academy and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Series. Denton ISD Mike Mattingly, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and staff development, has received the Advocacy for Excellence in Literacy Award from the Askew Reading Recovery and Literacy Institute. He received his recognition at the Institute’s regional fall conference in Dallas. An educator since 1981, Mattingly began in Grand Prairie ISD as a middle school science and high school biology teacher, going on to serve as a principal in that district at Crockett, Eisenhower and Powell elementary schools.

Who’s News

He left Texas for Georgia in 1999, serving as executive director of elementary operations for the Houston County Board of Education, then as assistant superintendent for teaching and learning there. During Mike Mattingly his time in Georgia, he was also an assistant professor of instructional supervision at the University of Georgia. He accepted his current position with Denton ISD in 2007. Mattingly earned his associate of arts degree from Trinity Valley Community College, his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from The University of Texas at Austin and his master’s degree in public school administration from the University of North Texas. His doctorate in educational leadership was conferred from the University of Georgia. Elgin ISD Bill Graves, superintendent for the past seven years, has announced his upcoming retirement, which will become effective at the end of this academic year. He began his career in Texas public education in 1963 as an English teacher and football coach at Lubbock ISD’s Slaton Junior High School, adding guidance counselor at the school to his duties in 1966. He next was director of student activities in Lubbock ISD’s Coronado High School, assistant principal of Lubbock High School and vice principal of Coronado. A move to Abilene came next when he accepted the position of principal of Abilene High School, which was followed by a term as director of human resources for the district. His first su-

perintendency was in Winters ISD, where he served for four years before taking on the same job in Andrews ISD. He then held the top position in San Angelo and Paint Rock ISDs before joining Elgin ISD in 2004. Additionally, while in San Angelo, he was an associate professor of educational administration at Angelo State University. Graves earned his bachelor’s degree in education from North Texas State University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas Tech University. He also did post-graduate work in the same concentration at Texas Tech. Fort Bend ISD Stacy Crews is the district’s new director of communications. With more than 15 years of experience in public relations and corporate communications, she most recently worked for Devon Energy Corp. as a public affairs specialist. Walker Station Elementary School now has Lesli Fridge as principal. In Alief ISD, she was assistant director of human resources. She also has been a social studies teacher, assistant principal and guidance counselor. Now leading Commonwealth Elementary is Principal Joanna Hagler. She was previously principal of Armstrong and Horn elementary schools. The new director of facilities is John Holmes. He spent seven years with Amtrak as a district manager and resident manager and also worked as director of operations for Community Treatment Solutions in New Jersey. Lori Ruckman is now principal of Armstrong Elementary School. She previously spent four years as the assistant principal of Scanlan Oaks Elementary. Georgetown ISD The district has a new interim chief financial officer, Steve West, who comes to his new position after 35 years in school business management — 23 of those have been spent at the assistant superintendent level. He served as chief Steve West financial officer for Midway and Austin ISDs and was president of the Texas Association of School Business Officials in 2005. Granbury ISD Longtime Superintendent Ron Mayfield will retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. He began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher in Loraine, Amherst and Lamesa ISDs, going on to serve as an assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent in Lamesa ISD. He was superintendent in Reagan County ISD and in Stockton ISD, where


Texas School Business • February 2012

Ron Mayfield

he served from 2005 until joining Granbury ISD in 2009. Mayfield’s bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and master’s degree in education were earned from Texas Tech University.

La Pryor ISD Benny Hernandez, formerly high school principal of Iraan-Sheffield ISD, is the district’s new superintendent. Lake Travis ISD Brad Lancaster, former superintendent of Midway ISD, is the new superintendent. He has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, executive director for curriculum and assistant superintendent in College Station, Ennis and Allen Brad Lancaster ISDs. Lancaster earned his doctorate in education from Texas A&M University. Longview ISD James Wilcox retired at the end of December from his position as superintendent, which he had held since 2007 when he arrived in Longview from Waxahachie ISD. Lufkin ISD Jesus Gomez has James Wilcox been appointed principal of Lufkin Middle School. He was serving as associate principal of the campus. Millsap ISD David Belding has been appointed superintendent of the district. He was most recently principal of Weatherford High School in Weatherford ISD. A graduate of Weatherford High, he spent more than 20 years in the district as a teacher David Belding and administrator, becoming the high school’s principal in 2007. Before that time, he was director of assessment and organizational development for three years, principal of Curtis Elementary for seven years and assistant principal of Hall Middle School for three years. He also served as a band director in Fort Worth, Weatherford and Azle ISDs. Belding earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Texas Christian University and his master’s degree in edu-

Who’s News

cation and doctorate in educational leadership from Tarleton State University. Montgomery ISD Beau Rees, who was superintendent of Graham ISD, is now Montgomery ISD’s superintendent. A graduate of Texas A&M University who also holds a master’s degree in education from Abilene Christian University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Texas Tech University, he has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, elementary and secondary principal and curriculum director. Mt. Enterprise ISD Former Big Sandy ISD junior high Principal Byron Jordan is the district’s new superintendent. New Waverly ISD Clay Webb, superintendent for the past eight years, has announced his upcoming retirement. Northside ISD John Folks, who has led Northside ISD as superintendent for almost 10 years, will retire at the end of June. An educator for 42 years, he was named 2011 Texas Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of Schools Boards. A John Folks native Oklahoman who received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Oklahoma, he came to Texas to begin his career in Port Arthur ISD. In



addition to his tenure in Texas districts, he was superintendent of Midwest-Del City Public Schools in suburban Oklahoma City and dean of the school of education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He also served as Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction, which is comparable to Texas’ commissioner of education. Pampa ISD Superintendent Barry Haenisch has announced his retirement, which will become effective at the end of this academic year. An educator for 41 years, Haenisch began his career as a coach and teacher in Van Horn and Menard ISDs, where Barry Haenisch he also served as athletics director. He next moved to McCamey ISD, where he was a junior high counselor, teacher and coach. In Gruver ISD, he served in the same capacities and then became the district’s high school principal and, ultimately, the superintendent. He next held the top job in Merkel ISD before joining Pampa ISD as superintendent in 2003. Haenisch holds a bachelor’s degree from McMurry University in Abilene and earned his master’s degree in education from Texas Tech University. Pearsall ISD Esthela Rodriguez is the new superintendent. She has more than 20 years of experience in education. She has served school districts in Texas in the following capacities: See WHO’S NEWS on page 26


JOIN Explore the many resources available to you with a Texas ASCD membership.


1.800.717.2723 texasascd@txascd.org www.txascd.org February 2012 • Texas School Business


Who’s News

WHO’S continued from page 25

bilingual and regular classroom teacher, federal programs director, teaching facilitator, academic programs supervisor, curriculum director, assistant superintendent of personnel and instruction and superintendent of schools. She also has worked as a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Pearsall ISD, she served The University of Texas at Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center as the district services director. Additional experiences included work-

ing for Partners in School Innovation in San Francisco, Calif., and as the district partnership director for the San Jose Unified School District, in San Jose, Calif. Rodriguez also worked as a knowledge, learning and results manager for the Stupski Foundation, where she conducted organizational assessments for urban school districts in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee. Rodriguez holds a doctorate of philosophy in educational administration and policy and planning from The University of Texas at Austin.

New for the ‘11-’12 School Year: Bench Marking of Statewide Data

Pflugerville ISD Longtime educator Cindy Gee, who was director of the district’s extended day program, completed more than 30 years as an educator when she retired in November. Before coming to Pflugerville, she was a teacher and coach in San Antonio’s North East ISD, a teacher in Austin ISD, and a teacher, coach and administrator in Del Valle ISD. With Pflugerville ISD, she has served as principal of Windermere Primary School, Windermere Elementary School and Caldwell Elementary. She was also executive director of the district’s Elementary Educator Department and an assistant superintendent. Plano ISD An interim superintendent has been appointed for Plano ISD. Richard Matkin, who is the district’s associate superintendent for business services, took on the role when Superintendent Doug Otto retired last month. Matkin will continue his responsibilities as associate superintendent while serving in the interim role. Riviera ISD Newly hired Superintendent Karen Unterbrink comes to Riviera ISD from Taft ISD, where she served as assistant superintendent.

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Texas School Business • February 2012

Robstown ISD Superintendent Alfonso Obregon has announced his plan to retire at the end of the school year. An educator since 1970, he began as an elementary and junior high school teacher in Pearsall ISD, spending three years there before leaving to Alfonso Obregon pursue his master’s degree in education at San Diego State University. Returning to Texas in 1975, he was assistant superintendent for federal programs in Crystal City ISD, followed by an eightyear stint as assistant superintendent and then superintendent of Dilley ISD. After spending a year as an accreditation specialist with the Texas Education Agency, he returned to school administration, giving seven years to Progreso ISD as superintendent and three to Asherton ISD in the same capacity. He then spent two years as director of education at Correctional Services Corporation’s Frio Detention Facility. He came back to public school service in 1998 as superintendent of Charlotte ISD, before arriving to take the top job in Robstown ISD in 2009. In addition to his master’s degree, Obregon holds an associate of arts degree from Southwest Texas Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). He also has completed post-graduate degree work in educational leadership.

Royse City ISD Superintendent Randy Hancock has announced his upcoming retirement. An educator for 34 years, he will leave the district at the end of June. After spending 12 years as a classroom teacher, Hancock took his first administrative assignment Randy Hancock in 1991, serving as an assistant principal in Pleasant Grove ISD. He next was a high school principal in Howe ISD, accepting his first superintendent position in Maypearl ISD, where he served for three years before returning to Howe ISD to take the top position there. He came to Royse City ISD in 2007. Hancock earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Texas State University. San Angelo ISD The district’s director of career and technical education, Joann Walter, has been named Outstanding Career and Technical Education Administrator by the Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers Association of Texas. She Joann Walter received her recognition during an Excellence in Education Awards ceremony in Dallas. Walter has been with San Angelo ISD for 32 of her 34 years as an educator, beginning as a family and consumer sciences teacher before becoming an administrator. She is now in her second year as the director of career and technical education.

Who’s News

ing her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). She left Seguin ISD for four years to work at Texas Lutheran University and Vickie then returned to the disDe La Rosa trict to serve as a math and computer science teacher, the math department chair, an assistant principal, the first director of the district’s Even Start program and the director of technology. De La Rosa earned a second bachelor’s degree, in computer science, from Texas Lutheran University, and two master’s degrees, one in math and one in computer science, from Southwest Texas State University. Sonora ISD Superintendent Don Gibson has announced his upcoming retirement. James Hartman has been named Sonora ISD’s new superintendent. He comes to his new job from Marion ISD, where he was superintendent. James Hartman

South San Antonio ISD Linda Ziegler has been appointed to serve as the district’s interim superintendent. Most recently vice principal of Madla Elementary School, she has been with the district for 25 years. She is the first woman to serve as superintendent in the district’s 88-year history. After earning a bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas at San Antonio, she was hired by South San Antonio ISD as a reading teacher. She then spent 15 years as the library services director before serving as vice principal of Shepard Middle School, where she remained until taking her most recent position at Madla. Her superintendent certificate was awarded from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Spearman ISD Clay Montgomery is the district’s new superintendent. His first job in education was as an agricultural science teacher in Gustine ISD. He next moved to Gruver ISD to lead that district’s agricultural science program. After 10 years in that position, he transferred to White Deer ISD as high school principal, remaining there for four years. In 2005, he returned to his hometown of Valley View to serve in the same capacity until 2007, when he accepted WHO’S continued from page28

San Marcos CISD A new assistant superintendent of business and support services has been appointed. He is Jason Gossett, who was most recently director of business services in Frenship ISD. Beginning as a business teacher and coach in Mineola ISD, he served Jason Gossett as Wylie ISD’s accounting and purchasing coordinator before making the move to Frenship. Gossett, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Angelo State university, is completing coursework for his master’s degree in the same concentration at Texas A&M University at Commerce. Seguin ISD After 41 years as an educator, Vicki De La Rosa, assistant superintendent of information systems and instructional technology, has announced her upcoming retirement. She began her career in Seguin ISD after earnFebruary 2012 • Texas School Business


WHO’S continued from page 27

his most recent position as superintendent of Lefors ISD. Montgomery studied at Tabor College in Kansas, earning his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Tarleton State University. Springtown ISD Springtown’s first female superintendent, Andrea Hungerford, has retired. A graduate of Springtown High School, she has spent all of her 27 years as an educator with the district. She taught high school and served as the district’s UIL director, assistant high school principal, elementary principal, director of federal programs and executive director for administrative services. She has been superintendent for the past four years. Hungerford earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University and attended Lamar University’s Superintendent Academy. Superintendent Mike Kelley now leads the district. An educator since 1991, he spent seven years with Groesbeck ISD as a social studies teacher and football, basketball and baseball coach. He arMike Kelly

Who’s News

rived in Springtown in 1998, where he spent three years as a high school teacher and coach, two years as a middle school assistant principal and the past six years as principal of Springtown High School. Kelley earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University and his master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. Stamford ISD Shaun Barnett, who most recently was superintendent of Dublin ISD, is the new superintendent. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Angelo State University, he taught and coached baseball and football in Shaun Barnett Brownfield ISD. He next served as head baseball coach at Olton High School in Olton ISD and Gorman High School in Gorman ISD . He began his administrative career in Mexia ISD as assistant principal and then principal at Mexia High School. He next was principal of Paradise High School in Paradise ISD before taking on the position of superintendent of Cumby ISD. He came to Dublin ISD as superintendent in 2009. Barnett earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Sul Ross State University. Thrall ISD A new superintendent is in place. He is Tommy Hooker, who was most recently primary and secondary principal in Cameron ISD. He began his career in 1995 as a science teacher, coach and athletics director in Willis ISD, going on to serve as Tommy Hooker an assistant principal and principal in Huntsville ISD. Hooker earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University. Tomball ISD A new principal is in place for Tomball ISD’s eighth elementary campus, Timber Creek Elementary, slated to open for the 2012-2013 school year. She is Jo Ann Colson, who has spent the past nine years as principal of Willow Creek Elementary. Jo Ann Colson Colson, who was named Tomball ISD’s 2011 Elementary Principal of the Year, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. She is completing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Lamar University.


Texas School Business • February 2012

Amy Schindewolf is the new principal of Tomball Junior High School. An educator for 14 years, she has been an intermediate school language arts teacher, a high school English teacher, and an intermediate school assistant principal. Before coming Amy Schindewolf to Tomball, she was an associate principal at Collins High School in Klein SD. Schindewolf earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M Universitys and her doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University. Tyler ISD Michael Timms, associate principal of curriculum and instruction at Tyler High School, has been named Texas Assistant Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. This will mean a trip to WashMichael Timms ington D.C., where he will meet the other 49 finalists from around the country who also are competing for the national title. An educator for 24 years, Timms began his career as a substitute teacher in Dallas ISD. He went on to teach high school biology, then was an assistant principal and principal in Dallas-area schools, serving at both the elementary and secondary levels. Timms, who has been with Tyler High School since 2010, holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Weatherford ISD The district’s newly hired superintendent, Jeffrey Hanks, was most recently superintendent of Burnet CISD. He began his career in 1982 as a teacher in Temple ISD, going on to teach and coach in Palestine ISD. He also has served as a principal in several Texas districts. Willis ISD Thelma Garza has been named Willis ISD’s executive director of human resources. She comes to Willis ISD from Houston ISD. She was a bilingual teacher, principal, district superintendent, regional superintendent and interim chief academic Thelma Garza officer. Garza earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston. TSB

TASPA/TAEE hosts winter conference in Austin Members of the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators and the Texas Association for Employment in Education gathered in Austin, Dec. 7-9, for training and networking at the annual TASPA/TAEE Winter Conference.

Eva Bark, Julie Reynolds and Michele Gilmore of Killeen ISD.

Kelly Mires of Allen ISD and Paul Montgomery, representative of WinOcular Systems.

Erasmo Rodriguez of Beeville ISD and Joe Montemayor of Harlingen ISD.

Andrea Tomborello of Katy ISD and Pete Stewart of Aldine ISD.

Debra Malone of Mt. Pleasant ISD and Elaine Langston of Carroll ISD.

Timothy Rocka of Bryan ISD and Marcia Daniels of El Paso ISD.

Marcus Higgs of Texas City ISD and Wesley Holt of Connally ISD. February 2012 • Texas School Business


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ESC Region 20.......................................... 4 www.esc20.net


HCDE........................................................ 5 www.hcde-texas.org

isten carefully. I’m about to make a very important statement. Here it is: “Just because over half of this school year is gone, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still make this the best year ever — for yourself and your students. You might be thinking: “But you don’t know the kids I’ve got this year. It’s the worst group I’ve ever had!” I remember when I was a principal of an elementary school, I heard that line every year. Then I realized that it was the same teachers saying it year after year! So, here’s what we’re going to do to make these last few months the most productive, the most rewarding, the most enjoyable you’ve ever experienced in the classroom. Promise me (and yourself) that you will look beyond the rough, unpolished exterior of each student and that you will look inside the heart of that child. Now, I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy, but if we could just walk in their shoes for 24 hours, I know our attitude and perception of that child would change. Several years ago, I read a note that a student had left for his teacher on the last day of the school year. He simply said, “When you thought I wasn’t looking or listening, I saw that you cared about me and at that moment I wanted to be everything that I could be.” One recent editorial I read stated that our nation “is living through the worst parenting in history.” Wow! As I often tell teachers and administrators when I lecture, “I’m so sorry that you have to be ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ to so many of your students, but the truth of the matter is this: If you don’t do it, then who will?” Following one of my workshops, a teacher told me about one of her students who had been assigned to her class. His reputation had preceded him, and from the 30

Texas School Business • February 2012

first day, he was disrupting class, failing to do assignments and causing major grief to the teacher and her students. She could see that this young man wanted to be accepted, but he was going about it the wrong way. One day she asked the young man to stay after class for a few minutes. In the privacy of that classroom, she asked him about his home. Reluctantly, he began sharing what his life was like when he left the school. There was no father in his life. His mother had her own set of problems — drugs, alcohol and the things that followed. Because he was the oldest, he had assumed much of the responsibility normally taken by the “man of the house,” but it was reaching a point where he couldn’t handle it any longer. The more he shared, the more she realized that here was a young man who was being forced to grow up too quickly. He had lost the one thing that keeps us going: hope! Before she knew it, the teacher’s attitude toward this student had “turned completely around.” And, in doing so, his attitude toward her also changed. “I promised him that I would do whatever it took to help him, and that together we would get through this.” Sometimes, letting them know we care does more than anything to turn students in the right direction. Easy? Not really. It takes time, commitment and strength — and a changed heart. But just remember: The Lord didn’t do it all in one day. So what makes us think that we can? RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book, “All the Difference,” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@yahoo.com or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

ESC Region 20 TCC............................... 23 www.esc20.net/TCC First Financial Administrators Inc. ........ 24 www.ffga.com

HDCE-Choice Facility Partners.............. 20 www.choicefacilitypartners.org Houston ISD........................................... 14 www.eshars.com Lone Star Auctioneers Inc. ..................... 14 www.lonestarauctioneers.com O’Connell Robertson & Associates........ 19 www.oconnellrobertson.com Panel Specialists...................................... 18 www.panelspec.com PEIMS Data Plus.................................... 26 www.peimsdataplus.com Riney Jordan Co. ...................................... 6 www.rineyjordan.com Shweiki Media.......................................... 7 www.shweiki.com Spectrum Corp. .................................. 5, 28 www.spectrumscoreboards.com Sungard Public Sector............................... 4 www.sungardps.com SXSWedu................................................ 31 www.sxswedu.com TASA......................................................... 8 www.tasanet.org Texas ASCD............................................ 25 www.txascd.org TEPSA.................................................... 13 www.tespa.org Texas Mac Repair..................................... 9 www.texasmacrepair.com Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest............................. 7, 26, 32 www.legaldigest.com Texas School Business............................... 6 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Tyler Technologies.................................... 2 www.tylertech.com WRA Architects...................................... 27 www.wraarchitects.com

Visit SXSWedu.com to learn more! SXSWedu features three days of compelling presentations and informative sessions from education professionals, industry leaders, and policy practitioners committed to engaging learners with 21st century content and tools. Register today at sxswedu.com.

SXSWedu celebrates innovations in learning.



Like other South by Southwest (SXSW) festivals, SXSWedu seeks to converge the wide variety of stakeholders who share an interest in 21st century innovation and best practices. Our attendees represent not only education professionals including teachers, administrators and university professors, but also business, industry and policy leaders who all share a keen interest in modernizing teaching and learning.

Content strands at SXSWedu 2012 have largely been determined by our growing community of participants through our PanelPicker session submission process. They range from early childhood to college and career readiness, and include assessment, emerging trends, digital content, gaming and learning, higher education, open education resources, research and evaluation, and statewide portals, including Texas’ Project Share.

Spotlight Series of Distinguished Speakers SXSWedu 2012 Distinguished Speakers will contribute a rich array of talented and insightful perspectives that are certain to inspire and engage. Distinguished Speakers for 2012 include: • Catherine Casserly, Chief Executive Officer, Creative Commons PHOTO: ETHAN PINES

• Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education • Steven Farr, Chief Knowledge Officer, Teach for America • Mike Feinberg, Co-Founder and Superintendent, KIPP Houston • Geoff Fletcher, Deputy Executive Director, State Educational Technology Directors Association • Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner for Standards and Programs, Texas Education Agency • Ken Kay, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, EdLeader 21 • Jane McGonigal, Chief Creative Officer, Social Chocolate • Mark Milliron, Chancellor, Western Governors University Texas

Mike Feinberg

The 26th Annual TCASE - LEGAL DIGEST

CONFERENCE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW A One-Day Conference on Current Legal Issues Concerning the Education of Students with Disabilities

TUESDAy, APRIL 3, 2012

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

FBA’s, BIP’s & MDR’s: Oh My!!! Jim WAlSh – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, Austin Practical Strategies for Working with Parents and Advocates DAvE RiChARDS – Richards, Lindsay & Martín, Austin

WEDNESDAy, APRIL 11, 2012 Arlington Convention Center

A School District’s Legal Obligations to Provide Related Services, Including Transportation pAulA mADDox RoAlSon – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, Houston The STAAR Exam & the Student with a Disability John FESSEnDEn – lead4ward, LLC, Austin

Special Education Evaluations: The Legal Issues JAnET hoRTon – Thompson & Horton, Houston Three Key Perspectives in Special Education: The School Administrator, College Professor, and Parent DAviD ThompSon, phD University of Texas, San Antonio

CO-SPONSORED BY: Professional development credits available to Special Education Directors, Special Education Personnel, Curriculum Directors, Superintendents, Principals, School Board Members, and School Attorneys

Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education and

Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest


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