The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas for 61 Years
TEA concludes first pilot year of T-TESS
National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples
Texas ASCD's David Young Pampa ISD
OctOber 2â€“4 Austin Convention Center
TSB contents news and features
Cover Story Evaluating the new evaluation systems
by Raven L. Hill
Greenville ISD promotes STEM education, partners with businesses to bolster skilled future workforce by Kelli Tharp
TACS hosts Presidents Luncheon
departments Who’s News Ad Index
In the Spotlight National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples helps war refugees find peace in Amarillo ISD
From the Editor
The Law Dawg — Unleashed
by Katie Ford by Jim Walsh
by Autumn Rhea Carpenter
by Terry Morawski
Texas ASCD President Profile
Pampa ISD’s David Young places emphasis on building community
The Back Page
by Bobby Hawthorne by Riney Jordan
by Elizabeth Millard
Student Voices My Grapevine-Colleyville ISD experience by Chase Faragher
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. July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
TACS hosts Presidents Luncheon The Texas Association of Community Schools hosted a luncheon at Fleming’s Steakhouse in downtown Austin earlier this summer to celebrate current and past presidents, as well as bestow honorary lifetime membership to a few special individuals.
TACS past presidents Bob Jameson, Roy Dodds, Herb Youngblood, Clead Cheek, Terry Myers, Tommy Sanders, Curtis Rhodes and Paul Vranish.
Past President Bob Jameson and guest Don Valk.
Luncheon sponsor A. “Chico” Bargas of A. Bargas & Associates with guest Diana Jameson and wife, Janie Bargas.
TACS Executive Director Barry Haenisch (right) bestows former Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott with TACS honorary life membership.
Past President Herb Youngblood with wife, Robin. Youngblood received TACS honorary life membership.
Marie Aycock receives TACS honorary life membership for her husband, Texas Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock.
Wife Beth Sanders and past President Tommy Sanders.
Past President Roy Dodds and wife, Madene Dodds.
Longtime educator and former TEA associate commissioner Virgil “Ed” Flathouse and wife, Pat Flathouse. 4
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
Former TACS executive directors Ken McCraw and Don Rogers.
From the Editor I’d like to invite you to reflect on your district’s or campus’ successes during the 2014-2015 school year and consider nominating a program for our Ninth Annual Bragging Rights special issue. We are accepting nomination through Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. Visit www.texasschoolbusiness.com and click on “Bragging Rights” in the main menu to read the finer details and fill out the online nomination form. Winners will be announced when the issue releases in December. Of course, we don’t have to wait until December to brag about the people and programs that make up Texas public schools. In this issue, we have the honor of putting 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples of Amarillo ISD in our Spotlight. Dwight Eisenhower was president the last time a teacher from Texas received the national accololade, and she is only the second Texas teacher in history to receive the title. Peeples, whose classroom often includes the children of refugees from war-torn countries, shared some astute observations with our writer, Autumn Rhea Carpenter. I especially appreciated Peeples’ deep regard for her students’ emotional well-being and how she works hard to establish a sense of community among her students so that they can support and encourage one another. This woman gives her whole heart every time she steps into her classroom, and I’m thrilled that she has been given a national platform to share her unique perspective with educators and administrators across the country. Also in this issue, we highlight Texas ASCD incoming President David Young of Pampa ISD, as well as Greenville ISD’s amazing STEM program and business development initiatives. In our cover story, we ask those in the know to reflect on the first pilot year of T-TESS and T-PESS. It will be interesting to see what fine-tuning will take place this coming year as more districts put the new evaluation systems to the test. Katie Ford Editorial Director
(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) July 2015 Volume LXI, Issue 10 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Editorial Director Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Bobby Hawthorne, Riney Jordan, Terry Morawski, Jim Walsh Advertising Sales Manager Ann M. Halstead
Tex. Arch. Lic. #17326
Moore Middle School and MST Magnet Tyler ISD Image from Building Information Model (BIM)
Texas Association of School Administrators Executive Director Johnny L. Veselka Assistant Executive Director, Services and Systems Administration Ann M. Halstead Director of Communications and Media Relations Amy Francisco ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620 Published monthly, except for July/August and November/ December, and the Bragging Rights issue published in December by Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. Periodical Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701.
© Copyright 2015 Texas Association of School Administrators July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
Who’s News Abilene ISD Phil Blue has been introduced as the district’s new athletic director. He comes from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, where he was executive athletic director since 2014. Prior to that, he was director of athletics in Georgetown ISD after Phil Blue working as Georgetown High School’s head football coach. He returns to Abilene ISD, where he was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for Abilene High from 2001 to 2005. Blue has a 30-year coaching history, having served as head coach in Farmersville, Mineral Wells, Quinlan and Celeste ISDs and at Texas Christian Academy. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Lavon Burton, who graduated from Abilene High School and attended Taylor Elementary School as a child, is now that school’s principal. She has been an administrator with Abilene ISD for 11 years. After receiving her bachelor’s deLavon Burton gree from Abilene Christian University, Burton worked as a math teacher at Abilene High. Three years later, she returned to Abilene Christian as the program director and math instructor in the institution’s Academic Advance program. She rejoined Abilene ISD in 2004 to work at Reagan. Amarillo ISD Dana West is Amarillo ISD’s new superintendent, the first woman to lead the district in its 125-year history. She began her career in Plainview ISD 25 years ago as a fifth grade teacher. She joined Amarillo ISD in 2008 as principal of Travis Middle School before becoming principal of Caprock High School in 2012. She took her most recent position, as director of the Caprock High cluster in 2013. In addition, she has been an adjunct professor at Wayland Baptist University. West earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayland Baptist University and her doctoral degree in education from Texas Tech University. Aransas County ISD Linda Cox has been selected to work as assistant principal of Live Oak Learning 6
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
Center. She joined the district in 2010 as a fifth grade teacher at Fulton Learning Center. She has twice been named Campus Teacher of the Year and was 2015’s District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Cox, who holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Houston at Victoria, earned her master’s degree in teacher leadership K-12 from Walden University. A new principal has been hired for Rockport-Fulton High School. Scott Rogers has more than 15 years of experience as an educator. For the past 11 years, he has been an administrator in San Antonio area districts, serving most recently as assistant principal of Madison High in North East ISD. He began his career as a social studies teacher and coach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was assistant principal of Bradley and Krueger middle schools in North East ISD before taking his most recent position. Rogers received his bachelor’s degree in history from Florida Atlantic University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Austin ISD Brandi Hosack has accepted the position of principal of Akins High School. She was serving in that role in an interim position. Previously, she was an assistant principal, science teacher and department chair at Akins. She also taught biology at Clemens High School in Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD in San Antonio. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology/biology, she received her master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas. Now serving as principal of Paredes Middle School is Valerie Torres-Solis. She comes to her new job from Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, where she was an assistant principal. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal and sixth grade math teacher at Webb Middle School and a math resource teacher at Pflugerville ISD’s Park Crest Middle School. Torres-Solis received her bachelor’s degree in theater from Texas State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Jordan Elementary School will welcome Adrienne Williams as principal when the new school year begins. Formerly, she has served as an assistant principal at Eastside Memorial High, an administrative supervisor for the district’s Area 2 elementary schools, an assistant principal of Lanier High School and a teacher at Pecan Springs Elementary. She
holds a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education leadership from Concordia University. Beaumont ISD The new superintendent of Beaumont ISD is John Frossard, who comes to his new post from Wichita Falls ISD, where he also held the top position. During his 30-year career, he has served as an assistant superintendent in Fort Bend ISD, as superintendent of Lenoir County Public Schools in North Carolina and as a teacher. Frossard’s doctorate in education was awarded from the University of Virginia. Birdville ISD New Watauga Elementary School Principal Sarah Upchurch was most recently that school’s assistant principal. Before that assignment, she held the same position at Birdville and Smith elementary schools and was a teacher Sarah Upchurch at Mullendore Elementary. Upchurch received her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and her master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University. Brazosport ISD Danny Massey, who had been serving as interim superintendent, is now superintendent. He has been with the district for 24 years, working as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal, in addition to his most recent position. Massey, Danny Massey who earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri Southern State College, holds a master’s degree in education from Texas Southern University. Brock ISD Former Brock ISD Assistant Superintendent Scott Drillette has been promoted to district superintendent. After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University, he taught math in Tolar and NavaScott Drillette sota ISDs and then joined See WHO’S NEWS on page 8
THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh
Suggestions for summer reading
know you are busy during the summer. Contrary to popular belief, school administrators do not get a three-month paid vacation. In fact, the summertime is often pretty hectic. But surely you have time to read a book or two. I suppose that “Go Set a Watchman” ranks pretty high for many of you. This is the highly anticipated new book by Harper Lee. I’m not sure if I will read it, but I am eager to find out if the rumors are true that the book is really about Atticus Finch’s descent into alcoholism. They tell me that some folks at the publishing company wanted to call it “Tequila Mockingbird.” I just finished “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough. It’s a good book and an easy read. I would not put it in the same category with some of McCullough’s earlier works on Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, the Brooklyn Bridge or the Panama Canal. If you have time for only one McCullough book this summer, I’d suggest one of those. But the book on the top of my suggestion list is “Getting Life” by Michael Morton. Does his name sound familiar? It should. Mr. Morton is the fellow wrongly convicted of the brutal murder of his wife. He spent 25 years as a guest of the Texas Department of Corrections before DNA evidence, the Innocence Project, and a group of incredibly dedicated and talented lawyers wrung his release from the foot-dragging Texas justice system. Besides being a compelling true story, the book is noteworthy because Mr. Morton is a gifted writer. He spent his time in prison improving himself, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. The book gives a chilling portrayal of prison life, counterbalanced with the joy of the simple pleasures of life on the outside after so long behind bars.
Have you ever felt that someone did you wrong? Ever been angry about the corruption and incompetence of people who hold power? Mr. Morton had plenty of that, and with good reason. He now acknowledges that he spent years in prison plotting revenge on the police and prosecutors in Williamson County where he was tried and convicted. But that all changed. Mr. Morton can pinpoint the moment when it all changed. About 14 years into his life sentence, he had a remarkable spiritual experience that he describes in terms that are simple, unadorned and sincere. No, the prison gates did not swing open for him when he called on God. He remained imprisoned for another 11 years, but he felt himself to be free. He was, from that time on, a different man. There are hundreds of people, wrongly convicted, who have been freed due to the work of the Innocence Project. What makes Mr. Morton’s case uniquely inspiring is the genuine forgiveness that he radiates. He lost 25 years of his life. He lost his wife. He lost the love of her family. He missed out on raising his son. He deserved none of that. He has every reason to be bitter, angry and self-pitying. But there is none of that in the man. I saw him interviewed by Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune at a fundraising dinner recently. Mr. Smith asked: “How do you keep the anger from spilling out? How do you repress it?” Mr. Morton responded: “I don’t repress it. It’s gone. It’s not there anymore.” The book tells the story of how that happened. A good book by a good man. Well worth your time. JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa. com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg.
ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS NOW! Texas School Business wants to brag about you! Submit your nomination today for possible inclusion in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights 2015-2016 special issue, which honors 12 deserving school districts and their innovative programs. Every winter, Texas School Business publishes and distributes this special issue to thousands of stakeholders in Texas public education. Does your school or district have a program that’s wildly successful? Then you could be featured among our Top 12! Simply visit www. texasschoolbusiness.com and click on Bragging Rights in the menu to fill out a nomination form. The nomination deadline is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. Questions? Contact Texas School Business Editorial Director Katie Ford at email@example.com.
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 6
Aledo ISD, working as a math teacher, coach and assistant principal at Aledo High School. He came to Brock ISD in 2006 as principal of Brock High and was named assistant superintendent in 2008. Drillette received his master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University. Bryan ISD Carol Happ, principal of Johnson Elementary School for the past 20 years, has retired. She began her career as an educator in 1967, teaching in a number of schools because her husband’s Air Force career necessitated frequent moves, including Carol Happ one to New Zealand. She took her first principalship in Illinois before joining Bryan ISD in 1995. The new principal of Rayburn Middle School is Walter Hunt Jr. He comes to Bryan ISD from Spring ISD, where he was most recently principal of Westfield High School. Also in that district, he was associate principal of instruction at Walter Hunt Jr. Wunsche High. He completed a principal internship in Humble ISD and was an assistant principal in Klein ISD, where he began his career as a language arts teacher and coach. Hunt holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate in professional leadership from the University of Houston. Now leading Fannin Elementary School as principal is Youshawna Hunt, who was previously principal of Thompson Elementary School in Spring ISD, where she also had served as a middle school testing coordinator, classroom Youshawna Hunt teacher and department chair. Hunt began her career in Aldine ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and her master’s degree in education from Prairie View A&M University. She is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. 8
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
The Bryan ISD Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Bennie Mayes as principal of Rudder High School. He was most recently principal of Schultz Junior High in Waller ISD. Prior to that, he was assistant principal Bennie Mayes of Waller High School and served in the same position at Bellville High School in Bellville ISD. Mayes began his career in Bellville ISD in 2002 as a coach, also teaching health and physical education. He has an associate’s degree in arts and sciences from Blinn College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. Amy Newbold, who began her career in Bryan ISD as a life skills teacher, is now principal of Johnson Elementary School, where she has been assistant principal. She also has served as a content mastery teacher and professional development specialist. Newbold received her bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY at Geneseo and earned two master’s degrees from Lamar University, in teacher leadership and administration. Kelli Norgaard, who served for the past year as principal of Rayburn Middle School, is returning to Bryan ISD’s central office as director of professional development. She was hired in the summer of 2013 in that role when the job was created and then was appointed to her most recent role at Rayburn in 2014. Canyon ISD A new superintendent is in place for Canyon ISD. Darryl Flusche was formerly assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Frenship ISD, where he served for 27 years. He began his career as a math teacher in Darryl Flusche Frenship ISD and then moved into administration five years later as an assistant principal and then principal in that district. He was named Frenship ISD’s director of elementary education in 2003, holding that role until taking his most recent job in 2010. Flusche obtained his bachelor’s degree in math and computer information from West Texas State University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas Tech University, where he is completing his doctorate in education.
Castleberry ISD The former superintendent of Lamesa ISD, John Ramos, has been selected to lead Castleberry ISD as superintendent. Chillicothe ISD The district’s new superintendent, Todd Wilson, was most recently an elementary school principal in Vernon ISD. Clarendon ISD Mike Norrell, the district’s new superintendent, spent the past five of his 29 years in education as superintendent of Adrian ISD. College Station ISD Nkrumah Dixon, the district’s new coordinator of human resources, was most recently principal of A&M Consolidated Middle School. Prior to that, he was the school’s assistant principal, director of alNkrumah Dixon ternative education programs for Bryan ISD, and a science and biology teacher in Houston and New Orleans, La. Now serving as principal of A&M Consolidated Middle School is Jeff Mann. He had been principal at Oakwood Intermediate School for the past two years. Before that time, he spent two years as assistant principal of A&M Consolidated Jeff Mann High School and seven years as College Station ISD’s athletic trainer. Comal ISD John Tucker has been named the district’s director of facilities and construction. He began his career as an architect in private practice before joining Dallas ISD in 1995 as part of a team that implemented school construction programs. John Tucker During his 16-year tenure with that district, he served in many capacities, namely as an architect in the Facilities and Planning Department and as construction manager at risk at the Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. He earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from The University of Texas at Arlington. See WHO’S NEWS on page 10
TECH TOOLBOX by Terry Morawski
Answering the unasked questions
chool leaders consistently strive to be innovative with technology, which often equates to making purchases. However, there are opportunities for innovation in business processes, staffing and beyond. Below are the views of some of my favorite experts, in addition to some of my thoughts on what it means to be innovative. Never stop learning. We often talk about the concept of “life-long learners” in school business. We put tremendous emphasis on the professional development of our teachers, and many districts now offer classes for parents. One path to innovation is to encourage learning in all aspects of district operations. This means everyone, from the superintendent and down, must be publicly open to learning new things. Plan to fail. If you read my column regularly, you know this is a major theme. Experts, from Carol Dweck to Angela Duckworth, tell us that the acceptance and expectation of failure are major components of any successful initiative. Allow yourself the room to fail — or at least experience some bumps along the road. Innovation is difficult business and is not recommended for those who will fold up their tents at the first sign of adversity. Establish the why. Author and speaker Simon Sinek has made a career of encouraging leaders to think about, and make clear, the why behind their decisions. An environment of innovation requires staff to know the reasons behind a new initiative. This does not mean everyone is going to be ready to go along with you 100 percent. It also does not mean you should wait for them. (See next item.) Recognize your critics — and then ignore them. Professor, author and speaker Brené Brown gave a great talk about
how she decided to address critics. (If you haven’t seen her TED Talk, look her up.) The key, as Brown points out, is to divide the productive criticism from the destructive criticism. If teachers, parents or staff have insight that is valid, listen to them and take heart. If they are being critical to simply be critical, listen to them but then move on. Focus on the value. Those who are turned off by new initiatives are typically against them because they do not understand the value in them. The value of the initiative or new learning tool carries much more weight with your stakeholders in the long term than the simple excitement of being a trailblazer. Sure, it’s fun to be seen as a cutting-edge district, but make sure your communications efforts tell the full story, to include the value and the why. Take baby steps. In Jim Collins’ “Great by Choice,” he focuses on the value of establishing a formula for success and then making only tiny tweaks over time. Collins warns that too many major innovations within one system can lead to short-term success, followed shortly by a decline in results. In the school world, we cannot afford to gamble with our students’ futures in this way, and most district budgets do not allow for major variance. Thus, if subscribing to Collins’ theory, innovate based on your district’s proven successes, with an eye for steadily increasing gains. For those of you with the fortitude to innovate, I applaud your efforts. If you have any additional thoughts or something that has worked for you, I would love to hear from you. Good luck out there. TERRY MORAWSKI is the deputy superintendent of administrative services for Comal ISD. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 8
Conroe ISD Melissa Hammond has been named principal of Giesinger Elementary School, where she was assistant principal for the past two years. She has spent 15 of her 17 years as an educator with Conroe ISD. Christina Upshaw is the new principal of Houston Elementary School, having spent the past two years as the school’s assistant principal. She began her career 11 years ago and has been with Conroe ISD since 2010. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Former Moore Elementary Assistant Principal Stacie Everson has been promoted to the role of principal of Birkes Elementary School. She has spent her 19-year career with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, serving as a middle school teacher, academic achievement specialist, director of instruction and assistant principal. Everson is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. She received her master’s degree in education administration from Sam Houston State University. Former Campbell Middle School Principal Cheryl Henry is now principal of Cypress Springs High School. She has spent eight of her 26 years as an educator in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, having begun her career in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she was dean of students and an assistant principal. Upon moving to Texas, she was an assistant principal in Klein ISD before joining Cypress-Fairbanks ISD as director of instruction in 2007. Henry, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and AfroAmerican studies from the University of California at Los Angeles, holds a master’s degree in education from Stanford University and a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University. Carrie Marz, who had been principal of Willbern Elementary, is now principal of Bane Elementary. She has been an educator for 32 years, spending 19 years as a bilingual/ ESL teacher in Houston and Spring ISDs, as well as in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. She also has served in the district as an instructional specialist and assistant principal. Marz received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Kent State University in Ohio and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State Uni10
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
versity. She earned her doctorate in educational administration and human resource development from Texas A&M University. Christine Melancon, who was principal of Francone Elementary School, has been appointed principal of Gleason Elementary. She has been an educator for 16 years, 14 of those with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. She began her career as a teacher in Louisiana. In Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, she has served as a teacher, instructional specialist, assistant principal, summer school principal, district math coordinator and principal. Melancon, who graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, earned her master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. The former assistant principal of McFee Elementary has been promoted to principal of Willbern Elementary School. Connie Roberson has been an educator for 21 years, 15 of those with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. She began her career at the Fairhill School in Dallas before she came to Cypress-Fairbanks for a teaching position. Roberson received her bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in education from Concordia University. April Wright, former assistant principal of Warner Elementary, has been named principal of Lowery Elementary School. Wright, who has been an educator for 17 years, began her career in Fort Bend ISD as a special education resource teacher. She then joined North East ISD in San Antonio, teaching life skills at Fox Run Elementary. At Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, she worked as a life skills teacher and special education teacher before her most recent position at Warner. She holds a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in special education. Dallas ISD Robert Bravo comes to his new position as chief of school leadership from the Los Angeles Unified School District. He was an educator for 25 years in California. Newly appointed Chief of Human Capital Management Kerry Chapman had been serving in that position in an interim capacity since February. She has 16 years of experience in the field of human resources. She was a classroom teacher in Grand Prairie ISD for 17 years and was interim assistant superintendent for administration and human resources in Irving ISD. Denison ISD Veteran educator George Hatfield, as-
sistant superintendent of Denison ISD, has announced his retirement, effective at the end of August. This will bring to a close 44 years of working in public education. He began his career George Hatfield in Oklahoma as a teacher and then principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent of schools, before joining Denison ISD. Hatfield received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Chosen to succeed Hatfield as assistant superintendent is David Kirkbride, who has been principal of Terrell Elementary School for the past nine years. Initially a teacher in Tennessee, he went on to be a summer school principal David Kirkbride and assistant principal in that state. In addition, he was an adjunct professor in the graduate school of education at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., and a graduate instructor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Mississippi. Kirkbride earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Harding University, his master’s degree in the same field from Delta State University, and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi. Denton ISD Mario Layne, a former junior high school principal in Everman ISD, is the new principal of Navo Middle School. He has been a teacher and coach in Fort Worth ISD and spent four years as an assistant principal at North Crowley High in Crowley ISD and a year at Everman Academy High School. He was in his most recent position for the past three years. El Campo ISD Kelly Waters has been promoted from her position as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction to district superintendent. A graduate of El Campo High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University and her master’s degree in educational leadSee WHO’S NEWS on page 15
GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne
For the love of the game
n 1998, I was teaching 25 exceptionally bright Hungarian teenagers for an outfit called the Center for Independent Journalism, and my job was to introduce them to fact-based reporting, as opposed to state-sponsored propaganda, which is all they had ever known. After class each evening, my colleagues and I would stroll the Váci Utca — the notorious boulevard whose surreal visual delights rival Barcelona’s La Rambla and even Austin’s Sixth Street — and we would sit and sip and retire to our rooms as the summer sun slipped behind the Pilis Mountains, west of the city. My colleagues shared a suite at a quiet hotel nearby, but I was lodged in a decaying bunker on the Buda side, a half-hour trek across the Chain Bridge, through the smog-choked Adam Clark Tunnel and up Castle Hill. My flat contained a breakfast table, a dining chair, a twin bed and a flickering black-and-white TV the size of a waffle iron, so I spent my spare time reading or listening to my Sony Walkman, mostly Frank Sinatra, who had died 10 weeks earlier. One evening, I decided to roam the neighborhood in search of nothing in particular, and I stumbled upon a subterranean bar where a dozen or so guys were glued to a World Cup soccer match. I ducked in, ordered a local pilsner and watched them scream at the television. Perhaps 10 minutes later, a man my age or thereabouts sauntered in, sat next to me, ordered a red wine and said something to me in Hungarian, to which I responded, “Nem tud magyarul,” which means, “No speak Hungarian.” “That’s fine,” he replied. “We can speak English.” So, we introduced ourselves, and I explained who I was and where I was from and how it was that I was there that night, and, finally, he leaned over and said in a hushed voice, “You’re not gay, are you?”
“Umm, no. I’m not,” I stammered. “This is a gay bar, you know,” he said. I struggled to collect my thoughts and then said, “Yes, of course,” which was a response I’d heard often from my workshop hosts. For example, if I had said to them, “For today’s lecture, I will need a Scud missile, a cement mixer and two Shetland ponies,” they would smile and reply, “Yes, of course.” But I was fooling no one. “It’s no problem,” he said. “Please, stay. Let me buy you another beer. I would enjoy a chance to practice my English.” So, I stayed and told him about my family, about growing up in a small town in Northeast Texas, about my job as a journalist and teacher. He told me about his family, about growing up in Budapest, about working for the communist regime until it fell in 1989, about living in fear — then and now — as a closeted gay man. All the while, we watched the World Cup soccer match. He explained to me the game so thoroughly that, for a speck of a moment, I saw the beauty of the sport, not just a bunch of dudes flopping and flailing about and running in circles. I forgot that I was teaching the next day, or that I was in a gay bar sitting next to a man, or that someone of malicious intent might easily misinterpret or misrepresent what was happening. I was lost in the moment, deep in conversation with a former commie functionary about a topic I had known little and cared nothing about. And as I look back on it now, I appreciate how it testifies to the power of sport to enthrall, engage and invite us to come together and embrace the often forbidden adventure of freedom. 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.
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July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
Evaluating the new evaluation systems Experts share feedback, insights after first pilot year by Raven L. Hill
ood schools need good teachers and good principals. It’s a simple enough formula on paper but somewhat difficult to quantify in schools. The state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system is looking to change that. For 17 years, most Texas districts have used the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) for annual teacher evaluations. The state education
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
code did not require principal evaluations. Last school year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) began piloting the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) and the Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS). “PDAS helped to systemize the appraisal process and it helped start the process of having a common vocabulary and definition of what effective teaching looks like,” said Tim Regal, director of Educator Evaluation and Support at Texas Education Agency (TEA). But “at the end of the day, it didn’t really provide teachers
with the feedback necessary to help all teachers improve their practice moving forward. It seemed to be a process that satisfied human resources issues.” Tim Regal And with no requirement to evaluate principals, there was little done to speak to their needs as instructional leaders. Over the years, it became increasingly clearer that teachers and principals needed a more rigorous and thoughtful system to
foster school improvement. A few of the state’s largest districts, including Austin, Dallas and Houston, began implementing more-stringent performance evaluation systems back in the mid-2000s. Work on the state principal evaluation system began in spring 2012; the steering committee for the teacher evaluation system started in the fall of the following year. Regal noted they were built in a “parallel way” with similar goals — timely feedback and open dialogue. The steering committee also aimed to shift the mindset from one-time performance appraisals to a crucial aspect of ongoing professional development, he said. Both use three measures of effectiveness. For T-TESS, it’s observation, teacher self-assessment and student growth. For T-PESS, it’s high-performing principal practices, progress toward goals and initiatives, and student growth.
‘At the end of the day, it didn’t really provide teachers with the feedback necessary to help all teachers improve their practice moving forward. It seemed to be a process that satisfied human resources issues.’
— Tim Regal, Texas Education Agency, on the incumbent system, PDAS.
“An appraisal must have three things for it to be beneficial,” Regal said. “The process has to yield formative and timely feedback. It needed to be ongoing. Any appraisal system, for it to work, will depend on the relationships built.” There are notable differences between the PDAS and T-TESS rubrics, including: • T-TESS’s observable domains focus on teachers and students rather than on separating them into individual domains; • T-TESS has five performance levels to PDAS’s four; and • T-TESS works to capture feedback built into the rubric.
Thinking about his experience as a teacher, Regal said he did not have many opportunities to discuss effective instruction with his appraiser. With the new system, “we wanted appraisers and (subjects) to sit down and have nice, open, supportive conversations about effective instruction or effective leadership, where we are with those different practices and where we want to go. There needs to be a nice, collegial relationship between the two for those conversations to move educators forward in their development.” Approximately 5 percent (or 64) of the state’s districts were in the first TTESS pilot group. The pilot will be extended through the 2015-2016 school year with a statewide rollout scheduled for 2016-2017. Approximately 250 to 260 districts will be in the second pilot year, including the original 64. Looking back on the first pilot year The pilot districts represent a microcosm of the state, from tiny Cotton Center to ever-expanding Pflugerville. Pilot districts were tasked with giving feedback on the new evaluation tools, process, training, support and other concerns. The districts implemented the observation and teacher self-assessment and the principal rubric and goals portions. Regional education service centers offered training support. However, the evaluation system got pushback from teacher groups for using value-added metrics and from the U.S. Department of Education for not going far enough to demonstrate student growth. Despite the bumps, districts have been mostly receptive to the new evaluation tools, said Jill Rhodes Pruin, an administrative specialist in ESC Region 20 in San Antonio. “A lot of time, you Jill Rhodes Pruin get pushback because change is different,” she said. “For the most part, they are very supportive of the system. They’re excited about the opportunities it presents for their development and growth. What I’m hearing is very positive.” The new evaluation systems provide a more holistic approach, she said. “It’s not just that one-time, one-shot look at things in isolation. It looks at how everything is
working together to make sure students are successful.” Pruin said she’s optimistic about the statewide rollout: “Because it’s based on a growth model and making our good teachers better, it’s only going to make overall teaching in the state better. “Our team is looking forward to adding 21 districts to our current three for the 2015-2016 refinement pilot year,” she said. Lake Travis ISD near Austin piloted the principal evaluation system. “The pilot year did as good a job as any I’ve seen in attempting to promote growth and improvement while acknowledging that every system has its limitations,” said Lake Travis ISD Deputy Superintendent Chris Allen Chris Allen. Overall, feedback from the pilot group was extremely beneficial, Regal said. It ranged from making certain documents easier to read to larger concerns, such as more time for teacher appraiser training and reworking rubric components. “There’s the resource and material feedback that we got and then there’s the bigger feedback that addresses what it takes to do this successfully,” Regal said. “We’re in a much better position now.” See EVALUATING on page 14
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
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One of the most important lessons learned from the pilot, according to Regal, was mapping out the plan for implementation, prioritizing evaluations, and allowing the performance rubric to guide the process. “Both systems try to implement an evidence-based, objective appraisal process,” Regal said. “If the rubric is not there, then we fall back into this idea of appraising based on gut instinct or the tics of my personality. It really diminishes the value of the feedback.” To do the evaluations well, districts will need to focus more consistently and appraisers will need to strengthen their time management skills. “This is by no means a silver bullet where paying attention to it in year one means that we can ignore it or minimize it moving forward,” he said. “It can’t just be a flavor of the month. There really has to be a focus on honoring that time to help teachers and principals grow in their practice.”
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
‘If the rubric is not there, then we fall back into this idea of appraising based on gut instinct or the tics of my personality. It really diminishes the value of the feedback.’
— Tim Regal, Texas Education Agency
The refinement year TEA decided last summer to extend the pilot program to better ease the transition from PDAS. Regal said he’s eager to see the effects of the lessons learned going into the second year, which he calls the “refinement year,” now that TEA, districts and ESCs have more expertise. “Now that it’s being expanded, we’ll get a wider range of districts” with different capacities for implementation, he said.
“We’ll get great feedback this year.” Education service centers can be more proactive in the year ahead, said Lauralee Pankonien, senior coordinator for education quality at ESC Region 13 in Austin. “We will be better able to anticipate what supports districts need,” she said. “And at each stage of the appraisal cycle, we can step in with those supports.” It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Department of Education will find TTESS acceptable for TEA’s request for a No Child Left Behind waiver. But Regal said that will not impact either evaluation system. “The systems are what they are,” he said. “Whatever ends up happening with the waiver won’t impact the system or timing of the rollout.” Once the models are refined, Allen of Lake Travis ISD said he’s hoping for a continued focus on growth. “If you put people in a position where they can do their best, they will do more of that,” he said. RAVEN L. HILL is a former education reporter for the Austin AmericanStatesman.
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ership from Prairie View A&M University. She began as a special education teacher in Denton ISD before joining Lamar ISD, where she taught special education and served as a project lead teacher, assistant principal and principal. El Paso ISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera has been named the Texas Latino Superintendent of the Year for 2015. The award was presented in Washington, D.C., in April from the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Cabrera has led El Paso ISD since 2013. Micaela Varela, a 17-year employee of El Paso ISD, is the new principal of Hornedo Middle School. She has taught at Canyon Hills Middle School and Kohlberg Elementary and was assistant principal of Kohlberg, Crosby and Polk elementary schools before being named principal of Polk in 2009. The native of El Paso has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at El Paso. Forney ISD The new principal of the Forney Academic Center is Stormy Lemond, who comes to her new position from North Forney High School, where she was assistant principal for the past two years. Prior to joining Forney ISD, she was an educator in Lewisville, Denton and Pearland ISDs. In addition, she has served as Forney ISD’s instructional facilitator for secondary math and as an assessment specialist and instructional facilitator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Courtney Parker is the new principal of Blackburn Elementary School. An educator for 18 years, she began her career as a teacher in Garland ISD, where she most recently served as assistant principal of Davis Elementary. She also has worked as a special education teacher, a district dyslexia evaluator, a curriculum writer and assistant principal. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, she holds a master’s degree in education administration from the same institution. The district now has a new English language arts and reading learning specialist. Leslie Rader comes to her new job from
Criswell Elementary School, where she was assistant principal. She began her career 10 years ago as a kindergarten teacher in Crandall ISD, joining Forney ISD in 2008 as a first grade teacher at Rhea Elementary. She was named the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2010. Rader holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University.
has eight years of experience as a campus administrator and 11 as a district administrator. McCord received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Midwestern State University. Her doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from Lamar University. Tim Williams has been promoted from the role of executive director of business operations to assistant superintendent of operations.
Fort Bend ISD Fort Bend ISD announces Denna Hill as the district’s executive director for special education. A 25-year veteran of special education, she has served in central office positions in several Texas districts, including as executive director of special programs in Pasadena ISD for eight years and as director of special education in Brazosport ISD for three years. Hill received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston and her doctorate from Baylor University. A member of the executive board of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education for the past four years, she is slated to serve as president of the organization for the 2015-2016 school year. A new director of teacher development is in place for Fort Bend ISD. Stephanie Williams was most recently the district’s coordinator of secondary mathematics. An educator for 21 years, she came to the district in 2001 as a geometry teachStephanie Williams er at Bush High School. In addition, she has been a math instructional specialist, curriculum writer, head girls’ basketball coach and athletic coordinator. Prior to coming to Fort Bend ISD, she worked in Katy and Canton ISDs. Williams, a former Fort Bend ISD Teacher of the Year and ESC Region 4 Teacher of the Year, obtained her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from The University of Texas and her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University.
Goose Creek CISD Anthony Price is the district’s new deputy superintendent. He was most recently superintendent of RosebudLott ISD, a position he held since 2008. Prior to that, he spent four years with Everman ISD as an administrator. Price beAnthony Price gan his career 25 years ago as a math teacher and has also worked in Arlington and Fort Worth ISDs. He earned a degree in electronic engineering from DeVry Institute and worked as a biomedical and aerospace engineer before becoming an educator. He received his master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and is completing his doctoral degree from Walden University.
Frenship ISD Cindi Cobb has been named the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction. Michelle McCord, who for the past five years has been the district’s assistant superintendent of administrative services, is now Frenship ISD’s interim superintendent. She
Graham ISD Former Assistant Superintendent Ashley Stewart has been named as the interim superintendent. She joined Graham ISD in 2010 from San Saba ISD, where she was assistant superintendent for three years. Granbury ISD Stacie Brown has moved from leading Brawner Intermediate School for the past six years to Mambrino School, where she will serve as principal. In her 20 years as an educator, Brown worked in Fort Worth and Granbury ISDs, Stacie Brown where she has served as a teacher, instructional specialist, assistant principal, all-level math and science coordinator, and elementary coordinator serving all subject areas. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Radford University in Virginia, Brown went on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University. See WHO’S NEWS on page 16
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
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Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Bell Manor Elementary School welcomes Patti Bearden as principal. She was principal of River Trails Elementary for the past five years. Now serving as principal of Central Junior High School is Patti Bearden Randy Belcher, former principal of South Euless Elementary. River Trails Elementary School has a new principal. Tammy Daggs comes to her new job from serving as coordinator of educational Randy Belcher support services. Prior to that assignment, she was assistant principal of River Trails for three years. Jonathan James has retired. For the past five years, he was principal of Central Junior High School. Before that, he Tammy Daggs was principal of Wilshire Elementary School and was also an assistant principal and a teacher for the district. Judy Ramos, director of communications for the past 14 years, has announced her retirement from public education to pursue freelance opportunities and launch a new business based on her experience in public relations, marketing and Judy Ramos reporting. During her tenure with the district, Ramos established the Volunteers in Public Education and Cradle to Classroom programs and the Hall of Fame banquet. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Texas School Public Relations Association, National Schools Public Relations Association, the Fort Worth chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and other organizations. Stephanie Smith, a 35-year employee and principal of Bell Manor Elementary School for the Stephanie Smith past 18 years, retired at 16
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Now serving as principal of South Euless Elementary School is Maureen Sterling, former assistant principal of Midway Park Elementary.
Irving ISD Jorge Acosta is the new principal of Gilbert Elementary School, coming to his new job from Davis Elementary, where he was assistant principal since 2014. Before that assignment, he was an assistant principal and an instrucJorge Acosta tional technology specialist. He joined Irving ISD in 1998 as a bilingual teacher. Acosta holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in educational administration and policy study, both from The University of Texas at Arlington. Rosa Avendano, who had been serving as interim principal of Keyes Elementary School, is now the principal. During her 18 years as an educator, Avendano worked as a kindergarten teacher in San Angelo ISD for eight years beRosa Avendano fore joining Irving ISD in 2005 as assistant principal. She earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and her master’s degree in education administration from Angelo State University. Patty Bustamante, principal of Gilbert Elementary since 2012, is now Irving ISD’s director of world languages. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Dallas and two master’s degrees, in bilingual education and Patty Bustamante in educational administration, from The University of Texas at Arlington. Jeffrey Dorman has been named principal of Houston Middle School. He comes from MacArthur High School, where he was associate principal. He is in his 20th year as an educator, having served as a high school assistant principal in Garland ISD for seven years and as a physical education teacher in Dallas ISD for 12 years. Prior to becoming an edu-
cator, he was in the U.S. Army for 10 years. Dorman earned his bachelor’s degree from Paul Quinn College and his master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. Francisco Miranda, former associate principal of Irving High School, will lead Crockett Middle School as principal. Before joining Irving ISD, he was with Dallas ISD as a bilingual reading, language arts and social studies teacher. In Francisco Miranda addition, he was a middle school associate and assistant principal and summer school principal. A graduate of Northwood University, Miranda obtained his master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas. Rick Nolly has been promoted from his position as principal of the Secondary Reassignment Center (SRC) and Wheeler Transitional Development Center to director of campus operations and attendance initiatives. Prior to his Rick Nolly most recent principalship, Nolly was interim principal of Bowie Middle School, principal of Nimitz High and of Houston Middle School, and vice principal of Irving High. He was also a coach at MacArthur High. Before joining Irving ISD, he was a teacher and coach in Fort Worth, Garland and Ralls ISDs. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and English from McMurry University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Jerome Pilgrim, director of purchasing, brings more than 15 years of experience in school district purchasing offices and an additional 24 years in county and military roles. He spent 11 years as senior buyer for Dallas ISD and three Jerome Pilgrim as assistant director of purchasing for Garland ISD. Pilgrim holds a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University. Lindsey Sanders is now principal of Haley Elementary School, where she had been serving as assistant principal. She began her career in 2006 as a teacher and has worked as campus instructional specialist and assistant principal. Sanders holds a bachelor’s
Who’s News degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Scott Sralla has been named principal Lindsey Sanders of the district’s Secondary Reassignment Center (SRC) and Wheeler Transitional and Development Center. He was assistant principal of Nimitz High School since 2012. In addition, he has served Irving ISD Scott Sralla as a high school summer school principal and vice principal. Prior to joining the district, he was a teacher and coach in Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Grand Prairie and Bandera ISDs. Sralla received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University. Killeen ISD A new assistant superintendent for instructional leadership has been named. Robin Champagne began her career with the district in 1987 and has been an English and language arts teacher, middle school principal, high school asRobin Champagne sistant principal, educational services special assistant, student activities coordinator, campus athletics coordinator and, most recently, executive director for secondary schools. Des Montes Stewart has been selected to serve as district deputy superintendent. An educator for 16 years, he began his career teaching math in Fort Worth ISD and was most recently an area director in Garland ISD. In addition, he has been a coach, assistant principal and principal at both the elementary and secondary levels. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Lake Travis ISD Lake Travis Middle School welcomes
Jodie Villemaire as principal. She has been an educator for more than 20 years, beginning as a teacher in Mansfield ISD. After 10 years in the classroom, she took her first administrative position as assistant principal of Anderson Elementary School in that district. She joined Lake Travis ISD in 2007 to serve as an assistant principal and lead summer school principal. She was most recently a principal in Eanes ISD. Villemaire earned a bachelor’s degree in English and elementary education and her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at Arlington. Lewisville ISD Lori Rapp is now serving as the district’s associate superintendent of learning and teaching. Most recently executive director of learning design and support, she has spent her career with Lewisville ISD. She was a math teacher, Lori Rapp secondary math supervisor and director of pre-K through grade 12 curriculum. Rapp, who received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree in the same field from Texas Woman’s University, is working on her doctorate in educational leadership at Dallas Baptist University. Kevin Rogers, who had been serving as the district’s interim superintendent and chief operations officer, is now superintendent. He has spent his 29-year career with Lewisville ISD, serving as a teacher, coach, and campus and district Kevin Rogers administrator. Initially a middle school science teacher, he went on to serve as assistant principal and principal. Immediately prior to taking on the interim superintendent role, he was the district’s chief operations officer. Rogers, for the past four years, has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas, where he earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees. His received his doctorate from Texas Woman’s University. Kathy Talbert, now executive director of special education, had been serving in that role in an interim position. She began her career in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, where she was a special education teacher and behavior specialist. She was Lewisville ISD’s director of special education for 15 years be-
fore taking on her recent interim position. Talbert’s bachelor’s degree is from Lamar University and her master’s degree in educational administration is from the University of North Texas. She earned her doctorate from Texas Woman’s University.
Little Elm ISD Kelley Carr is the new principal of Lakeview Elementary School. She has been with the district since 2012 and was most recently principal of Brent Elementary. She also has worked in Northwest and Grapevine-Colleyville ISDs. Carr, who received her bachelor’s degree from William Paterson University, holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Scranton. Marina Matus De Garcia, who was Lakeside Middle School’s assistant principal intern, is now an assistant principal at that campus. She taught in California and was a bilingual teacher in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD before coming to Little Elm ISD in 2010. Tony Peters is now principal of Brent Elementary, where she worked as assistant principal since 2009. A graduate of Great Basin College in Nevada with a master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University, she has been an educator for 14 years. Now serving as an assistant principal of Lakeside Middle School is Marcia Torres, who previously worked as an assistant principal and interim principal at Lakeview Elementary. She has been with Little Elm ISD since 2008 and previously worked in Aubrey, Lonedell, Collinsville and Richland ISDs. She is a graduate of Emporia State University and has a master’s degree in early childhood education from Texas Woman’s University. Littlefield ISD New Superintendent Robert Dillard most recently held the top position in Munday ISD. Lubbock ISD Stacy Hurst, former assistant principal of Roberts Elementary, will lead Wright Elementary School as principal. She has been with Lubbock ISD for 13 years, working as a teacher, assistant principal and campus testing coordinator. She See WHO’S NEWS on page 21
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
Greenville ISD promotes STEM education, partners with businesses to bolster skilled future workforce By Kelli Tharp
t started as a piece of steel pipe,” Greenville High School graduate Press Alford says about the origins of the Iron Lion solar car. In 2013, Alford and his peers built the Iron Lion, a three-wheeled, solar-powered vehicle that raced to second-place success in an eightday, cross-country, national solar car challenge. “To me, it’s one of the most important things I’ve done,” says Alford, who continues to use his STEM education in the Army as a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic.
Alford’s summation of his solar car experience at Greenville High School represents one of the benefits of Greenville ISD’s focus on product-oriented education (POE) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. In Greenville ISD, it’s commonplace to see STEM students racing life-sized cardboard boats, constructing bridges and building electric cars from lawnmower batteries. Rather than the typical “chalk and talk” pedagogy of engineering education, product-oriented activities are incorporated at every grade level in the
district’s STEM Academy, which opened in 2007. In its desire to design STEM curriculum that’s relevant and essential to today’s workforce, the district has worked diligently to forge relationships with local businesses. Superintendent Don Jefferies created a staff position specifically focused on community and business development — a unique job within a public school district. The chief of communications and business development’s role is to capitalize on community strengths and develop mutually beneficial partnerships
In 2013, Greenville High School students built the Iron Lion, a three-wheeled, solar-powered vehicle that raced to second-place success in an eightday, cross-country, national solar car challenge. 18
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that enhance the district’s programs. “STEM directly affects what is closest and dearest to us — our children,” says Jefferies. “It’s the technological age they live in. It is their future and their opportunity for careers in the most-demanding fields.” Because of the district’s strong business relationships, STEM students have the added benefit of working directly with company leaders, Jefferies says. “It is our hope our students will, in turn, be business owners and leaders in the community,” he says. Two of the district’s most formidable business partnerships — with local companies L3 Communications and Innovation First — greatly enhance GISD’s robotics program. Eric Larsen, director of reconnaissance and surveillance systems engineering with L3 Communications, serves as a mentor for Greenville High School’s robotics team, the Robowranglers. Says Larsen: “I am very impressed with the students and their ability to quickly seek out new ideas and use the skills they have learned in school.” Greenville High School robotic teams participate in For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics and VEX Robotics regional and world competitions. In addition to a world championship, Greenville ISD teams have achieved two FIRST world championship division wins, 11 regional wins, 15 robot design awards and one judges award in the past six years. This year, based on their track record of stellar performances, Greenville ISD students were invited to China to help facilitate the development of a similar robotics competition there. “The FIRST robotics competition combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science, technology, engineering and math,” says Larsen. “Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team ‘brand,’ hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.” In recent years, Greenville ISD chose to expand its pre-engineering robotics model to other campuses to create a comprehensive, vertically aligned program. Consequently, the district’s elementary and intermediate campuses now compete
Mentors from the business community assist the "Robowranglers" at Greenville High School with their robotics project.
‘The workshops enable students to acquire real project experience. It also allows them to see future employment opportunities that are available.’ — Eric Larsen, mentor, L3 Communications on a world stage in Vex Robotics as well. With its scalable potential and modular curriculum options, VEX creates a pipeline that benefits both educators and students. Since their creation in 2011, Greenville ISD VEX teams have won two world awards, eight national awards and 65 local awards. In addition to supporting Greenville ISD’s ever-growing robotics program, L3 Communications also hosts electrical workshops to arm the next generation of engineers and designers with valuable skills. “The workshops enable students to acquire real project experience. It also allows them to see future employment opportunities that are available,” Larsen says.
To give back to the businesses that support Greenville ISD programs, the district provides products and services, such as strategic branding and marketing opportunities to district stakeholders. For instance, the district offers visual positioning and branding for these businesses through email blasts to employees, report cards to parents, and advertising on buses and the district website. Through these platforms, businesses can advertise their job openings, announce special discounts for educators, and enhance overall branding efforts through print and online media with a targeted and engaged audience. With an in-house graphic designer and professional printers, Greenville ISD is able to offer turnkey design for these marketing and branding campaigns. “The collaboration between businesses and GISD benefits us all,” Jefferies says. “It helps owners and corporations promote their businesses, while investing their advertising dollars in a way that funds initiatives for our students.” Greenville ISD also serves on the Greenville Area Business Retention and Expansion Committee (BREC) by designing the group’s marketing materials and creating a system of networking opportunities for STEM teachers to directly engage with local executives. The BREC recently organized an See GREENVILLE on page 20
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event at Greenville High School for area plant managers to listen to students speak of their experiences in STEM and career and technology classes. Participants enjoyed a meal catered by the high school’s culinary art class and then toured the school campus. In 2012, in partnership with the Greenville Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Greenville ISD passed the Freeport Exemption, rescinding the taxation of goods that qualify as Freeport goods. The Freeport Exemption continues to enhance the community’s ability to deter local businesses from relocating to other cities and is instrumental in attracting future businesses. Greg Sims, president and CEO of the Greenville EDC, says: “The Greenville EDC is very pleased to partner with our public school district to foster a more educated and trained future workforce for our existing and future corporate employers. STEM curriculum is a vital resource to the growing global competition our local industries face today in all facets of industrial production and service.
‘It is our hope our students will, in turn, be business owners and leaders in the community.’ —Superintendent Don Jeffries “Learning the foundation of STEM and team-building assignments to apply their knowledge will only enhance their ability to be hired,” he continues. “As productive members of our local workforce, GISD students and future workers will elevate our economic development efforts and enhance quality of life in our growing community.” Greenville ISD also boasts worldclass career and technology course offerings. Students can earn five certifications and take more than 43 CATE classes, ranging from welding and metal technologies to culinary arts and entrepreneurship. These programs also benefit from strong business partnerships.
The recent completion of the district’s CATE Auto Body Shop serves as a testament to that. Sherwin Williams, 3M, SouthWest Ford and The Shop Designs donated more than $25,000 in materials, and Sherwin Williams’ employees provided countless hours of free labor to remodel the space and outfit to operate as a professional studio. Students participating in the CATE program gave back to the community by repainting welcome signs that line major thoroughfares entering and exiting Greenville roadways. What started as a simple “piece of steel pipe” has manifested into a whole new way of viewing public education in Greenville ISD. It is no longer limited to four brick-and-mortar walls, but, rather, it has expanded to encompass the world as it is today. Greenville ISD strives to arm students with lessons that transcend those walls. By working with community and business partners, Greenville ISD equips students with lessons for where life leads. KELLI THARP is the chief of communications and business development for Greenville ISD.
FLEXIBILTY + ADAPTABILITY SPACES THAT TRANSFORM Perkins+Will designs spaces that operate in a variety of ways. A campus that is flexible and agile facilitates the multidirectional learning environments that 21st century skill-based curriculum demands.
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 17
holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lubbock Christian University. The principal of Wester Elementary School, Amy Kimbley, comes to her new job from Overton Elementary, where she was assistant principal. An employee of the district for 25 years, she has taught first through fourth grades and has been an assistant principal at several campuses. She earned both her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies and her master’s degree in education from Texas Tech University. Now serving as principal of Bowie Elementary School is Mary Jane Poorman, former assistant principal of Miller Elementary. She has been with the district for 25 years, working as a third and fourth grade teacher and as a magnet specialist. The former Bowie student holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in education from Lubbock Christian University. Mansfield ISD Now serving as principal of Boren Elementary School is Tracy Johnson, an employee of Mansfield ISD for 22 years who has spent the last four as assistant principal of Anderson Elementary. She received her master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas. Nash Elementary School will welcome Tiffanie King as principal this year. She has been an educator for nine years, three with Mansfield ISD. Previous positions include assistant principal and academic associate principal. She holds a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. The new principal of Wester Middle School, Jennifer Powers, has 15 years of experience as an educator. She worked as the academic associate principal of Lake Ridge High School. Powers has a master’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology from Southern Methodist University. Jenny Roberson has been named principal of Miller Elementary School, which will open for the 2015-2016 school year. An educator for 34 years, Roberson was most recently principal of Watson Technology Center in Garland ISD, a job she held for 18 years. She received her master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University.
McKinney ISD New McKinney High School Principal Gordon Butler was the school’s assistant principal for the 2012-2013 school year, before being appointed director of program evaluation. Prior to joining McKinney ISD, Butler served as an assistant principal in Midlothian ISD, taught ESL language arts and social studies in Dallas ISD and world geography and U.S. history in Boston, Mass. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from The University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. He is at work on his doctorate at the University of North Texas. Longtime Caldwell Elementary Principal Chris Clark will lead Press Elementary School as principal. He came to McKinney ISD and his most recent position in 2008 from Oklahoma, where he had spent 14 years with Tulsa Public Schools as an elementary teacher, site technology coordinator, assistant principal and principal. Clark earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and a master’s degree in curriculum supervision from Oklahoma State University. Melinda DeFelice has filled the position of assistant superintendent for student services. She brings more than 20 years of experience to her new job, much of it with McKinney ISD. Most recently, DeFelice was the district’s senior director of college and career readiness. She began her career in Richardson ISD, where she was a teacher and assistant principal. In 2001, she joined McKinney ISD, where she has served as an assistant principal, associate principal and principal. DeFelice earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of North Texas. At Texas A&M University, she obtained two master’s degrees — one in secondary education and one in education administration — and her doctorate in education administration. Kelly Flowers has stepped into the role of principal of Caldwell Elementary School. With the exception of a semester of student teaching at Burks Elementary, she has spent her 16-year career at Caldwell. Initially a third grade bilingual teacher, she went on to work as the bilingual team leader and campus assistant principal. She was the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2004-2005. Flowers has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in teaching from Austin College. She also has a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University
at Commerce and is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at the University of North Texas. Paige Hanks, who was principal of Press Elementary School, retired at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. Longtime educator Harvey Oaxaca retired at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. He worked in public education for 39 years, the past 22 with McKinney ISD. He was hired as principal of Faubion Middle School, the district’s only middle school in the 1990s. Before joining the district, he worked in schools in Abilene, Conroe, Sweetwater, Levelland and Garland ISDs. The new director of fine arts is Dan White, who has served in that position in Wichita Falls ISD for the past 16 years and brings 35 years of experience in music education to the job. He began his career as a choral director in Plainview ISD. From 1985 to 1999, he taught and directed at the college level. White holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Wayland Baptist University, a master’s degree in music from Eastern New Mexico University and a doctorate in fine arts from Texas Tech University. He is the Region II executive committee chair for the University Interscholastic League. Mesquite ISD Stacy Carpenter has been named principal of New Middle School. She has been an educator for 19 years, 16 of those with Mesquite ISD. She initially worked as a special education teacher in Mesquite ISD before spending three Stacy Carpenter years in Crandall ISD. She returned to the district to teach again before becoming an assistant principal at Mesquite Academy in 2004. In addition, she has worked at North Mesquite and Horn high schools. Carpenter earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce. David Johnson, a graduate of North Mesquite High School, is now director of the Mesquite Learning Center. He has spent 22 years as an educator, including serving as a teacher and coach in Mesquite, Ector County and Hurst-EulessDavid Johnson
See WHO’S NEWS on page 25
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples helps war refugees find peace in Amarillo ISD by Autumn Rhea Carpenter
ong before Palo Duro High School English Department chair, instructional coach and teacher Shanna Peeples was named 2015 National Teacher of the Year, she was a pet sitter, medical assistant, disc jockey and a journalist in Amarillo. “I always wanted to teach, but knew that it would be a job that would call on me to be vulnerable like no other job would,” she admits. “I knew that it would break my heart like all things that you love will. I avoided it by becoming a DJ and later a journalist for the Amarillo Globe, where I learned that every person that you meet is a doorway into experiences that you’ve never had.” Peeples finally plunged into the teaching field after completing her teacher’s certificate at West Texas State A&M University. She began teaching English Language Arts at Mann Middle School in Amarillo. “I went straight from the newsroom to the classroom with no student-teacher train-
ing, and I wouldn’t recommend it,” she says. “That experience was like going to Tibet and losing my ego. I learned that if I could love a seventh grader, I could love anyone.” Today, Peeples teaches AP English, English as a Second Language and special education. In 2008, she began teaching the FLEX program, an alternative night class at Palo Duro High School geared for students at risk of not graduating. Later, Peeples was asked to co-teach a classroom of students whom others didn’t want to teach due to the students’ poor test scores. These students were refugees from war-torn countries. They and their families had come to the Panhandle under the auspices of a program run by Catholic Family Services. The program relocates immigrants to work in the region’s robust meat-packing industry — jobs that don’t require strong English language speaking skills, only a willingness to work hard. Consequently, refugees from countries
“I always wanted to teach, but knew that it would be a job that would call on me to be vulnerable like no other job would,” says National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples, who was a journalist before she began working in public education. 22
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
such as Burma, Somalia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam and Thailand now call Amarillo home. One of Peeples’ former students now works for the Randall County Sheriff’s Office. He sometimes assists Peeples as a classroom translator. “It cracks me up when this 5-foot-4 Burmese man opens his mouth and a big Bubba, West Texas twang pops out,” Peeples says. “I recently drove past the country radio station where I worked 25 years ago, and it’s now an East African grocery store. They were advertising camel meat on sale. Times have definitely changed in Amarillo.” According to Peeples, sometimes when immigrant students arrive to Amarillo, they cannot speak English. Many have endured traumatic events and suffer from depression and anxiety. In some cases, her students weren’t allowed to attend school in their home countries, so learning to write their names in her class is their first exposure to writing. Peeples likes to employ drawing exercises as one way for students to express their feelings. “One student’s drawing is seared in my memory,” says Peeples. “He drew pictures of soldiers attacking his village, with bayonets aimed at his family. Another student used the Internet to find images that showed a Kenyan refugee camp that was just a wind-blown patch of dirt, with the villagers cooking rice rations over an openflame Bunsen burner. “In these cases, pictures were much more powerful than any words,” she says. Peeples also recalls a Karen refugee’s first days in her class. The girl had been living in refugee camps along the ThaiBurma border. She spoke no English when she arrived. “She put her head on the desk and cried every day. It broke my heart,” she says. “The principal offered to move her into another class, but I decided what she needed most was a community. She drew pictures of Burma, looked at library books about her country and was able to grieve.
Fun facts about SHANNA
Something a teacher should never be without: A colleague (mine was my mentor and friend Elaine Loughlin) who is there to laugh, cry and vent with and who might not be on the same campus. Teaching can be an isolating experience, and we need each other. If I couldn’t be a teacher, I would be a: vocal actress for animated films. Come on, Pixar, hire me! My favorite way to decompress after a long day: At lunch, I watch baby otter videos. I also enjoy cooking because you have to focus. Finally, I wouldn’t call myself a runner, but I try. Something most people don’t know about me is: At Mann Middle School, I was nominated and lost Campus Teacher of the Year for nine years in a row. That taught me how to lose gracefully. I’m used to clapping for someone else and am still getting used to being called a winner. “After a semester, she began participating in class and found her place in our community,” Peeples says. “In any traumatic situation, emotional and physical safety are critical. It is impossible to learn when you’re terrified. Once the student felt safe, she thrived.” Peeples points to Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who, in the 1960s, said that all learning is social. “That still applies today,” Peeples says. “It’s not a waste of time to spend the first six weeks of school building a kind community of writers and readers. Once the community is formed, they will be inter-reliant on each other and will help each other grow and
learn by solving problems and taking risks together.” Paying attention to visual and tonal cues also has helped Peeples become a better teacher. “ESL students helped me make a connection with struggling readers,” she says. “I asked them how they determine if they want to be friends with someone, such as by their clothes, their facial expressions or by their attitudes. Then I ask them to apply those same clues to fictional characters to access character motivation.” Peeples is the first Texas educator since 1957 to earn National Teacher of the Year. In this role, she will participate in
policy discussions at the state and national levels. One hot topic on her list is standardized testing. “I would like to see Texas stop its overreliance on test numbers and focus more on movements like The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning education program, which emphasizes using knowledge and skills in ways that prepare students for real life. After all, our students will be filling jobs tomorrow that don’t even exist today.” AUTUMN RHEA CARPENTER is a freelance writer in Kingwood.
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Texas ASCD PRESIDENT PROFILE Pampa ISD’s David Young places emphasis on building community by Elizabeth Millard
lthough David Young hails from a long line of teachers on both sides of his family — and his mother predicted he’d join that educational history — the Abilene native was determined to buck the trend. While attending Texas A&M University, Young started as a biochemistry major, but then ended up switching majors seven times before finishing with a degree in history. A bit reluctantly, he earned a history and math teaching certificate and took a position as a math teacher at a junior high school. As it turned out, he immediately appreciated the “family business.” “You better believe I had a big ‘I told you so’ moment with my mom,” laughs Young, who now leads Pampa ISD as superintendent and, in the fall, will become president of the Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.
“But as soon as I started teaching, I could see why so many people in my family had been in this profession. I loved it from the first second I started, and I’ve loved it ever since.” That affection is important, because Young has managed to keep his level of enthusiasm through numerous changes and districts. After teaching for four years — three in Waxahachie and one in Grapevine — he moved into administration when an assistant principal job opened up in College Station. The move gave him an opportunity to work on his doctorate, which he obtained in 2007 in philosophy with an emphasis on superintendency and educational systems. Previously, he earned his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision, also from Texas A&M University. Young jokes that he never goes anywhere without his Aggie ring.
Pampa ISD Superintendent David Young and students read up on marine animals. Young prioritizes his time with students, understanding that students care when they realize someone cares about them. 24
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
After showing his Aggie pride with a doctorate, his career in education accelerated, starting with a position as executive director for secondary education at Bryan ISD, where he stayed for more than two years. He then spent three years as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Midway ISD before settling in Pampa ISD as superintendent. “Only just now I’m starting to feel like I’m not drinking from a fire hose every day,” he admits. “We were kind of nomadic for most of my career and, thankfully, God blessed me with a supportive family.” Finding a place Despite the multiple moves throughout his path through education, Young does have a sense of consistency and focus, particularly when it comes to his primary mission: building positive relationships with students. “I suspect that it’s the same for many educators,” he says. “We all got into this business because we love kids. We want to connect with them and help them, we want to change their lives in meaningful ways. I don’t know many kids who wake up excited about algebra — except for me, since I was a nerd — but I think there are many who are excited to see a certain teacher or administrator.” Focusing on that excitement and harnessing it are paramount for Young. He believes that the energy derived from those relationships extends across a district, bringing together parents and teachers, administrators and staff and creating a sense of collaboration. In turn, that cooperation can fuel major changes. For example, this year in Pampa ISD, every student in grades 6 through 12 received a Chromebook. Young worked with teachers, parents and administrators on curriculum changes that would harness the technology more effectively. He spear-
headed an effort that encouraged teachers to engage with one another, and with instructors nationally, to find best practices for using technology in a meaningful way. “Paying for technology is almost a non-issue,” he says. “You can always figure out how to put that in the budget and find the funds. But the critical pieces are truly changing the way instruction is delivered, engaging students in an effective way, and increasing collaboration so that coursework and technology go together.” Presidency role In stepping into the presidency of Texas ASCD, Young says that same drive for meaningful collaboration and relationship-building can be transformative for the organization. “Collectively, within ASCD, we’ve talked about what’s next,” he says, noting that the group has put on outstanding professional development in the state. However, he admits that perhaps big, traditional conferences may not fit the needs of the membership going forward. “Maybe we put more effort into regional academies or online professional
learning,” he says. “The point is to look at how we’re changing to deliver what our membership needs to succeed. How we deploy our resources is important, and that’s where I want to put my focus as president — on really thinking about how we transform for members.” In both his work with ASCD and in his district, Young has noticed that newer teachers don’t tend to walk into their classrooms thinking, “I’ve got this.” Instead, they crave ongoing professional development, deeper levels of collaboration, and fresh insights about curriculum and technology. Most of all, they want those strong, meaningful relationships with students, other teachers, administrators, parents and the larger community. “The reason I love this profession, and why my family loved it, is that there are always new ways to connect and new ways to contribute,” says Young. “I’m excited to keep that momentum going for myself and others.”
Fun facts about
DAVID YOUNG Last book I read and really enjoyed: “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. I never leave home without: my Aggie ring. Dream vacation destination: Golfing vacation to St. Andrews, Scotland. An item on my bucket list: visit all 50 states.
ELIZABETH MILLARD is a freelance writer specializing in education and technology topics.
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 21
Bedford ISDs. He is completing his 10th year as an administrator with Mesquite ISD, having been an assistant principal at John Horn High School and Berry, Kimbrough and Terry middle schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and his master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Midlothian ISD Lane Ledbetter is the new superintendent. Most recently superintendent of Graham ISD, he also held the top position in Birdville ISD. He has bachelor and doctoral degrees from Baylor University and earned his master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Moulton ISD A new superintendent has been named for the district. Todd Grandjean comes to Moulton ISD from Granger ISD, where he has spent his career working as a classroom teacher, coach, maintenance director, athletic director, construction director and principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas A&M University and completed his master’s degree in education at Lamar University, where he is at work on his doctorate.
Northwest ISD (Fort Worth) Kim Blackburn is the new principal of Seven Hills Elementary School. She comes to her new position from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s Grapevine Elementary, which she led since 2011. Prior to that, she worked in Clear Creek, Keller and Kim Blackburn Birdville ISDs. Blackburn, who earned her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas, is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. The district’s new executive director of secondary education is Logan Faris. He brings more than 20 years of experience to his new job, including five as a classroom teacher and the remaining years in administration. He worked in Center, Nacogdoches, Logan Faris Broaddus and Leggett ISDs before joining McKinney
ISD to work as a middle school and high school principal. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University’s College of Education. Faris earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University. Carrie Pierce will serve as principal of Hatfield Elementary School. She has been with the district for the past 10 years, working as a teacher, gifted and talented specialist, and campus instructional teacher. She was most recently assistant principal Carrie Pierce at Thompson Elementary. Pierce earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of New Mexico. Justin Vercher, the new principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School, comes to his new job from Birdville ISD, where he was principal of Watauga Elementary since 2012. He has been a kindergarten, Justin Vercher
See WHO’S NEWS on page 26
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 25
first grade and physical education teacher and spent 10 years as an administrator in Forney and Katy ISDs. Vercher holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Sterling College and a master’s degree in education management from the University of Houston. Pflugerville ISD Brookhollow Elementary School now has Lisa Harris as principal. She was the school’s assistant principal since 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Huston-Tillotson University and her master’s degree in education administration from Prairie View A&M University. Amanda Johnson has been appointed principal of Westview Middle School. She comes from Leander ISD, where she was dean of instruction and assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Vista Ridge High School. Before that, she worked in Lake Travis and Round Rock ISDs. Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master’s degree in educational administration from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). The new principal of Dessau Middle School is Jeremy Le Jeune. He comes to his new job from Pflugerville High School, where he was an assistant principal. He was a teacher in Luling, Judson and North East ISDs and worked as an assistant principal in Orangefield ISD. A graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) with a bachelor’s degree in sports science, he received his master’s degree in physical education from the same institution. Kermit Ward, who was principal of Westview Middle School for the past four years, is now principal of Connally High School. He came to Pflugerville ISD in 2009 and has served as assistant principal of Pflugerville High in Kermit Ward addition to his most recent job. Prior to that, he worked in Austin and Waco ISDs. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and a master’s degree from Tarleton State University. Plains ISD Stephanie Howard has been tapped as Plains ISD’s superintendent. She began her 20-year education career as a teacher in Big Spring ISD, before moving to Stanton ISD to 26
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teach and coach. For 13 years, she worked in Midland ISD, where she was a speech and debate teacher, coach, administrative intern, assistant principal and principal. In 2013, she became Ector County Stephanie Howard ISD’s executive director for curriculum and instruction. Howard is a cum laude graduate of Angelo State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and communications. She earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Her doctorate in the same field is from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Plainview ISD The new principal of Hillcrest Elementary School is Ysenia Pardo, who was assistant principal of Thunderbird Elementary for the past two years. She also worked as a second grade bilingual teacher at Highland Elementary for 10 years and spent seven years as a language arts and dyslexia teacher at Lakeside Elementary. Now serving as the district’s associate director for student support services is Brandy Tirey, who was assistant principal of La Mesa Elementary for the past two years. Previously, she was a special education resource and early childhood teacher and fourth grade teacher. In addition, she worked for ESC Region 17 as a mentor for the Texas Early Education Model grant. Tirey received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Angie Valdez, former assistant principal of Edgemere Elementary School, will lead the school as principal. She came to Plainview ISD in 1978 and has worked as a third grade teacher, TAAS coordinator, bilingual fourth grade teacher, and, for the past eight years, as assistant principal and the gifted and talented coordinator. Valdez earned her bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in educational administration from Wayland Baptist University. Rodney Wallace, who was assistant principal of Estacado Middle School since 2014, is now principal of Houston School. He is a graduate of Wayland Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education. Prior to becoming an administrator, he was a math teacher for 17 years at the middle and high school levels.
Red Lick ISD New Superintendent Nick Blain had been serving as the district’s interim superintendent. Blain began his career in Nassau County Schools in Fernandina Beach, Fla., before returning to Texas to teach in Greenville ISD. After 10 Nick Blain years of teaching vocational agriculture, Blain went on to Liberty-Eylau ISD, where he worked as a vocational director, assistant principal, director of instruction and personnel, and superintendent. He retired, but returned 10 years later to Liberty-Eylau to be the interim and active superintendent. ESC Region 8’s 1996 Superintendent of the Year, Blain earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University at Commerce. Roxton ISD Paul Trull, former superintendent of Paris ISD, has agreed to serve as Roxton ISD’s interim superintendent. San Angelo ISD New Superintendent Carl Dethloff has worked in San Angelo ISD for the past six years, most recently as assistant superintendent of human resources and staff development. He is in his 23rd year as an educator. Before coming to San AngeCarl Dethloff lo, Dethloff was principal of three schools in College Station ISD. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Austin College and received his doctorate from Texas A&M University. Brent McCallie, the new executive director of athletics, comes to his new job from Canyon ISD, where he has worked since 2008. He coached and taught for 12 years before taking the position of athletic director in Dumas ISD. Five years Brent McCallie later he joined Canyon ISD. McCallie attended Western Oklahoma State University on a baseball scholarship and received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Panhandle State University. He attended Sul Ross State University and West Texas A&M University for graduate studies.
Who’s News San Antonio ISD Pedro Martinez has accepted the role of superintendent. He was most recently superintendent in residence for the Nevada Department of Education, responsible for advising the governor and state superintendent of instruction. He was superintendent of Washoe County School District and, in Illinois, served as chief financial officer for Chicago Public Schools. Martinez has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from DePaul University. San Marcos CISD Mark De Leon has returned as an assistant principal at Goodnight Middle School, where he served in the same capacity in the 2009-2010 school year. Since leaving that post, he worked in Comal ISD as an assistant principal. De Mark De Leon Leon also served as a criminal justice teacher in North East ISD and as Hays CISD’s drug prevention/ school safety coordinator. Prior to becoming an educator, he was program director of Texas State University’s Center for Safe Communities and Schools and a police officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in occupational education from Wayland Baptist University and his master’s degree in education from Texas State University. Kimberly Giesenschlag is the associate principal at Miller Middle School. Previ-
ously, she was the assistant principal at Goodnight Elementary. She took that job in 2013 after joining the district in 2010 as a teacher. Giesenschlag holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies Kimberly from Texas A&M UniverGiesenschlag sity and two master’s degrees — one in curriculum and instruction from the University of Washington and one in educational leadership from Texas State University. Rose Pearson, who served as an assistant principal at Goodnight Middle School since 2014, is now that school’s associate principal. She came to the district in 2000 and has been a third grade team leader, a summer school district lead teachRose Pearson er, a K-5 math and science coach, and an instructional coach working with new teachers. She also has worked in New Braunfels ISD and Hays CISD. Pearson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), received her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Elizabeth Ross is the assistant principal of Goodnight Middle School, a campus she has served since 2013 as a classroom teacher and team leader. Prior to that, she was a lan-
guage arts and history teacher and reading intervention teacher at Miller Middle School. Ross received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. Seguin ISD Hector Esquivel is the new principal of Seguin High School. Seminole ISD New Superintendent Gary Laramore comes to Seminole ISD from Texline ISD, where he held the top job for nine years. An educator for 18 years, six as a high school math teacher and 12 as an administrator, he was a teacher in Borger and Panhandle ISDs and a principal in Canadian ISD. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Texas A&M University. Sharyland ISD Former Marble Falls ISD Superintendent Rob O’Connor is now superintendent of Sharyland ISD. He was with Marble Falls ISD since 2011 and previously served as superintendent of Celina and Whitewright ISDs. Shepherd ISD Jody Cronin, who once was superintendent of Shepherd ISD, has returned to the district as the career and technology coordinator. See WHO’S NEWS on page 28
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July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
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The district welcomes Hannah Williams as director of curriculum and instruction. She has been an educator for 16 years, the past six as a principal in Onalaska ISD. Spring ISD Mark Miranda, who has been selected as chief operations officer, has more than 20 years of experience in the field, including three years as Houston ISD’s director of business operations. He began his career as a systems control consultant for Mark Miranda Houston ISD. He spent 17 years with that district in a variety of positions. He is a graduate of the University of HoustonDowntown. A new chief financial officer has been appointed for the district. Ann Westbrooks, a CPA with more than 15 years of experience, has been with Spring ISD since 2006. She has served as controller, assistant superintendent of financial services and inAnn Westbrooks terim chief financial officer. Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Duncan Klussman retired from his post at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. Scott Muri is the new superintendent. He was most recently deputy superintendent of academics for Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Ga. Muri began his education career in 1988 as a teacher in North Carolina, where he also worked as a lead trainer and member of Governor Jim Hunt’s Teacher Advisory Committee. In 1996, he moved to Florida, where he worked as an instructional technology specialist, dean of students, assistant principal and principal. He returned to North Carolina to be an area superintendent, zone superintendent and chief information officer, before taking his most recent job in Atlanta. Muri earned his bachelor’s degree in intermediate and middle school education from Wake Forest University, his master’s degree in school administration from Stetson University and his doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University. Taft ISD Jose Lopez has accepted the position of superintendent. He previously was the executive director of state and federal programs for Mission ISD. 28
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
Waco ISD Crestview Elementary School welcomes Kathy Densmore as principal. She has spent 19 of her 24 years as an educator with Waco ISD. Waelder ISD Jeff Kirby, a high school principal for the district, is now serving as interim superintendent. West Orange-Cove CISD Rickie Harris has accepted the position of superintendent. He was previously an assistant principal in Cedar Hill ISD. Wharton ISD Tina Herrington, an assistant superintendent for the district, has been named interim superintendent. Whitehouse ISD Randy Copeland is the new athletic director, bringing with him 30 years of experience. His career has included stints as a classroom teacher, coach, athletic director and principal. He was most recently serving as a high school principal in Arp ISD. Wylie ISD Carrie Breedlove will begin the new academic year as assistant principal of McMillan Junior High. An educator for 14 years, she spent two years as a learning specialist with the district before taking her most recent position as director of advanced Carrie Breedlove academics. Paige Hoes, former assistant principal of Staley Middle School in Frisco ISD, is now assistant principal of Davis Intermediate School. Also, in that district, she has been a classroom teacher, team leader and instructional coach. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Erin Perkins is the new assistant principal of Watkins Elementary School. She most recently was the elementary math and science learning specialist. Perkins began her career in 2003 as a teacher in Mississippi and Tennessee and came to Wylie ISD in 2009 as a teacher at Hartman Elementary. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and her master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Cody Plake is moving to Wylie East High School as an assistant principal from Cooper
Junior High, where he was dean of students and, most recently, assistant principal. He has been an educator for 11 years, also teaching special education and social studies at Burnett Elementary and Wylie East High School, where he was also assistant coach for girls’ basketball. Christa Smyder is now assistant principal of Harrison Intermediate School. She had been serving in the same capacity at Davis Intermediate. She joined Wylie ISD in 2006 as a special education teacher at Dodd Elementary, moving to Davis in 2008. Smyder received her bachelor’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University and her master’s degree from Hardin Simmons University. Amber Teamann will fill the position of principal of Whitt Elementary School. She has been an educator for 13 years, most recently serving as assistant principal of Watkins Elementary. She began her career in Garland ISD, where she was a teacher, Title I technology facilitator and assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix. Melissa True is principal of the Achieve Academy. She began her career teaching in West Texas districts, eventually working as an assistant principal and principal in Pampa ISD. She came to Wylie ISD in 2011 as assistant principal of HarMelissa True rison Intermediate School. A graduate of Midwestern State University, she earned her master’s degree in education from Texas Tech University. Janet Wyatt, a new assistant principal of Wylie East High School, has been an educator for 22 years, 14 of those as an assistant principal. She served in that position in Garland ISD and was an associate principal in Frisco ISD. Jennifer Wynn is now an assistant principal at Cooper Junior High. She has 13 years of experience and has taught math and special education at Wylie High. She was most recently dean of students at McMillan Junior High. Ysleta ISD (El Paso) Dolphin Terrace Elementary School will begin the 2015-2016 school year with a new principal, Lorraine Martinez, who was the school’s assistant principal since 2010 and had been serving as interim principal. She has been an educator with the district for 20 years, beginning as a fifth grade teacher at Eastwood Knolls Elementary. Martinez received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in education administration from The University of Texas at El Paso. TSB
My Grapevine-Colleyville ISD experience by Chase Faragher
rapevine-Colleyville ISD has been a great experience as a student for countless reasons. To be honest, I was nervous transferring into GCISD in eighth grade because I was coming from a small Catholic school to a public school and I knew absolutely nobody. Luckily for me, I was transferring into a district with teachers and a student body who were more than willing to take in a new student and make me feel like I have been here my whole life. One of the best things about GCISD, though, is the teachers. Almost every teacher I had has been wonderful. They truly love the subjects they teach, and their passion is brought out through their teaching styles and methods. When I was younger, I didn’t have much of an interest in school, as many kids don’t. I thought it was boring and useless — until I started high school. My freshman year, I had a teacher named Mrs. Norman who was one of the teachers who made a difference. She loved English and literature unlike anyone I had ever seen before. To a bunch of freshmen, that was impressive to see someone who enjoyed English! She taught us how to love literature, how to lose yourself in a book, and how to analyze language styles and writing skills to utilize them to our full potential. She was the first of many teachers who truly made a difference in my life. As a freshman, I wasn’t used to actually looking forward
“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Katie Ford at katie@texasschoolbusiness. com for publishing guidelines.
to going to a class; yet, somehow, Mrs. Norman seemed to make all of us excited for English each and every day. As a sophomore, I was lucky enough to get Mr. Metcalf as my pre-AP world history teacher. He was one of the greatest men I have ever met. He had a passion for teaching history unlike anything I have ever experienced. Mr. Metcalf was so knowledgeable about history that we thought he knew everything. He would lecture us in a way that felt like he was actually in the events he was describing to us. Mr. Metcalf brought history to life that made all of his students, including myself, eager to learn more. He pushed us hard, but because of his dedication to each student, we didn’t mind the work. In fact, we enjoyed it because we enjoyed his class so much. Although both of these teachers sound like one in a million, they are actually just a couple of countless teachers I have met who love what they do. GCISD seems to be filled with people who love their profession, and it reflects through the graduates. My education at Colleyville Heritage — and in GCISD in general — has been outstanding. They have taught me more than just how to be studious or get good grades; I have learned how to be a functioning and thriving member of society through my experience. GCISD is a place where I truly believe I can be myself and thrive in an environment where everyone can be themselves. GCISD provides a unique experience through collaboration of group projects and activities that are not traditional experiences. Group projects teach students one of the most important skills a person can have: teamwork. I learned to respect everyone, even though I wasn’t sure how I felt about them beforehand. I always realized they were just like me, or just like everyone else. The group work and activities brought kids from every clique and every social group together. There was an overall more-accepting student body because everyone worked with everyone
‘He would lecture us in a way that felt like he was actually in the events he was describing to us. Mr. Metcalf brought history to life that made all of his students, including myself, eager to learn more.’
else and got to know them. It brought students closer together, taught us to brainstorm with others, and showed us that teamwork is one of the most important and efficient ways to accomplish a task. Students are encouraged to find their niche and take advantage of their skills and talents to become the best adults they possibly can be. Because of GCISD, I am going to college next year, not only where I have always dreamed of being (in Austin), but with a significant scholarship! Now I have the opportunity to get the best education I possibly can after high school, while saving a hefty amount of money in the process. I credit this success to my education and experience here at CHHS. Because of the teachers, the staff and the resources, I have thrived in GCISD and plan to continue my education further. I have learned, of course, about math and science and English and history, but, more importantly, I have learned how to be a proper, hard-working adult who is going to do great things with the education I received here. CHASE FARAGHER is a 2015 graduate of Colleyville Heritage High School in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.
July/August 2015 • Texas School Business
THE BACK PAGE by Riney Jordan
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My dream for our children
nspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, I feel compelled to dream my own dream about the hopes and aspirations for our children. Educating our youth is an awesome responsibility, but one that educators must accept and strive for if our greatest resource, our children, is to continue to be our world’s greatest hope. My dream is that someday all parents will realize that they are their child’s first and most important teacher. I dream that someday the politicians will realize that diplomas are our most effective defense for world peace, and, with that understanding, one day this nation will begin to place the education of our children as the No. 1 priority. My dream is that one day we’ll pay teachers a salary that shows we value them. If we paid educators a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for each of the 22 students on the roll, they’d be making $159.50 an hour! At eight hours a day, it would equate to an annual salary of approximately $223,300 for a 175-day contract! I dream that one day kids will get as excited about reading as they are about computer and video games. I dream that one day parents will turn off the television at dinnertime, and families will once again eat together, talk together, laugh together and share together. I dream that children will learn the worth of laughter, for as it has been wisely written: Laughter is the music of the soul, the best medicine, the shock absorber that eases the blows of life. My dream is that moms and dads will recognize that time spent with their children is far more important than money spent on their children. I dream that schools will offer children opportunities to grow, explore and sample and that our children will discover an area of work or service that is
Texas School Business • July/August 2015
fulfilling and utilizes their God-given gifts and talents. My dream is that all school employees will realize it’s not enough just to tolerate kids; you have to love them. For the ability to work with children is not only a God-given talent, it’s a privilege. I dream we’ll not only teach children everything that we can about today’s world, but that we’ll instill in them a thirst for knowledge all the days of their lives, for we know that “of all our human resources, the most precious is the desire to improve.” I dream that one day children all over the world will be as one and that adults will learn from them. For as we know, children are not born with prejudice. They’ve learned it from watching and listening to adults. Children do not see each other as black or white, brown or yellow; they see each other as equals. I dream our children will more often say “I love you,” “I’m sorry” and “thank you” to those they love. I pray that you, too, have the same dreams, the same hopes, the same love for our children. It will take all of us — working with one goal, one cause, one basic desire — to see our children become the very best they can become. And what is our most effective weapon to make this dream a reality? Perhaps Albert Schweitzer said it best when he said: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” So, may my example, and your example, be better today than it was yesterday and better tomorrow than today. RINEY JORDAN’s “The Second Book” is now available at www.rineyjordan.com, along with his other publications. You can contact him at (254) 386-4769, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter: @ RineyRiney.
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