The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas JULY/AUGUST
Texas School Business
The importance of parental involvement Get parents in the doors in your district
Also in this issue: Texas ASCD President Bill Bechtol TARS President Phil Worsham Spotlight on Kari Leong of Abilene ISD
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Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Texas ASCD President Profile Bill Bechtol feels at home in the principal’s office
In the Spotlight Abilene ISD’s Kari Leong “graduates” after 34 years of service
TARS President Profile Phil Worsham speaks up for Texas’ rural districts
Cover Story The importance of parental involvement by Dacia Rivers
Departments 6 Who’s News 32 Student Voices 33 Calendar 36 The Arts 38 Ad Index
5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Digital Frontier by Roland Rios 13 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne
38 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
10 TACS President’s Program enjoys lunch in downtown Austin 12 TAGT leadership conference brings administrators, coordinators and specialists to Houston 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.
From the editor
hakespeare once wrote, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” and I suppose it’s true. In the beginning, summer feels open and limitless, but then one day you wake up and it’s nearly over.
While kids are out of school, teachers and especially school administrators are still hard at work keeping schools operating smoothly and planning for the year ahead. When the last school bell rings, time is on your side for at least a little while. But perhaps the beauty of summer lies in its impermanence. Whatever your summer looks like, we are here to share with you stories from across the state about what your fellow administrators are achieving. In this issue’s cover story, parental involvement professionals from three of Texas’ diverse school districts offer their advice for getting the parents in your district to participate more at their children’s schools. In this issue’s “Spotlight,” page 28, we profile Kari Leong, an inspiring administrator who recently retired from Abilene ISD after working all 34 years of her career in the district. I recommend checking out a heart-warming “Student Voices” on page 32, where Frank McCray, a JROTC member and high school student from Midway ISD, discusses his experience volunteering to help feed his fellow students in need. As always, if you know of a student who’d be interested in writing a column for us, or if you have an administrator in mind who deserves to be profiled in “Spotlight,” send me an email at email@example.com. Thank you for reading. I hope you all have a productive and relaxing summer that doesn’t end too soon.
Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) JULY / AUGUST 2017 Volume LXIV, Issue 4 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Dacia Rivers DESIGN
Dacia Rivers Editorial Director
Hedda Alexander Bobby Hawthorne Riney Jordan Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER
Ann M. Halstead
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Johnny L. Veselka
ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVICES AND SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATION
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS
Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals 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 2017 Texas Association of School Administrators
Ann M. Halstead
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Who’s News Abilene ISD Kimberly Brumley has
joined the Abilene ISD administrative team as executive director for curriculum and instruction. The Texas A&M graduate comes to Abilene from Corpus Christi ISD, where she was director for professional learning and a regional Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) certification trainer. Dan Dukes now serves as
executive director for student services, moving into his new position from Craig Middle School, where he was principal for five years. He joined the district in 2010 as assistant principal of Abilene High. Longtime AISD educator
Michael Garcia has been
named principal of Abilene High School, where he formerly served as assistant principal. An employee of the district for 27 years, he was most recently principal of Martinez Elementary. Garcia is a graduate of Abilene Christian University with a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. Former Georgetown ISD offensive coordinator Chuck Griffin has been named AISD’s assistant athletic director. He has been a teacher, coach and athletic director, most recently in Troup ISD. He also was a member of the football coaching staff while earning his master’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University. Former executive director for student services Kari Leong has retired. She spent more than 30 years with the district, the past seven in her last position. Read more about Leong on page 28.
Allen A new director of bands has been hired. Philip Obado is the former assistant director of bands at Baylor University and was associate director of bands at Illinois State University. He received his undergraduate education at Ithaca College, his master’s degree in music education from Florida State University, and his doctorate in musical arts from Michigan State University.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Arlington ISD Former Arlington High School defensive pass game coordinator and head track and field coach Joe Gordon is now head football coach at Seguin High. He formerly coached at Kansas State University, Mississippi College, Garden City Community College, and Bethany College. A Kansas State University graduate and football player, he went on to play for the St. Louis Rams and NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire.
from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Jennifer Martin has been appointed principal of Smith Elementary School. Formerly the assistant principal of West Birdville Elementary, she also worked as a second and third grade teacher and as a math interventionist. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University with master’s degrees from TCU and Dallas Baptist University. Marsha Perry has trans-
ferred from leading Francisco Elementary School to serving as principal of Walker Creek Elementary.
Athens ISD Former Athens High School principal Jami Ivey has been promoted to director of secondary curriculum and instruction. She has been an educator for 22 years, 16 of those with Athens ISD as a teacher, testing coordinator and administrator in charge of opening Pinnacle Early College High School. Ginger Morrison, who was principal of Ath-
ens Middle School, now leads Athens High School. She has spent her 24-year career in the district as a teacher, master teacher, testing coordinator and assistant principal as well as holding the top position at her most recent school for the past two years.
Most recently principal of Central Athens Elementary, Jennifer Risinger is now principal of Athens Middle School. She has spent the past three years of her 10-year career in AISD, the past two as principal of Central. In addition, she has been a teacher and assistant principal and the district’s testing coordinator.
Bloomington ISD After six years in the top position at Bloomington ISD, superintendent Delores Warnell retired in June. An educator for 30 years, she was a teacher, special programs director, assessment coordinator, curriculum coordinator and principal during her career. She received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Lamar University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston at Victoria.
Brady ISD The district’s new superintendent, Duane Limbaugh, most recently held the top position in Frost ISD.
Brazos Bay City ISD The Bay City ISD board of trustees has voted to hire Michael Scott, III, as superintendent of schools. He comes to his new position from serving as executive director of elementary schools in the Baltimore Public Schools. An educator for 20 years, he also served as that district’s assistant superintendent of middle schools and, in Texas, as a field supervisor for Rice University’s Education Entrepreneurship program. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University and both his master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Texas Southern University.
Birdville ISD The new principal of Francisco Elementary School, Angela Limon, was assistant principal of Foster Village Elementary since 2014. Prior to that, she was a math interventionist and a reading recovery specialist. She holds a bachelor’s degree
Brian Thompson has accepted the position of district superintendent. He last was superintendent of Sunray ISD.
Bryan ISD After a 30-year career in education, 26 of those in Bryan ISD, Bonham Elementary principal Ken Newbold retired at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Christie Whitbeck now
leads Bryan ISD as superintendent. With more than 32 years of experience in Texas public education, she served as deputy superintendent of Fort Bend ISD for four years and spent two years as assistant superintendent of academics in Alvin ISD. Whitbeck received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University
and her master’s degree in administration supervision from the University of Houston.
Bullard ISD Scott Callaway has been hired as Bullard ISD’s athletic director and head football coach. He brings nine years of experience to his new assignment, including stints in Gladewater and Big Sandy ISDs and, most recently, seven years as an offensive coordinator in Mesquite ISD.
Cleveland ISD Former Cleveland Middle School principal Glenn Barnes now leads Cleveland High School. He has spent 18 of his 20 years in education with CISD. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University. Stephen McCanless has been promoted from principal of Cleveland High School to coordinator of student affairs. An educator for more than 20 years, he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education management from the University of Houston Clear Lake. He is at work on his doctorate in education and supervision at Lamar University.
Now serving as the district’s coordinator of assessment and accountability is Dawn O’Connor, former instructional specialist and assistant campus testing coordinator. An educator for 15 years, she earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Eastside Intermediate School’s new principal, Rebecca Smith, was formerly the school’s assistant principal. She has been an educator for 23 years, the past three with CISD. Both her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in education leadership are from Stephen F. Austin State University. Sheila Stephens has trans-
ferred from Eastside Intermediate School, where she was principal, to the top job at Cleveland Middle School. She has spent the past three years of her 12 years as an educator with the district. Stephens is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and obtained her master’s degree in education leadership from the University of Texas at Tyler.
Sandy Williamson, who was
principal of the Douglass Learning Academy, now serves as coordinator of special programs. The 23year employee of the district has been an educator for 40 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from East Texas Baptist University and her master’s degree in educational counseling from Sam Houston State University.
Conroe ISD The new principal of Birnham Woods Elementary School is Natalie Buckley, who was formerly the school’s assistant principal. She joined CISD in 2006 as a teacher and then assistant principal after previously serving in Willis and Deer Park ISDs. Amber DeBeaumont is the new principal of Bozman Intermediate School, where she had been assistant principal. She also was a teacher at Peet Junior High and Conroe High School and in Birdville and Spring ISDs.
Now serving as principal of Anderson Elementary is Laura Quinones. She has been with the district since 2008 as an instructional district math coach, campus instructional coach, and teacher and assistant principal of Anderson. She also taught at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores in Monterrey, Mexico. Charita Smith has been
named principal of Travis Intermediate School. An employee of the district since 2015, she was assistant principal of Ford Elementary and previously worked in Houston and Aldine ISDs.
Coppell ISD The new principal of the district’s Ninth Grade Center is Cody Koontz, a 12-year education veteran who was most recently associate principal of academics at Grapevine ISD’s Grapevine High School. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University.
Cuero Micah Dyer, newly hired superintendent, comes to the district from Lovelady ISD, where he also served as superintendent.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD The district’s new chief of police is Eric Mendez, a 27-year law enforcement veteran. He was with Austin ISD since 1999, the past five years as chief. Mendez holds a bachelor’s degree in justice administration from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration and leadership from Sam Houston State University. Tomicka Williams, former
assistant principal of Lee Elementary School, is now principal of Post Elementary. An educator for 27 years, she has spent the past seven with CFISD. In addition, she served in Lufkin, Stafford and Katy ISDs. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has been named 2017’s Latino Superintendent of the Year by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Hinojosa, a graduate of DISD’s Sunset High School, began his career as a teacher and coach at Adamson High. He served as district superintendent from 2005 to 2011, returning in the same position in 2015.
Eanes ISD (Austin) A new principal will greet students when they return to Barton Creek Elementary School in August. Tiffany Phelps, who most recently was associate principal of Vandegrift High in Leander ISD, has been an administrator for seven years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
> See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 7
El Paso ISD Laila Ferris has agreed to serve as the district’s interim chief of language and learning. She will continue in her current position as principal of Mesita Elementary School as well. Elizabeth Saenz is the district’s new deputy
superintendent of academics and school leadership. She is a veteran educator who previously served as superintendent of Balmorhea, Cotulla and West Oso ISDs, as well as executive director of special projects for the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Sul Ross State University.
El Paso ISD’s new assistant superintendent of special services, Stacy Venson, was most recently director of curriculum and instruction for special education in Dallas ISD. She has also been a transitional services supervisor and special education teacher in districts in north Texas and Oklahoma. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from Northeastern State University and her master’s degree in special education is from the University of North Texas.
district as an assistant superintendent, he was a secondary education administrator in Harlingen CISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas and received both his master’s degree in educational administration and doctorate in educational leadership from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. Now serving as executive director of teaching and learning is Stephanie Williams, former director of teacher development. An educator for 21 years, she also was the district’s coordinator of mathematics. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University.
Fort Worth ISD Assistant principals have been named for six new Fort Worth ISD Leadership Academies. They and their schools are: Michael Connor, FWISD Leadership Academy
High’s athletic coordinator. In addition, he has coached at high schools in Bryan and Houston ISDs and in Baton Rouge, La. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science from West Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University.
Highland Park ISD (Dallas) HPISD has announced the appointment of Geoffrey Orsak as executive director of the Moody Innovation Institute, which will focus on science, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). He is the former dean of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University.
Vanessa Cuarenta, FWISD Leadership Acad-
Superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker retired in June after 44 years as an educator, 23 of those with Hudson ISD.
Drew Farr, FWISD Leadership Academy at Como Elementary;
at Forest Oak Middle School; emy at Mitchell Boulevard;
Danny Fracassi, FWISD Leadership Academy
at Forest Oak Middle School;
The following principal appointments have been made by the district:
Khristina Goady, FWISD Leadership Academy at Forest Oak Middle School;
rector of assessment and accountability after spending the past three years as principal of McAuliffe Middle School. Prior to that, she was a teacher, assistant principal and elementary principal in the district. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Southern University and her master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston.
Angela Hall, FWISD Leadership Academy at
Susan Cryer, Gibbs Pre-Kindergarten
The district’s new executive director of transformational learning is Troy Byrne, who most recently was interim executive director of curriculum and instruction for El Paso ISD. Prior to that, he was a school improvement officer in El Paso’s Socorro ISD. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, where he also earned his master’s degree in educational administration.
Fort Bend ISD Mary Brewster has been named executive di-
Hightower High School’s new principal is John Montelongo, former assistant superintendent of school support services in Comal ISD, where he also was executive director of secondary schools and high school principal. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a master’s degree in education administration from Texas Southern University. Joe Rodriguez has been named chief of
schools after having served in that position on an interim basis. Before joining the
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Christy Cross, Huntsville Elementary
Renee Royal, Houston Elementary School;
Sara Williams, Stewart Elementary School.
New superintendent Conrad Cantu has been with the district for four years, the past three as principal of Freer High School.
Richarte High School’s new principal, Rob Dyer, has been with the district for 13 years, the past nine as principal of Mitchell Elementary. Brandon Jayroe is the new principal of Benold Middle School, coming to Georgetown from Bryan ISD, where he was principal of Austin Middle School. He has been an educator for 16 years, working in Dallas and Palestine ISDs as well.
Hays CISD Lehman High School now has Joshua Kirkland as head football coach and athletic coordinator. He comes to the district from El Paso’s Ysleta ISD, where he was Parkland
David Garcia, new deputy superintendent for business operations, was Midland ISD’s accounting supervisor and, ultimately, director of finance. Subsequently, he was Katy ISD’s business manager before returning to Midland to serve as that district’s chief financial officer. Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech University. Cicely Tuttle has been
named assistant superintendent of human resources. An educator for 20 years, she has spent 19 of those with HEBISD. She was a teacher, assistant principal, principal and, most recently, director of human resources. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Campbellsville University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington. > See Who’s News, page 23
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
The impact of one educator….
by Jim Walsh
knew the memorial service would be crowded, so I got there 30 minutes early. Not early enough. I had to park three blocks away, and the church was already full. So I stood against the wall. Waiting for the service to begin, I struck up a conversation with the man standing next to me. I asked how he happened to know the deceased, and he told me that the man was his high school principal in the mid-’70s. Did he have a lot of contact with the principal? He laughed. “Well,” he said, “he paddled me once, and suspended me another time.” And here you are at his memorial service, over 40 years later? “Yes,” he said, with a smile. “Dr. Akins was a great man.” Indeed he was, which is why the Wesley United Methodist Church in East Austin was overflowing. How many people have a high school named for them while they still live? Charles Akins was that kind of man. Teacher. Assistant principal. Principal. Assistant Superintendent. Board member at ESC Region 13.
Charles Akins attended the all-black L.C. Anderson High School in East Austin in the 1950s. After college, he became a teacher/ coach at Booker T. Washington High School in Marlin. He later recalled laundering the football uniforms, the hand-me-downs from the white team at Marlin High School. Later, Mr. Akins went to work in Austin ISD, and became “the first” to do many things. He was the first black teacher in an integrated school; the first black referee in a football game; the first black official at the Texas Relays. When the district decided to close the black high school, it opened up a new high school in upscale, all-white Northwest Austin, and bused black kids in from the east side. They kept the name, L.C. Anderson, and named Charles Akins as the first principal. In later years he recounted his memories of greeting both the black and white kids as they got off the buses. Fights were common. The district placed a lot of confidence in Charles to put him in that position, and he demonstrated through his service that the confidence was well placed. He succeeded at Anderson High School, and at every position he held in the district. Charles was one of those people who seemed to overflow with warmth. He remembered names, and took interest in everyone he met. That man who stood beside me at the service was not the only former student from long ago who took the time to honor this man. Current educators honored him as well. At the memorial, the principal of Akins High School kept her composure until she noted that the school would soon have its first graduation without Dr. Akins. I did not know him well, but knew him well enough to know that Charles Akins was a quiet hero. We are fortunate that we have many of them serving in our public schools. The life of Charles Akins is a reminder of the enormous positive impact a single educator can have.
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JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
TACS HOSTS ANNUAL PRESIDENTS LUNCHEON In May, the Texas Association of Community Schools held its annual President’s Program and luncheon at an Austin steakhouse.
▲ (l to r) Elgin Allen, AIM president and host of the luncheon; Doug Killian, TACS president, Hutto ISD; Barry Haenisch, TACS Executive Director.
▲ TACS Executive Director Barry Haenisch presents an honorary lifetime TACS membership to Rev. Charles Foster Johnson.
◄ Rev. Charles Foster Johnson accepts an honorary lifetime membership to TACS.
◄ Dacia Rivers, editorial director of “Texas School Business,” presents a framed article to TACS President Doug Killian.
Executive Director Barry Haenisch presents a plaque to TACS President Doug Killian.
► TACS Executive Director Barry Haenisch presents an honorary lifetime TACS membership to Rev. Charles Foster Johnson.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
◄ TACS President Doug Killian.
Empowerment for the small district technology leader by Hedda Alexander
grew up in San Antonio, and as a child, we made many trips to East Texas to visit family. I loved the clicking sound of the tires when we traveled across the Mud Creek Bridge because that meant we were close to my grandparents’ house. I would get out of the car and the night would seem so dark because there weren’t any lights like the ones we had in the city. I could see amazing stars and hear the frogs calling at the pond. However, the best part was going into my grandparents’ house and running into their arms for a big hug. I think we would all agree there just isn’t anything like belonging and fitting into a group of people. The people you know will be there for you during your greatest challenges and your greatest celebrations. Well, I have found my “business family” in the CoSN, the Texas chapter of Chief Technology Officers, and the Texas K-12 CTO Council. The members of this organization have become my friends and family. Arriving at one of our Texas K-12 CTO Council meetings gives me the same sense of belonging as arriving at my grandparents’ house. I see stars shining bright as I walk into a meeting and as I get closer, I hear them calling like the frogs on the pond. Yes, these stars are the people that make up the community of the Texas K-12 CTO Council. The Texas K-12 CTO Council is the premier organization in Texas for educational technology leaders. Our purpose is to assist Texas K-12 school districts in understanding how to plan for the use and successful implementation of information technology in Texas schools and advocate for districts’ technology needs to improve student
learning. Our organization represents more than 2.89 million students in Texas. Being a member of the Texas K-12 CTO Council helped me recognize the difference between a technology leader and an effective technology leader. To be an effective technology leader, you must understand the instructional focus of the district and be able to build the infrastructure to support it as well as lead others to support the vision. I have overcome many barriers to my success because I have benefited from the knowledge of other technology leaders in Texas. No matter the size of your district, we all share in the same challenges, just on different levels. I always leave our meetings with relevant information and a sense of empowerment to improve teaching and learning in my district. As a technology leader in a smaller district, the Texas K-12 CTO Council has provided me with many tools and strategies to meet the goals and objectives of my district. Professional resources can be expensive and not always available in rural areas. School districts have to make their time, effort and money extend as far as they can. I have found the best value of investment has been my membership in CoSN (www. cosn.org) and the Texas K-12 CTO Council (www.texask12ctocouncil.org ). One of the first resources I used was the energy usage calculator when I took the CoSN-Gartner, Total Cost of Ownership course. I used the data from the calculator spreadsheet to present a cost savings analysis to our board. The data clearly showed the total cost of ownership of a virtualized server environment was much cheaper than the server farm we had at the time.
The CoSN Empowered Superintendent toolkit is another valuable resource used by our district. The infusion of technology in every aspect (business and academics) of our K-12 school life and beyond can be very challenging. The Empowered Superintendent toolkit is a strategic plan to help build your leadership team’s skills and knowledge for transforming teaching and learning in a digital world. Part of the toolkit contains action steps specifically related to the role of a CTO. It helps superintendents identify the CTO role, tips for the CTO interview and hiring process and targets professional training for your CTO. My superintendent used the toolkit to create my job description and evaluation rubric. Membership provides access to the resources discussed above and many more. You can locate them at www.cosn.org/resource and www.cosn.org/initiatives. Texas K-12 CTO Council meetings are included in membership. We meet monthly via an online service except for our face-toface meetings in January, June and October. Our recent partnership with TASA has aligned our winter meeting with TASA’s Midwinter Conference in January. Look for the CTO strand in the Midwinter Conference guide. https://www.tasanet.org/midwinter Join us on October 20, 2017, at Plano ISD’s Sockwell Center for our fall meeting. www. texask12ctocouncil.org/cpages/fallmeeting For more information on the Texas K-12 CTO Council or to become a member, visit www.texask12ctocouncil.org. All educational technology leaders and staff are encouraged to join.
HEDDA ALEXANDER is technology director in Jacksonville ISD and small district representative and former secretary of the Texas K-12 CTO Council. Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
TAGT LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE BRINGS ADMINISTRATORS, COORDINATORS AND SPECIALISTS TO HOUSTON In April, the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented held its annual two-day Leadership Conference in Houston, where close to 300 attendees gathered to focus on the best practices and promising new methods for gifted and talented programs.
▲ Priscilla Lurz, M.Ed., Boerne ISD and Debbie Troxclair, Ph.D., Lamar University, Beaumont.
▲ Nicole Shannon, Hutto ISD, and Raine Maggio and Hope Scallan, Round Rock ISD.
▲ Marcy Voss, Boerne; Heather Vaughn, University of Texas High School, Austin; Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, thinkLaw, Nevada; Katie Drake, Copperas Cove ISD.
▲ Nancy Hess and Alene Lindley, Katy ISD.
▲ Kimberly Bain, Highland Park ISD; Jasmine Patel and Monica Simonds, Richardson ISD; and Patricia Hammer, Alvin ISD. 12
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
▲ Celena Diaz and Marie Relampagos, Houston ISD.
Locker room talk by Bobby Hawthorne
he phone rings. “Hello.” “Mrs. Stenowski, this is Coach Edwards at the high school. Sorry to bother you, but I have a concern about your son. Do you have a minute?” “Why, of course. Please. Is he injured or something?” “Oh, no, no. He’s fine. It’s just that, he’s been here at the school, in the weight room, working out, all day.” “Oh that boy, he is a working fool.” “I don’t think you understand. He’s been working out all day here at the school. He does not attend this school. He should be in class, somewhere. It is a school day. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. We’re starting to worry about his eligibility.” “Oh, don’t be silly. There’s no reason for that, I assure you. His grades are as solid as a dollar.” “Mrs. Stenowski, he doesn’t read very well.” “Well, he’s just a child.” “He’s 17.” “Some people are gifted this way, and some people are gifted that way. It’s well documented that Abraham Lincoln did not read until he was 21 years of age, and that’s a fact.” “Mrs. Stenowski, I teach AP American History. Abraham Lincoln learned to read as a boy. You’ve never heard the story of how he learned to write by the light of the fireplace in his Illinois cabin?” “That’s a fake story if I ever heard one.” “It’s not. Lincoln was an avid reader, and he could write and perform basic arithmetic by the time he turned 6.” “Well, he was home-schooled.” “Because he grew up on the edge of the frontier, Mrs. Stenowski.” “That is one way of looking at it, but I don’t see how any of this has to do with my son.” “Look, we just lost five kids to no-pass, no-play. Some of the boys and some of their parents are wondering how it is that your son can work out up here all day, and never
bring a textbook with him, and never study. And it’s not a big secret that the boy is almost illiterate. Frankly, Mrs. Stenowski, he has trouble reading the signs at the pep rally.” “Well, I can’t say he’s missing much. Can you? In the meantime, I will look into this, and thank you for your concern.” “One more thing, Mrs. Stenowski. We’ve not received a grade report for your son this year. As I’m sure you know, home-schooled students are required to demonstrate gradelevel academic proficiency during the first six weeks of a school year, and we’re well past that deadline.” “I will speak to his counselor promptly.” “He has a counselor? Can I speak to him, or her?” “Well, not at this minute. His older brother is counseling him, and he’s off at college right now.” “Is there anyone else there I can speak to, anyone who might understand the importance of your son satisfying the same academic criteria as all the other studentathletes attending our school? Anyone?” A minute later. “Hello.” “Hello, this is Coach Edwards at the high school. To whom am I speaking?” “This is Wanda Stenowski.” “Your name is Stenowski. You’re a member of the family. You’re not a professional educator.” “I’m the boy’s grandmother.” “And you’re not an educator?” “I bake pies.” “OK, I understand. Thank you, Mrs. Stenowski, for your time.” “Well, here’s my daughter-in-law again, and have a great day.” “Coach, while I have you on the line, I just want to ask one little favor. Could you make the pages in the playbook a little bit bigger. My boy seems to be having a hard time distinguishing the X’s from the O’s.” Click.
BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” published by UT Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
The importance of parental involvement
Get parents in the doors in your district by Dacia Rivers
tudents whose parents are involved in their schools come to class more regularly, get better grades and are more likely to have fewer behavioral problems and a better graduation rate, according to the NEA, the Center for Public Education, and basically every other education-related organization in existence. But it can be challenging to get parents involved in their kids’ schools, especially in districts where language barriers are a reality and many parents are busy working multiple jobs to make ends meet. The challenge lies with school districts to think of ways to make involvement easier on parents and of enough benefit to parents and their students that getting involved becomes a priority and even a joy. School districts across Texas are rising to meet this challenge, creating programs that are fun and educational, while constantly inventing new ways to reach out to parents and inspire them to want to get involved.
Understand your district’s unique challenges In Laredo ISD, Patricia Campos serves as the district’s parental involvement coordinator, working to get parents interested and involved in their children’s schools. “We do anything and everything to get parents involved because a lot of the time, they don’t come in themselves,” Campos says.
Campos has a 30-year background in juvenile justice, where she saw some of the worst possible outcomes for kids who grew up with uninvolved parents. Campos is driven to get more fathers involved in their children’s school lives because that hasn’t been the standard for dads. “I saw what the absence of a dad can do to a family,” Campos says. “When I came to this position, I said I’m going to make sure that dads are involved.” Inspired by her own father, who worked late hours but made it a priority to still attend his children’s school functions, Campos has set out to create more father-focused parental involvement in her district. In Houston ISD, Browning Elementary School Principal Priscilla Rivas has also had challenges generating parental involvement, largely due to a diverse parent population that struggles with language barriers and low income levels. When her school implemented a new dual-language program, Rivas struggled to find a way to not only get parents involved but to communicate with them to help them understand the program.
Get parents in the door The simplest way to get parents to show up to school is one teachers and administrators have been using for ages: Have their kids perform.
Inspired by her own father, who worked late hours but made it a priority to still attend his children’s school functions, Campos has set out to create more father-focused parental involvement in her district.
“Something about kids performing really gets parents to show up to any event,” Rivas says. “If they know their kid’s going to be wearing a costume, they want to be there.” This is why Rivas starts off every parent meeting for the dual-language program at Browning with a student performance. It worked to get parents in the seats, but when it came to explaining what the program entailed, showing rather than telling proved to be the key. One day Rivas pulled out her cellphone and started filming snippets of the dual-language classes in action. When she decided to share some of the videos with parents, the response was excellent. “The parents would laugh, and they loved the fact that they could see their child on
▲ Parents of Laredo ISD students gather to learn how to make giant paper flowers. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2017
▲ Students perform for their parents at Browning Elementary School in Houston ISD.
camera and actually see what happens in the classroom,” Rivas says. Once word got out about the videos, Rivas promised parents she would have one to show attendees at the beginning of each meeting. She highlights a different grade and subject in each video, so parents never know when they’ll see their kids in action.
“The idea was that they could meet and share their phone numbers with each other so they could be a support system for each other’s opposite language,” Rivas says. “If someone has homework that their parents don’t understand because it’s in a different language, they can reach out to their opposite language buddy. It’s worked out really well.”
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
As a result, Rivas says parents at the school understand the dual-language program better, which is important, since making the switch can affect students grades at first. The intent of these meetings was to prevent families from pulling their children out of the program, and it’s working—dual-language classes at Browning are at full enrollment. In Laredo, Campos entices more fathers to get involved at the schools by putting on special events focused on dads, such as Dining With Dad, an annual spring dinner held for 10 dads from each campus. There, kids and dads spend quality time together enjoying a meal plus exciting activities such as miniature horse rides and train rides. “We do a western theme and they come all dressed up,” Campos says. “Every year we invite new dads and we get more and more dads involved.” Moms aren’t left out in Laredo. Campos also organizes an annual Mariachis With Mom event near Mother’s Day, where kids and their mothers can come to be serenaded and participate in fun activities such as making decorative paper flowers.
Offer value Many of the parental involvement activities offered in Laredo offer huge benefits to parents. The district offers ESL classes to parents who need them, along with fun
classes such as jewelry making and other crafts. In Edinburg CISD, teachers attend an annual technology conference over the summer. Parental Involvement Supervisor Sandra Rodriguez says the district has begun inviting parents to this conference as well. At the conference, parents get tech help on important topics such as how to keep their children safe online and how to use the district’s online system to look up their students’ grades. “We want to make sure that whatever we’re offering to our staff, we are offering to our parents as well,” Rodriguez says. Parents of students in the dual-language program at Browning Elementary in Houston ISD begin the school year with an ice-breaker event created by Rivas. Depending on the language spoken in a family’s home, they’ll start the night with an English or Spanish bingo card, then work to complete a cooperative treasure hunt with help from other families who speak a different language. “The idea was that they could meet and share their phone numbers with each other so they could be a support system for each other’s opposite language,” Rivas says. “If someone has homework that their parents don’t understand because it’s in a different language, they can reach out to their opposite language buddy. It’s worked out really well.”
Always be communicating Staying in communication with parents has never been easier thanks to technology such as email and social media. But on the other hand, communication has never been so easy to ignore. In Edinburg, Rodriguez combats this potential disconnect by using one of the oldest forms of communication: the doorto-door visit. “My staff will go out on home visits to invite parents to come in and not just volunteer, but to be a voice at the campus,” Rodriguez says. A variety of Edinburg staff goes on these home visits, from counselors and school nurses all the way to the superintendent and school board members. “We invite them to serve on different communities in the district,” Rodriguez says. “Or we just visit with the parents to see what’s going on or ask if they have any questions.” Rodriguez says parents in Edinburg appreciate this one-on-one attention. It helps them realize the district has an open-door policy and values parent input. “I think they like that, that someone actually takes the time to make a home visit and make contact with them,” Rodriguez says. “I think making home visits is a good starting point.” Face-to-face communication is also a key part of garnering parental involvement in Laredo. The schools in the district put on recruitment nights, where parents are
▲ Parents in Edinburg CISD attend one of the district's many events designed to entice parent volunteers. encouraged to sign up to volunteer. But the recruitment effort doesn’t stop there. Campos says the district makes sure to have a parental involvement presence at all district events, from choir performances to football games, where parents can sign up to volunteer. “A lot of people like personal invitations, so we’re there to give them that personal invitation,” Campos says.
Reap the rewards It’s well documented that parental involvement is great for students. But it benefits school employees, including teachers and administrators, as well. In Edinburg CISD, Rodriguez says she’s seen a change in students when their parents become more involved, so much so that the district has begun holding a year-
▲ Parents attend informational meetings to learn about their children's studies at Browning Elementary School in Houston ISD. Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
end celebration to thank the volunteers, who now number more than 500 parents. It’s an increase that teachers in the district have found notable as well. “Especially at the elementary level, there is always laminating, filing, helping in the library or the nurse’s office,” Rodriguez says. “I ask the principals and they say it helps tremendously to have parents here to alleviate a lot of the work that teachers have to do.” At Browning Elementary, teachers in the dual-language program spend less time preparing for meetings now that Rivas is taking and sharing videos of students in their classrooms.
The numbers speak for themselves, but everyone working in the district can feel a palpable difference due to the increased number of involved parents. “I’m not asking teachers, ‘please prepare a 30-minute presentation to explain to parents how things are going in your class,’ ” Rivas says. “This has lightened the workload for teachers, because if I have a morning meeting, I don’t have to pull the teachers out of the classroom. And we all know teachers already wear too many hats.” When Campos came to Laredo ISD to work as the parental involvement coordinator in 2013, the district had about 300 parent volunteers signed up. Just four years later, 1,950 parents are signed up to volunteer at schools in the district. Campos has a parent liaison at every one of the district’s 28 Title I campuses that she can rely on whenever help is needed.
▲ Students in Laredo ISD enjoy miniature horse rides at the annual Dining with Dad event.
The numbers speak for themselves, but everyone working in the district can feel a palpable difference due to the increased number of involved parents. “The principals enjoy it because when kids see parents at school, there’s a little more respect there,” Campos says. “If principals are not supportive of parental involvement, then you’re gonna have trouble. We started off like that, but now that the parents are in there, principals have realized just how helpful they can be.” DACIA RIVERS is Editorial Director of Texas School Business.
▲ Volunteeres in Laredo ISD welcome attendees to the district's annual Dining with Dad event.
Texas School Business Special Section
Alief Independent School District
K12 Insight Helps Alief ISD Win Back Parents and Families In The Age Of Choice by K12 Insight
Across the country, public K12 school systems face intense competition from charter schools and other alternatives. The Alief Independent School District in Texas has experienced this pressure firsthand. By listening to the needs of its â€œcustomers,â€? and providing exceptional service, Alief ISD is leveling the playing field, and winning market share. District officials partner with K12 Insight to help make this happen.
Texas School Business Special Section
We often make
we think the
wants. You have to listen.
STUDENTS ON FREE
LOST IN 2016
AND REDUCEDPRICE LUNCH
You have to be open to hearing what they want.” KIMBERLY N. SMITH, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, ALIEF ISD
The challenge Located in southwest Houston, the Alief Independent School District serves an ethnically diverse population of 47,000 students, 86% of whom qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. Like other school districts across the country, school choice is having a big impact there.
“We’ve seen a lot of new charter schools set up shop in our area,” says Kimberly N. Smith, director of public relations for the district. Alief ISD estimates that 2% of its projected enrollment left for charter schools in fall 2016.
Texas School Business Special Section
The solution Under the leadership of Superintendent H.D. Chambers, Alief ISD adopted a communityfirst mindset to win families over and keep them engaged. School leaders at every level focus on listening to parents and other stakeholders, delivering high-quality education and providing exceptional customer service. Alief uses Let’s Talk!, K12 Insight’s cloud-based always-on communications solution, to solicit stakeholder feedback on important school-related issues and topics. With Let’s Talk!, community members can submit questions, comments and concerns by phone, email, social media, or the school district’s website. Every message goes into a universal inbox where it is automatically routed to the right person or team to issue an accurate, courteous and timely response. School leaders say the technology lets them collaborate on feedback and respond faster.
An interactive dashboard allows school leaders to track key performance indicators,
identify families in immediate danger of attrition Alief and better individual eadership of Superintendent H.D. Chambers, ISDsupport adopted a needs. “We get immediate feedback on how we can improve, and it makes our stakeholders feel -first mindset win families over and keep them School like theirto opinion matters and that we care,” Smith says.engaged. “We’re creating a caring culture, a customer service-oriented culture, which is a rarity in public education.” every level focus on listening to parents and other stakeholders, K12 Insight exceptional works with Aliefcustomer to help school district leaders igh-quality education and providing service.
understand why parents leave through a series of in-depth surveys, or what it calls exercises in “deeper listening.” et’s Talk!, K12 Insight’s cloud-based always-on communications Through Let’s Talk! and a combination of community solicit stakeholder feedback on important school-related issuesimprove surveys, district leaders can immediately customer service and family engagement, while With Let’s Talk!, community members can submit questions, getting the insights they need to make important reforms. The unique mments and concerns by phone, email, social media, or the combination of alwaysschool district’s website. Every message goes into a universal on and deep listening enablesor school leaders inbox where it is automatically routed to the right person to create a permanent team to issue an accurate, courteous and timely response. branding campaign that Done Dialogue Details family loyalty School leaders say the technology letsbuilds them and asserts the district’s This isa competitive collaborate on feedback and respond faster. advantage in the face of intense local competition. An interactive dashboard allows school
leaders to track key performance indicators, identify families in immediate danger of attrition and better support individual needs. Question
Receiv ed by “We get immediate
feedback on how we can improve, and it makes our stakeholders feel like their opinion matters and that we care,” Smith says. “We’re creating a caring culture, a customer service-oriented culture, which is a rarity in public education.”
Parent / Guardian
The results Though families began to leave the district in 2016, Smith says many have returned. “The feedback we have gotten from the parents of returning students was that the curriculum at the other schools wasn’t challenging enough when compared with Alief, and that they were very disorganized,” Smith says. “Consumers like something new. They like having a choice. But they don’t always know what they’re getting into when they make a change.” The ability to provide high-quality, customized educational programs has helped Alief ISD retain much of its market share. Understanding what parents are looking for has played a key role in helping the district create programs that meet those needs. “We often make assumptions about what we think the customer wants,” Smith says. “You have to listen. You have to be open to hearing what they want.
Texas School Business Special Section
Let’s Talk! Helps Alief Listen to Parents’ Needs
150-300 average dialogues per month
of these dialogues come from parents
Concerns are resolved within
Still improving Looking ahead, Alief ISD plans to work with K12 Insight to develop an exit survey of parents who choose to leave the district. “We would like to know why families are leaving our district and where they are going,” Smith explains. “Is it because they are moving out of our district due to employment issues, or is it because they feel like they can get a better education elsewhere? By having solid insight into these decisions, we can ensure that our services are up to par or better than the competition.”
business days, on average
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.k12insight.com/market-share-school-choice www.k12insight.com 703-542-9600
IN FOCUS offers a platform for industry experts to highlight research, trends, case studies and innovative solutions in K-12 education. To learn more about submission requirements and pricing for this special section, contact Ann Halstead at email@example.com or 800-725-TASA.
Who’s News > Continued from page 8
Ira ISD The new superintendent of Ira ISD is Brian Patterson, former superintendent of Paducah ISD.
Irving ISD A finance professional with 20 years of experience has been chosen to serve as Irving ISD’s director of business operations. Steven Franks comes to his new position from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, where he was director of accounting for six years. Prior to that, he was director of finance in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. He holds three degrees from Southern Methodist University: a bachelor of business administration in accounting, a bachelor of fine arts in cinema and a master’s in liberal arts.
three years as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Willowridge High School in Fort Bend ISD. He returns to Lamar CISD, where he coached football and track at George Junior High from 2009 to 2013 and taught special education. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.
Matthew Bentz has been approved to serve as LISD’s chief academic officer. He began his career as a teacher in Arizona, going on to work as a student advisor, assistant principal, athletic director and, most recently, superintendent for educational services at Agua Fria Union High School District in Avondale, Ariz. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Arizona State University.
Leander ISD has hired its first female athletics director. Jody Hormann joined the district in 2008 as a volleyball and girls’ basketball coach and was later named assistant athletic director.
Eleanor Adkins-Webb has
accepted the position of principal of Heritage Elementary, coming to KISD from Mansfield ISD, where she was coordinator of response to intervention (RtI). She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and her master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University. When Vista Ridge Middle School opens its doors for the first time in August, it will have Chelsea Allison as principal. She joins Keller ISD from Arlington ISD, where she was principal of Swift Elementary since 2013. Allison obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and holds two master’s degrees, from Tarleton State University and the University of North Texas, where she is pursuing a doctorate. The new principal of Bluebonnet Elementary School is Rhonda McGee, who joins the district from Albuquerque (N.M.) Public Schools. There, she worked as a teacher and assistant principal and, most recently, an elementary principal. She earned both her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree in elementary education from the University of New Mexico.
Lamar CISD Cornelius Anthony has been selected to serve
as campus coordinator and head football coach at Terry High School. He spent the past
The new East Texas Montessori Prep Academy will have LaTosha Johnson as assistant principal. She comes to her new job from Williams Elementary, having joined the district in 2002 as a Montessori instructor at Foster Elementary.
the district, he has served as a principal in Maypearl, Forney and Henderson ISDs.
Leon Former Dime Box superintendent David Rains now leads Leon ISD as superintendent.
Lewisville ISD Marcus High School has a new head football coach and athletic coordinator. Kevin Atkinson returns to the school where he began his career in 1992 as a wide receivers’ coach. He has spent the past five years with Denton ISD’s Denton High as head football coach and athletic director. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Now serving as head football coach and athletic coordinator at Lewisville High School is Michael Odle, who was Hebron High School’s offensive coordinator since 2015. Prior to that, he coached in Coppell and Barbers Hill ISDs. Odle is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in kinesiology.
Longview ISD The East Texas Montessori Prep Academy will open its doors for the first time in August, with Jacqueline Burnett as principal. She will transition to her new job from serving as Longview ISD’s director of early childhood programs. When the new academic year begins, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School will welcome Scott Fisher as its new principal. Most recently human resources recruiter for
The new director of specialized behavioral services is Lisa Bryant, who most recently was the Estacado High School feeder pattern coordinator for LISD’s special education department. Newly appointed Whiteside Elementary School principal Brandi Lay is the former assistant principal of Cavazos Middle School. She has also served the district as a counselor and teacher. Jaci Underwood has been promoted from assistant principal of Centennial Elementary School, where she served for two years, to principal of Stewart Elementary.
McGregor ISD James Lenamon has been promoted from assistant superintendent to superintendent.
McKinney ISD Inetra Nelson is the new
principal of Minshew Elementary School. She has spent the past 14 years of her 18-year career in McKinney ISD, working as a teacher and assistant principal, the last four at Minshew. She is a graduate of McKinney High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas Tech University. Her master’s degree in education administration was awarded from Texas Woman’s University. MISD has hired Judy Vega as elementary English, language arts and reading curriculum coordinator. She brings with her 18 years of experience as a teacher, instructional specialist and bilingual/ ESL coordinator, most recently serving in Lewisville ISD. She earned two bachelor’s degrees, in art history and studio art, from the University of Texas, and holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. > See Who’s News, page 24 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
principal of Carpenter Elementary School.
> Continued from page 23
district as superintendent, a role she has filled on an interim basis since last June. Prior to that, she was NISD’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Marshall ISD The new principal of Crockett Elementary School is Angela Fitzpatrick, who most recently led Sam Houston Middle School. She began her career in the district in 2005 as a kindergarten teacher. A graduate of Marshall High School, Fitzpatrick earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Wiley College and a master’s degree in educational administration from LeTourneau University. Now serving as athletic director and head football coach is Claude Mathis, who was a running backs coach at Southern Methodist University for the past two years. Prior to that, he spent seven years as head coach in DeSoto ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University).
Medina ISD Former Brackett ISD superintendent Kevin Newsom is now Medina ISD’s superintendent.
Meridian ISD Former district elementary principal Kim Edwards has been promoted to superintendent. The 20-year educator previously worked in Joshua and Cleburne ISDs, joining Meridian ISD in 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in mid-management, both from Tarleton State University.
Sandra Dowdy has been chosen to lead the
Bobby Reyes has been promoted from Na-
cogdoches High School’s head football coach to campus athletic director.
Orange Grove ISD Former Skidmore-Tynan ISD superintendent Randy Hoyer now leads Orange Grove ISD. He has been an educator for 33 years, most recently serving as superintendent of the Kenedy County-Wide Common School District. Hoyer received his bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud University, master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas.
Petrolia ISD of Maud ISD, is now Petrolia ISD’s superintendent.
Pflugerville ISD Doug Killian, who led Hutto ISD since 2010, is now superintendent of Pflugerville ISD. The longtime educator holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Texas State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M International University and a doctorate in the same field from Texas A&M University. He was named 2015’s ESC Region 13 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and was awarded the same honor in 2014 by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
The district’s new athletic director, Todd Raymond, comes to Pflugerville from Hays CISD, where he was athletic coordinator and head football coach at Lehman High School. Prior to that, he held the same position at Austin ISD’s McCallum High.
Elementary School, has been appointed principal of the district’s newest, as-yet unnamed, elementary school, scheduled to open in August. A Texas Tech University graduate with a master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas, she has 31 years of experience in the classroom and in administrative roles in districts including Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Frenship and Lubbock.
Port Aransas ISD
Jackie Briggs-Vaughn has been approved as
The former principal of Coppell High
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Rockwall ISD The district’s new executive director of technology, Riyad Alsaid, was most recently the director of technology for Dallas ISD’s food services department. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and a master’s degree in information engineering and management from Southern Methodist University. Newly appointed Cain Middle School principal Derrice Randle comes to his new job from serving as DAEP coordinator of the Quest Academy. An educator for 15 years, he has also been an English and AVID teacher, a coach, and middle school principal. Michael Stuart has been approved to lead Pullen Elementary School as principal after serving as interim principal for the past year. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as an assistant principal.
Michael Hodges, former secondary principal
Leslie Goodrum, who was principal of Rusk
School in Coppell ISD, Mike Jasso, is now Richardson ISD’s executive director for secondary instruction, operations and leadership.
Jim Potts is the new principal of Port Aran-
sas High School.
Refugio ISD The district’s former high school principal, Melissa Gonzales, is now superintendent.
Round Rock ISD Jeff Uselman has been named director of instructional technology, having served as assistant director since 2010. He has worked with educational technology since 2001, having begun his career in education 28 years ago. He is a graduate of Morehead State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.
Roxton ISD Katie Exum has been named principal for Roxton ISD, coming to her new position from Paris ISD.
San Angelo ISD Jamie Highsmith, SAISD’s public information officer since 2002, has announced her upcoming retirement. After completing a bachelor’s degree at Angelo State University, she began her career as an English teacher, UIL academic coach and one-act play director in Paint Rock ISD, where she remained for five years until joining San Angelo ISD as a high school guidance counselor. Her master’s degree in guidance and counseling was awarded from Angelo State University.
The district’s new deputy superintendent of administrative services, Shelly Hullihen, is a
graduate of Ohio State University with a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. She has been an educator since 1981, working as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, elementary curriculum director, interim superintendent and, most recently, SAISD’s assistant superintendent of educational support services. Now serving as director of communications is Derrick Jackson. With more than 20 years of experience in television and Texas school public relations, he was Frisco ISD’s videographer and media specialist since 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of North Texas. Jana Reuter has accepted the position of assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Since 2009, she was Georgetown ISD’s executive director of school improvement and federal programs. Reuter earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Tech University, her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University, and her doctorate in educational administration and superintendence from the University of Texas.
Socorro ISD The new principal of Keleher Elementary School is Josie Perez, a 26-year veteran educator who has been a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal and superintendent. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling.
Spring ISD Trent Miller has been appointed head
football coach and athletic coordinator at Spring High School. He has been the Lions’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach since 2013. Miller received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Spring Hill ISD David Lynch has been promoted from Spring Hill Junior High’s assistant principal to principal. A product of Spring Hill schools, Lynch obtained his bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and his master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Texarkana.
Sweeny ISD Tory Hill, now serving as dis-
San Marcos CISD San Marcos CISD announces the hiring of Andrew Fernandez as executive director of communications and community relations. He spent the past three years with Harlandale ISD, where he was initially publications editor and, for the past two years, public information officer. He is a graduate of Texas Lutheran University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
Sharyland ISD After leading Sharyland High School for three years, Carolyn Mendiola will now serve as assistant superintendent for student services and parent community relations.
trict superintendent, comes to his new position from Katy ISD, where he was area superintendent for instruction and administrative support.
Superintendent Steve Pierce has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of August. With 31 years of experience in Texas public schools, he has led the district since 2014. In addition, he worked as a teacher, coach, principal and school improvement manager.
Tyler ISD’s new director of assessment and data analysis is James Cureton, who has been with the district since 2015 as a biology, earth science and chemistry teacher. Prior to that, he was a biology and zoology professor at the University of Oklahoma, where he was awarded a doctorate in biology, and at Sam Houston State University, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Lee High School’s new band director, Sam Labordus, was most recently director of bands at Amarillo ISD’s Caprock High, working in that capacity since 2013. He earned his associate degree in music from Tyler Junior College and his bachelor’s degree in music education from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Sandra Newton has accepted the position of TISD’s director of fine arts. An educator since 1996, she has previously been with Humble, Spring and Katy ISDs as well as at the Dallas Museum of Art. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s degree in art, music and theatre from the University of Texas at Tyler. Brooke Parker has been
Sweetwater ISD George McFarland, who most recently led Tahoka ISD, is now Sweetwater ISD’s superintendent. An educator for 26 years, he has worked as a teacher, coach, athletic coordinator, head football coach, assistant principal and principal. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas who earned his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and his doctorate from Lamar University.
Taylor ISD Shepherd ISD
ton High School since 2014. An educator for 15 years, he spent five years as an assistant principal and principal in Whitehouse ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree in health and kinesiology from the University of Houston and his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Tyler.
Rodney Fausett now serves as Taylor ISD’s deputy superintendent. He was assistant superintendent of administrative services in Bay City ISD for the past seven years.
Tyler ISD The newly hired school improvement officer is Jarrod Bitter, who comes to Tyler from Canton ISD, where he was principal of Can-
named director for the Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs after serving as assistant director since 2012. Her 15-year career has included teaching and working as an assistive technology manager and as an early intervention specialist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in comprehensive special education from Lee University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Phoenix. Now serving as director of pre-K-3rd grade literacy, Stacy Pineda has been a district administrator for five years. She was most recently assistant principal of Austin Elementary School. Prior to coming to Tyler, she worked for ESC Region 7 and the University of Texas. She received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas A&M University at Com> See Who’s News, page 35 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Bill Bechtol feels at home in the principal’s office
▲ Texas ASCD President Bill Bechtol poses with students at Barton Creek Elementary School in Eanes ISD.
rowing up in Ohio, Bill Bechtol spent more than his share of time in the principal’s office. They weren’t disciplinary visits— Bechtol’s father was an elementary school principal, so from a young age, Becthol got a front row seat to just what it takes to serve in school administration. As a result, he felt the calling to follow in his father’s footsteps and work in public education himself. Bechtol graduated from college and taught in Minnesota for three years before moving to Texas. After five years teaching in Texas, Bechtol made the move into administration. Most recently, he served as deputy superintendent for Eanes ISD in west Austin for 12 years before he felt ready for a change and began contemplating retirement. “I considered retiring, but the superintendent didn’t want me to leave the district entirely,” Bechtol says. “He was just completing his second year and with 12 years as deputy superintendent, I had a lot of institutional knowledge and an understanding of how our system works.” As luck had it, the principal position had just come open at Barton
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Creek Elementary School, so Bechtol stepped into the seat, spending his last year before retirement in the office that had called to him from a young age. “It was a great way to end my career, back in the best job I ever had as an elementary principal at a really fine school with great teachers, wonderful kids and supportive families,” Bechtol says. “It’s been a wonderful year and I’ve loved it.” Bechtol loves serving as an elementary school principal because of the hands-on aspect of the job. In a small elementary school, the principal is a hero to the kids, and administrators get to interact more with the children, something Bechtol has always enjoyed. “If you do the job right, you get to know the kids by name and do things to motivate and praise them,” he says. “You can have a great influence on the direction of a small elementary school, and every day you get to see happy, smiling, laughing children who like to learn and are thriving under the guidance of teachers.”
In his time in Eanes, Bechtol helped implement numerous changes, including improving professional learning for staff by adding instructional coaches and educational technologists at each campus in the district. He also saw the district’s 1:1 iPad initiative go from conception to implementation, allowing every student from kindergarten on to have an iPad for their use. To increase professional learning in Eanes, Bechtol helped facilitate a local learning conference that brought national-level speakers to the district to address school employees, saving time and money previously used to send a few teachers and administrators on costly training trips. Professional learning for educators is an item that is important to Bechtol, and it’s one of the reasons he joined the Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Texas ASCD) in the first place. After being a member of the national organization, Bechtol joined the statewide group when he saw the quality of the people serving in leadership positions. He recently began his own term as president of Texas ASCD and is excited to have more time now, post retirement, to devote to the organization. Bechtol says Texas ASCD is unlike other organizations in the state that represent solely educators or administrators. Texas ASCD
members run the gamut from principals and curriculum directors to superintendents and teachers alike. Rather than focusing on lobbying and representing educators, the goal of Texas ASCD is to improve teaching and learning in the state. While Texas ASCD does some advocating for things such as policies and programs that proactively impact teaching and leadership, it’s not as central to the group’s mission as professional development. “We offer a lot of professional learning opportunities to meet the needs of our members and build their capacity,” Bechtol says. “We help build teachers into leaders, and I mean campus leadership, district leadership and teacher leadership. It’s kind of neat what we do.” One of the biggest challenges Bechtol sees facing Texas public education moving forward is the convergence of increasing expectations and a student body that’s getting harder to teach. “If we have to be educating at a higher and higher level with more difficult-to-educate students, and the state is underfunding schools significantly, it’s kind of a triple whammy,” he says. Since Bechtol is retired and local to Austin, where Texas ASCD is headquartered, he hopes to dedicate much of his time to serving the organization, continuing his commit-
You can have a great influence on the direction of a small elementary school, and every day you get to see happy, smiling, laughing children who like to learn and are thriving under the guidance of teachers. ment to Texas public schools and equipping educators with the tools they need to be successful even in an increasingly challenging work environment.
Reimagining school design
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Sterling Aviation HS | Houston ISD Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Thought leaders and innovators in education
Abilene ISD’s Kari Leong “graduates” after 34 years of service by Dacia Rivers
t was the former superintendent of Abilene ISD who put a bug in Kari Leong’s ear about her possibly making the move to administration, back in 1996 when Leong was working as an administrative assistant in the superintendent’s office. Now, 21 years later, Leong is retiring from Abilene ISD after decades of dedication and service to the schools in the district. Originally from Chicago, Leong moved to Abilene to attend Abilene Christian University, where she majored in radio and television along with education. After graduation she taught at elementary and middle schools in Abilene before winding up in the superintendent’s office and making the switch to administration. “I really was not thinking at all about going into administration until he tapped me on the shoulder and let me know he thought that would be a good call for me,” Leong says. Following that change, Leong served as assistant principal and principal in two Abilene schools before taking the director of student services position in the district and eventually the executive director of student services job from which she retired this summer. It’s a more-than-full-time position, one that kept Leong busy working with attendance, all hearings in the district, enrollment and admission, bullying and parent complaints, among other duties.
▲Kari Leong poses with her grandchildren.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
challenges that face African-American students. Leong recalls one day when her mother spent three hours before school straightening Leong’s hair, and when recess came around, it was just starting to drizzle. Leong knew the rain and humidity would ruin the work her mother put into her hair, but when she told her teacher about her concerns, the teacher sent Leong out to play anyway, not realizing the inevitable result. “What had been two nice, neat ponytails soon became a huge Afro, and I knew when I got home I would be in trouble,” Leong says. “I made a decision at that time that when I grew up, I was going to be a teacher so I could help other little kids that looked like me. That was really as simple as it was for me back then.” Leong’s drive to be an advocate and role model for African-American children stayed strong throughout her 34 years working in Abilene ISD. As one of few African-American administrators in the area, Leong always strived to look out for students who were different from most, whether due to their skin color, disability or other factors.
“We are rebranding the job now, but under my time frame, I dealt with all of it,” Leong says.
“I’ve been here for all kids, that is truly my goal, but I also feel I’ve been here to be a role model for kids who are brown and black, and they’re looking for somebody who looks like them,” Leong says. “I wanted to be a voice and I didn’t ever want to deny my blackness or the fact that I was African-American. I wanted to embrace it.”
Leong isn’t one to shy away from work that can be uncomfortable. She felt the call to be a teacher back when she was 7 years old and living in Chicago. Leong had mostly white teachers who didn’t understand some of the unique
With 34 years working in the same school district, Leong has seen numerous changes, most notably the advancement of technology and how it affects students. Academically, Leong sees huge potential as technology works its
way into the classroom, but because so much of her work has dealt with bullying, she’s also seen how technology can make it easier for students to be cruel to each other. “We’ve had to work on how to incorporate technology in a positive way for our kids and not to let it interrupt the classroom in a negative way,” Leong says. Leong says she’s also seen the average age of parents in Abilene drop and the number of low-income students grow, two factors that have created challenges when it comes to focusing on students’ educations. “We have to do more than educate now,” she says. “Before we can even get to the education component, we’re having to be nurses, doctors, counselors, psychiatrists and social workers.” Pointing to others factors such as increasing discipline issues and state testing and attendance requirements, Leong says she worries that teachers have so much to focus on that they aren’t able to fully educate students as they have in the past. While Leong knows these changes create a lot of challenges for administrators and educators, she believes in Texas public schools
and their ability to successfully navigate the difficulties facing them.
I’ve been here
“I think the road ahead is difficult, and I think it’s challenging for educators,” Leong says. “But I think it certainly can be done.”
for all kids, that
Despite retiring from her full-time administration job in Abilene ISD, Leong still feels the call to be of service to her community. Speaking to her 3-year-old grandson, Kingston, recently, Leong asked him if he knew what it meant that she was retiring. Kingston responded, “Well, it means that you’re graduating.” Her grandson’s response has stuck with Leong as the perfect description for her metamorphosis.
is truly my goal, but I also feel I’ve been here to be a role model for kids who are brown
“That’s what retirement is; you’re just graduating to the next level, and you’re going to do something different,” Leong says. “I would like to think that I’ll spend the rest of my life serving and giving back, because so many people have blessed me and opened doors for me.”
and black, and
DACIA RIVERS is Editorial Director of Texas School Business.
looks like them.
they’re looking for somebody who
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Texas Association of Rural Schools
Phil Worsham speaks up for Texas’ rural districts
he Texas Association of Rural Schools is an organization dedicated to small, rural schools, specifically those with an ADA of less than 1,600, that serves to provide a voice for these small and often-overlooked districts. Joaquin ISD Superintendent Phil Worsham has spent much of his educational and professional life working in small schools, and those decades of experience have prepared him for his upcoming two-year term as TARS president—his second time to serve the organization in this leadership role. Worsham grew up in Joaquin, located smack on the Louisiana border, northeast of Nacogdoches, and graduated from Joaquin High School in 1972. After earning his vocational agriculture degree, Worsham taught in Buna, Center and Plano before moving back to Joaquin to work at his family’s feed store, a still-operating family business that his father began in 1946. After three years at the store, the principal’s position in Martinsville ISD became available, and Worsham got back into the education field, having completed his master’s in education and superintendent and principal certifications while living in Plano. Within a year and a half, Worsham moved into the superintendent’s role in Martinsville ISD, where he served for 11 years before moving back to Joaquin to serve as superintendent—a role he’s held for 16 years now. Based on his decades of experience working in Texas
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
public schools, Worsham is quick to point out what he thinks is the biggest issue facing Texas public education today: funding. “People don’t like to talk about the dollars, but it does take the dollars to make everything operate,” Worsham says. “I know everyone loves their job, but it takes adequate funding to support public education and the goals we want our children to reach.” Over the past 38 years, Worsham has seen the focus in public schools go from preparing kids for careers to preparing them for college, but he feels that one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t benefit all students equally. “Not everybody goes to college, and not everybody goes into the workforce,” Worsham says. “There’s a mixture, and it takes the fine arts and the core subjects and extracurriculars to meet those demands.” Worsham feels Texas’ public education system is a huge draw to people looking to move to the state, and that’s something he doesn’t want to see change because of funding shortfalls or complications. “If we let our public education system fail, then we become a thirdrate country in Texas,” he says. “We need funding that supports what we desire without any smoke and mirrors trying to disguise that.” Texas is a large and diverse state, but working so close to the Louisi-
ana border provides some additional challenges for Worsham’s small school district when it comes to funding. For instance, one Louisiana parish right across the border from Joaquin offers its teachers a starting salary of $50,000. With $32,000 available to new teachers in Joaquin, that discrepancy can make it difficult for Worsham to attract and retain teachers. In his district, Worsham combats budget issues by fostering a collaborative work environment and recruiting the best educators he can find. One of his main goals as superintendent is to support communication within his schools and the local community to best serve students. “Teacher and student relationships and parent relationships are very important for the overall accomplishment of what’s best for our kids,” Worsham says. “We’ve got to stay focused on what’s best for all kids.” Serving as TARS president for a second time is another step Worsham is happy to take to help benefit students in schools across the state. “The kids are the same whether they be in Joaquin or Austin, but sometimes we lose
sight of the diversity of Texas,” Worsham says. “It’s hard for people from smaller states to understand how broad and diverse Texas is.” As president of TARS, Worsham is focused on the association’s goal for changing the small district adjustment. The budgeting adjustment is based on legislation passed in the 1980s that created funding penalties for small school districts, which were designed to push more small districts into consolidation. According to Worsham, the adjustment is arbitrary and out of date and punishes Texas’ smaller schools unfairly, forcing them to fight for necessary funding. “We don’t have the luxury to have school orchestras and things of that nature when you’re in rural Texas,” Worsham says. “It’s not that our kids aren’t musically inclined, but numbers get to be an issue and sometimes it’s challenging to offer some things. Besides being a product of Joaquin schools himself, Worsham has three children who went to school in Joaquin: one works as an admissions counselor at Angelina College, one is working on a doctorate in piano performance, and one just graduated with a communications degree.
I know everyone loves their job, but it takes adequate funding to support public education and the goals we want our children to reach.
“We’ve got kids that have graduated from Joaquin who are doctors and attorneys, so to have that foundational quality of education is what we’re looking for,” Worsham says. “We may not have all the bells and whistles, but a child can leave here with that foundation.”
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
Midway ISD’s award-winning Hunger Free program gets kids helping kids by Frank McCray
early 34 percent, or one in three students, in the Midway ISD school district in region 12 alone suffers from economical disadvantages that qualify them for free or subsidized school lunches. Keeping in mind the fact that Midway is one of the wealthier school districts in the Central Texas area, this is an astonishing fact and reminder that not everyone is given the same opportunities growing up. Four years ago, after noticing that students who qualify for these programs may be going hungry over the weekend, educators Janet Angel, Kayla Brown, Jana Thomas and Jeff Fisher came together to create a program called Hunger Free MISD. The objective of the program was to provide disadvantaged students and families with food and ensure that no student or family would go hungry on holidays and weekends. Several factors go into the successful operating of Hunger Free. First the counselors identify which students may need extra assistance, then the food is ordered through Sam’s Club and delivered to the Midway High School campus by the MISD maintenance department. During the last four years, Hunger Free has grown tremendously, delivering more than 15,000 bags of food, raising around $15,000 annually, and impacting the lives of a ton of students and families all across the district. At the same time, Hunger Free has presented an unprecedented and charitable way to bring together organizations from
within the district. For example, the Life Skills (Special Education) class stocks the shelves with food, providing real world application and experience, and the Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALs) program delivers the bags to each school. Business outside of the school, such as Bush’s Chicken, help raise funds that go directly toward sustaining the program through fundraisers and donations. The Association of Professional Texas Educators (ATPE) coordinates the collection of food and money during the annual ATPE food and money drive. All these parts work together to better the lives of people around the community. I personally found out about Hunger Free my freshman year in MCJROTC when my class, under the direction of CWO-3 Fisher, was given the opportunity to pack bags that would be delivered to students in need in our district. Since then I have been able to help out with Hunger Free many times. Helping out other students in such a simple but profound way is truly a humbling and inspiring feeling. I believe that I could ask anyone involved in helping out with Hunger Free and they would agree. After assisting in the upkeep of Hunger Free, I was proud and delighted to hear that Midway had earned an honorable mention, with regards as one of the best programs in the country to help feed disadvantaged students. The Magna Award is sponsored by the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) flagship magazine, American
School Board Journal (ASBJ), and is meant to recognize school districts and students who take steps to improve the lives of students and their communities.
Helping out other students in such a simple but profound way is truly a humbling and inspiring feeling. Keeping in mind that only 15 schools in each category are recognized and awarded, this is a big achievement for the students, faculty and district as a whole. That being said, this goal couldn’t have been reached without the support of the community and local businesses that sponsor Hunger Free. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Hunger Free, how big it can get and how far it can go. Hopefully we can continue to better the community. FRANK MCCRAY is in the 11th Grade at Midway High School. Sixteen years old, McCray is a Company 1st Sgt in the Marine Corps JROTC.
“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 Dacia Rivers at firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing guidelines.
Calendar Professional development & events
S TA N D O U T F R O M T H E C R OW D ! Get premium placement and get noticed! For a nominal fee, you can showcase your conference, workshop or seminar on the opening page as a Featured Event. Contact Ann Halstead at email@example.com for more details. AU GUST August 1 Workstation Make and Take for Counting with Objects/Pictures (pre-K-K or grades 1-2) Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $175. August 2-3 TASA First Time Superintendents Academy (session 1 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $695 members, $795 nonmembers August 4 TASB/TACCA Post-Legislative Seminar for Community Colleges TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $150. August 7 TASPA Documentation Workshop Bastrop ISD Performing Arts Center, Bastrop For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. August 8 Fractions, Decimals, Percentages, Operations in Grades 5-6 or 6-8 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $150. August 9 Integers, Equations, Algebraic Reasoning in Grades 6-8 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $150.
TASBO Workshop: Top EDGAR Purchasing Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them) ESC Region 2, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $205; nonmembers, $255. TASPA Documentation Workshop Lumberton ISD Performing Arts Center, Lumberton For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. August 10 TASBO Course: Competitive Sealed Proposals/Request for Proposals Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $170; nonmembers, $220.
S E PTE M B E R September 10-12 TACS Annual Conference Hilton Palacio del Rio, San Antonio For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org Cost: Members, $200; nonmembers, $300. September 11 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 20, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. September 11-12 TASBO/TCASE Conference: Synergy 2017 TCEA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: $295.
September 12 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 13, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. TRTA District 12 Fall Convention ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org September 12-14 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. September 14 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 2, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. TRTA District 13 Fall Convention First Christian Church, San Marcos For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org September 14-15 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XX Abilene ISD, Abilene For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org September 18-19 TASSP Fall Leadership Academy Hilton Palacio del Rio, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Early Bird registration (on or before September 9): $225. After September 9: $275. September 20 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com
Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. September 20-21 TASA First Time Superintendents Academy (session 2 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $695 members, $795 nonmembers September 21 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop Harris Co. Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. TRTA District 14 Fall Convention ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org September 24-25 TASPA Fall Support Staff Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 25): Members, $175; nonmembers, $195; retired members, $95. Regular registration (by Sept. 11): Members, $195; nonmembers, $215; retired members, $115. Late registration: Members, $210; nonmembers, $230; retired members, $130. September 25-26 TASSP Fall Leadership Academy Lebanon Trail High School, Frisco For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Early Bird registration (on or before September 9): $225. After September 9: $275. September 26 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com
> See Calendar, page 34 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
> Continued from page 33 Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. September 28 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. September 29 TRTA District 18 Fall Convention ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
O C TO BE R October 1-2 TASSP/LYS Fundamental Five Summit Location and city TBA For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org October 3 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. TRTA District 7 Fall Convention First Baptist Church, Nacogdoches For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 9 Fall Convention ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 3-4 TASBO Internal Audit Academy Hyatt Regency North Dallas, Richardson For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. Texas ASCD Workshop: The Formula for Success – Teacher Standards and TEKS Location TBA
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 5 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early Bird registration (by July 7), $135; regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. TRTA District 5 Fall Convention St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Beaumont For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 17 Fall Convention ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 6-8 TASA/TASB Convention Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasa.tasb.org October 9 TRTA District 11 Fall Convention Civic Center, Decatur For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 10 TASBO Investment Training Workshop ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $205; nonmembers, $255. TRTA District 19 Fall Convention Wyndham Airport, El Paso For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 11 TRTA District 4 Fall Convention Bethany United Methodist Church, Houston For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 12 TRTA District 6 Fall Convention ESC Region 6, Huntsville For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TRTA District 8 Fall Convention ESC Region 8, Pittsburg For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 15 Fall Convention ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 12-13 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXI (session 1 of 3) Location TBA, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 15-17 TEPSA Assistant Principals Conference Omni Southpark, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Members: By Sept. 15, $227; after Sept. 15, $277. Nonmembers: By Sept. 15, $287; after Sept. 15, $337. October 16 TRTA District 10 Fall Convention Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 17 TASBO Course: CSRM Funding School Risks Irving ISD, Irving For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org October 17-19 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. October 18 TRTA District 3 Fall Convention Our Lady of Refuge, Refugio For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 19 TASBO Course: Fraud Detection and Investigation ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $170; nonmembers, $220. TRTA District 1 Fall Convention
South Texas Community College, Rio Grande For more info, (512) `476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 19-20 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. October 20 TRTA District 2 Fall Convention Holiday Inn Airport and Convention Center, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 23 TASBO Operations and Facility Masters Conference Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, Dallas For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: $225. October 24 TASPA Documentation Workshop Amarillo ISD, Amarillo For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. October 25 TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, Dallas For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. October 26 TRTA District 16 Fall Convention ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 20 Fall Convention St. Peter the Apostle Church, Boerne For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 29-31 Texas ASCD Annual Conference Hyatt Regency Downtown, Houston For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 30 TASBO Purchasing Boot Camp Omni Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711.
www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $215; nonmembers, $265. October 30-31 TASB/TASPA HR Administrators’ Academy Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Early registration (by Oct. 12), $385; regular registration, $450. October 31-November 1 TASBO Purchasing Academy Omni Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345.
NOV E M BE R November 5-8 Texas Assessment Conference Hilton Hotel and Austin Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Early Bird registration (by Aug. 31), $125; pre-registration (by Oct. 20), $145; on-site registration, $195.
November 6-7 TASBO Personnel and Payroll Academy Courtyard Austin, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. November 7-9 TEPSA Orange Frog Workshop Offices of Arlington ISD, Arlington For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org November 8-9 TASA First Time Superintendents Academy (session 3 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $695 members, $795 nonmembers. November 9-10 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXI (session 2 of 3) Location TBA, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
November 15-18 Texas Counseling Association Professional Growth Conference Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston For more info, (512) 472-3403 or (800) 580-8144. www.txca.org Cost: Early Bird registration: Professional members, $125; new professional members, $85; retired members, $85; student members, $85. November 16-17 TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort, Boerne For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. November 29-30 Texas ASCD Workshop: Performance-Based Assessment in the Classroom Memorial Park Academy, Richardson For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
Texas School Business Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson has come to Waco
> Continued from page 25
merce and her master’s degree in educational leadership from LeTourneau University.
Vernon ISD Matthew Hoover has been promoted from defensive coordinator to head football coach and athletic director. He has been with VISD for 10 years.
Waco ISD Tarl Lloyd, Jr., has been named University High School’s head basketball coach, making this the third time he has led the program. He initially held the position from 1989 to 2000, when he became a principal, returning to coach from 2008 to 2010. He has led the Trojans to five district championships and was district Coach of the Year four times.
November 29-December 1 TAGT Annual Conference Brown Convention Center, Houston For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: Members, $410 for three days, $295 for two days, $150 for one day; nonmembers, $495 for three days, $380 for two days, $235 for one day.
from Laredo ISD, where he also held the top position. He was named 2014 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Prior to his time in Laredo, Nelson was chief academic officer for San Antonio’s Judson ISD. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University and of Texas A&M University at Commerce, where he earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate in educational administration.
Windthorst ISD Lonnie Hise has been promoted from district high school principal to superintendent. A member of the WISD staff since 2006, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and a master’s degree in education from Midwestern State University.
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Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
News in fine arts education
Mastering the culinary arts in the classroom by Jocelyn Aventurado
â—„Jocelyn Aventurado of Lamar CISD poses with her Teacher of the Year award from Foster High School.
y love for cooking has always been encouraged by my family, which shows through my career choices. Not only did I know Filipino cooking, but I was also very interested in cooking the basic American dishes. I also remember reading recipes in various cookbooks and magazines, which my mom collected over the years. I started early as a young lady competing in 4-H cooking competitions. As an adult, this gave me the upper hand in sharing my experiences with kids in the Fort Bend County area as a county extension agent though the 4-H organization. Even as a food and beverage manager with Marriott, Inc., I learned how to organize, decorate, and cook for large catering events for the residents in numerous long-term facility communities, for which I worked.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
As a dietitian with Houston Community College and Marriott, Inc., I was also able to teach patients healthy cooking alternatives, as well as, leading cooking classes for patients with specific health issues. Eight years later, I was given the opportunity to work with students at a local junior high. The teacher and principal were so impressed with my style of teaching, I was asked be a teacher the following school year. Ten years later, when a teaching position opened up at a LCISD high school, a former coworker just knew I was the perfect candidate for the job. I am very proud of how our culinary program has grown. I started with 14 students in my one practicum class. Three years later, I have two practicum classes with a total of 30 students. Next year, I hope to have close to 50 students in my three practicum classes on campus.
I am very excited to see that my upper level classes have become so important to many of my students who have the desire to not only cook, but to share their talents with others. I am also very delighted to find out that Foster High School has more than 200 students enrolled in culinary classes for the upcoming school year. The best is yet to come! Three years ago, I knew receiving the high school teaching job was going to entail many professional and personal sacrifices. I do this job to draw my students into the world of culinary arts and the hospitality industry. I begin the year with a list of expectations that the students must follow. The best part is, they develop it. We work heavily on time management and sanitation skills. I expect my students to keep work spaces tidier than how they found it by
timing them to get the jobs done. Scheduling is an important tool, as well, for the benefit of the students. Overall, these basic skills teach them how to correctly function in a real world setting. My love for the culinary arts shows through all of the hearts of my students. I am very proud of each and every one of them. Every year is a challenge, but I am confident to embrace each year as a stepping stone for what has yet to come in my future. I hope to become one of those special educators who not only has the appetite for cooking, but is able to have chance to transform the lives of those students who love it, too. I am thankful each day for the support of my family. From my parents to my own husband and children, they understand my teaching career was a choice that was the best one for me. I believe I will continue to reach new heights. “You can’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Cook with passion and it will show.” This message was given to my team this year. It gave us the drive to put our hearts and souls into the food that we prepared. Somehow, despite schedule difficulties and minimal funds, this year had the biggest impact on my life. My team’s dedication for their craft was at an all-time high. What struck me was their optimism and readiness for anything I threw at them.
My students’ growth throughout the school year was unbelievable, from their knife skills to their meticulous sanitization techniques. Their commitment to the program became more noticeable each day. My team’s vibrant, youthful energy could become too much for me sometimes, but at the end of the day, they are still my students who I hold dear to my heart. We recently endured a devastating loss at Regionals. I felt completely helpless. The long drive home gave us time to contemplate what went wrong while competing. Ironically, my team gave me the strength I needed. This loss did not shake the confidence my students had. One of my students, Olivia, left me speechless with a quote she shared with me: “Losing does not define us, it only makes us stronger.” This helped me understand the real reason why teaching them is such an important part of my life—we learn from each other with humble hearts. Through the hearts of my students, I can learn and achieve anything. JOCELYN AVENTURADO teaches culinary arts at Foster High School in Lamar CISD. She was named teacher of the year at Foster High for 2016-17 and as a National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ProStart National Educator of Excellence in May.
My love for the culinary arts shows through all of the hearts of my students. I am very proud of each and every one of them. Every year is a challenge, but I am confident to embrace each year as a stepping stone for what has yet to come in my future.
Texas School Business
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Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
THE BACK PAGE
Sometimes it takes just a little bit more by Riney Jordan
he was an experienced, dedicated firstgrade teacher, and oh, how she loved her students.
They gave her a renewed sense of energy and purpose every single school day, and her greatest joy was teaching them to read. Her goal each year was always to teach every single student to read, and everyone agreed, she knew how to teach reading. And, along with the mechanics of reading, she wanted to instill in them a love of reading. She delighted in recommending appropriate books for her students and the daily trip to the school library was one of her most treasured times. “Oh, have you read ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ You’re going to love it!” “Since you were so upset this morning, I think you would love ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.’” “I don’t think you’ve read ‘Make Way for Ducklings,’ have you? Well, let me know how you like it.” And, year after year, Mrs. Eubanks taught her students not only how to read, but to love it! When she retired, many parents grieved, knowing that their children would miss the joy of Mrs. Eubanks. Her love of teaching, her devotion to the students, and her remarkable ability to teach kids how to read had become common knowledge throughout the community. Years later, I visited with her and we reminisced about her days in the classroom. “I’m not an expert at many things, but I know how to teach kids to read,” she commented. And then, a big smile crossed her face and her eyes lit up. “However, there was one little fellow I wasn’t so sure about,” she laughingly stated. “What do you mean?” I asked, and settled back for what I knew would be a great story. “Well, he came from a broken home where
education did not seem to be valued, and we were well into the school year and he still did not know the sounds of letters. Most students came to first grade already knowing the letter sounds, but not this little guy.” She shook her head back and forth as she continued.
George K. Baum and Co......................2 Gkbaum.com Houston ISD Medicaid Finance and Consulting.....................................4 eshars.com K12 Insight........................................19-22 K12insight.com Stantec..................................................... 27 stantec.com Spectrum Corp.................................5, 13 spectrumscoreboards.com TASB Risk Management Fund...... 39
“M-m-m-m-m, mother. M-m-m-m-m, monkey. M-m-m-m-m money. M-m-mm-m, month.
Texas ASCD............................................ 29
“Now, you do it. What sound does ‘M’ make?
Texas Computer Cooperative..........9
“I knew I had gotten through to him. I could see the intensity in his eyes. His lips were coming together. I just knew I had finally succeeded on this one.
“The little guy wrinkled his forehead. He squinched his eyes together. His head was shaking up and down as he struggled to get the sound out just right.
Tasbrmf.org TASPA........................................................13 Taspa.org txascd.org
Texas School Business...................31, 35, 37, 38, 40
“And then, as plain as any sound any child could make, he said, ‘B-u-h?’” Life is like that, isn’t it? We work. We struggle. We pour our hearts into something, and it just doesn’t quite come together the way we expected. Someone once said, “Life’s real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up.” In the case of this little guy, Mrs. Eubanks said that he eventually learned his sounds and became quite a good reader. So, the lesson I learned from all of this is, “Don’t give up.” There will be days when you’ve given it everything you have, and things still look discouraging. Renew your enthusiasm anyway and never, never, never give up!
convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.
“We were working on the letter ‘M,’ and he was the only one in the room not hearing it. So, I sat down right in front of him, and told him to watch my mouth as I slowly made the sound and spoke common words that began with the letter M.
RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2017
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