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High school seniors spend a day knee-deep in real-world lessons
Also in this issue: Texas ASCD President Sara Ptomey TCEA President Holli Horton
Texas School Business
JULY / AUGUST 2019
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Cover Story Adulting 101: High school seniors spend a day knee-deep in real-world lessons by Dacia Rivers
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TCEA President Profile London ISD’s Holli Horton leads TCEA onward and upward
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5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 13 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 15 Digital Frontier by Anne Halsey and Greg Hubenak 19 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne
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23 TAGT’s annual Leadership Conference held in Georgetown 35 TACS honors longtime members at annual presidents luncheon
28 Regional View by James Rich 36 The Arts by Stacie Jannise 38 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
Cover photo: Temple ISD automotive technology teacher Josh Koontz discusses responsible car ownership with Temple High School seniors.
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From the editor
hether summer for you means getting away with your family or catching up on tasks that might have gotten set aside as the school year barrelled to its end, I hope it’s going smoothly for each and every one of you. It’s been a busy one so far for us, and I have some news to share. For starters, this will be the last printed issue of Texas School Business. Based on feedback we received from our reader survey and in an effort to save on the ever-increasing costs of printing and mailing, all future editions of the magazine will be delivered digitally. You can read more information about this change on page 16, and you can always find the most recent issue of the magazine along with archives on our website at texasschoolbusiness.com. This issue also heralds the end of another era, as Bobby Hawthorne is ceasing his Game On column to focus on other pursuits. It’s been an honor to work with Bobby, and you can read his final column on page 19, though don’t worry about missing him too much — Bobby will still be around to pen feature articles for us. As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions regarding the magazine, my email box is always open at drivers@ texasschoolbusiness.com. I hope you all the remainder of the summer, and enjoy this issue of the magazine, which we are always happy to create for you.
Texas School Business
(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) JULY / AUGUST 2019 Volume LXVI, Issue 4 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
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In the May/June 2019 Texas School Business, Leah Roberts was incorrectly identified as the new principal of Boswell High School. She is the school’s assistant principal and previously served as assistant principal of Wayside Middle School. Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
executive director. Angleton High School alumna Allison Hemphill was previously the Foundation’s vice-president of marketing and events.
Abilene ISD Del Van Cox has been
promoted from head football coach at Abilene High School to Abilene ISD’s assistant athletic director.
“i-Ready has been super helpful pinpointing specific areas that maybe even just a few students need to work on, and then giving me resources to support them.”
Chad Drake, former
instructional specialist at Mann Middle School, will begin the new academic year as principal of Dyess Elementary School. Before joining Abilene ISD, he was an administrator in Lubbock ISD and worked for two years in New York City schools as a member of Teach for America. Michele Josselet is the new principal of Jackson Elementary School. She began her career in 2000 in Anson ISD and was most recently an instructional specialist at Craig Middle School.
— Maddie M. Fourth Grade Teacher
Former Cooper High School principal Karen Munoz has accepted her first central office administrative position, now serving as executive director of administrative services. She led Cooper High for eight years.
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Alvin ISD A new superintendent, Carol Nelson, has been hired for Alvin ISD. She has spent her career with the district, most recently as associate superintendent. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Amarillo ISD Annslee Jeffries has been approved as head
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volleyball coach at Palo Duro High School. Most recently an ESL teacher at the school, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in educational leadership from West Texas A&M University.
The district announces the appointment of Doug Loomis as superintendent. He began his career 30 years ago as a teacher at Wolflin Elementary before becoming an administrator. For the past five years, he has been the district’s chief human resources officer.
Angleton ISD The Angleton ISD Education Foundation has announced the appointment of a new
Austin ISD Williams Elementary School’s new principal, Natalie Cardona-Villanueva, served as the school’s interim principal since December. She has been with the district for 15 years and previously worked as an administrative supervisor and assistant principal. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Concordia University. Priscilla Sanchez Emamian is now serving as principal of Cook Elementary School. An employee of the district for five years, she was most recently assistant principal of Overton Elementary. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University. Akweta Hickman has accepted the position of executive director of special education, coming to her new post from DeSoto ISD, where she spent the past three years in the same capacity. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, she holds a master’s degree in educational organization and administration from Dallas Baptist University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Tarleton State University. Beth Newton, new principal of Murchison
Middle School, is an 18-year employee of the district and was the school’s interim principal since February. She received her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Texas.
Travis Early College High School will welcome Christina Steele as principal in August. An employee of the district for 13 years, she had been serving as Travis’ interim principal and previously was academic director. Her master’s degree in educational leadership was awarded from the University of Texas at Arlington. The new principal of LBJ Early College High School is Tracilynn Wright, who was most recently the district’s director of alternative education at AISD’s Alternative Learning Center. She is nearing completion of her doctorate in educational administration at Concordia University.
Avalon ISD A new superintendent has been named for the district. Khristopher Marshall began his career with AISD as a teacher and coach, going on to serve as assistant principal and, for the past 10 years, principal of Avalon High School.
Beaumont ISD The district’s new superintendent is Shannon Allen. A graduate of BISD’s West Brook High School and employee of the district for all of her 23-year career, she was most recently an associate superintendent. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees from Lamar University. Amy Johnson has accepted the role of principal of Blanchette Elementary School. She began her career in BISD in 2000 and was previously an assistant principal at Homer Drive Elementary. She received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.
The new principal of Ozen High School is Donna Prudhomme, who had been the school’s assistant principal and magnet coordinator. She holds a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
Belton ISD Sandy Garrett has accepted the position of
principal of the district’s new Disciplinary Alternative Education program. An employee of Belton ISD for 15 years, she taught and worked as an assistant principal at Belton High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Brooke Itz is the new principal of Tarver
Elementary School. She is the former assistant principal of Southwest Elementary School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Now serving as assistant principal of Lake Belton Middle School is Edgar Miranda. An educator for seven years, he has a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Belton High School’s new assistant athletic director and defensive coordinator is Ty Patrick. An educator and coach for 15 years, he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University.
Bowie ISD Blake Enlow, former Bowie High School principal and BISD employee since 2011, is now district superintendent.
Bryan ISD Bryan ISD has announced the appointment of Amy Bruner as principal of Branch Elementary School. She has spent her seven-year career with the district, most recently serving as dean of instruction at Rayburn Intermediate School. > See Who’s News, page 9 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Who’s News > Continued from page 7
She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University and is pursuing a doctorate in leadership and learning in organizations at Vanderbilt University. Desiree Caperton, an educator with 21 years of experience, is now principal of Fannin Elementary School. She was Bryan Collegiate High School’s associate principal since 2017. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, she holds two master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University, in secondary education and in counseling. Her doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from Prairie View A&M University.
Mitchell Elementary School has welcomed Shari Hedstrom as principal. An educator for 30 years, she was a master teacher and instructional coach at Bryan High School and for the past five years has been an elementary principal in Snook ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University and her master’s degree in education leadership from Lamar University. Karen Kaspar, a 25-year
veteran educator, has been named principal of the Harris School and DAEP. She has spent the past 17 years with Bryan ISD, the past five as principal of Branch Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in education and doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.
of Bryan High School with a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education from Abilene Christian University.
Chico ISD A new athletic director and head football coach has been tapped for Chico ISD. Randy Miller spent the past year as offensive coordinator for Cooper ISD’s football program.
Cleburne ISD Jeri Hall, former Cleburne High School
assistant principal, now serves as the district’s athletic director. She began her career as a science teacher, girls’ basketball coach and girls’ athletic coordinator at Grandview High School in Grandview ISD and worked in Joshua ISD before joining Cleburne ISD. Ben Renner, previously principal of Burleson
ISD’s Hughes Middle School, now leads Cleburne High School as principal. He is a 12-year education administration veteran, working in Arlington, Joshua and Mansfield ISDs as well as his most recent assignment in Burleson.
Cleveland ISD A new superintendent will begin the academic year in Cleveland ISD. Chris Trotter is the former chief academic officer for Tomball ISD. He began his career in Birdville ISD, going on to work in classroom and administrative positions in Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Hurst-EulessBedford, Denison and San Antonio ISDs.
Conroe ISD Jarod Lambert has been named principal of Bush Elementary School. He came to Conroe ISD in 2010 as an instructional technology specialist and was assistant principal of Hailey Elementary since 2017.
Becky Ryberg has accepted
the position of principal at Rayburn Intermediate School. She began her career in Bryan ISD, going on to teach in Missouri and returning to Texas to serve as a dual-language teacher in CypressFairbanks ISD before rejoining BISD in 2010. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Southwest Baptist University and is at work on her doctorate in the same field at Texas A&M University. New Johnson Elementary School principal Amy Thomman served as the school’s assistant principal since January. An educator for 11 years, she is a graduate
A.J. LiVecchi, former principal of Oak Ridge High School’s ninth grade campus, is now principal of Oak Ridge High School. He previously was an assistant principal and teacher at College Park High School.
Coppell ISD Steve Glover, former assistant principal of Coppell Middle School East, has been promoted to the school’s principal. Nicole Jund has accepted the
position of assistant athletic director, coming to her new job from serving the past two
years as principal of Coppell High School. She is a former state champion girls’ soccer and wrestling coach. Coppell ISD’s new athletic director is Kit Pehl, who was assistant director of athletics since 2016. Prior to that, he served as head basketball coach at Coppell High School and at Central High in Keller ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Baylor University. Diana Sircar has been
named the district’s chief financial officer. She has been executive director of finance since 2018. A business professional for 14 years, she has worked in the private sector as well as with CISD. Now serving as principal of Coppell High School is Laura Springer, who has previously worked in the district as a teacher, head coach and administrator.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Sean McAuliffe, former head football coach and athletic coordinator for Judson ISD’s Judson High School, now holds that position at Cypress Ranch High. A coach for 20 years, including four previously in CFISD, he was named 2014’s Coach of the Year by the San Antonio Express-News. He earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Angelo State University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas Tech University.
A new principal is in place for Black Elementary School. Kyla Mote, who has spent her 20-year career with CFISD, was most recently assistant principal of Matzke Elementary. She is a graduate of the University of Houston with a master’s degree in educational leadership administration from Lamar University. Karen Smith, the district’s
newly-appointed chief financial officer, served as assistant superintendent of business and financial services since 2009. She began her career in San Antonio’s Northside ISD, working next in Klein ISD as director of internal audit and controller. Her bachelor’s degree in accounting was awarded from Texas A&M University. The new principal of Adam Elementary School, Stephanie Thomas, previously led Home Elementary. An > See Who’s News, page 11 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
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Conroy Hines is the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach at Ryan High School. A coach for 28 years, he spent 17 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Louisiana Tech University. He moved to Denton in 2010 as a coach at the University of North Texas and joined DISD in 2011. Chivonne Kiser is the former head volleyball
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Dawson ISD’s new superintendent is Layne Sheets, who spent the past five years as assistant basketball coach and then head basketball coach at Coronado High School in Lubbock ISD.
Now serving as Denton ISD’s co-assistant athletic directors for the district’s high schools are Conroy Hines and Chivonne Kiser.
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Maggie Wiley, former principal of Cook Middle School, is now principal of Jersey Village High School. An educator for 23 years, she began her career in Clear Creek ISD and joined CFISD in 1999. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Clear Lake and her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston.
Sandra Brown, a 14-year administrator with Denton ISD, is now director of elementary curriculum. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University.
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educator for 19 years, she began her career in Alief ISD and joined CFISD a year later. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.
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> Continued from page 9
coach and assistant campus athletic coordinator at Katy ISD’s Morton Ranch High School. She began her career in 2001, serving for 12 years in Fort Bend ISD prior to joining Katy ISD. She is a graduate of Southern University with a master’s degree in sport management from the University of Florida.
Former area superintendent of academic programs Daniel Lopez is now the district’s executive director of human resources. He came to DISD in 2014 after working in Spring, Conroe, Goose Creek and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISDs. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. His doctorate was awarded from the University of Houston.
Roshaunda Thomas has been appointed the
district’s assistant director of student services, coming to her new position after 16 years as principal of Rivera Elementary School. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas and is at work on her doctorate in educational leadership from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
The new head girls’ basketball coach at Braswell High School is Lisa Williams, former assistant varsity basketball coach at Guyer High. She began her coaching career in Amarillo ISD before joining the coaching staff at DISD’s Crownover Middle School. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. Three new principal assignments have been made. They are: Andrea Hare, Hodge Elementary School; Jacqueline San Miguel-Lozano, Moore High
Marvyn White, Rivera Elementary School.
Duncanville ISD Duncanville High School alumna LaJeanna Howard has returned to her hometown, where she previously coached, to serve as head coach of the school’s girls’ basketball team. She spent the past three years in the same capacity at Dallas ISD’s Lincoln High School.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD RandiAnn Cowden is now
principal of Elkins Elementary School. An educator for 14 years, she spent the past four years as assistant principal of High Country Elementary School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington. The new principal of the Hafley Development Center, Stacey DeHoyos, was most recently the school’s assistant principal. An early childhood educator for 18 years, she earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University. Bryson Elementary School now has Jennifer Gillard as principal. An educator for 27 years, she comes to the district from Breckenridge ISD, where she was a principal for the past three years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.
Maggie Highlen has accepted the position of principal of Northbrook Elementary School. A 28-year educator, she has been with the district since 2008, working most recently as assistant principal of Northbrook. She has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and a master’s degree in bilingual education from Texas Wesleyan University.
Eagle Pass ISD After 38 years in education and seven years leading Eagle Pass ISD as superintendent, Gilberto Gonzalez will retire at the end of August.
Eanes ISD (Austin) Three new assistant principals have been named for the district. They and their schools are: Michael Buthe, Forest Trail Elementary
Holly Reid, Cedar Creek Elementary School; Brandis Smoland, Valley View Elementary
Ector County ISD Scott Muri has accepted the position of superintendent. Most recently superintendent of Spring Branch ISD, he also worked in districts in Atlanta, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C. Alicia Sylverson has been named assistant superintendent for student and school support. She joins the district from Midland ISD, where she was executive director of elementary education. Prior to that, she spent three years as a leadership consultant at ESC Region 18.
Five new principal assignments have been made. They are: Brian Ellington, Bowie Middle School; Anthony Garcia, Wilson & Young Medal of
Honor Middle School; Karl Miller, Odessa Career and Technical Early College High School; James Ramage, Falcon Early College High School; Jessica Rickman, Buice Elementary School.
Gatesville ISD Barrett Pollard has been named the district’s
superintendent after serving in the position in an interim capacity since January.
Georgetown ISD The new executive director of support services is Kirby Campbell, who has been the district’s director of transportation since 2017 and served in his new position in an interim capacity since January. > See Who’s News, page 14 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
A fine line between free speech and personal insults
by Jim Walsh
ducators can assert their right to “qualified immunity” when they get sued personally in federal court. You get “immunity” unless you violate legal standards that are “clearly established.” “Qualified immunity” is supposed to provide comfort, assuring that harried assistant principal that Monday morning quarterbacking by judges will not lead to personal liability. That’s how it’s supposed to work. But I have my doubts. The problem is that what’s clearly established is not clearly established. Here’s Exhibit A. A federal court in Georgia has held that three school administrators might be personally liable for a violation of a student’s right of free expression. I’m sure you are well aware that students can express political opinions in school as long as there is no reasonable forecast of a material disruption of school. But what if the opinion expressed is not about international, national or state issues, but rather, about firing the current principal? The student, soon to be known as “the Plaintiff,” was a freshman. He printed 36 stickers that depicted a headshot of the school’s principal, Ms. Braaten, overlaid on a waving U.S. flag. The text read: FIRE BRAATEN. He distributed a few of these stickers to friends. His lawsuit alleged that he did not place the stickers on district property, but only placed one on his own phone case. The assistant principal thought this behavior was disrespectful and a violation of the Code of Conduct. At first he suspended the student for a week. One day later he reduced this to one day of in-school suspension, which the student served. If the AP thought this reduced sentence was going to avoid litigation, he was mistaken. The family sued the school, the superintendent, the principal and the AP. One lesson of this case: Punishment for the exercise of constitutional rights is illegal, regardless of how minimal the punishment is. The school sought dismissal of the three school administrators based on “qualified immunity.” Nope. Based on the allegations in the suit, the court held that there was no indication of a “material and substantial disruption” of
school. Nor were the stickers “lewd,” “vulgar,” “sexually suggestive” or otherwise “plainly offensive.” Thus, citing Tinker v. Des Moines and Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser, the court concluded that the Plaintiff had properly alleged facts that would amount to a violation of his First Amendment rights. But doesn’t this anti-principal sticker undermine her authority? Is it really ok for a ninth grader to do that? The court noted that there are cases where disrespect of administrators goes too far. For example, in Smith v. Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, 285 F.Supp.2d 987 (E.D. Mich. 2003) the student: …clearly attempted to undermine the moral authority of the principal and assistant principal by questioning [the principal’s] marital fidelity and [the A.P.’s] sexuality. Spreading such gossip, and calling the school principal a “skank” and a “tramp,” invited discipline, and would have rendered ineffective a school administrator who would not respond to such a display of disrespect. So the message to principals is: If a student calls you a “skank,” you can put the kid in ISS. If the student refrains from such personal insults and just publicly calls for your termination, you just have the serenity prayer to rely on. The judge considers the law on this to be “clearly established,” and so the three school administrators are on the hook for potential personal liability. Really? I bet if you took the same facts to 10 randomly selected federal judges at least four of them would rule otherwise, citing the “special circumstances of the school,” the young age of the student and the role of the school to nurture civility and respect for authority. If I’m right about that, then it’s not “clearly established.” The case has a long way to go, but so far, the Plaintiff ’s case is alive and well. The case is K.B. v. Dekalb County School District, decided by the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia on April 29, 2019. So be careful out there. Monday morning quarterbacking happens.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas
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 2019
Who’s News > Continued from page 11
East View High School has a new head football coach and campus coordinator. Jerod Fikac comes to Georgetown ISD from San Saba ISD, where he served in the same capacity. Prior to that, he coached in Wimberley and Weatherford ISDs.
Granbury ISD Newly-appointed transportation director Brian Caruthers has been an employee of the district since 2001. He previously served in a similar capacity for Millsap ISD and worked in Springtown ISD as a transportation shop supervisor. Now serving as chief of safety and security is Jeff Hastings, who was the district’s lead resource officer. He also served with the Granbury police department. Amy Parker has accepted
the position of director of support services. A graduate of Tarleton State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she has worked in the support services department for the past three years.
Groesbeck ISD Jerry Bomar, who coached in the district
A new superintendent is in place for Hedley ISD. Garrett Bains was a coach and history teacher in the district for seven years before being named district principal two years ago.
Henderson ISD Thurston Lamb, former Duncanville chief
of schools, has accepted the position of superintendent of Henderson ISD.
Hermleigh ISD Former Hermleigh Elementary principal Cassie Petty has been promoted to superintendent.
Highland Park ISD (Dallas) A new director of finance has been announced for Highland Park ISD. He is Chase Park, who most recently was a senior auditor for Dallas ISD. Prior to that, he was an auditor for the City of Dallas. He is a graduate of Emory University with a master’s degree in technology commercialization from the University of Texas.
Jacksonville ISD Ben Peacock has been promoted from assistant principal to principal of Jacksonville High School. He began his career in the district then worked as an educator in the Bronx, NY, before returning to Jacksonville in 2010. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in education from Pace University. He is at work on his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Texas.
Jim Ned CISD
almost three decades ago, has returned to serve as athletic director and head football coach. His 43 years of experience include 22 as athletic director, most recently in Beeville ISD.
Glen Teal, former superintendent of Abernathy ISD, now leads Jim Ned ISD as superintendent.
The former Wimberley ISD chief financial officer now holds that position in Hays CISD. Randall Rau previously worked in Madisonville CISD and Austin ISD and served as director of accounting for the State Bar of Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston at Victoria and is a CPA. Lehman High School’s new band director, Jose Valenzuela, has served in the position on an interim basis since January. Initially assistant band director for Sharyland ISD, he spent the past 20 years with Donna ISD as associate director of bands.
Hedley ISD Eric Alston has been appointed district
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
The district has appointed Leslie Haack deputy superintendent. Most recently, she was deputy superintendent of support services in Lamar CISD, where she also worked as executive director of secondary education and as principal of George Ranch High School.
Keller ISD Now serving as principal of North Riverside Elementary School is Allison Boyd, who joined the district in 2015 and was assistant principal of Caprock Elementary since 2016. She previously worked in Lamesa, Ector County and Abilene ISDs. A graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, she holds a master’s degree in educational
leadership from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
Tracy Johnson is the district’s new assistant superintendent of human resources, coming to Keller from Denton ISD, where she was executive director of human resources for the past three years. In addition, she has worked in Northwest and GrapevineColleyville ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas and is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Texas. Brenda Riebkes, new Bear Creek Intermediate School principal, was an assistant principal at the school from 2014 to 2017, at which she time took the same position at Indian Springs Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and her master’s degree in educational technology in leadership from Lamar University.
The new principal of Central High School is Elizabeth Russo, former principal of Hurst Junior High in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. She has also worked as an administrator in CarrolltonFarmers Branch ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.
Kennedale ISD Kennedale ISD has a new superintendent. Chad Gee, a 23-year educator, spent the past two years as superintendent of Yorktown ISD. He has also served in Comanche, Hillsboro, Northside, Mansfield, Decatur and HurstEuless-Bedford ISDs. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University. He is pursuing his doctorate in education leadership at Texas A&M University at Texarkana.
Killeen ISD A new principal has been appointed for Montague Village Elementary School. Natalie Cue began her career in the district in 2008 and was most recently assistant principal of Haynes Elementary. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Now leading Reeces Creek Elementary School is Sara Watson, who previously worked for the district as a teacher and principal. She most recently led Timmerman
Closing the homework gap by Anne Halsey and Greg Hubenak
ike never before in human history, advances in new technology make extraordinary learning opportunities available to our students. In San Marcos CISD, kindergarten students create interactive science journals on iPads, researching and recording the natural world around them, while fourth graders recreate scenes from Texas history via 3-D dioramas into which they insert themselves digitally. Middle school students create hilarious how-to videos for incoming sixth graders and our high school students design award-winning robots. Advances in communication software and mobile applications make it easy for our teachers to provide students real-time feedback on their assignments and for the district to keep parents updated on everything from missing homework and report cards to bus delays and inclement weather. In SMCISD, we are committed to ensuring student equity and to eliminating achievement gaps between student populations. When 74% of our students are economically disadvantaged, however, innovations in technology can sometimes widen rather than reduce those disparities. Fortunately, with forethought and creativity, districts can take steps to make certain that the implementation of new technology does not mean some students excel while other students fall further and further behind. As we focus on graduating students who are college, career and military ready, we know that what most often separates students who are successful in their post-secondary pursuits are the more subtle skills acquired through access to enrichment activities. By this we mean the extracurriculars — the lessons, the teams, the tutoring, the profes-
sional mentoring — that help students find and nurture their talents and passions and give them the vocabularies, modes of inquiry and cultural fluency necessary for success in the 21st century. We know, of course, that access to these extra, but critical, skills is often limited by a student’s economic status. We know, too, that teachers can go above and beyond in instructing students in grammar, geometry and geography and well prepare them to pass a standardized test. But if those same students don’t also get the benefits, i.e. the exposure and confidence, that come with growing up in an environment that expects and equips them to go onto more schooling after high school, they will seldom compete at the same level as their more economically privileged peers. For instance, one national nonprofit program that helps economically disadvantaged secondary students become college ready estimates that a family must make more than $95,000 a year to raise a child who is eligible for admission at an Ivy League college. When nearly 60% of our 5.4 million schoolchildren in Texas are identified as economically disadvantaged, that’s a big, Texas-sized gap for public schools to bridge. Using educational technology to provide students with access to ideas, places and people that they would not otherwise get, gives schools a unique chance to close that gap. In other words, when used thoughtfully and intentionally, technology can help level the playing field for kids by providing opportunities for enrichment, such as accelerated learning, private tutoring and virtual travel, that are often cost-prohibitive for many
students and their families, but which are so critical to post-secondary success. Thanks to modern classroom technology, teachers in SMCISD now take our students, many of whom have never left the state, on virtual field trips to dairy farms in the Midwest and to the great capitals of Europe, as well as on virtual campus tours of colleges and universities across the country.
Using educational technology to provide students with access to ideas, places and people that they would not otherwise get, gives schools a unique chance to close that gap. This year in SMCISD, we have also embarked on an innovative new initiative to reduce the “Homework Gap,” the way in which the digital divide between affluent and economically disadvantaged students can actually increase when a district introduces a one-to-one computing program due to a lack of residential high-speed internet access. From multiple surveys taken across our district, we estimate that at least one in nine of our secondary students does not have high-speed internet access at home. Con> See Digital Frontier, page 32
ANNE HALSEY is a freelance writer and education consultant and the mother of three Texas public schoolchildren. She serves as a trustee on the San Marcos CISD school board and as communications coordinator for the Texas K-12 CTO Council. GREG HUBENAK, CETL, is the executive director of technology for San Marcos CISD and a member of the Texas K-12 CTO Council.
> See Who’s News, page 17 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
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Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Who’s News > Continued from page 14
Elementary in Pflugerville ISD. Her master’s degree in educational administration was awarded from Tarleton State University.
Lamar CISD Long Elementary School’s new principal, Risa Crosby, was most recently the school’s assistant principal. The Texas A&M University graduate has spent her 14-year career with Lamar CISD. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Bethany Cunningham,
former assistant principal of Lindsey Elementary School, is now principal of Huggins Elementary. She received her bachelor’s degree from Houston Baptist University and her master’s degree from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Keschia Jones, the newly-
appointed principal of Smith Elementary, has been an educator for 23 years, working in Houston ISD and as a bilingual/ESL specialist in Alief ISD. Most recently an assistant principal at Terry High School, she is a graduate of the University of Houston with a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Now serving as principal of Bentley Elementary School is Jill Nehls, who was principal of Long Elementary and also worked as an assistant principal at Frost and Smith elementaries. She has a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree from the University of Saint Thomas.
Lewisville ISD Vanessa Asbun comes to her
new position of principal of Lakeland Elementary School from Creekside Elementary, where she was assistant principal since 2015. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in cognitive psychology from Bolivian Catholic University. Former Southridge Elementary School assistant principal Rebecca Chirinos now leads Peters Colony Elementary as principal. A teacher for seven years before becoming an administrator,
she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. Jason Cooper has accepted the position of career and technical education director, coming to Lewisville ISD from ESC Region 10, where he was an educational consultant since 2017. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in sports management from Dallas Baptist University.
Former Lakeview Middle School assistant principal Beri Deister has been promoted to serve as the school’s principal. An educator for 20 years, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University, where she is at work on her doctorate. Patrick Guy has accepted the role of principal of Rockbrook Elementary School. A former administrator in Arlington and Birdville ISDs, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and his master’s degree in education from Texas Christian University.
Now serving as principal of Jackson Early Childhood Center is Virginia Gwyn, former principal of Little Elm ISD’s Brant Elementary School. An administrator for four of her 12 years as an educator, she has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. Curtis Martin, principal of
Hicks Elementary School since 2011, now leads Downing Middle School. He previously worked as assistant principal of Killian Middle and Creek Valley middle schools. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, he earned a master’s degree in geography from Texas A&M University and a second master’s, in educational administration, from the University of North Texas. Chad Russell, newly appointed
principal of Flower Mound High School, returns to the school where he served as assistant principal for 10 years. Most recently, he led Lamar Middle School. The 25-year veteran educator earned his bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University and his master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Lewisville High School Killough now has Kyndra Tyler as principal of the school where she formerly served as assistant principal. An educator for 15 years, she received her bachelor’s
degree from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. She is at work on her doctorate from Baylor University. The new principal of Flower Mound Elementary School is Christine Van Scoyoc, who was assistant principal of the STEM Academy at Donald Elementary since 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Dallas Baptist University.
Lindale ISD Jeremy Chilek has accepted the position of principal of Lindale High School. He began his career in the district in 2002 and has served as principal of Lindale Junior High for the past five years. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees were earned from the University of Texas at Tyler.
The new principal of Penny Elementary School is Kaela Deslatte, who most recently led the Lindale Early Childhood Center. An employee of the district for 10 years, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Tyler.
Little Elm ISD Strike Middle School’s new principal, Kelly Hastings, spent the past seven years as a junior high principal in Arlington ISD, where she also worked as an assistant principal. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington and is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at Walden University. Kori Werth, now leading Oak Point Elementary School as principal, has been an educator for 18 years, the past four as an elementary school principal in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and received her master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas.
Lubbock ISD Cicely Alexander has been named executive
principal of four LISD schools administered by the Lubbock Partnership Network, Dunbar College Preparatory Academy and > See Who’s News, page 18 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Who’s News > Continued from page 17
Alderson, Ervin and Hodges elementary schools. She has been with the district since 1996, serving as a principal since 2014. Julia Stephen is the new principal of
Coronado High School, coming to her new school from Irons Middle School, where she was an assistant principal. She came to Lubbock ISD in 2018 from Kennedale ISD, where she was an associate and assistant principal.
McKinney ISD McClure Elementary School will begin the 2019-20 academic year with Matt Arend as principal. An educator for 20 years, he comes to McKinney from Plano ISD, where he led Sigler Elementary for the past eight years. He is a graduate of Nebraska’s Peru State College and holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. Michelle McHugh, former
instructional coach at Wilmeth Elementary School, is now an assistant principal at Walker Elementary. She began her career in Kentucky, worked subsequently in Lewisville ISD, and joined McKinney ISD in 2017. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from the University of Kentucky and her master’s degree in reading education from Texas Woman’s University. Newly appointed senior director of administrative services Michael Winters has 21 years of experience as an educator in Mississippi, most recently serving as an associate superintendent in the Vicksburg Warren School District. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Jackson State University.
Malakoff ISD Don Layton, who previously led Martin’s Mill
ISD, is now superintendent of Malakoff ISD.
Mesquite ISD Now leading Lawrence Elementary School is RoShanda Jenkins, who spent the past seven years as an assistant principal at Galloway Elementary. She began her career in Georgia’s Marietta City School District. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, she completed her master’s degree at Central Michigan University and is a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
McKenzie Elementary School will open the new academic year with Suzanne Langston at the helm as principal. She has spent her 10 years as an educator with MISD, the past five as assistant principal at McKenzie. She received her bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Melissa Smith has been promoted from
assistant principal to principal of Vanston Middle School. The Baylor University graduate joined the district in 2007. She earned her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. The new assistant principal of Floyd Elementary School is Malori Wooten, an employee of MISD for six years. She began as a middle school science teacher and has served as an instructional coach for the past year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
Midway ISD (Waco) The new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Aaron Pena, has been with the district since 2011 as a principal of Woodway Elementary and Woodgate Intermediate schools. An educator for 20 years, he received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and his master’s degree in education management from the University of Houston Clear Lake. His doctorate was conferred by the University of Texas.
New Boston ISD Former Malta ISD superintendent Brian Bobbitt now holds the top position in New Boston ISD.
Northwest ISD Now serving as executive director of elementary education is Kim Becan, who has been with the district since 2007, most recently as principal of Cox Elementary School. Cox Elementary School will begin the new academic year with Chrisa Oakley as principal. Most recently the assistant principal of Justin Elementary, she came to Northwest ISD in 2008. She received her bachelor’s degree from Lubbock Christian University and her master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University. The district’s newly appointed executive director of construction is Thomas Osborne, an architect and construction professional
with more than 25 years of experience. A graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in architecture, he has worked in both the private sector and as a manager of school district projects. Erika Oster has been promoted from assistant principal to principal of Lakeview Elementary School. The 21-year educator holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. Kasey Rogers, newly
appointed principal of Schluter Elementary School, was the school’s assistant principal since 2016. Prior to that, she was an elementary math coach and teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. The new principal of Steele Accelerated High School is Todd Rogers. Previously an associate principal at Nelson and Northwest high schools and principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School and Peterson Elementary, he received his master’s degree in education leadership and administration from the University of North Texas. Jonathan Pastusek has
accepted the position of executive director of financial services. He joins the district from Bowie ISD, where was chief financial officer since 2014. He is a graduate of Midwestern State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business administration.
Onalaska ISD Former Onalaska Junior-Senior High principal Anthony Roberts now serves as superintendent.
Pflugerville ISD Now beginning her 25th year as an educator in Pflugerville ISD, Tana Ruckel has been named principal of Northwest Elementary School. Previously a teacher and assistant principal, she has led Highland Park Elementary School for the past seven years.
> See Who’s News, page 33
The final gun by Bobby Hawthorne
his is my 50th and final column for this magazine. I’m tidying up, as they say, to clear cranial, karmic and closet space for projects that have “now or never” written all over them. Traditionally, these victory-lap pieces are trite, maudlin and self-congratulatory, and who am I to buck tradition, so let’s begin with a favorite opening line: “Linda Burgess laughed when her 12-year-old son told her he planned to play seventh grade football.” She laughed because he had not once, ever, picked up a football. He is now a sophomore defensive tackle at Grinnell College in Iowa. He’s also a great kid, which is why I mention him. I have tried not to glorify athletics generally and athletes specifically, and I bristle when I hear old coaches-turned-color analysts insist that athletics alone teaches character, discipline, leadership, fair play and all that. If this were true, I would not have written about popular, likeable boys doing insidious things to not-so-popular, not-so-likeable, powerless girls. I would not have written about football officials being intentionally speared, or sports academies masquerading as schools, or coaches who can’t keep their hands to themselves. As for fair play, if this were true, I would not have written about the one in 100 chance a female has in being hired as the athletic director. My editors might have been skittish with these topics and my snarky tone, but they allowed me to write what I wanted to write in the voice I wanted to write it. For the record, I devoted far more column inches to admiration than criticism. The kids aren’t in it for the glory. They’re in it for their friends and because it’s fun. And the coaches are in it for the kids, not to relive some delusional past glory. Most of the coaches I wrote about are like Lynn Cook.
I interviewed him shortly after Muenster High School had won its second straight state basketball championship. I asked him, “Did you cry afterwards?” “I thought I would,” he said. “But when it was over, I was just so happy for those kids. All their hard work, just knowing what they put into it, what it meant to them — that overrode any chance of me tearing up.” After that interview, I hopped in my car and got a little misty-eyed because my mother was a 1944 MHS graduate, and though she hadn’t stepped in that school in 70 years, she was thrilled to hear her Hornets had won. Sports is about family, and that’s not just a corporate gimmick. It’s true. So, I tried to tell stories that revealed this truth. I wrote how Ronald taught me not to judge him just because he sat in the back during my lecture, didn’t contribute and didn’t know the difference between “tense” and “tennis.” I judged him because he is black and wore a football letter jacket, and I was wrong. John Lennon told me “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” Ronald taught me that. Long story short, I still have skin in the game. I have six grandchildren, and I suspect three will dabble, and three will double down, and I want all of them to walk away feeling their time, sweat, bruises, bursting lungs, broken hearts and parents’ bucks were worth it. So, that’s it. When I joined the UIL in 1977, League membership was open to all Texas public schools below collegiate rank with two exceptions: “schools for defectives and correctives.” That was long ago, and things have changed, mostly for the better. I don’t keep up with the UIL much these days, but I noted while skimming the recent State Track and Field Meet results that the League now has a “Wheelchair Division.” Awesome. If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t stick around long enough to write about that.
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 2019
High school seniors spend a day knee-deep in real-world lessons By Dacia Rivers
ou hear a lot of folks grumbling about what kids these days don’t know. And while some menial skills have become obsolete, say dialing a rotary telephone, or using a pencil to respool a worn-out cassette, others are still as handy as they ever were. High school seniors straddle the crossroads of childhood and adulthood. Their teachers and administrators work to provide them the education they need to excel in their post-graduation pursuits, whatever they may be. But one high school in Temple ISD took those lessons a step further this year, introducing a one-day class designed to teach seniors other basic skills that everyone needs to prepare for adulthood. Heidi Belson, an assistant principal at Temple High School, a 6A school in Bell County, has always been looking for something worthwhile for her seniors to do on the days her freshman and junior students are taking the STAAR test. Since 2002, she has designed different activities for the soonto-be graduates to occupy their time during testing. Last year, after reading several social media posts complaining that younger generations aren’t equipped with the same hands-on skills taught to those who grew up in less technologically advanced times, Belson came up with the idea for Adulting 101.
A vice president from a local bank held a course on budgeting and personal banking. He taught valuable lessons about opening a bank account, maintaining a personal budget and things to avoid, such as high-interest payday loans. Seniors also received a lesson called Please Don’t Panic, presented by the school resource officer. He instructed students on the best way to react in crisis situations with the police to ensure that they get out of the situation in the best way possible. One of the school’s assistant principals has a side business helping people who work in education write their resumes, so she held a course to share her helpful tips with the soon-to-be graduates. A psychiatrist from a local hospital came to the campus to host a course on healthy relationships for the students, focusing on how relationships can change after high school. The students also received a hands-on lesson from the school’s automotive CTE teachers, where they focused on quick fixes, such as changing a flat tire, checking your car’s oil and replacing fuses.
This spring, seniors at Temple High took the Adulting 101 class for the first time. A creative use for a rare spot of unscheduled time, administrators and teachers selected several topics for the class in areas where they saw the most need for students who are about to live on their own for the first time.
Teachers from the school’s construction and welding programs hosted a session on simple household repairs to give the seniors a leg up on fixing things around their own homes.
Squad goals This year, Adulting 101 was a four-hour long class, split into 20-minute rotations. The some-400 seniors at Temple High split into groups of about 26 students, then rotated through nine different mini-courses, with break and snack times built in. Each course was lead by an expert in a particular field and focused on one aspect of being an adult. Temple High has an Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
A CTE from the school’s Certified Nurse Assistant program taught a basic first aid course, where students learned how to perform CPR and how to stop bleeding in case of an emergency. They also learned about various household poisons and how to build a well-equipped first aid kit to keep at home.
“It’s really a time-filler, but hopefully in a meaningful way,” Belson says. “We wanted to use the chunk of time to teach seniors a skill set that maybe they don’t already have access to.”
“We wanted them to be equipped in a different way to graduate, since they’ll be coming across situations and won’t necessarily have teachers or parents to immediately run to,” Belson says. “We wanted them to feel empowered to do some things on their own.”
extensive CTE program, and administrators called on several CTE teachers to lead courses in their areas of expertise.
“That one was fun because I didn’t know exactly what they were going to do,” Belson says. “And they talked about doorknobs and window seals … things that I would never have even thought of.” Two of the school’s culinary teachers taught the students to prepare quick meals in one course. They focused on healthy meals that could be made in the microwave and even made and handed out little cookbooks to the students. For the final session, a local financial expert came and spoke to the students about how to start saving for retirement – something most graduating seniors probably don’t have on their radars.
> See Adulting, page 22 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
> Continued from page 21
Spilling the tea
Following the day of adulting, Belson sent surveys to everyone involved to solicit feedback on how the program was received. The results from the students were indicative of just how needed and appreciated a program like this can be.
Belson has already received emails from administrators in other Texas school districts who want her advice on instituting similar programs in their schools. She’s happy to offer her tips, and thinks an Adulting 101 class, or something similar to it, can have far-reaching benefits for all of Texas’ high school graduates.
“The students gave overwhelmingly positive feedback,” Belson says. “They especially liked the courses that were hands-on, and they liked the one on building healthy relationships because he had a lot of discussions with them and let them contribute.” With this stellar feedback in hand, Belson began working to prepare next year’s Adulting 101 class. She hopes to make each class a little longer, as fitting a wealth of information into 20 short minutes was a challenge for many presenters, and clearly the seniors are gung ho for more. Belson created the class without much of a budget, and says she spent around $100, just to provide snacks for the students and cover the cost of some printing. She hopes to increase the budget next year so students could possibly receive mini first aid kits or other tools. She also hopes to get more sponsors on board next year. This year, reaching out to community members paid off, as she was able to bring in experts from local banks and other businesses, while Army recruiters brought in free bags to hand out to students. Next year, she hopes to involve more sponsors in the event to make the program even more robust and send the students home with more tangible items.
Her first piece of advice is to take stock of the experts you have on your campus and in your community. “The most important thing is to know that there are community members who have skill sets that they want to share,” she says. “I started early, asked around and used some connections I had in the community to recruit folks to come in.” When looking for speakers, Belson also recommends looking within your own staff. “Most of our Texas schools have career and technology teachers,” she says. “Look for the skill sets you have right there on your own campus, and use them.” She also recommends providing enough space to host the classes away from students who are busy with testing or other school work. At Temple High, the courses were held in the school’s new career center, allowing seniors to move around without disrupting the students who were taking the STAAR. “This is my 21st year in education, and I’ve dealt with seniors for a long time,” Belson says. “I have always had kids, no matter
“The most important thing is to know that there are community members who have skill sets that they want to share.”
TAGT’S ANNUAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE HELD IN GEORGETOWN Georgetown hosted the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented’s annual Leadership Conference. The two-day event drew nearly 300 attendees for a summit focusing on the challenges of identifying and assessing gifted learners from all backgrounds.
—Heidi Belson, Temple ISD
what we do, who get disgruntled about whatever it is. But I did not see a single kid not enjoying themselves. They could see it was a benefit to them, and it was fun for them.”
▲ Attendees catch up before the conference at Badges & Bites.
Based on that response alone, it’s safe to say the idea was a successful one. Belson took an existing period of downtime and used it to make Temple ISD graduates more independent, capable and ready for real-world success. Perhaps best of all, she created a straight-forward template so that other schools in Texas can follow her lead and provide the same lessons for their students, buoyed by the support of their individual communities.
▲ Members of the 2018-19 Emerging Leaders Program and their mentors were honored at the conference.
DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.
▲ Attendees took time to explore their identification and assessment needs at the Identification & Assessment Summit.
▲ TAGT President-Elect Debbie Smith smiles during the conference.
▲ Josh Koontz, automotive technology teacher in Temple ISD, teaches high school seniors basic car care during an Adulting 101 class.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
▲ GameChanger Emily Mofield from
Lipscomb University shared the importance of social emotional learning.
▲ University of Texas at Austin professor
John Daly helped attendees learn how to communicate and advocate for their ideas.
▲ Attendees enjoyed Q&A time with MasterMind John Daly.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Texas Computer Education Association apps, e-learning materials, events and career services, and their impact, as well as TCEA’s footprint in Texas, is likely to expand substantially under Horton’s watch.
London ISD’s Holli Horton leads TCEA onward and upward by James Golsan
“Our membership went from 13,000 to near 28,000 and is still growing since the start of our free membership drive back at the beginning of May,” Horton says. “We want to see those new members connect to our resources either through our blog, our community, or the webinars we house. We want to make sure those new members have access to the materials they need and a voice in our organization and community.” It’s a big community with a wide reach in Texas education. While TCEA’s name might imply that they serve primarily computer science educators, Horton says that isn’t so. “We serve pre-K through 16 subjects for pre-K through 16 education,” she says. “We support technology integration across the board.”
Having now worked with TCEA for more than 11 years, Horton says she’s enjoyed watching the organization’s growth over the long haul, not just the recent surge in membership. She highlights their evolution from a small, one-convention organization that focused on working with and awarding individuals who brought technological innovation to the classroom to one that supports year-round events and recognizes technology achievements at the campus and district level as well. She hopes to see such expansion continue during her presidency through TCEA’s EmpowerED initiative. According to TCEA’s website, EmpowerED will “provide districts and campuses with a low cost, multi-year program that will, among other things, provide an organizationbacked professional development strategy to ensure administrator, educator and student success upon program completion, work with leadership, including the CTO/ technology director, to determine how
best to implement a yearlong, step-by-step program based on the assessment, and reassesses a school district’s status regarding technology use/implementation and student learning after each completed year,” among other support and professional development tools related to classroom technology. It only takes a few minutes of conversation with Horton to recognize how passionate she is about the career she’s chosen. TCEA can expect a leader who believes strongly in its organizational mission during her presidency, a Horton has proven herself to be an experienced education leader more than capable of guiding the organization to new heights as learning technologies continue to proliferate across the state. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.
Let’s learn together.
ew Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) President Holli Horton always knew she wanted to be a classroom teacher, but life — to say nothing of her talent for math and science — tried to push her career in a different direction more than once. “Where I went to school [first at Mississippi State University and then at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi], the coursework for becoming a chemical engineer was the same as the coursework for becoming a math teacher, and the college pushed me toward chemical engineering,” the Mississippi native says. It was when she met her husband during her junior year of college that Horton opted to pursue her passion and move back onto the path toward becoming an educator. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree in science and mathematics, she accepted a job teaching high school in Calallen ISD, and within a few short years was working in the district office, tasked with integrating technology into the classroom for all K-12 teachers in the district. Teaching teachers was something Horton proved to have
a knack for, and after a few years working at the district level, she accepted a job teaching teachers math and science at the Region 2 ESC. A teaching job though it was, Horton couldn’t quite find the same satisfaction in it that she had teaching high school students. “I told my husband what I really wanted to do was get back in the classroom, so four years ago I got back to teaching high school, right around the time my daughter was starting high school,” Horton says. “It was around that time that I took the turn into physics, computer science and robotics and putting those things back into the classroom. That’s where my passion lies now.” Though her return to the classroom — this time at London ISD — was relatively recent, Horton has been involved with TCEA since she was teaching teachers back at Region 2. It was during that time she attended her first TCEA convention, and within two years was serving on the organization’s board. Now that she’s president, Horton is focused on connecting TCEA’s library of resources to educators eager to enhance their knowledge and use of technology in the classroom. Those resources include a wide variety of education
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development While her first three years in Aldine were spent in an ESL classroom, a district restructure landed Ptomey in a sixth grade math teaching position, which she describes as “her love.” Still, she wanted to make a broader impact, and after three more successful years in the classroom, applied for and got a position at Aldine ISD’s central office as program director for districtwide intermediate mathematics, where she oversaw all the curriculum, assessments and professional development for intermediate mathematics teachers in the district.
Dr. Sara Ptomey works to make math phobia a thing of the past by James Golsan
“We learned a lot together and were incredibly successful,” Ptomey says. She was so successful, in fact, that she was recruited to work on national curriculum and instruction issues by Project GRAD USA. It was a prestigious position, and Ptomey accepted, but after 14 months decided the nonprofit sector was not for her and “begged” her old boss at Aldine ISD to let her “come home.” The superintendent welcomed her with open arms, if with a small catch — now she would be Aldine’s program director for high school mathematics. It wouldn’t be
“The Whole Child Initiative is based on the idea that to be educated successfully, a child must be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.” long before she was elevated to executive director of curriculum and instruction and would in 2015 become Aldine ISD’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, a position she still holds today.
opportunities offered by Texas ASCD. She also identifies improving the organization’s outreach and capacity to support education professionals among many goals during her time in leadership for the organization.
Ptomey’s leadership role in a large district such as Aldine made her a natural fit for leadership at Texas ASCD, an organization she has been involved with since 2006 and one whose work she believes in strongly.
Even as her role in curriculum supervision and development has expanded to a statewide level, math education is still Ptomey’s passion. In addition to her responsibilities at Aldine ISD and with Texas ASCD, she’ll be on Texas A&M’s staff this fall as an adjunct professor, teaching integrated mathematics to pre-service teachers. It’s just one more level on which she can impact Texas education, and you can bet there will be a few less math-phobic folks out there for her efforts.
“We focus on making sure all kids get the instruction they need,” she says, and hopes to spend her time in leadership building on Texas ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative. “The Whole Child Initiative is based on the idea that to be educated successfully, a child must be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged,” Ptomey says, and hopes to integrate this model and philosophy into the array of professional development
JAMES GOLSAN is a a writer and education professional based in Austin.
Help Texas School Business brag on your schools!
r. Sara Ptomey, new president of the Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Texas ASCD), has a mission in life, one she says they can print on her headstone when her time comes: “She helped eradicate math phobia.” A near 30-year veteran of curriculum administration, Ptomey has more than done her part to achieve that goal, and will have an opportunity to share both her passion and experience with a much broader audience as she moves into a statewide leadership position at Texas ASCD.
things,” Ptomey says. “And I thought ‘this is ridiculous, I’m going to go teach.’”
While Ptomey says she always knew deep down that teaching was her calling, she did not begin her career in education until age 30. The native of Southeast Texas attended Drexel University as a business major, and spent the years immediately following her graduation working in retail. It was during those years, she says, that she came to appreciate the importance of education — mathematics in particular — and decided to become a teacher.
“I learned a lot [that year],” she says. “I’m not sure how much the kids learned, but I learned a whole lot.”
“There were people working in retail with me who couldn’t count change, couldn’t figure out the store balance, couldn’t do all sorts of
That decision began a long and illustrious career teaching and eventually leading teachers in the greater Houston area. She simultaneously pursued alternative teacher certification and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (“I figured if they’re going to trust me with kids, I should at least know what I’m doing,” she jokes), and her first teaching position was with Houston ISD, teaching second grade.
While her first year in the classroom may have been something of a trial by fire, Ptomey says it hammered home that teaching really was the right career for her. She was with Houston ISD for three years but was eager to put her background in English as a second language (ESL), her master’s degree minor, to work in the classroom and began actively searching for a district with open ESL positions. The one she landed at, Aldine ISD, is where she has worked ever since.
Does your school or district have a program that's wildly successful? Tell us about it! Submit your nomination today for possible inclusion in the 13th Annual Bragging Rights special issue, which honors 12 deserving school districts and their innovative programs. To apply, visit texasschoolbusiness.com and fill out the Bragging Rights online nomination form. The nomination deadline is 5 p.m., Sept. 6, 2019. Winners will be announced with the debut of the special issue, out on Dec. 1, 2019. Nominated programs must have been in operation for at least one semester. There is no limit on nominations submitted per school or district. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Education service center programs & practices
Lancaster ISD prepares students to be global leaders by implementing Mandarin Chinese in Elementary Exploration Academy by James Rich
▲ So-Po Cheng uses karaoke-style singing exercises to teach Mandarin Chinese to students in Lancaster ISD.
oday it’s not uncommon for students to learn using technology and even music in the classroom. But in Mr. So-Po Cheng’s class in the Lancaster ISD Exploration Academy, not only are the students using technology and singing songs, but they are performing Mandarin Chinese songs using karaoke.
“These students are naturally talented and have a very open mind,” Cheng says. “I appreciate having these students in my class because they bring such a desire for learning to the classroom.” In an effort to make the process easier for the students Cheng uses karaoke-style music to assist students with the language. Students say this really helps them as they learn to speak Mandarin Chinese. “When students sing they get the songs stuck in their head,” Cheng says. “They will then come back every day after that telling me they sang the song to their parents and the lyrics are still in their head.”
▲ Administrators in Lancaster ISD hope So-Po Cheng's Mandarin Chinese classes will
Students also have the ability to review the pronunciation of Chinese words using an app on the iPad called Hello Chinese.
Belt Line Elementary fifth grader Armani Eaton says she would love to go to China some day. Her plan is to become a scientist and hopes learning Mandarin Chinese here in Lancaster ISD will help her in the future.
“I really enjoy using the iPads,” Houston Elementary fourth grader Erik Wegscheider says. “Hello Chinese on the iPad is very interactive, and we are able to learn how to say the words better when we hear them.”
better prepare students for global success.
“Many people dream of learning Chinese and not everyone gets the opportunity to learn this language,” Eaton says. “I love
“We want to prepare our students to be global leaders in society.” —Lancaster ISD Superintendent Elijah Granger
being able to learn this language because If I go to China for work after I graduate I will be able to speak to the people there.” Granger says one of the goals in Lancaster ISD is for students to be trilingual when they leave high school and make an impact beyond the city of Lancaster. “We want our students to be competitive not only in life but in the global marketplace as well,” Granger says. “We want our students to be able to leave Lancaster ISD and do whatever they want to do in life.”
Mandarin Chinese was implemented as part of the Lancaster ISD Gifted and Talented Exploration Academy’s curriculum as a way to provide another language opportunity for students in the district. “We want to prepare our students to be global leaders in society,” Lancaster ISD Superintendent Elijah Granger says. “It is our goal for our students to be exposed to various languages throughout their time here in Lancaster ISD.”
Cheng says students are learning the language very well. He says working with these students is why he loves coming to school every day.
JAMES RICH is director of communications in Lancaster ISD.
◄ So-Po Cheng helps a student learn to read Mandarin Chinese.
▲ Students in Lancaster ISD learn Mandarin Chinese as part of the Gifted and Talented Exploration Academy.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
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. SEPTE M BE R September 4-5 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 2 of 4) Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: All four sessions: TASA members, $795; nonmembers, $895. Any one session: Members and nonmembers, $275. September 8-10 TACS Annual Conference Location TBA, San Antonio For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org September 10 ED311 Back to School Workshop ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. TASPA Certification Fundamentals Workshop Alief ISD, Alief For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. TRTA District 12 Fall Conference ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org September 10-11 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 1 of 4) Hammerlun Center, Georgetown. For more info. (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,995 per person. September 12 ED311 Back to School Workshop ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
TRTA District 13 Fall Conference First Baptist Church, San Marcos For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org September 12-13 Texas ASCD Academy: Curriculum Leadership (session 3 of 3) Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org September 13 ED311 Back to School Workshop ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. September 16 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Dallas Cohort (session 1 of 6) Allen High School, Allen. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy September 17 ED311 Back to School Workshop ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. September 17-18 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 2 of 3) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Cypress For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org September 17-19 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds – Exclusive for Lamar CISD Lamar CISD, Rosenberg For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
September 19 TASPA Workshop: HR 311 for Administrators Alief ISD, Alief For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. September 19 Texas District Leaders Budget Cohort Workshop (session 1 of 4) Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas. For more info. http://bit.ly/budget-cohort Cost: $3,000 per 3-person team; $750 per person (up to 2 additional team members) for 8-session cohort September 19-20 Texas ASCD Leadership Academy – Exclusive for Frisco ISD (session 4 of 4) Frisco ISD, Frisco For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org September 19-21 TASPA Workshop: Human Capital Leaders in Education Alief ISD, Alief For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. September 20-22 TASA/TASB Convention Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Pre-registration (through Sept. 6): Members, $375; nonmembers, $475. On-site registration (after Sept. 6): Members, $475; nonmembers, $575. September 21 TGCA CenTex Sports Clinic Akins High School, Austin For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com Cost: $80. September 23 ED311 Back to School Workshop Civic Center, Richardson For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165.
September 23-24 TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $490; nonmembers, $540. TASBO Academy: PEIMS Boot Camp Marriott Town Square, Sugar Land For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $215; nonmembers, $265. September 24 Forward Texas Workshop: Cultivating Leadership Keller ISD, Keller For more info, (512) 266-3086 www.learningforwardtexas.org TRTA District 14 Fall Conference ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Houston Cohort (session 1 of 6) Berry Center, Cypress. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Corpus Christi/Victoria Cohort (session 1 of 6) VISD Conference Center, Victoria. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy Learning September 24-25 Texas ASCD Transformational Principal Leadership Academy (session 2 of 3) Round Rock ISD, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org September 24-26 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds – Exclusive for Lamar CISD Lamar CISD, Rosenberg For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
September 25 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy - Austin/San Antonio Cohort (session 1 of 6) Hammerlun Center, Georgetown. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals Wylie ISD, Wylie For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. September 26-29 TETA Theatrefest Hyatt Reunion Plaza, Dallas No phone number provided. www.tetatx.com September 27 ED311 Back to School Workshop ESC Region 2, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. TRTA District 18 Fall Conference ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org September 30 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Lubbock Cohort (session 1 of 6) Casey Admin Bldg, Wolfforth. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy
OCTOBER October 1 ED311 Back to School Workshop Brazos County Expo Center, Bryan For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. TRTA District 7 Fall Conference First Baptist Church, Nacogdoches For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 11 Fall Conference ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 2 TRTA District 9 Fall Conference ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
October 3 ED311 Back to School Workshop Friendswood ISD Annex, Friendswood For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. TRTA District 5 Fall Conference St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Beaumont For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 17 Fall Conference ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 6-8 TEPSA Assistant Principals Conference Omni Southpark, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Early registration (by September 4): Members, $249; nonmembers, $309. Regular registration (after September 4): Members, $299; nonmembers, $359. October 7-8 TASPA Fall Support Staff Conference Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Early registration (through Sept. 6): Members, $175; nonmembers, $200; retired, $95. Regular registration (Sept. 7-23): Members, $195; nonmembers, $220; retired, $115. Late registration (Sept. 24-Oct. 7): Members, $210; nonmembers, $235; retired, $130. October 8-9 TASBO/TCASE Synergy 2019 Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: $295. TRTA District 19 Fall Conference Wyndham Airport, El Paso For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 9 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Lubbock Cohort (session 2 of 6) Casey Admin Bldg, Wolfforth. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy
TRTA District 6 Fall Conference ESC Region 6, Huntsville For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 10 ED311 Back to School Workshop Convention Center, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $165. TRTA District 15 Fall Conference First United Methodist Church, Brady For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 10-11 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXIX (session 1 of 3) Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 11 TCWSE East Texas Conference University of Texas, Tyler For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org Cost: $30. October 14-15 TASSP Leadership Academy Hilton Palacio del Rio, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: $246. October 15 Level 1 Curriculum Management Audit Training TASA Headquarters, Austin. For more info. (512) 477-6361. www. tasanet.org Cost: $750 (TASA members); $850 (non-members). TRTA District 4 Fall Conference Memorial Church of Christ, Houston For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 16 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy - Austin/San Antonio Cohort (session 2 of 6) Hammerlun Center, Georgetown. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy
TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Corpus Christi/Victoria Cohort (session 2 of 6) VISD Conference Center, Victoria. For more info. www. n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy TRTA District 3 Fall Conference Bible Baptist Church, Beeville For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 17 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Dallas Cohort (session 2 of 6) Allen High School, Allen. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy TASPA Certification Fundamentals Workshop Red Oak ISD, Red Oak For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. TRTA District 8 Fall Conference ESC Region 8, Pittsburg For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 16 Fall Conference ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 18 TRTA District 1 Fall Conference Knapp Medical Center Conference Room, Weslaco For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 22 Level 2 Curriculum Management Audit Training TASA Headquarters, Austin. For more info. (512) 477-6361. www. tasanet.org Cost: $750 (TASA members); $850 (non-members). TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Houston Cohort (session 2 of 6) Berry Center, Cypress. For more info. www.n2learning.org Cost: $1,000 per person for 6-session academy TASBO Operations and Facility Masters Conference Embassy Suites, Denton For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $225; nonmembers, $275; associate members, $400; associate nonmembers, $550.
> See Calendar, page 32 Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
> Continued from page 31 October 24 TRTA District 20 Fall Conference St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Boerne For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 24-25 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TASPA-ESC Region 1 Mini HR Conference The Pearl Resort, South Padre Island For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org October 27-28 TASSP/LYS Fundamental 5 National Summit Airport Hilton, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Texas ASCD Transformational Principal Leadership Academy – Cypress-Fairbanks ISD (session 3 of 3) Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
Texas ASCD Transformational Principal Leadership Academy – Round Rock ISD (session 3 of 3) Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
October 27-29 ASCD Annual Conference Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
November 2-5 Texas Assessment Conference Austin Convention Center, Austin. For more info. (512) 4776361. www.txassessmentcon. org. Cost: $175 (early-bird: Aug. 1-Sept. 13).
October 28 TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Marriott Town Square, Sugar Land For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345. TRTA District 10 Fall Conference Dallas Baptist University, Dallas For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 30 TRTA District 2 Fall Conference Holiday Inn Airport, Corpus Christi For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
November 1 TASB Legal Seminar TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
November 3-4 TEPSA Grow Leadership Conference Hilton Hotel, Rockwall For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Early registration (by October 4): $359. Regular registration (after October 4): $409. November 4 TASBO Academy: Payroll Boot Camp Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $215; nonmembers, $265.
November 4-5 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 2 of 4) Hammerlun Center, Georgetown. For more info. (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,995 per person.
After a thorough assessment process, the district opted to apply for and was accepted into T-Mobile’s EmpowerED program, part of the corporation’s efforts to give students the digital literacy and skills needed to compete in today’s economy. In San Marcos, any student who receives a one-to-one device is eligible for the free home Wi-Fi program if they qualify for a state benefits program or upon recommendation from a teacher or principal. With the EmpowerED partnership, for every two-year home Wi-Fi contract the district purchases for a student, T-Mobile contributes
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
$200 to offset the cost of equipment. Thanks to T-Mobile, the district received an additional $50,000 toward our initiative to bridge the digital divide, and we were able to give every secondary student a personal laptop and provide high-speed home internet access for more than 325 students. As we began deploying devices this spring, T-Mobile also provided local assistance from their account team. They preconfigured each hot spot to the district’s custom specifications so that only student laptops can access the network and blocked inappropriate use. Additionally, T-Mobile suspends billing for the Wi-Fi service during the summer months when the devices are not in use. Overall, for every dollar SMCISD spent in enabling a Wi-Fi connection for a student at home, T-Mobile matched it, up to $50,000. Talk about a one-to-one win-win for all students.
> Continued from page 18
Plains ISD Robert McLain, now leading Plains ISD, is
the former superintendent of Channing ISD.
TASB/TASPA HR Academy Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: By Oct. 8, $385; after Oct. 8, $450.
November 5 TASB Fall Legal Seminar ESC Region 5, Beaumont For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
Pleasant Grove ISD
November 5-6 TASBO Personnel and Payroll Academy Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345.
November 5-7 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds Round Rock ISD, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org ◄
> Continued from page 15
sequently, as we rolled out our one-to-one technology program, we made it a priority to guarantee that the implementation of new technology would not disadvantage those students. As such, our Department of Information Technology evaluated multiple residential Wi-Fi options, including services available through all three of the major carriers in our area, as well as several specialized programs available from third parties.
It is critically important that we ensure these opportunities are equally accessible to all students. Because the last thing we can afford to do is leave any more children behind.
A new police chief has been hired for the district. Ernesto Amaya, a former member of the Plainview police department, is also an adjunct professor of justice administration at Wayland Baptist University. Former Liberty Hill ISD assistant superintendent Chad Pirtle has accepted the position of superintendent of Pleasant Grove ISD. Prosper ISD’s new chief financial officer is Annette Folmar, who previously served in the same capacity in Hays CISD. A school finance expert since 1993, she joined Hays CISD in 2001 as finance director, going on to work as executive director of finance before serving as CFO.
University at Kingsville and a doctorate in educational leadership from Texas Tech University. The new executive director of schools is Shelly Huddleston, a 23-year employee of SAISD who was most recently director of secondary curriculum and instruction. Now serving as director of federal programs is Raquel Taunton, previously the director of Head Start/Early Start.
assistant superintendent of human resources and professional learning. She began her career as a teacher in the district, then was Pleasanton ISD’s director of curriculum before returning to San Angelo ISD and being named executive director of schools in 2015. A graduate of Angelo State University, she holds a master’s degree from Texas A&M
Bianca Shaughnessy is
Superintendent Trey Lawrence has announced his upcoming retirement.
now principal of Rosehill Elementary School, where she will help lead the district’s new two-way dual language program. She comes to her new position from serving as principal of Tomball Intermediate School.
Spring Hill ISD
Farrah Gomez has accepted the position of
Most recently principal of Magnolia High School in Magnolia ISD, Mike Metz now leads Tomball Memorial High School.
Round Rock ISD
The new director of bilingual and ESL programs is Christy Diego. A 15-year employee of SAISD, she most recently led Lincoln Middle School as principal.
New chief operating officer Steven Gutierrez was formerly the district’s assistant superintendent of ancillary services.
The new principal of Sanger Middle School is Jim Cain, who for the past two years led Decatur Intermediate School in Decatur ISD.
Now serving as director of district support is Chad Smith, former principal of Tomball Memorial High School. The new director of technology, James Watson, previously worked in Humble and Spring ISDs in the same capacity.
Wayne Guidry has been named
superintendent of Spring Hill ISD. He most recently led Hubbard ISD.
The district’s new school support officer, Lee Wright, was most recently principal of Oakcrest Intermediate School.
Stamford ISD Will Brewer is now
superintendent of Stamford ISD. He previously led Ballinger ISD and also served as a teacher, coach and administrator in Anson, Memphis and Wylie ISDs.
San Angelo ISD Every day, technology creates new worlds of possibilities for our students and their futures. But as school districts in Texas strive to incorporate advances into our classrooms and curriculums, it is critically important that we ensure these opportunities are equally accessible to all students. Because the last thing we can afford to do is leave any more children behind. ◄
Samora Davis, a 17-year educator who was previously director of intervention and LOTE (Languages Other Than English), now leads Tomball Intermediate School as principal.
Former Mabank ISD high school principal Charles Mims has been named principal of Rio Vista High School. He also previously worked in Mesquite and Alvarado ISDs. Now serving as principal of Laurel Mountain Elementary School is Doriane Marvel, a 20-year educator who most recently was assistant principal of Pearson Ranch Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University.
Four new principal assignments have been made. They are: Rikke Black, Central Freshman Campus; Joe Gander, Lincoln Middle School; Amy Lemaster, Lee Middle School; Tim Reid, Carver Learning Center.
New superintendent Gregg Weiss has 25 years of experience as an educator, 12 of those as a superintendent at Mount Vernon and New Summerfield ISDs. His bachelor’s degree was awarded from Howard Payne University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Rio Vista ISD
spent the past 19 years as a coach at Garland ISD’s Naaman Forest High School, the past 12 as head football coach and campus athletic director.
Taylor ISD New athletic director and head football coach Robert Little comes to Taylor from Riesel ISD, where he served in the same capacity since 2016. A coach for 27 years, he earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Howard Payne University.
Terrell ISD Terrell High School has a new head football coach. Marvin Sedberry
Waco ISD The district has appointed Hazel Rowe interim superintendent. She joined Waco ISD as an assistant principal, going on to work as a principal before serving as associate executive director of ESC Region 12. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University, her master’s degree from Tarleton State University, and her doctorate in education from Texas A&M University. ◄
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
TACS HONORS LONGTIME MEMBERS AT ANNUAL PRESIDENTS LUNCHEON Members of the Texas Association of Community Schools gathered at an Austin steakhouse for the group’s annual Presidents Program and luncheon.
Join us for the largest convening of public education leaders in Texas! For administrators: • • • •
Investment officer training Leadership development Products and services showcase School transformation
▲ Sen. Kel Seliger receives an honorary lifetime membership to TACS.
For board members: • • • • • •
▲ Casey Christman, chief of staff for Rep. Dan
Field trips Legislative update Tier 1 training New School Board Member Seminar Officer training Senate Bill (SB) 1566 training Superintendent compensation, contracts, and evaluations
Huberty, receives an honorary lifetime membership from TACS President Eddie Bland on behalf of the representative.
► Trish Conradt, chief
of staff for Rep. Gary VanDeaver, was recognized at the luncheon.
For leadership teams: • • • •
Bond elections School safety and security Small School District Seminar Team building
September 20–22 Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas 34
◄ TACS Executive
Director Barry Haenisch presents a plaque to outgoing TACS President Eddie Bland.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
News in fine arts education
And the beat goes on by Robyn Boazman
▲ Students at Sweeny Elementary School look forward to their weekly drum lessons.
working out the kinks, trying to get students to school on time, and fighting the old “I forgot we had practice” syndrome.
▲ The Bulldog Beat is an elementary school percussion group from Sweeny ISD.
t’s 7:15 a.m. on a Monday morning at Sweeny Elementary School in Sweeny ISD. Suddenly, a knock at the door disturbs the only “quiet” moment the music room will experience that day.
177 square miles, serving the small city of Sweeny and the rural surrounding areas. We are also a Title 1 school, and with the help of an amazing assistant, Marcia Cole, we seek to make learning music fun.
“Are we having practice today?” asks an enthusiastic fourth grade student.
Then, she quickly looks back up with a smile, “Can we have practice?”
Due to the diversity of our students, we noticed that there was a need to encourage those who were struggling educationally, emotionally and socially. We also noticed that some of these students were good at rhythm — very good, as a matter of fact. In an attempt to provide this outlet for students, our percussion group was born.
This is how I start most of my days, and frankly, I love it. I teach music to more than 900 kindergarten through fifth grade students in a district that covers more than
The first question we had to ask ourselves was, “What’s the goal? Making good music? Keeping students engaged and out of trouble? Maybe something more? What
“Is it Tuesday?” I ask. “No,” the disappointed student says, as her head drops.
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
about self-discipline, teamwork, confidence? Yes to all of the above. Starting with a trip to Lowe’s for paint buckets, followed by a donation of used drumsticks from our high school band and a group of extremely eager fifth grade students, our journey began. With support from our principal, Michael Heinroth, we brainstormed a name for this group. His idea? The Bulldog Beat. Honestly, it was not smooth sailing at first. Where would we even start? What curriculum should we use? We pulled from online sources, ordered books and began digging into the world of beat and rhythm. We spent one to two mornings a week
Our first performance was the Christmas concert, and a sense of accomplishment was evident — we knew we had something. Our next performance was on the last day of school in front of the entire student body. The energy and enthusiasm were contagious. The next thing I knew, parents were commenting in public about the group, and we had a line of students clamoring to be a part of the Bulldog Beat. By the next year, we had a new set of drums, more buckets, xylophones and enough students signed up to have two separate groups of fourth and fifth grade students. Cole and I also attended training on the art of drumming. Fast forward four years. We now perform a minimum of five times a year, and we’ve caught the eye of our superintendent, Dr. Tory C. Hill. He recognizes the value of what we are trying to do, and because of this, we have become part of the districtwide back-to-school convocation.
Our answer is always, “Yes, you can! You are here for a purpose. You will not give up. You will keep working and trying. And when you do, you will see wonderful results!” This determination has led to such creativity as, “Can we name this rhythm syncopa-tater-tot?” (Still one of my all-time favorites.) And, we now have students writing their own music. As satisfying as all of this is, though, one of the most beautiful things to see is our fourth and fifth grade students instructing their fellow classmates. Watching the level of engagement while these “student teachers” teach, reteach and praise is a reward unto itself. How it started, and what it has morphed into still amazes me. By using the four C’s of 21st Century Skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity, we have seen students grow in areas that complement instead of compete with the regular classroom.
Students are engaged in creating their own music, exploring different instruments, working as a team, building confidence by performing in front of audiences and carrying this into their core subjects as well as other areas of their life. Now, that is something to celebrate. Berthold Auerbach says, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” My hope is that no matter what background a student comes from, he or she will leave with an appreciation for the power of music in their lives — one that will comfort them, encourage them and even propel them forward into some new amazing adventure down the road. ROBYN BOAZMAN has taught for 29 years, the last 23 in her hometown of Sweeny. She considers it an honor to teach in the district in which she grew up.
Matthew Way recently commented that the Bulldog Beat has “exposed and nourished a creativity” in his his daughter that “might not have come forth otherwise.”
We still struggle with “It’s too hard!” and “I can’t do this!”
Texas School Business JULY / AUGUST 2019
THE BACK PAGE
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Making the best of a bad situation
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by Riney Jordan
on’t you just love and admire those people in the world who always seem to make the best of a bad situation?
I love their positive spin on things. I love their determination to beat the odds. I love their amazing attitudes. It doesn’t take a whole lot for a person to reflect to others that they have an upbeat persona. It only takes a big smile that says, “Hey, this isn’t going to be easy, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me.”
His solution was not to work harder than ever to put his life back together, but instead, to lie back and accept this way of life as permanent. He lacked those qualities that can change everything — courage, commitment, persistence and determination. Now, compare his story to this one …
Like you, I’ve heard amazing stories about individuals who didn’t let their problems become obstacles in their lives.
A young, single mother we know was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. She was working two jobs at the time to provide for her little girl. News of her illness could not have come at a worse time in her life.
I read once that there is something inside most of us that can give us courage that we never even knew that we had, so we can face any “giant” who gets in our path.
Doctors immediately made arrangements to send her to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Her family encouraged her and supported her every step of the way.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with a young man who had graduated from high school only a couple of years ago. I asked him about his future plans, and I listened with absolute amazement and wonderment as he answered.
For months, the trips to Houston were frequent. Motel bills, gasoline and food bills took a big toll on the family’s modest income.
“I’ve realized that it’s better not to work too much,” he said. “If I keep my income low, I am eligible for food stamps, government assistance and other benefits. I’ve thought a lot about it, and there’s no reason I should work anymore in life than is absolutely necessary.” It’s true that he was living in a disgusting apartment. His car was a wreck. He was overweight, and he had two young kids to support. His wife had left him, and his life looked pretty bleak. Instead of working to improve his situation, it appeared to me that he had given up. He’s 22 years old, in amazingly good health, and when he was in school, he was one of the brightest kids in his class. I had known him for years and had previously pictured him making a huge, positive difference in the world!
“She’s determined to make the best of this,” her father told me. “She’s a fighter.” A few weeks ago, he told me that one of her legs had to be amputated above the knee. He said that when they heard the news, “We were all discouraged and beaten.” Her reaction, however, was just the opposite. “Don’t worry,” she said “I’m going to be fine. You know, in our little town of Crawford, our high school mascot is a pirate, and I’ve been thinking. I’ll have a wooden peg leg made and I’ll be the school district’s official mascot!” I don’t know about you, but I wept tears of joy when I heard that from her father. What courage! What strength! What an amazing reaction! Yes, overcoming adversity is not easy. But encouraging our students to make the best of a bad situation is one of life’s greatest lessons. Let’s hope, for our future’s sake, that they learn it.
RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your
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