TSB—June 2009

Page 1


June 2009

Here come the stimulus funds What you need to know

TACS President Mike Smith New Braunfels ISD

In the Spotlight Pat Johnson Kirbyville CISD


CONTENTS TACS President Mike Smith steps up for community schools


Elizabeth Millard

In the Spotlight: Kirbyville CISD’s Pat Johnson


Melissa Gaskill

COVER: Experts, administrators discuss how stimulus funds will impact Texas schools


Raven L. Hill

photo FEATURES TAGT draws record attendance to leadership conference


Foundation, district representatives network at Board2Board workshop




TSB Professional Development & Events Calendar

From the Editor


Young’s Inbox



The Law Dawg  —  unleashed


The Back Page


Who’s News


From Our Readers


Advertisers Index


Katie Ford Jim Walsh

John Young

Riney Jordan

Above: Superintendent Mike Smith speaks at the 2008 New Braunfels High School graduation in New Braunfels ISD. The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication. June 2009 • Texas School Business


Rising Star




Lake Pointe Elementary

Metz Elementary

Larry G. Smith Elementary

Ortega Elementary

Sharon Smith

Dr. George Hademenos Richardson High School

Joan Diaz

Jennifer Atkinson

Dr. Rachel Lawton North Side High School

Cliff Strain

WC Andrews Elementary

Flour Bluff Intermediate

Erika Koenig

Kathy Westbrook

Lilia Salazar

Fanny Carrillo

Palacios High School Hidalgo Elementary

James Butler

Uvalde High School

Shay Harman

Benignus Elementary

Angelica Vega

Alice High School Comstock ISD

Graciela Guzman

Homer Hanna High School

Sharon Horn

Velasquez Elementary

Elizabeth Dry Laurie Coker

G.W. Carver Academy

Dr. Rebecca Palacios

Dr. Kimberly Bissell

Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary

John Owen

Dora Newell

Dr. Jose Gonzalez

Thigpen-Zavala Elementary

Joanie Lathrom

Sundown Elementary

Donna Gabrysch

Maricela Alarcon

Cathie Odanovich

Dr. Julia Battle

Kathleen Kraus

Wallace B. Jefferson Middle School

Large District

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD• Lamar CISD Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD • Harlandale ISD

Dr. Rodney D. Cathey Middle School

Larry Lawrence

Fileman B. Vela Middle School

West Hardin High School

John Jay Science & Engineering Academy

Diana Ruiz

North San Juan Elementary

Sam Rayburn High School

Gretchen Catron

Montclair Elementary

Rockport-Fulton High School

Maria Theresa Magampon

Patricia J. Blattman Elementary

Pamela Correa

Westwood High School

Stevenson Middle School W. Z. “Doc” Burke Elementary

Anna Pedroza

Mary L. Hartman Elementary

Karen Noble

Hillcrest Elementary

Dr. Bertie Simmons

Ebbert L. Furr High School

Brenda Farias Cable Elementary

Patricia Hill

Earl Warren High School

Genevieve Cruz

Dillard McCollum High School

Small District

Randolph Field ISD • IDEA Public Schools Burnet CISD

Finalists receive the following awards: Teachers receive $1,000 and a matching grant goes to their school. Principals receive $1,000 and their school receives a grant for $2,500. Small School Districts receive $2,500. Large School Districts receive $5,000. All of these finalists will go on to the statewide competition where they have a chance to win $5,000 to $100,000 for themselves and a matching grant for their school. H-E-B’s Excellence in Education Awards were created to celebrate and recognize the contributions of public school professionals whose leadership and dedication inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

©2009 H-E-B Food Stores, 09-2680CS

From the Editor We’re hoping this month’s cover story sparks some stimulating conversation among Texas school administrators and educators. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law in February, there’s been a lot of buzz about how the roughly $6 billion earmarked for Texas public schools will be distributed. Writer Raven L. Hill explains the conditions and requirements that come along with these funds and talks to a few school districts to find out what they have in mind when it comes to spending their stimulus money. Of course, ARRA calls for an unprecedented amount of accountability and transparency. Therefore, the act comes with “whistle-blower” provisions that every school district employee should know about. In his column, “The Law Dawg — unleashed,” Jim Walsh explains the finer points of these provisions. Also in this issue, we get to know New Braunfels ISD Superintendent Mike Smith, who in May became the president of the Texas Association of Community Schools. Our spotlight is on Kirbyville CISD’s Pat Johnson, a counselor who has spent more than half a century serving public schools. As the semester ends and districts prepare for next year, we found oodles of announcements on new hires, transfers and promotions. Perhaps you’ll find a familiar face in our weighty Who’s News section. As always, don’t hesitate to write to me with your comments, suggestions and questions: katie@texasschoolbusiness.com.

Katie Ford, editor

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) June 2009 Volume LV, Issue 9 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-478-2113 • Fax: 512-495-9955 www.texasschoolbusiness.com

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THE LAW DAWG – unleashed by Jim Walsh

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e expect by now that most of you have figured out how to spend your “stimulus” funds. As you start issuing checks, keep in mind that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) calls for an unprecedented level of accountability and transparency. In pursuit of that objective, the ARRA has its own “whistle-blower” provisions, designed to insure that funds are spent lawfully. Whistle-blower laws are not a new concept. We are familiar with the basic features. There must be a disclosure by an employee of wrongdoing, followed by a reprisal by the employer. As a general rule, the employee has to prove that the reprisal was caused by the disclosure. But the ARRA whistle-blower law has some unique features, each of which will make it easier for the employee to prove a case. First, the report of wrongdoing can be made to a wide variety of people, including the employee’s direct supervisor or anyone who has the authority to investigate, discover or terminate misconduct. Thus, if a teacher informs the principal that he thinks the ARRA funds are being spent illegally, he has made a disclosure. It is not necessary for the teacher to go to the sheriff. Second, the disclosure does not necessarily have to involve illegal activity. Reports of gross mismanagement, gross waste, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety also satisfy the disclosure requirements. Third, the burden of proof in these cases favors the employee. If the employee demonstrates that the disclosure was a contributing factor in the reprisal, then he or she has successfully “established the occurrence of the reprisal.” The employee is not required to prove that the reprisal was caused by the disclosure. It’s not necessary to prove that the disclosure was the sole factor, or even a substantial or motivating factor. The employee only needs to show that the disclosure contributed to the employer’s decision to issue a reprisal.

Furthermore, the complainant can prove the case by circumstantial evidence. This could include, for example, evidence that the reprisal followed the disclosure closely in time. Once it is established that the reprisal occurred, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same action (the reprisal) regardless of the disclosure. What to do about all this? First, comply with the law. If your district has received ARRA funds, you will need to post a notice of the rights employees have to blow the whistle. Second, spend your money wisely and well. The best way to avoid “gross mismanagement” is to manage your funds well. Third, document the real performance of your employees. What happens all too often in whistle-blower cases is that the employer has had some legitimate concerns over the employee’s performance over a long period of time. But, in hopes that the problem will just go away, the employer fails to document deficiencies. Then the employee blows the whistle on something, and boom — the employee’s evaluation takes a sharp turn south. One week later, a nonrenewal is proposed and the employer says, “Well, he’s been one of our weakest teachers for years.” Maybe so. But it won’t look that way to a “reasonable person.” Remember that in any personnelrelated litigation, the real motivation of the employer is almost always a crucial factor. Make your decisions for the right reasons, and keep a written record of it. You never know when you may need that information.

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JIM WALSH is editor in chief of Texas School Business and the managing editor of Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest. Also a school attorney, he co-founded the firm of Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Aldridge & Gallegos PC. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com or by visiting www.walshanderson.com. June 2009 • Texas School Business



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Texas School Business • June 2009

YOUNG’S INBOX by John Young

Call in the paraprofessionals


ne of World War II’s first heroes wasn’t a soldier. He was, in fact, a mess attendant, assigned to something menial until something unimaginable happened. You might laugh, but that decorated hero, Waco’s Doris “Dorie” Miller, reminds me of my wife. She’s not an administrator. She’s not a teacher. She’s not a health professional or a counselor. Yet, she fills all of the above roles when the cause arises. Miller won the Navy Cross for manning a machine-gun post aboard the USS West Virginia when early casualties from the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor left the ship defenseless. He had been collecting laundry when the alarm sounded; Miller rushed to the deck and served his country in a near-legendary way. My wife, whose current job title is school secretary, has never been decorated for what she does. But she ought to be. Her title, along with her personality and her smarts, means basically that whatever is not being done on her campus, she will do. She’ll do anything in the blink of an eye, and without blinking. That applies to a host of paraprofessionals in our schools. She’s been in a half dozen “para” roles in schools — classroom aide, writing lab instructor, clinic aide (but careful not to mislead about her lack of credentials) and substitute teacher. Oh, the hassles she endures. When the plumed parrots of the media were declaring a swine flu crisis — ack! — she was the one taking all the calls from the frantic and misinformed. She was disgusted that no one in the information business sought to calm the public. It was all about fear and surgical masks. The calming function came down to her — being in the information business as well, just not paid as well. She’s had to enforce rules about who can attend her school to red-faced parents, tapping their toes — only to later watch her higher-ups overrule their own rules. She takes the early morning calls from teachers who have come down with a bug

and need a sub. When the substitute system malfunctions, she squirms and grimaces. Of course, she’s done all she can. She’ll be the first to tell you, as will I, that teachers need to be paid better, need to have less paperwork, need more cooperative parents, and need students who are better prepared to attend school and listen to what they’re told. Each of the above challenges applies to her plight as well — except that when better pay and benefits come up, paraprofessionals tend to get left out of the conversation.

My wife, whose current job title is school secretary, has never been decorated for what she does. But she ought to be. Consider the school nurse, who handles a plethora of medications, mystery stomach aches and phantom “owies.” At my wife’s campus, the school nurse is a licensed vocational nurse — very much a luxury. Although this tireless servant does everything a registered nurse would do in the same role, she is a paraprofessional, and paid accordingly. Back to Doris Miller. He was tending to domestic duties, rather than serving in a combat role, because he was black. However, because of his heroism at Pearl Harbor and that of many others in the ensuing conflict, black Americans became equals in the service. It would take decades for the civilian world to follow the armed forces’ lead. In the education world, it would be nice one day for paraprofessionals to be treated — if not as equals with professionals — at least in a way that befits their unblinking contributions. JOHN YOUNG is the opinion editor at the Waco Tribune-Herald. He can be reached at jyoung@wacotrib.com. To read more of his work, visit his Web site at www.johnyoungcolumn.com.

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TACS PRESIDENT profile New Braunfels ISD’s Mike Smith takes office By Elizabeth Millard


ew Braunfels ISD Superintendent Mike Smith, who last month was inducted as the new president of the Texas Association of Community Schools, jokes that he may be the only person who actually entered college as a secondary education major and stuck to the plan. Yet, from a young age, Smith had felt that education was where God wanted him, and he wasn’t about to argue. Smith did, however, explore different areas for his minor. He ultimately chose Spanish and physical education — two subjects that set him on a strong teaching and administrative path from the time he graduated from Texas Tech University in 1982. Smith was a teacher and coach at a number of ISDs — including Levelland, Brownfield, Sudan and Dumas — before getting his master’s degree in education at Sul Ross State University in 1990. Upon graduation, he took a job as a middle school principal in Dimmitt ISD. He later served as a superintendent in Hart, Whitharral and Forney ISDs before landing in New Braunfels ISD in 2007. “The lifespan of a superintendent in this day and age isn’t all that long,” he says. “Usually, you’re done after about three years, so anytime you can stay in place for longer than that, it’s notable. “The problem always seems to be that you spend time telling people no when you’d prefer to be telling them yes. You become a lightning rod for conflict,” he admits. As the new TACS president, Smith hopes to sidestep conflict in favor of concrete planning. He says the organization already has stability, thanks to recent presidents. Yet, he also believes it’s time to foster more forward-thinking policies and strategies. One of the biggest challenges for TACS, much like other organizations, is keeping up with change, Smith notes. Technology and legislation are two ar-

Superintendent Mike Smith speaks at the 2008 New Braunfels High School graduation.

eas in which Smith says the organization must drive change. Smith is quite comfortable in the legislative realm. His journey with TACS began in the mid-1990s when he sought out the organization because of a local voting rights issue that came up during his early years as a superintendent. “I was young, dumb and naive,” he recalls, with a laugh. But frustration over his lack of experience and knowledge with state legislation spurred his desire to serve on the TACS Legislative Committee, of which he became the chair within a few years. Much has changed in community schools since he joined TACS, and Smith says the organization needs to reflect that.

“It’s an axiom of nature that everything is either growing or dying,” says Smith. “So, we need to focus on growth. It’s time for a new vision, and some discussion about where we go from here.” One thing he’ll do is ask districts what they want to look like in 10 years, and how students can be served better in the future. He notes that the tactic is akin to that of a school board, which should be spending 70 percent of its time on future issues. Preparing for the future is also a mindset Smith brings to New Braunfels ISD. Just before his induction to TACS, the H1N1 flu (better known as swine flu) prompted the shuttering of schools across See President Profile on page 13 June 2009 • Texas School Business


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Texas School Business • June 2009

President Profile continued from page 11

the state, including New Braunfels ISD. Smith swiftly pulled together his teachers and administrators for a series of meetings on how to continue classes while students remained at home. The solution, they posited, was to put lessons online, which allowed the students to stay on track with their studies rather than lose weeks of instruction time. Smith notes that the ad hoc remote-learning system is now being further developed as a permanent solution for home-based students of the future. The system is just one more example of Smith’s positive influence on the district, which was struggling upon his arrival in 2007. The superintendent says he observed that teachers felt devalued and test scores were below average. “And although people might think I wanted to make it better because I’m an old coach and I needed to get the numbers up, that’s not it,” Smith says. “The fact is, it comes down to the individual child. When he or she fails, it’s devastating. Success breeds success.”

Smith noticed that there were certain areas of the district’s curriculum that didn’t align with state requirements, such as a lack of early science education. He also noted there was an overall belief among administrators and educators that the state should fall in line with New Braunfels ISD, instead of the other way around.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with the state accountability system or No Child Left Behind; it really comes down to raising expectations of the students so that they can rise to that level.” “It just doesn’t work that way,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if you agree with the state accountability system or No Child Left Behind; it really comes down

to raising expectations of the students so that they can rise to that level.” Smith has demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit beyond his roles as an administrator and educator. From 1994 to 2008, he was owner and operator of Rafter S. Cattle Co., an operation he founded. From 1985 to 1989, he co-owned RiverSmith’s Rafting & Guide Service, which offered tours along the Rio Grande River. With the days of cattle drives and rafting behind him, Smith only has more time to devote to New Braunfels ISD and TACS. With the support of his wife of 27 years, Cheryl, and two teenage sons, Travis and Clay, Smith has the solid ground he needs to keep building toward a better future for Texas schoolchildren. “There are so many opportunities we can give our students, that we can extend to every child,” he says. “It’s the responsibility of leaders to continually think about what’s ahead, so that’s what I try to do.” ELIZABETH MILLARD is a writer based in Minneapolis. She also writes for District Administration.

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Texas School Business • June 2009

In the


Serving more than half a century, Kirbyville CISD’s Pat Johnson stays the course by Melissa Gaskill


very morning at 7:15, Pat Johnson, a special education counselor, takes his position on the driveway outside Kirbyville Elementary School, ready to open car doors and greet arriving students. It’s a morning routine he’s followed faithfully since 1957, when he took his first teaching job in this very community. Some of the Kirbyville CISD students he greets these days are the children — or even the grandchildren — of his former students. In fact, Johnson taught Kirbyville Elementary Principal Beverly Hall when she was in the sixth grade, and he was her principal when she was in seventh and eighth grades. “He is completely devoted to children and working with children,” Hall says. “I tell people he is one of the youngest people I have working in this building — young at heart, but at the same time, he is our wise old owl.” Early beginnings As a young man, Johnson joined the military to take advantage of the GI Bill, finish college and figure out what he wanted to do with his life. One Sunday, while reading Parade magazine, he saw an article about the need for history teachers. He had always loved history, so he decided on the spot to pursue a career in education. While interviewing for his first teaching job, Johnson told the thensuperintendent of Kirbyville CISD that he wanted to teach high school history. The superintendent reportedly looked 22-yearold Johnson up and down and said, “Son, I’ve got boys in high school older than you. How about elementary school?” Johnson, who has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in elementary education, spent the next 11 years in Kirbyville CISD, first as a sixth grade teacher and then as the elementary school principal. After that, he went on to Deer Park ISD, where he taught fourth grade for six years and spent another 20 years as a school counselor.

Special education counselor Pat Johnson chats with Kirbyville Elementary sixth grader Randy Wright over a game of checkers.

In 1993, Johnson announced his retirement, but it didn’t stick. He took a job as an elementary school counselor in Louisiana, where he stayed for seven years before returning to Kirbyville with the best of intentions to retire for good. Yet, when Kirbyville CISD thenSuperintendent Joseph Burns asked Johnson to serve as interim principal at Kirbyville Junior High, the wannabe retiree couldn’t stay away. He served in that capacity for almost a year before moving on to his current role as the special education counselor at Kirbyville Elementary. “I like being a counselor, because I can be about the whole school,” says Johnson, whose responsibilities include kindergarten through third grade, as well as an adaptive behavior class. “I serve not just one classroom, but meet the needs of many.” Johnson’s box of “professional tools” includes a selection of board games. “Once you start playing checkers with a child, they talk,” he says. “I mostly listen. I’m still just playing checkers, but I

can offer a few kind words.” He remembers a particularly rewarding game of Connect Four when his young opponent looked at him and said with a smile, “You’re going to be my friend for life.” Moments like that are what keep this 72-year-old educator going — that, and the activity level his work requires. “I think the Lord put us here to be busy,” Johnson says. “That is what keeps me going: to have projects both on the job and at home.” This summer, he and wife of more than 50 years, Maree, a retired teacher, will head north for their second trip across Alaska in their motor home. Johnson says he plans to be back in time to take his post on the Kirbyville Elementary driveway for the first day of school. Kirbyville Elementary secretary Vondol Bailey, who attended junior high in Kirbyville CISD under then-Principal Johnson’s leadership, says her longtime friend is highly organized and reliable. See SPOTLIGHT on page 25 June 2009 • Texas School Business


Show me the money

Experts, administrators discuss how stimulus funds will impact Texas schools

By Raven L. Hill


magine receiving an unexpected financial windfall. You’ve got to come up with a way to make the money last a long time. And you’ve got to solidify your plan quickly. That pretty much sums up the challenge facing school districts nationwide that stand to benefit from the $100 billion earmarked for education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. School administrators are charged with thinking about the long term in the short term. The stakes are higher than ever before. Texas public schools are expected to receive more than $6 billion under the landmark stimulus plan. Approximately $4 billion in state stabilization funds will go toward general operations. Another $2 billion will go toward low-income and special education students. The state will also receive $1 billion in tax credit bonds for school construction costs — $466 million of which is earmarked exclusively for 18 large districts. “This is an historic opportunity to improve R. Jerel Booker public education,” says

R. Jerel Booker, who chairs the Texas Education Agency Commission’s Task Force on Federal Stimulus and Stabilization. “This is not a time for business as usual.” TEA officials say their top priority is giving every student an effective teacher and closing the achievement gap between students of varying ethnicities and income levels. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education’s buzzword is “innovation.” The stimulus plan includes the $5 billion Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant that rewards states for bold and creative programs. To meet funding requirements, proposals from school districts must illustrate how the district will drive results for students, increase educators’ capacity, accelerate reform, improve productivity and foster continuous improvement. The catch: In two years, the money will be gone. Federal officials have discouraged districts and states from pursuing initiatives or staffing that cannot be sustained once the funding ends in the fall of 2011. TEA is encouraging districts to use technology to drive reforms. The agency emphasizes training educators how to use technology in the classroom, creating

virtual schools, and offering teachers and administrators online professional development. As Texas school districts weigh the scope and stakes of the state’s slice of the stimulus plan, administrators are turning to their staffs — and, in some cases, members of the community — to outline spending plans that will best suit their districts’ needs. A tale of two districts Plainview ISD was in tough financial shape during the 2008-2009 school year. Amid falling enrollment, the 6,000-student district in West Texas cut 37 teaching jobs last year. Moreover, unlike in past years, the district had no rollover special education funds, which meant Plainview ISD faced additional layoffs in that department as well. However, with stimulus funds on the way, things are changing. Initial rumblings put the district’s share at $3.5 million, with additional funds for school construction. When Plainview ISD Superintendent Ron Miller first heard the news, he wondered what strings would be attached to the funds. Then he wondered how much money the district ultimately would get.

Do your plans qualify? In drafting proposals for stimulus funds, districts should be able to answer yes to the following questions: 1. Will the proposed use of funds drive improved results for students, including students in poverty, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners? 2. Will the proposed use of funds increase educator’s longterm capacity to improve results for students? 3. Will the proposed use of funds advance state, district, or school improvement plans and the reform goals encompassed in ARRA? 16

Texas School Business • June 2009

4. Will the proposed use of funds avoid recurring costs that states, school systems and schools are unprepared to assume when this funding ends? Given these economic times, will the proposed use serve as “bridge funding” to help transition to more effective and efficient approaches? 5. Will the proposed use of funds include approaches to measure and track implementation and results and create feedback loops to modify or discontinue strategies based on evidence?

The final figure — approximately $2 million, according to TEA — was substantially less than originally projected, but administrators in Plainview ISD say the money still will allow them to make important inroads. Ron Miller Based on input from teachers and principals, the district plans to make substantial technological upgrades. Approximately $300,000 will be used for equipment such as document cameras so teachers can display textbooks and worksheets on projectors. The district also plans to put 42-inch monitors in 275 classrooms, from kindergarten to eighth grade. “A lot of our recently adopted curriculum has really good technology resources, but we just didn’t have access to the equipment,” says Plainview ISD Technology Director Gene Whitfill. “We didn’t know when we would be able to do it Gene Whitfill or how to fund it until we learned this money would be available.” The remaining funds will help Plainview ISD avoid laying off special education teachers. The money also will enhance transition-planning services for students aging out of special education classes. Moreover, the district plans to improve staff development in science and math, boost reading and math intervention programs and expand teacher quality efforts, such as paying for certification costs (especially for English as a Second Language) and helping paraprofessionals become teachers. Miller says the only disappointment was that Plainview would not be eligible for school construction bonds. “I thought there would be money available to use for the high school renovation,” he says. Still, Miller says he’s relieved to see his district get a boost. “Now we have some direction to work with,” he says. Meanwhile, in Northside ISD, the fourth-largest district in Texas, Superintendent John Folks has mixed feelings about the $29.2 million that’s coming his district’s way. On one hand, Folks John Folks says he’s excited about

Texas’ target investments • Increase efforts to institute rigorous post-secondary standards and high-quality (valid, reliable) assessments • Ensure continued improvements in teacher effectiveness and support the equitable distribution of qualified teachers across the state • Enhance pre-kindergarten to post-secondary data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement • Expand the state’s support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools the extra funding for low-income students, many of whom struggle to meet federal academic standards in reading and math. But when it comes to funding for special education students, his excitement diminishes a bit. As structured, Northside ISD will receive more money for special education, but it will still be required to contribute the same amount of local funds, which Folks says doesn’t provide any relief to the district’s budget. He says that federal and state officials led him to believe otherwise. “I thought we’d be able to reduce our local funds by half of the amount we were receiving,” he says. “Now they are saying you must meet certain targets. I think they are tying our hands a lot. “I’m also disappointed that the state of Texas is using the stabilization fund to supplant rather than supplement the state budget,” Folks says. “We were counting on that money.” But, Folks admits that overall he’s excited about the changes taking place in his district. Northside ISD has multiple plans under way. The district intends to use some of the funding to categorize seven campuses as Title I schools and to add a reading and math specialist at each school. The district also plans to allocate additional revenue to current Title I schools and to be “very prescriptive” in how the campuses spend the money, Folks says. For special education, the district is looking to improve its professional development offerings and update some equipment. In the area of technology upgrades, Northside ISD plans to increase the number of online courses for students, particularly those classes in which high school students can recover credits. Folks says that as long as students have alternative resources to continue receiving credits, “they are a lot more likely to stay in school.”

Getting everyone on board TEA’s Booker says the biggest issue he sees among school districts right now is the need for more information on funding disbursements and guidance on drafting funding proposals. To ensure good communication with districts, TEA has devoted a section on its Web site to the stimulus plan — www.tea.state.tx.us/ arrastimulus. It includes funding news, frequently asked questions, and a mailing list so administrators can receive the latest updates. Funds received under the stimulus plan must be reported and tracked separately. The state agency is providing districts with special funding codes and additional training on meeting the reporting requirements. The state also has revised its internal controls, Booker says, by adding additional monitors and planning for more frequent audits. Booker says TEA is looking to technology to make the most of its federal dollars. Texas is generally well-regarded for its data-tracking systems and other initiatives, but there’s always room for improvement. In Technology Counts 2009, an annual report by Education Week on the state of education technology, Texas received a B for its capacity to use education and a B-minus for its current use of technology. This presents an opportunity to grow, Booker says. “We don’t want to be in a race to the middle,” he quips. “We think technology is vital to creating 21st-century learning.” Booker points to the Texas Virtual School Network, a consortium of districts that offers online courses, as one area of promise. Authorized by the Legislature in 2007, the network offered high school classes this school year. Middle school courses will go online in the fall, with See Money on page 23 June 2009 • Texas School Business


Back To School Special: Legal Workshops with Jim Walsh The 4th Annual Back to School Program will feature all of the new legislation that will impact the day-to-day operations of your school district. This year we have legislation at both the state and federal level to discuss.

In particular: • changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 that will impact both employment and student decisions; • regulatory changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allowing parents to revoke consent for the provision of services;

• regulatory changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); • the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA); and • all of the new laws promulgated by the 2009 Texas Legislature.

This year’s program will be organized into four components: LEGAL ISSUES IN SERVING STUDENTS LEGAL ISSUES IN DEALING WITH PARENTS LEGAL ISSUES IN PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYMENT LEGAL ISSUES IN ADMINISTERING YOUR SCHOOL As usual, the presentation will be lively, upbeat and interactive, allowing plenty of time for Q and A. You will come away with specific to-do lists and tools to help you avoid legal problems in the upcoming year.

2009 Workshop Dates and Locations September 2 ESC Region XI Fort Worth, TX September 8 ESC Region VII Kilgore, TX September 10 ESC Region I Edinburg, TX September 15 ESC Region XIX El Paso, TX


September 16 ESC Region XVIII Midland, TX September 22 ESC Region XX San Antonio, TX September 23 ESC Region XIII Austin, TX $99 per person online

register online • www.legaldigest.com credit card required

Texas School Business • June 2009

Ph: 512.478.2113 • Fax: 512.495.9955

TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS WEEK OF JULY 6 July 8-10 National School Board Association Southern Region Conference Peabody Hotel, Little Rock, Ark. For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $350. July 12-14 TAHPERD Summer Conference University of San Antonio For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Professional and associate members early-bird registration, $75; preregistration, $85; on-site registration, $95; retired and student members earlybird registration, $35; preregistration, $35; on-site registration, $45.

WEEK OF JULY 13 July 14-15 Curriculum Leadership Academy (second session of three) Offices of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org July 15 The Basics of Investing School Funds Offices of Ysleta ISD, El Paso For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $140; nonmembers, $180. July 16 Investing School Funds Offices of Ysleta ISD, El Paso For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $140; nonmembers, $180. July 19-22 TASA/Syfr Conference: Tomorrow’s Education in Today’s Classrooms: A Whole New Brain (part two of three in a series) Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, Austin For more info, Susan Holley, (512)

477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org

WEEK OF JULY 20 July 21-26 TSTA Ambassador Academy Omni Southpark, Austin For more info, (877) 275-8782. www.tsta.org July 22-24 TASPA Summer Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $150; retired members, $75. July 24 TASPA Half-Day Law Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin

For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: $75. July 24-26 PTA Summer Leadership Seminar Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 476-6769 or (800) 825-5782. www.txpta.org Cost: Advance registration (by June 22), $85; at the door, $100. July 24-26 TSTA Leadership Academy Omni Southpark, Austin For more info, (877) 275-8782. www.tsta.org

See calendar on page 20

We need your help

in singling out the programs — and the people — who deserve some positive press! In December, Texas School Business will publish its Third Annual Bragging Rights 2009-2010 special issue, which will honor 12 deserving school districts and their innovative programs. Do you have a brag-worthy program? Just send an email to brag@texasschoolbusiness.com. Describe your program, how it came about and some of the program’s noteworthy results. Winners will be announced in the Third Annual Bragging Rights 2009-2010 special issue on December 1. Nomination deadline: August 31, 2009. Questions? Email Editor Katie Ford at katie@texasschoolbusiness.com. Send us your success stories. Texas School Business wants to brag about you!

www.texasschoolbusiness.com June 2009 • Texas School Business


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS


calendar continued from page 19

No events listed.

WEEK OF JULY 27 July 27-28 Jumping Hurdles and Raising the Bar: Toward Achieving Excellence in Science Offices of Greenville ISD For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: Members, $249; nonmembers, $295.


WEEK OF AUGUST 31 September 2 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 1, Edinburg For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 9): $99 online, $119 purchase order. After Aug. 9: $124 online, $144 purchase order.


No events listed.

September 8 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com

WEEK OF AUGUST 10 No events listed.

WEEK OF AUGUST 17 No events listed.

Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 17): $99 online, $119 purchase order. After Aug. 17: $124 online, $144 purchase order. September 9-10 TASA/Syfr Conference: A Whole New Brain: Multiple Pathways to High School Success (part three in a series of three) Hyatt Hotel, Houston For more info, Susan Holley, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org September 10 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 23), $99 online, $119 purchase order. After Aug. 23: $124 online, $144 purchase order.



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Texas School Business • June 2009

September 15 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 19, El Paso For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 8), $99 online, $119 purchase order. After Aug. 8: $124 online, $144 purchase order. September 16 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Region 18 employees, no charge. All others, $124 online, $144 purchase order. September 16-17 Five Keys to Reading Success Offices of Northside ISD (San Antonio) For more info, (800) 717-2723, ext. 10. www.txascd.org Cost: Texas ASCD members: $299; nonmembers, $349.

TSB Calendar


Professional Development & EVENTS

September 20-21 TASPA Fall Support Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: $150.



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September 22 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 20, San Antonio For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 24): $99 online, $119 purchase order. After Aug. 24: $124 online, $144 purchase order.

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September 22-23 Boot Camp for Curriculum Administrators Hays CISD (Austin area) For more info, (800) 717-2723, ext. 10. www.txascd.org Cost: Texas ASCD members, $249; others, $295. September 23 Back to School Special with Jim Walsh Offices of ESC Region 13, Austin For more info, (512) 495-9955. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 23): $99 online, $119 purchase order. After Aug. 23: $124 online, $144 purchase order. September 27-29 Camp TEPSA Omni Southpark, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268. www.tepsa.org Cost: Members, by Aug. 30, $182; after Aug. 30, $207. Nonmembers, by Aug. 30, $242; after Aug. 30, $267.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 28 No events listed. TSB

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Who’s News Arlington ISD Robert Carlisle is the executive director of plant services. He began his career in education in 1987, when he joined Killeen ISD as the executive director for facilities, a job he held until his new appointment. PriRobert Carlisle or to becoming a school administrator, Carlisle was an operations officer for City National Bank in Fort Worth. He then started a general construction company, specializing in educational and commercial construction. Carlisle’s bachelor’s degree is from Texas Christian University. The new deputy superintendent is Marcelo Cavazos. He came to Arlington ISD in 1999 as the associate superintendent for instruction; in July 2008, he was named interim deputy superintendent. Cavazos Marcelo Cavazos began his education career as an English teacher in Mission CISD in 1990, moving to McAllen ISD in 1992 as an English and government teacher. In 1993, he was named secondary language arts supervisor for Mercedes ISD. In 1995, he became associate advisor for San Benito ISD, where he remained until 1998, when he joined the Texas Education Agency Department of School Finance. He also has served as a lecturer for The University of Texas at Arlington Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Cavazos earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas – Pan American, as well as a doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin. John Collins is the assistant principal of Crow Elementary School. His education career began in 2006 when he served as a special education resource teacher with Arlington ISD. He also was a job coach John Collins for the district’s summer youth employment program. He transferred to Mansfield ISD in 2008 to work as a fourth grade teacher and an administrative intern. His bachelor’s degree is from DeVry University; he expects to complete work for his master’s degree from the University of North Texas in August. 22

Texas School Business • June 2009

The new assistant principal of Sam Houston High School is Kelvin Stroy. He began his career in 1998 as a teacher and coach for Mansfield ISD. He also taught and coached in Fort Worth and Grand Prairie Kelvin Stroy ISDs before coming to Arlington in 2003 as Gunn Junior High’s assistant principal. In 2006, Stroy moved to Dallas to serve as principal of Clay Academy. He then returned to Arlington ISD as a substitute administrator in 2008. Stroy’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Louisiana Tech University. Jimmy Walker is the assistant superintendent of administration. He arrived in Arlington in 1993 to take the position of assistant principal of Carter Junior High. He then moved on in 1996 to Martin High Jimmy Walker School to serve as the assistant principal, and then on to Bailey Junior High in 2000, where he was the principal. He began his career in 1976 at Taft ISD as the head girls’ basketball coach and social studies teacher. Walker was appointed elementary school principal and head basketball coach in 1979 and the high school’s principal and basketball coach in 1980. In 1985, he transferred to Muskogee ISD in Oklahoma to take the jobs of head basketball coach and psychology and sociology teacher. Walker earned his bachelor’s degree from East Central University and his master’s degree from Northeastern State University, both Oklahoma institutions. Austin ISD Meria Carstarphen is the new superintendent. She comes to the position from St. Paul, Minn., where she served as superintendent of public schools since 2006. Prior to that position, Carstarphen was Meria the chief accountability Carstarphen officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools and the executive director for comprehensive school improvement and accountability in Kingsport, Tenn. Her career began as a middle school Spanish teacher and documentary photog-

raphy teacher in her native Selma, Ala. Carstarphen also taught elementary school in Spain and Venezuela. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Auburn University; her doctorate was awarded from Harvard University. She also has studied at the University of Seville in Spain and at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Carstarphen succeeds Pascal D. “Pat” Forgione Jr., who is retiring as superintendent of Austin ISD, a position he held for 10 years. Forgione holds two bachelor’s degrees, in theology and philosophy, from St. Pat Forgione Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. These were followed by two master’s degrees: one in educational administration from Loyola College, also in Baltimore, and one in urban history from Stanford University in California. He also earned a doctorate in administration and policy analysis from Stanford. Forgione has been a chief education officer at local, state and national levels, including serving as state superintendent for public instruction for Delaware from 1991 to 1996. In 1996, he accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Education as the U.S. commissioner of education statistics for the National Center for Education Statistics, a post he held until becoming superintendent for Austin ISD in 1999. Amy Lloyd, currently serving as principal of Clayton Elementary School, will lead Cunningham Elementary as its principal. In addition to her work at Clayton, Lloyd has taught at Barton Hills ElemenAmy Lloyd tary and in the St. Louis, Mo., school district. Katherine Ryan is the principal of Lanier High School, where she has been serving as the interim principal. Previously, she worked for Katherine Ryan Weslaco ISD. Bastrop ISD Lori Gracey, executive director of See WHO’S NEWS on page 26

Money continued from page 17

Suggested uses for Title I or IDEA stimulus funds • Tuition and stipends for teachers • Content-based mentoring and induction programs • Quality coursework, including Stem and dual-credit opportunities to increase postsecondary readiness • Target training and stipends to address strategies on developing effective IEPs • Preparation programs aligned with college- and career-readiness standards • Teachers’ tools to implement project-based learning • Expansion of Pre-K programs from half day to full day

offerings at all grade levels by the 20102011 school year. Mineral Wells ISD, one district in the network, has offered courses to a variety of students, from those seeking to get ahead by graduating early to those wanting to take credit-recovery courses. “For the most part, we’ve found it very easy to work with, and our kids have found it useful,” Curriculum Director Carolyn Cooper says. “But it’s important that the teachers … understand how to utilize an online course.” Adds Booker: “As we move forward, these sorts of things allow students to

collaborate and provide solutions to real-world problems. This is how business is done in this age, and students should be a part of that.”

RAVEN L. HILL is a writer based in Maryland. She specializes in education reporting and formerly worked at the Austin American-Statesman.

Suggested uses for stabilization funds • Targeted professional development • Virtual schools (including dualcredit coursework) • Intensive technology-based academic intervention • Resources for world languages in the elementary grades • Data systems improvements • Teacher assessment improvements • Teacher incentives programs • Physical plant investments (improvements to classroom space, science laboratories and technology access) • Technology products (interactive whiteboards, handheld technologies) • Development or expansion of Pre-K programs or full-day kindergarten programs • High school redesign • Based on needs identified by regional employers, investments in career and technical education equipment SOURCES: Texas Education Agency, U.S. Department of Education


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SPOTLIGHT continued from page 15

“I hope when I’m his age I’ll be that organized, “ she jests, adding that Johnson recently streamlined his operations even more by learning email. “I’ve witnessed many changes over the years, but human nature stays the same,” Johnson says. “Children are still warm and receptive to one-on-one attention. Even though they have all this technology surrounding them, they still need a one-on-one warm body to visit with.” That’s why, for much of his career, Johnson has made mentoring and personal visits to the homes of his students a priority. “It’s important to get parents to not only understand and support the education system, but to become a true working partner in it,” he says. “A school’s climate has to be such that the parents and students feel like they’re part of a family and we’re all working together.” Proud moments Johnson considers his role in helping Kirbyville CISD fully integrate its schools in the 1960s as one of his most significant accomplishments. He was principal of the junior high at the time. “There was a lot of tension in the air about it,” says Johnson, who recalls attending workshops with his fellow teachers and administrators on how to bring the different populations together. “[The community-building tactics] were mainly through sports, but there were other ways too. That’s really when I started doing my home visits. I did a lot of visiting and talking with families. “I think both communities understood that I had respect for them,” he says. “It was a matter of doing the footwork, getting to know the families and the names of every student.” His biggest hurdle today is trying to be in several places at once. “Trying to reach out to all the children and their families at a school this big — 800 students — is a challenge,” he says. “But once we include parents as part of the team, we are ahead of the game. I can’t really solve the problem without reaching out and bringing the parents in.” Over the years, Johnson has learned that educators have to take care of themselves to be of value in their jobs. “You can’t really help other people until you’re kind to yourself,” he says.

“Use your Saturday and Sunday as a small vacation so you can start fresh. Slow down and smell the roses.” True to his word, Johnson keeps a garden, and he and Maree have a campsite at Toledo Bend, where they enjoy weekends sitting on the pier and watching the boats and the wildlife. Johnson stays active in his church and the local theater, and he and Maree enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. The Johnsons have three children: Patricia Records, who works in human resources for NASA; Laurine Farmer, a third grade

teacher; and David Johnson, who serves on the parole board for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Johnson admits: “As long as I’m still kicking, I’ll be dealing in some way with children. That’s my number-one priority.” That’s just fine with Principal Hall. “The kids love him,” she says. “This is his calling in life.” MELISSA GASKILL is an Austin writer who regularly contributes to Family Fun, Texas Highways and Texas Parks & Wildlife.

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 22

instruction and technology, is the new executive director for the Texas Computer Education Association. An educator for 29 years, she began as a classroom teacher with Aldine ISD; she has been Lori Gracey a technology director for 23 years. She is nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in educational technology, having presented at more than 650 conferences and workshops. Additionally, Gracey has served with the International Society of Technology Education. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Mississippi University for Women; her master of arts degree is from the University of North Carolina. Birdville ISD April Chiarelli will become principal of North Ridge Elementary School next school year. She began her education career as a classroom teacher in Dallas ISD in 1999 and then moved on in 2000 to serve as a fifth April Chiarelli grade teacher in Birdville ISD. Chiarelli then served as assistant principal of Mound Elementary and principal of Bransom Elementary, both in Burleson ISD. Chiarelli earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas. The district’s new fine arts director is Daniel Detrick, who has been Birdville High School’s choral director since 2008. Prior to coming to Birdville ISD, he served in the same capacity at Colleyville Heritage High School in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, from 1996 to 2008. He also was choral director at Arlington ISD’s Young Junior High School, from 1988 to 1996. Detrick was awarded both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University. Blackwell ISD Abe Gott is the new superintendent. He comes from Crockett County CCSD. Corpus Christi ISD Carroll High School’s newest principal is Charles Chachere, currently assistant 26

Texas School Business • June 2009

superintendent for business management in Flour Bluff ISD. He has held administrative positions for 16 years, serving in RockportFulton ISD and Aransas County ISD, as well as Flour Bluff. For eight years, he also served as a teacher with Corpus Christi ISD. Chachere earned his bachelor of science degree in physical education and mathematics from Southwest State University (now Texas State University) and his master of science degree in mid-management from Corpus Christi State University. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Three administrators, whose service in public education equals an impressive 99 years, retired at the end of this school year. Leaving her academic career after 25 years will be Anne Odum, who spent 22 of those years with CypressFairbanks ISD. She started as a first grade teacher at Emmott Elementary School, and then moved Anne Odum to Moore Elementary, where she taught first and fourth grades. She served as assistant principal at Hancock Elementary and as an administrative intern at the Instructional Support Center before becoming principal of Matzke Elementary in 2000. Sue Romanowsky has been an administrator for 37 years, all of which have been in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. She started out as a classroom teacher at Adam Elementary School and Millsap Elementary. Romanowsky Sue Romanowsky then went to Francone Elementary to be a team leader and assistant principal and then principal, a post she has held for the past 17 years. Another 37-year veteran is Tom Strother, who began his career as a P.E. teacher at Holbrook Elementary School in 1972, going on to become a full-time coach and P.E. teacher at Dean Middle School. Tom Strother He then was a coach and teacher at Watkins Middle School, where he was later appointed assistant principal. He then was assistant principal of Camp-

bell Middle School and Langham Creek High School, before becoming principal of Dean Middle School. He returned to Langham Creek High in 2002 as the school’s principal. Four administrative appointments also were announced. The new associate principal of CyFair High School is Teresa Baranowski, formerly the associate principal of CyRidge High School. Replacing Romanowsky as principal of Francone Elementary will be Yvette Garcia, currently assistant principal of Holbrook Elementary. A 26-year veteran of public school education, she began her career as Yvette Garcia a classroom teacher in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD at Moore Elementary. She then taught in California for two years, before returning to the district to teach at Sheridan Elementary for nine years. Garcia then served as an instructional specialist and as assistant principal of Post Elementary. She has been at Holbrook for three years. Garcia earned her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and her master of education degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Replacing Odum as principal of Matzke Elementary School is Becky Koop. Currently the assistant principal of Warner Elementary, she is a 14year veteran educator. She began her career as a Becky Koop high school teacher in San Antonio and then came to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD as a teacher at Hancock Elementary School. She then served as an instructional specialist at Emmott Elementary and as assistant principal of Jowell Elementary. Koop earned her bachelor of science degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her master of education degree from Prairie View A&M University. Todd Thompson has been named athletic coordinator and head football coach at Langham Creek High Todd Thompson School. He was the as-

Who’s News sistant football coach at Cypress Falls High School. Thompson, a four-year letterman at his alma mater, Rice University, came to Cypress Falls in 1998 as the football team’s offensive line coach; he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2003. He also served as the school’s head track and field coach and head boys’ golf coach. Denton ISD Diane Blair will have completed 36 years as an educator, 29 of those spent in Denton ISD, when she retires this year. An administrator for 23 years, she has been principal of Crownover Middle School since the Diane Blair school opened in 2002. Prior to that, she was principal of Calhoun Middle School for eight years and also an assistant principal for both Wilson and Ginnings elementary schools. Blair has taught fifth and sixth grades at Sam Houston and Stonewall Jackson elementaries. Before coming to Denton ISD, Blair taught in Abilene and Pecos ISDs. Her bachelor’s degree is from Sul Ross State University and her master’s degree is from the University of North Texas. Additionally, she received mid-management certification from that institution, where she also has done doctoral work. Moving on from her role as associate principal of Denton High School to take Blair’s place as principal of Crownover Middle School will be Gwen Perkins. She has spent three years in her current Gwen Perkins position and has a total of seven years’ experience as an administrator. Before arriving in Denton, she spent four years as a teacher and coordinator at Trinity High School in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD and three years as assistant principal of Keller High School in Keller ISD. Perkins is a member of Denton ISD’s Education Improvement Committee and of the Ninth Grade Task Force; she serves on ESC Region 11’s board of directors for the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. Perkins received her bachelor’s degree in business education from Louisiana Tech University and her master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from

The University of Texas at Arlington. She is a Ph.D. candidate in applied technology, leadership and development at the University of North Texas. Angela Ricks is slated to serve as principal of a new school that is yet unnamed but scheduled to open for the 2010-2011 academic year. The Denton ISD Board of Trustees has charged Ricks with assisting in the school’s design, building and staffing. Ricks has been the assistant principal at Ryan High for seven years. Prior to that, she was a health science-technology education teacher at the school. She was awarded a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development and a master’s degree in applied technical training and development from the University of North Texas. She earned an associate’s degree in nursing from North Central Texas College. Fort Bend ISD Pat Shoffit will lead Juan Seguin Elementary School when it opens in August. An educator with 31 years of experience, she began her career as a second grade teacher in Clear Creek ISD. She joined Fort Bend Pat Shoffit ISD in the same role in 1990. Her first administrative appointment came in 1994 when she served as assistant principal for Dulles Elementary. Before being named principal of Palmer Elementary in 2005, a role in which she will serve for the remainder of this school year, Shoffit was the district’s elementary language arts coordinator, as well as the assistant principal for Colony Meadows Elementary. Shoffit earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from the University of Houston and a master of education degree from the University of North Texas. Frisco ISD Karen Fischer has been tapped to serve as principal for the new Early Childhood School. An educator since 1985, she came to Frisco ISD from Coppell ISD in 2006 to serve as the special education Karen Fischer coordinator. In addition to her administrative background, Fischer has been a diagnostician and a special edu-

cation teacher. She earned her degrees from the University of North Texas and Southeast Missouri State University. Phil Fuller will serve as athletic coordinator and head football coach at Lone Star High School, a new campus opening for the 20102011 academic year. He will begin his duties at the end of the 2009 football Phil Fuller season. Having joined Frisco ISD in 2005, Fuller is the defensive coordinator at Frisco High School. He held the same position at Howard Payne University for 13 years and was offensive coordinator at Kilgore College for eight years. His career in education began in 1971 and includes teaching and coaching in Mansfield and Plano ISDs. He has degrees from Austin College and East Texas State University (now Texas A&M at Commerce). Monica Jackson will lead Anderson Elementary School as its principal. A graduate of Texas Christian University and Texas A&M University at Commerce, she first came to Frisco ISD in 2001 as a counselMonica Jackson or at Borchardt Elementary, where she became assistant principal in 2006. Opening the new Allen Elementary School as its principal will be Teresa Wilkinson, who began her education career in 1986. In 1998, she joined Frisco ISD as a classroom teacher at Smith Elementary. Teresa Wilkinson She took on the duties of assistant principal at Anderson Elementary in 2004 and became the school’s principal in 2006. Wilkinson earned her degrees from the University of North Texas. Galen Zimmerman has been hired as the athletic coordinator and head football coach at Liberty High School. Zimmerman has been with Frisco ISD since 2006, serving as varsity offensive coordinator and Galen Zimmerman teaching math at Liberty High. He is a graduate of See WHO’S NEWS on page 28 June 2009 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 27

Taylor University in Indiana; he began his coaching and teaching career in Lewisville ISD in 1998. Irving ISD Bill Althoff will serve as assistant superintendent for personnel and administration. He has been with Irving ISD since 1974, when he came to Nimitz High School as a math teacher. From 1979 to 1986, he was vice principal first at Houston Middle

School and then at Nimitz High. In 1986, he stepped up to principal of Houston Middle School, and then later assumed the same role at Nimitz in 1989. He remained at Nimitz until accepting the job of direcBill Althoff tor of secondary curriculum and instruction in 1992. Althoff then served from 2003 to 2006 as assistant superintendent for support services. He graduated from the University of Dallas with a bachelor of arts degree and

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from the University of North Texas with a master of education degree. The new interim superintendent is Neil Dugger, who has been Irving ISD’s assistant superintendent for personnel and administration since 2006. He has been with Irving ISD since 1979, serving as a Neil Dugger teacher and principal in addition to his most recent role. Dugger’s bachelor of arts degree was conferred by Angelo State University, and both his master of education degree and doctorate of education are from the University of North Texas. Jim Ned CISD The new superintendent is Brant Myers. He comes to the district from Lampasas ISD, where he served in the same capacity. Previous roles include high school principal and superintendent in Sonora ISD and high school Brant Myers principal and middle school principal in Collinsville ISD. In addition to his administrative experience, Myers taught biology, earth science and physical science in Hico, Chilton, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Rio Vista, San Saba, Tyler and Snyder ISDs, as well as in Crockett County CCSD. He also was a football, basketball, track and weight training coach in those districts, serving as athletic director and head football coach at Chilton ISD. Myers earned a bachelor of science degree in secondary education from Angelo State University, and a master’s degree in educational administration and a mid-management certification from Tarleton State University. His doctorate in educational administration is from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Lake Travis ISD Jonathan “Johnny” Hill, currently chief financial officer for Seminole ISD, will take the position of assistant superintendent for business and financial services, effective July 1. A business and finance professional with more than Johnny Hill

Who’s News 20 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, Hill has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech University and an MBA from West Texas A&M University. Hill is also a CPA. Meridian ISD Scott Hogue, the district’s new superintendent, was formerly the superintendent of Throckmorton ISD. This is his first assignment outside Throckmorton ISD. He began as a coach and a teacher of biology, life Scott Hogue science, physical science and earth science. Ten years into his education career, Hogue became principal of Throckmorton High School; seven years ago, he was appointed superintendent of the district. Hogue has a bachelor of science degree in education from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, and a master of education degree from Texas Woman’s University. New Diana ISD The new superintendent is Joyce Sloan, who, until her new appointment, served as interim superintendent and assistant superintendent for curriculum for the district. In addition to her public school adJoyce Sloan ministrative background, Sloan also has served as a private school pre-K teacher in Washington D.C. and Chicago, and as an adult literacy instructor in Washington D.C. In Texas public schools, she has been a speech therapist in Forney ISD and a speech therapist, counselor, elementary school principal and director of special programs in Gilmer ISD. At the college level, Sloan has served as a guided studies instructor at El Centro Junior College in Dallas, a transitional entry instructor at Malcolm-King Community College in New York City, and an adult basic education instructor at Kilgore College. In the private sector, Sloan was a facilitation specialist at the Institute of Cultural Affairs International in Chicago. She has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Texas and her counseling certification from The University of Texas at Tyler. Her master of education degree is from Stephen F. Austin

State University, where she also completed principalship and superintendency work.

Refugio ISD Jack Gaskins comes to his new position as superintendent from Sundown ISD, where he has served as the high school principal for the past six years. Prior to that assignment, he was superintendent of Jack Gaskins Klondike ISD. With 22 years’ experience as an educator in Texas public and private schools, he has been an

Orange Grove ISD Taking the helm as superintendent is Lynn Burton, most recently the assistant superintendent of Sherman ISD. Quitman ISD The district’s new superintendent is Leland Moore, who comes to Quitman from Timpson ISD, where he also served as superintendent.

See WHO’S NEWS on page 30

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 29

elementary, middle school and high school principal and has taught science, reading and math at all levels. His bachelor of science degree in education is from Texas Tech University and his master of education degree is from Sul Ross State University. Round Rock ISD A longtime Carroll ISD educator has been tapped to lead Cedar Ridge High School, scheduled to open this fall. The new principal is Daniel Presley, the current principal of Carroll Senior High School since 1997. While at Carroll High, Presley began the Green Jackets student ambassador program and the Carroll Medical Academy. His campus achieved “exemplary” status from the Texas Education Agency for 12 consecutive years. In addition, Presley has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas and Texas Christian University, teaching classes in instructional leadership, curriculum design, community relations, communication and administrative leadership. Waco ISD Waco High School’s new head football coach is Danny Ramsey. He began his career in 1998 as an offensive line coach and recruiter for McPherson College in McPherson, Kan. In 2000, Ramsey became Danny Ramsey the running game coordinator and offensive line coach for Houston Christian High School. He then served as a coach in Marlin and Spring ISDs, before arriving in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in 2004. Ramsey was Cypress Creek High School’s offensive coordinator and assistant softball

coach before coming to Waco ISD. He has a bachelor of science degree from McPherson College and a master of education degree in administration and supervision from Phoenix University. Ramsey replaces Johnny Tusa, who retired in February after 37 years as a coach — 30 of which were with Waco ISD. Hired in 1986 as head football coach of the newly consolidated Waco High School, Tusa spent 23 seasons Johnny Tusa as the Lions’ coach, during which time the team advanced to state playoffs 19 times. West Oso ISD Mike Sandroussi, former superintendent of Edcouch-Elsa ISD, is now the superintendent of West Oso ISD. He has served as superintendent of SkidmoreTynan ISD and as principal of Calallen High School in Calallen ISD. He also has experience as a PK-K principal, assistant high school principal, math teacher and coach. Sandroussi received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&I University and Corpus Christi State University; he is completing doctoral work at The University of Texas – Pan American. Corrections In the April edition of Who’s News, we incorrectly stated the number of years Ellen Bell of Birdville ISD has worked in education. The correct number is 37 years, five of them in Birdville ISD. Also, in the May edition, we incorrectly stated Vicki Snokhous’ new position. She is the new principal at Arnold Middle School in Cypress-Fairbanks TSB ISD. We sincerely regret the errors.

Record crowd attends leadership conference in March Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented attracts 255 participants to event

Bettye Edgington of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, Pamela Cooper of Keller ISD, Patti Cryer of Marble Falls ISD and Jan DeLisle of Lovejoy ISD.

Wendy Hibbetts and Karen Furman of Kennedale ISD.

Deborah Smith of Royse City ISD and Johnny Wells of Sulphur Springs ISD.

Education consultant Patry Lernick with Merrill Hammons of Brownsville ISD.

Christina Flatt, Gerry Charlebois and Patricia Parker, all of Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

Susan Carroll and Ryan Davis of Temple ISD.

Linda Végh of Uvalde CISD and Beverly Jeffcoat of ESC Region 18.

Karen Morgan and Dawn Sprague of Temple ISD with Susan Stepp of Comanche ISD.

TAGT Executive Director Quentin Christian and TAGT President Cecelia Boswell.

Lisa Davis and Cheryl Rich of Kerrville ISD.

June 2009 • Texas School Business


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9:05:55 AM

From Our Readers Dear Katie Ford:

Dear Riney Jordan:

Thank you for the May cover story, “The upside of a down economy.” Many people agree that a possible silver lining in this low economy is the prospect of creating an opportunity for highly qualified professionals to get back into the workforce, while also providing a win-win situation for our students. This article shows that with proper support, content-rich professionals can become effective classroom instructors. The lining is indeed silver, and the time is indeed now. Tom Leyden, executive director Texas Association of Secondary School Principals

Great job with your column (“The Back Page: I will all ways love you,” January 2009) in Texas School Business! Each month when my issue arrives, I flip through it and your column is the first thing I read. Then I go back to the beginning and read everything else. I like knowing that it’s always there. Thanks for taking time to write it. Staci Stanfield, director of communications Tomball ISD

Dear Katie Ford: The article about me in Texas School Business (“In the Spotlight,” May 2009) was very well written and professionally done. I appreciate writer Elizabeth Millard’s words and was humbled by the content. Thank you for making this such a special reading for me. Richard L. Valenta, director of personnel services Birdville ISD

Dear John Young: I just finished reading your column (“Young’s Inbox: Been there, done what?” April 2009) in Texas School Business and could not have agreed with you more! It is certainly refreshing to see we actually have legislators who are finally listening to educators’ and parents’ concerns and are willing to introduce — and fight for — legislation to get our school systems back to a place of normalcy. Rick Summers, superintendent of schools Deweyville ISD TSB

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Representatives of districts and foundations strategize, network at Board2Board workshop Administrators and education foundation board members attended an April 23 Board2Board workshop in Corpus Christi. The event offered fundraising ideas and networking opportunities for individuals working with education foundations.

JJ Baskins of Education Capital and TSPRA Executive Director Judy Farmer.

South Texas ISD Education Foundation officers Deborah Avellano, Marla M. Guerra, Tony Garza, Graciela Camargo and Sonia E. Rodriguez with Milli Christner of Foundation Innovation. Flour Bluff ISD representatives (seated) Lynn Kaylor, Julie Carbajal and Alicia Needham; (standing) Sharon Trott and TSPRA Executive Director Judy Farmer.

Patricia Garcia of Corpus Christi ISD and Larry Goddard of Tyler ISD Education Foundation.

Milli Christner of Foundation Innovation, Fred Markham of Texas Pioneer Foundation and Suzi Pagel of Midway ISD Education Foundation.

Hillsboro ISD Superintendent Buck Gilcrease, Larry Goddard of Tyler ISD Foundation and Laurie Cromwell of Foundation Innovation. June 2009 • Texas School Business


THE BACK PAGE Advertisers Index

by Riney Jordan

Today a weed, tomorrow a hybrid


t was a perfect spring day. The wildflowers were at their peak, as bluebonnets, wine cups, and a host of unidentified flora swayed back and forth across a field of more green than you would find on St. Patrick’s Day. It was captivating. It was euphoric. It was better than any tranquilizer on the market. And then, amongst all of this natural beauty, I spied a plant that towered above the rest. Its leaves were spiked from one end to the other. Sharp nettles protruded from every stem. Its leaves weren’t green, but gray. “Yuck,” I said, almost instinctively. “Wish I had my garden hoe with me. I’d chop that prickly thing down in a minute.” “Really now,” responded the gentleman walking alongside me. “You might want to find out a bit more about that ‘ugly duckling’ before you chop her down. If you look long enough and hard enough, you might discover there’s beauty there that’s waiting to bloom.” “OK,” I said. “I’ll give it a chance.” So, several weeks later, I once again was strolling through this wildflower haven when something across the way caught my eye. There, in the middle of this field of withering bluebonnets, grew a plant covered in the most-delicate white flowers I had ever seen. Butterflies danced from flower to flower on the spiked plant. Words could not begin to describe the almost transparent petals that surrounded a soft, yellow center. Yes, it was breathtaking. I later learned that this plant is a white prickly poppy. In addition to the beautiful flowers it produces, its seeds are an excellent source of food for many varieties of birds. And then I remembered my friend’s words: “If you look long enough and hard enough, you might discover there’s beauty there that’s waiting to bloom.” As I stood there looking at this plant that I almost had discarded, I couldn’t 34

Texas School Business • June 2009

help but think of how often kids get the same “quick to judge” treatment. They don’t look or dress like the “pretty” kids, so they’re written off pretty quickly. “That one’s got to be a weed,” we assume. For whatever reason, they’re not able to achieve academically as well as some of the others. “Ought to put that one in a special class,” someone quickly suggests. They tend to look for attention in all the wrong ways. “No good can come from that one,” another mutters. But then we remember that every kid has a gift that is waiting to be discovered, not discarded; encouraged, not eliminated; developed, not destroyed. Like the prickly plant that stands back and waits to bloom, all children have the potential to blossom one day, and often they do with only a small amount of encouragement. There are so many stories about children who achieved success despite overwhelming obstacles. Have you ever heard the story of the young boy who loved to write — even though he only attended four years of school and found himself, at a young age, living on the streets, sleeping in abandoned buildings? It only took one acceptance letter from a publisher — one word of encouragement — for this young boy to grow up to become a literary legend. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? His name is Charles Dickens. Do you have such a gifted student in your life? A single word of encouragement might be all it takes for that child to blossom into a hybrid. Remember: If you look long enough and hard enough, you might discover there’s beauty there that’s waiting to bloom. RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book, “All the Difference,” is now in its fifth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@htcomp.net or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

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