TSB—June 2013

Page 1


June 2013

Educators share favorite tech tools

In the Spotlight Kay Stephens Linden-Kildare CISD

TASSP President Bruce Cunningham Smyer ISD

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TSB contents news and features

In the Spotlight Linden-Kildare CISD board pres serves alongside former students by John Egan

12 photo features TAGT hosts annual Leadership Conference


On the cover Educators share favorite tech tools by Terry Morawski


departments Who’s News


From Our Readers


Ad Index



TASSP President Profile Smyer ISD principal values relationships

From the Editor


The Law Dawg  —  Unleashed


Tech Toolbox


by Katie Ford


by Bobby Hawthorne

by Jim Walsh

by Terry Morawski

Game On!


The Back Page


by Bobby Hawthorne by Riney Jordan


Point of View Defining college-ready and career-ready By Ellen Williams

Cover image © Shutterstock.com 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 2013 • Texas School Business


Texas Parent PAC has best election cycle ever! The pro-public education political action committee—Texas Parent PAC— helped to elect 19 new members of the Texas Legislature in the 2012 primary and general elections. All 8 incumbent legislators endorsed in the general election won, too. With these victories, there are now 34 state representatives and 2 state senators who were elected with the endorsement and financial support of Texas Parent PAC. The political action committee was formed in 2005 and is recognized as one of the most powerful and effective PACs in the state. In 2012, Texas Parent PAC supported candidates in many ways, including campaign coaching, volunteer recruitment, endorsement news releases, promotion via email and Facebook, and donating more than $350,000 to pay for mailings, TV and radio advertising, phone call services, signs, and campaign staff. Election victories make a big difference for Texas schoolchildren and their families, as the PAC contributes to candidates who are strong supporters of public education. A list of winners is at www.txparentpac.com.

Texas Parent PAC is bipartisan and supports about an equal number of candidates from both major political parties in each election cycle.

Make a Contribution for More Legislative Winners in 2014 Please donate funds now so Texas Parent PAC can help to support strong Republican and Democratic legislative candidates in 2014 primary and general elections. Contribute online: www.txparentpac.com Contribute by mail: Texas Parent PAC, P.O. Box 303010, Austin, TX 78703-0051 Planning for 2014 elections is under way. If you know potential legislative candidates, contact Texas Parent PAC at info@txparentpac.com. Political Advertising www.txparentpac.com 4

Texas School Business • June 2013

From the Editor Here at Texas School Business we often talk about trying to be the “office water cooler” for K-12 administrators and staff across this grand state of ours. We want to be a connector, a place in print and on the Internet where education professionals can gather and share best practices and talk about what matters. With that in mind, I really like the cover story for this issue because it addresses a topic that many of you are investing in, experimenting with and figuring out: education technology. Tech Toolbox columnist Terry Morawski spoke with a handful of K-12 administrators and educators to find out what apps, software and gadgets they are using and how they are applying this technology in their jobs to improve performance — be it theirs or that of their students. Our June spotlight is the direct result of Linden-Kildare CISD’s superintendent, James Cowley, coming to me with an interesting story idea. His board president, Kay Stephens, is a former employee of the district, having served as a teacher and a librarian for many decades. We love hearing stories about individuals who have dedicated their lives to public education, but this story gets even better. All of the trustees went to school in Linden-Kildare CISD, and — at one time or another — Stephens served as their teacher or librarian. Imagine that: having the opportunity to teach and mentor a child and then reunite with that person in their adult years to collaborate as peers on a school board. It’s truly a unique situation, and I’m grateful that Mr. Cowley reached out to me so you folks could learn about this lady in Linden-Kildare CISD who personifies servant leadership. Please don’t forget to keep your Bragging Rights nominations coming. We want to hear from you! Visit the Special Editions section of www.texasschoolbusiness.com for more information. Katie Ford Editorial Director

IIn ns su urra an nc ce e P Pu urrc ch ha as siin ng g P Po ow we err R Riis sk k M Ma an na ag ge em me en ntt C Co on ns su ullttiin ng g

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26th Annual Conference on

Education Law for Principals produced by Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest, in conjunction with TASSP

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Austin Convention Center 500 East Cesar Chavez Street Austin, TX 78701 This Conference on Education Law for Principals features presentations on legal issues of particular concern to school principals and other campus-level personnel as well as superintendents, school board members, and school attorneys. View all the details and register at www.legaldigestevents.com.

ConfErEnCE ToPiCs & sPEakErs inCLudE: mAintAining A sAfe CAmpus: whAt Are your options? Jim WaLsh – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Austin, Texas where Are your students? truAnCy & other student AttendAnCe issues david P. ThomPson, Ph.d. – University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas teACher evAluAtions: legAl issues & prACtiCAl strAtegies sandra CarPEnTEr – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Houston, Texas the lAtest on bullying & hArAssment in our sChools david hodgins, Thompson & Horton, Houston, Texas soCiAl mediA & the lAw WaynE hagLund – The Haglund Law Firm, Lufkin, Texas whAt the prinCipAl needs to know About speCiAl eduCAtion lAw gigi maEz – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Irving, Texas ConduCting legAlly defensible & effeCtive employee investigAtions sara LEon – Powell & Leon, San Antonio, Texas

www.legaldigestevents.com 6

Texas School Business • June 2013

THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh

I love my job


ne of the great things about being a school lawyer is that we get to read, study and talk about the most interesting court cases in the history of the world. Not all lawyers have that privilege. My brother-in-law is an excellent attorney at a big firm in Dallas. But he works in the area of energy law, oil and gas and complicated contracts. He reads cases involving royalty interests, easements, indemnity, collateral estoppel (don’t ask) and other such arcana. Not me. I get to read cases involving “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” and cheerleaders with “a hickey on the breast” and research the First Amendment’s application to “I (heart) Boobies” bracelets. Not only do I get to read and study these cases, I get to talk about them in front of hundreds of people. I get to use words like hickey and boobies in a professional environment because, after all, I am merely quoting from the court’s opinion! What a job benefit! The “boobies” case is pending before the 3rd Circuit, en banc. This is just the latest clash of student free-speech with The Man. The Man wants order, discipline and control. The students want freedom! The First Amendment guarantees us Americans freedom of expression, but, of course, when Madison and those guys wrote it, they were not thinking about seventh graders in a public school. I encourage you to visit the 3rd Circuit’s website, where you can download and listen to the oral arguments in the case of B.H. v. Easton Area School District (warning: It’s a 32M file): http://1.usa. gov/103YpGQ. This hour-long audio features some of the country’s finest legal minds grappling with the application of the First Amendment, written in the 18th century, to a six-word sentence written on a bracelet worn by an adolescent girl in a 21st century public school. The six words were: “I (heart) Boobies. Keep A Breast.” To me, the dramatic highlight of the oral argument came when the lawyer representing the school district exclaims

in frustration: “But your honor, THESE ARE SEVENTH GRADE BOYS! You are throwing a match on a boiling cauldron of hormones!” The lawyer cites the testimony of the English teacher who struggled to keep these hormonally intoxicated youth on task while discussing a poem about the snow on the “breast of the hill.” It appears that no mention of certain body parts, no matter in what context, is safe in the minds of seventh grade boys.

‘I get to use words like hickey and boobies in a professional environment because, after all, I am merely quoting from the court’s opinion! What a job benefit!’ When you get past the comic aspects of the case, there is a serious issue to be addressed. I found it interesting that in the oral argument, it seemed to be the female judges who were less offended by the bracelets. Perhaps they were simply more in tune with the purpose: to raise awareness of breast cancer and the steps that young women need to take to prevent it. The informal slang of the bracelets was a deliberate effort to encourage young girls to get past the embarrassment of talking about their bodies. The decision of the 3rd Circuit will be an important one for school administrators charged with balancing student free-speech with order in the classroom. But I am hoping that this one goes to the Supreme Court. If it does, I will not predict the outcome. But I will predict one thing: Justice Scalia will have a field day with this case. JIM WALSH, an attorney with Walsh Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C., serves as editor in chief of Texas School Business. He can be reached at jwalsh@ wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @jwalshtxlawdawg.

Keep Current As all school administrators, board members, and school attorneys know, school law does not stand still. L GAS T AS LE E TEX OL G I O The Legal Digest SCH RS’ D ATO TR is dedicated to INIS ADM providing relevant, timely and comprehensive reporting, analysis Now in its and training on all 29th year of aspects of school law. publication . , L.P tions blica lsh e Pu Plac r: Jim Wa s Park ito Childres Siff d r sher: ing Ed Publi Manag r: Jennife ficer: Te Of om Edito erating t.c Op iges gald Chief w.le

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n” Numb itutio e 27, const the “re from ce. Both an arose case cases perform In one hat nt Both rs. t. W stude amine cher los the poor tea ng ex of heari case, the decision ww l the cy. other nera cases, the Agen y Ge both .. office torne by DE . cases, one Atissioner’ss. Here upheld mm cision INSI t nfire gie cour the Co e Bo OK ess de the Ag tock ort 11 from Aggi proc over A LO we rep cisions due tion Coms de Litiga wen v. ort this ation month This on, three ial educ se by Bo we rep or not ec ini mp sp ion Op a gli decis whether vereign three hlights. vides ps in to — and ste ) pro issue same “so The the hig ge 10 agency es. are . ion to the cy (pa state of truste ts, but T.E.A ucat en Agen ich the of ard Ed is um on l rs is ia ucati the bo of arg in wh . Th cial Powe Spec xas Ed situation removes a variety rsuasive ruling ee spe v. Te e r thr ll inary m pe t and with Ross very rar Of ou of you wi timely of the a prelim distric effort of the school ght this find any t rather y relief. many sting and t al bu to rar a loc board fou did no s case, intere likely tempo ities. urt are in thi tion for nsibil local eral co ts we ion po sen cis mo res cer ) pre the fed final de trict’s find” dis ge 11 tly failed ng offi not the school en in heari ys (pa torne inadvert opinion ral e! on the ty ’s ict At ne mor ests Distr rrant Coun y General The ge sted And t). unty Requ ne a ue n. Ta Attor . u of PIA on Ac nt Co s req In lie es, issues Tarra al situatio st for an Informati that wa disclosed v. ue be Doe er unusu blic ation of cas wg ely req uest (Pu inform , would anoth ke a tim ore the Da with req t the m a PIA e is tha and theref ws. to ma new along sho cas nse to c, two respo such a be publi this case Board lcome Case in to we sting a rule sumed to tions, as hted Intere ge 13) t delig is pre are excep (pa Most tha cy We areory ation ard for st ISD, l There Agen ’s Aw rth Ea of Educ appraisa Advis the wg No at e er Da ing v. n the e the ission nistrativ study e Hall Actio dridg We giv nth to the Commthe admi is worth ating the Al e me mo this from tails of so this on for evalu er agreed welco ion de s ion ” he decis of the rare, and bilitie mmiss valid Co ponsi some es are s “in flawed, s l wa ve res hile the sses cas addre s. Such u who ha tors. W r appraisa praisal wa problem proces se of yo administra l, that he h the ap was no d people ug re name by tho ance of a principa Even tho And the rm of un ief. lid. Hall, up” perfo Ms. further rel n was va cus gro l. d th lan wi ick ). a “fo ncipa d no n pla —Str ordere erventio t’s use of t the pri s ISD (page 18 ou Dalla the int distric ation ab from Dallas ISD the ions inform with decis ussaint v. ther d two to ga To o issue ) and .A. als (page 17 , and The T.E s ISD Cases lla le of v. Da Tab ex,

The Legal Digest leads off with an in-depth article on a contemporary school law topic written by Texas attorneys and legal commentators.

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The rest of the issue is devoted to digests of the latest federal and state rulings, Commissioner decisions, special education hearing officer decisions, and Attorney General opinions affecting Texas schools. Adding a dash of humor to each issue is Jim Walsh’s “Law Dawg” column. Published ten times a year, the Legal Digest provides the latest developments in the law to help administrators stay abreast of this rapidly changing field and avoid litigation.

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Seventh Annual Bragging Rights 2013-2014 published by Texas School Business magazine It’s that time again: Texas School Business wants to brag about you! Submit your nomination today for possible inclusion in the Seventh Annual Bragging Rights 2013-2014 special issue, which honors 12 deserving school districts and their innovative programs. Every winter, Texas School Business publishes and distributes this special issue to more than 8,000 stakeholders in Texas public education. With pass-along readership, the magazine reaches an audience of 25,000 readers! Does your school or district have a program that’s wildly successful? Then you could be featured among our Top 12! HOW DO I NOMINATE A PROGRAM? Simply fill out a nomination form by visiting the Special Editions section of www.texasschoolbusiness.com. An independent panel of respected Texas education leaders will review and select the final 12. Winners will be announced with the debut of the Seventh Annual Bragging Rights 2013-2014 special issue on Dec. 2, 2013.

RULES • Nominated programs must have been in operation for at least one school semester. • There is no limit on number of nominations submitted per school or school district.

Questions? Contact Texas School Business Editorial Director Katie Ford at katie@texasschoolbusiness.com.



Texas School Business • June 2013

Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski

Are trade organizations old school?


rofessional organizations have long been an important part of the education landscape. There are groups for every school employee, from transportation to technology directors. Once upon a time, the events put on by these groups were the best and really only way to connect with others in your field. But things change, and the advent of online communication and social media are causing many to reflect on the relative value of these organizations. If you are a staff member of an organization or a super fan of your favorite organization, please continue reading. There is good news below, and this is not a bashing session by any means. In the same way we ask teachers to reboot their classrooms for the new digital world or superintendents to reconsider how their districts communicate with parents and staff, professional groups must think about how they operate. Much like school districts, the answers are not as simple as launching a Facebook page or Twitter profile. I think there is real value to professional organizations, even in the digital age. I also think it is worth it to encourage young professionals to engage with these organizations. This advice comes with a caveat though: Professional organizations must work hard to remain relevant and appeal to veterans and newcomers. To help out, I created a list of reasons to join and reasons to ditch a professional organization: Top 3 reasons to join 1. Real face time: There is still immense value in meeting with people in person. Online tools have drawn us all a bit closer in cyberspace, but it is no substitute for faceto-face interaction. Online social interaction saps nonverbal cues and much of the human element out of everyday communication. 2. Meet new people: Whether you are an independent thinker who mostly talks to your cat or a central administration staffer who mostly interacts with the same small group of people, there’s real value in branching out and having a few new conversations. Also, you learn quickly in which areas you

(or your school organization) are ahead of or behind the curve. 3. Leadership experience: Every organization I have been involved with is looking for people to head up committees and perform other functions like updating a website, managing a LinkedIn group or lining up speakers. Perhaps you are a person who needs to prove to your managers that you are leadership material. Or perhaps you simply want the valuable experience of working within a leadership group. You also will gain insight into financial aspects, politics and other areas that are possibly not part of your regular experience. Top 3 reasons to ditch 1. You’re bored: If you aren’t engaged in what is going on, then get out. 2. The pinch: In some way, every family/individual or company is feeling a pinch of the current economy. Most professional organizations are not cheap. There’s typically an annual membership and then related costs, like meals and transportation to events. It might simply be too expensive to play along right now 3. It’s for my résumé: Professional organizations are nice additions to an already great résumé, but I’d hedge it will not be the single thing that sways a hiring manager. This can even work against you. I have spoken to several managers who will turn a critical eye to job candidates who seem to spend most of their time on professional organizations. It begs the question, “How much real work did they have time for?” I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, whether you agree, disagree or have your own spin. As always, good luck out there.

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TERRY MORAWSKI is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. Please send all future column ideas, reading suggestions, questions and comments to terrymorawski@gmail.com or connect with him on Twitter, @terrymorawski. June 2013 • Texas School Business


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Texas School Business • June 2013

GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne

The trick is to be wise, not a wise guy


esson 1: Smart and clever are not the same. Commentary: When I was 17 or 18, I drove my ’68 Ford Fairlane through the plate-glass window of Paul’s Grill at around 2 in the morning — about four hours after I’d called my mother and told her I was home and headed for bed. She worked as a nurse at Good Shepherd Hospital, and my dad was out of town on business. “Good night,” she said. “I’ll see you in the morning.” After hanging up the phone, my two brothers and I jumped into my car, collected a couple of buddies and played a few innings of mailbox baseball. At around 1:30 a.m., we pulled up to the diner for a quick bite. Before exiting the car, my brother tossed the bat and it landed perfectly between the brake and accelerator. After our meal, we piled back into my Ford. I pulled the transmission into reverse and tapped the brake, which pushed the stick, which pushed the accelerator and nudged us toward Highway 80. I panicked, ripped it into drive, stomped the brake and ended up slamming into the diner, knocking some guy out of his booth and scattering waitresses like screeching barn owls. The next morning, my apoplectic mother demanded an explanation, and the best I could come up with was, “There was a sign on the side of the building that said, ‘drive-thru window,’ so I did.” She’s 85 and still angry about it to this day. Lesson 2: Cute is no substitute for clever. Commentary: As a young reporter in Tyler, I was instructed to interview a bank president about changing state laws that would clear the way for ATMs and such, a subject about which I knew nothing. In my idiocy, I wrote the following: “In this fruit salad called life, the banker is the top banana.” If it’s not the worst lede in American newspaper history, it’s close.

She hated it, but I needed further confirmation, so I sent a copy to Jim Walsh, who was nice enough to suggest, “A little sensitivity would be good,” when in reality, he meant, “I hate it.” In my defense, I hadn’t been sleeping well lately. Fortunately, I had also just finished “Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen,” by Joe Drape, a sportswriter for The New York Times. Drape, his wife and their 3-year-old son spent a year in this tiny Western Kansas hamlet, almost as far away removed from the nearest McDonald’s (90 miles) as it is the 21st century. Think “Hoosiers.” But unlike “Hoosiers,” the reader knows right away that the local boys will win the state title and, in the process, set a state record for consecutive victories. It’s on the cover. But then, the story isn’t about the “what.” It’s the “who” and the “how” that are so fascinating, and the most interesting “who” is head coach Roger Barta, a balding, pot-bellied, barrelchested grandpa who looks like he should be making commercials for Quaker Oats. Here are a few of Barta’s observations: • “None of this is really about football. We’re going to get scored on eventually and lose a game, and that doesn’t mean anything. What I hope we’re doing is sending kids into life who know that every day means something.” • “Life is basically doing the same thing everybody else does every day. Fulfilling lives come with doing these things with passion, working constantly on the details that no one but you really sees.” • “I know God doesn’t care about wins and losses, but he cares about how we are and how we lead our lives.” The wise old man inside me says, “Don’t try to top that. Just end your column.” This time, I’m taking his advice.

Lesson 3: When in doubt, seek wise counsel. Commentary: My first attempt at a column for this magazine dealt with a complicated issue, which I treated flippantly. I knew it, so I did the unthinkable: I asked my wife to read the first draft.

BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.

The Independent Voice for Public Education in Texas for 59 Years Since 1954, Texas School Business has published the good news for and about Texas educators and the vendors who serve the public schools. Today, Texas School Business is considered an institution among school leaders and decision makers. Each issue includes: • In-depth features on Texas public education • Who’s News • The Law Dawg – Unleashed • Photo features of association events • Educator and administrator profiles • Riney Jordan • Bobby Hawthorne • Terry Morawski • And more…

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June 2013 • Texas School Business


In the


Teacher-turned-trustee Kay Stephens presides on board with former students by John Egan


ay Stephens didn’t want this story to be about her. She wanted it to be about the entire seven-member board of trustees for Linden-Kildare CISD in Northeast Texas, near the borders of Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. That plea demonstrates Stephens’ humility and gentility. “Don’t make this about me. Let it be about those with whom I serve,” says Stephens, who is president of the board. “We may be the only school board in our state that has the characteristics we have. I don’t know, but I would think we’re unique.”

What are those characteristics? First off, all seven board members graduated from Linden-Kildare CISD. Secondly, Stephens served as either a teacher or librarian to the other six board members when they were in school. Stephens heaps praise on every one of her fellow board members: Randy Fitts, Curtis Harrison Jr., Robby Johnson, Tammy Palmer, Tracy Spaniol and Marlon Sullivan. She says they demonstrate teamwork and mutual respect. “I’m very proud of the members of this board. I appreciate the fine human beings that they are,” Stephens says. “I appreciate

the fact that they love their community. I appreciate the fact that they’re Christian people who are good family people, and they’re honest people and they set good examples.” Harrison, who serves as vice president on the board, says Stephens sets a good example as well. He says Stephens — whose ever-present politeness shines through in a conversation — commands great respect from her fellow board members and from the Linden-Kildare community. “I respected her throughout my high school years, and I still respect her today,” Harrison says. “The district is truly blessed

Linden-Kildare CISD Board President Kay Stephens (seated, center) at one time served as a teacher or librarian to the other board members when they attended school in the district. Also pictured are (seated, left to right) Curtis Harrison Jr., vice president, and Tracy Spaniol, secretary; (standing, left to right) members Randy Fitts, Tammy Palmer, Marlon Sullivan and Robby Johnson. 12

Texas School Business • June 2013

to have her as president of Linden-Kildare CISD. She truly cares about the district, the students and the community.” Linden-Kildare CISD has three schools and about 800 students. The district’s superintendent, James Cowley, recently was named Texas Rural Education Association’s Superintendent of the Year. Harrison says one of Stephens’ best traits is her thoughtful evaluation of an issue before making a statement or decision. “If there is a problem or situation that she has no knowledge of, she takes time to research the situation before a board meeting and keeps each board member informed to the best of her knowledge,” he says. Stephens’ knowledge of the district and the community runs deep. In 2007, she retired after a 33-year career with LindenKildare CISD, where she was the high school librarian and taught upper-level English, speech, reading and ESL. “I enjoyed my career, and when I retired, I was still having a good day every day,” she says. “I wanted to retire when I still felt that way.” Stephens’ connection to the district extends beyond her tenure as an employee. Her mother and father were teachers in the district, and she graduated from the local high school. Except for nine years in Arkansas as a college student and a librarian, Stephens has spent her entire life in Linden, whose famous former residents include ragtime musician Scott Joplin, Eagles lead singer Don Henley and blues musician T-Bone Walker. Stephens says she didn’t imagine returning to Linden after moving to Arkansas. Yet decades later, she remains devoted to her community, which she says “is very dear to me. I choose to be here.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT KAY STEPHENS Name one thing you miss about teaching: Working daily with students. What has serving on the board taught you? Greater respect and consideration for the needs of all students. If you started your career all over and you couldn’t work in public education, what would you do? Genealogical research/archival work.

Only weeks after her retirement, Stephens was tapped to fill an unexpired term on the school board. She has served on the board ever since and is now in her second school year as board president. Stephens says she strives to do her “very, very best” for the district’s students, parents, employees, taxpayers and constituents. When it comes to serving on the board, Stephens says that being a former employee of the district hasn’t made her any smarter or any better prepared. However, having been a teacher or librarian to every board member does give her an edge. “I know them very well,” she says with a laugh, “and they know me very well.”

Though Stephens downplays her time in the classroom as an advantage, Harrison says her insight helps the other board members understand what to expect from teachers in regards to student-to-teacher ratios, lesson planning, testing and so forth. So, how much longer will the LindenKildare CISD board be able to benefit from Stephens’ experience and insight? “I serve at the direction of God on that. I believe that He directs my life,” she says. “That’s foremost for me to think about. He opens the doors for me and closes the doors for me, and that’s just the way I’ve lived my life.” JOHN EGAN is a freelance writer in Austin.

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June 2013 • Texas School Business


The tools and apps we love by Terry Morawski


he 2012-2013 school year has been a year of great promise. Many districts launched their first 1:1 or introduced new “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies. Moreover, the market gave us a healthier selection of compact, yet powerful, devices like tablets and netbooks. The year provided a breather too, as there was no Earth-shattering technology announcement, such as the unveiling of the iPad in 2010. Truth is, school administrators, tech directors and teachers continue to struggle with the sheer volume of tools and resources already available. Many questions linger. What will be the perfect technological fit for students with wide-ranging learning styles? What tool is scalable and can be supported by tech departments? To find out what our educator friends were thinking, we took to the streets (digitally, of course) and asked a few of them.


Texas School Business • June 2013

Kim Garcia, education technology coordinator for Georgetown ISD and former high school computer teacher, says her favorite classroom app is Socrative. According to the company’s website, Socrative is “a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops and tablets.” If you have ever attended a presentation at a conference and the presenter did a quick survey of the audience via text message, the experience is much the same with Socrative. You can learn more about the product or watch a video demo here: www.socrative.com. “It is a great way for teachers to do formative assessment through quick quiz-

zes and exit tickets,” says Garcia. “Socrative is an app and a website, so students can use a variety of devices to respond, not just a specific tablet.” Garcia also loves Socrative because it has many of the same functions as student response systems (“clickers”) without the expense. (She also loves the Educreations app. Both are listed on the TCEA list included with this article.) Garcia says her district is in the process of issuing iPads to every teacher. After receiving the iPads, teachers will complete an iPad basic training program. During the online training, teachers also are exposed to a few apps that may be useful in the classroom. You can check out Georgetown ISD’s training format and materials here: www.georgetownisd.org/ ipadbasictraining.

“I think the number of tools and apps available for teachers can be a bit overwhelming,” Garcia says. “What’s nice about apps is that they are relatively inexpensive, as compared to most software and hardware, which makes apps more accessible to teachers. Evaluating five 99cent apps is more manageable than evaluating five $100 software programs or five $1,000 hardware systems.” She says this often takes care of itself as quality apps will rise to the top through professional and peer recommendations. Kylie Moss, a fourth grade teacher from Midlothian ISD, says her favorite app is Show Me. “It is a great tool for making classroom videos and facilitating a flipped classroom model,” says Moss. “It’s as if they have their own personal tutor to help them with a math concept — either in the classroom or at home.” For those unfamiliar with the term “flipped classroom,” this is a model where teachers videotape their lessons and lectures. The students watch the lessons for homework and then class time is spent on asking questions, refining

concepts or facilitating group work. Many teachers are finding early success with the model. Moss says her close runner-up favorites are Google Drive and Apple’s Keynote. Google Drive offers free online file storage. Drive users also can use Google Doc tools to edit, share and collaborate in a variety of formats. Keynote is Apple’s presentation software product. Many fans of Keynote like the ease of editing on the fly via their iPads, as well as Apple’s eye for stylish templates. She says she loves them because they incorporate the power of social media and they help students to facilitate their own learning. It’s exciting to watch the ways in which students create and explore independently, she says. “The kids have loved creating Keynote presentations, iMovie trailers and Google Docs and sharing their ideas with fellow classmates,” says Moss, who is part of Midlothian ISD’s Project Launch team. The team was created to explore and develop innovative strategies for 1:1. Check out her Project Launch blog at http://mossklbe.blogspot.com.

Patti Flanary, instructional technologist with Glen Rose ISD, loves the ActivInspire software for the Promethean Whiteboard. “The software is my favorite because it turned our teachers’ work into a digital format,” says Flanary. “These files were able to be shared with students and other staff. Our teachers started collaborating with other staff who taught the same subject area.” Flanary says she thinks the world is so full of opportunities that most teachers feel overloaded. She says teachers need to keep reminding themselves that they don’t have to personally use every tech tool; they only have to allow students to use them freely. “I admit that some of our parents have had a hard time adjusting to this idea,” says Flanary. “They want the teachers to ‘teach’ each and every step about how to use a tool.” She says she feels students are most successful when they are using the tool that makes them the most comfortable, which will not be the same for every student. See APPS on page 16

June 2013 • Texas School Business


APPS continued from page 15

As for training, Glen Rose ISD offers summer training, mini-conferences at the beginning of school, after-school training and just-in-time training. Flanary uses the free Web app youcanbook.me so teachers can book training time with her. Youcanbook.me syncs with her Google Calendar, thus saving her another step. She says she has learned not to rush new concepts. “We need to remember that it takes a lot of effort for teachers to change the way they teach and adjust to 21st century teaching and learning,” she says. “We need to give the teachers time, time and more time.” Andy Berning, chief information and technology officer for CarrolltonFarmers Branch ISD, says he continues to be impressed by 3D and interactive projectors coupled with high-quality sound systems. He says this may sound like a basic thing, but he feels this level of presentation helps to engage students. Berning says student-owned devices are having a big impact on instruction, classroom behavior and budgeting. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, when paired with a lending library program, can empower students in ways we do not fully understand yet, he says. Many districts share the challenge of how to share the virtual mountain of

apps available to their teachers. In CarrolltonFarmer’s Branch ISD, Berning’s crew first vets apps to make sure they align with instructional goals and their existing technology infrastructure. Once cleared through this digital review process, the app is highlighted on the district’s Virtual Information Center (VIC) site. Staffers also are encouraged to give feedback on the apps via the VIC site. You can check it out at vic.ucxs.net.

Many schools are shifting to mobile Internet devices, such as iPads/Android tablets or smartphones, says Jennifer Bergland of the Texas Computer Education Association.

Jennifer Bergland, director of governmental relations and membership services for the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), says her definition of a “hot” educational tool is really any device or application that is used by administrators or teachers to effectively engage students. “We see schools moving to mobile Internet devices, such as iPads/Android tablets or smartphones,” says Bergland. “These devices allow them to utilize the latest apps that cannot only provide them with digital content, but also [provide them with] ways to collaborate and interact with the content and other learners in

creative ways. In addition to apps, these devices allow students and teachers to use social media, such as Google Docs, wikis and learning management systems such as Edmodo.” Edmodo is a free learning platform in which teachers can host classroom assignments and communication. Students and parents are also able to create accounts to interact with teachers’ pages. In addition to managing assignments, teachers also can manage a class calendar and take advantage of many educational apps built into Edmodo. Edmodo also openly encourages app developers to develop for their sites. Bergland says because of the shift toward Web-based mobile tools, it’s imperative that teachers and administrators learn how to make the most of them in classrooms that likely are quite different than the ones they knew as children. Ultimately, the effectivenes of a technology tool is determined by the skill of the teacher — not the device itself.

What’s next?

3D and interactive projectors with high-quality sound systems are favorites of Andy Berning, chief information and technology officer for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. He says these tools make for classroom presentations that keep students engaged. Courtesy of JISC RSC Scotland 16

Texas School Business • June 2013

If educators could create a “wish list” of technology tools, Dr. Berning says he hopes that software developers will continue to crowd source from their clients to create the next best thing. In other words, don’t forget the end users while in the development lab. He also says any tool or app that replaces expensive or outdated software will be a winner. Another big-ticket item seems to be making Microsoft Office available on the iPad. This is not a wholesale rejection of Apple’s suite of productivity software. For example, many iPad users I have spo-

ken to prefer the ease and functionality of Apple’s Keynote presentation software, but prefer Microsoft Word to Apple’s Pages. According to ZDnet.com, the current target date for a Microsoft Office release for iPad is October 2014. Technology tools, from tablet computers to intuitive apps like Socrative, are gaining steam and helping educators better engage and empower students. At the same time, administrators continue to struggle with the best ways to share the seemingly endless inventory of apps and hardware with teachers, forever minding the costs that come with those tools. Nevertheless, it’s a great time to be involved in education. And if any developers out there are paying attention, be sure you engage teachers and administrators in your process. We can’t wait to see the next big thing you develop for the classroom!

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TERRY MORAWSKI writes the Tech Toolbox column for Texas School Business and is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. His favorite app is Google Docs and his favorite tool is his Samsung Galaxy phone.

Top 12 recommended apps for teachers and administrators, according to the Texas Computer Education Association You can read the full list at www.tcea.org/ipadlist. Lists are organized by subject area and school level. Ask3 (free) – Allows teachers and students to ask and answer each other’s questions through text and video. ClassDojo for Teachers (free) – Helps teachers improve behavior by recording daily behavior. Also records data for sharing with parents and administrators. Doodle Buddy (free with ads) – Fingerpainting app with the ability to add text. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard (free) – Converts your iPad into a recordable whiteboard for saving tutorials, lessons or slideshows with commentary. Find My iPhone (free) – Helps iPad owners find their iPad or iPhone by using the app on any other iOS device. The app will show the location on a map, play a sound (if nearby) or assist you in locking down the device remotely for safety. i-Nigma QR Code (free) – Turns your iPad into a QR (or “Quick Response”) Code reader. A QR code is a graphic that, when scanned by a QR app, directs a device to a Web address. Many schools use these to help promote events, share assignments and more. iTunes U (free) – Access lessons from a deep library of universities and K-12 schools. Teachers also can post and share lessons. Socrative (free) – Create surveys that can be shared live via a projector with a computer or iPad connected to the Internet. Effective uses include classroom spot checks for knowledge retention among students or to gauge consensus during a staff meeting. TED (free) – The TED app is a quick reference version of the popular video site. It features thought-provoking presentations from a wide variety of experts. Twitter (free) – Many teachers and principals, especially at the secondary level, have embraced Twitter as a quick mass communication tool. The Weather Channel (free) – There are many weather apps out there, but this one is often regarded as the gold standard. Zite (free) – Zite creates a personalized reading list for you based on your interests. June 2013 • Texas School Business


TASSP PRESIDENT profile Smyer ISD principal emphasizes relationships by Bobby Hawthorne


ou either love West Texas or you hate it, and Bruce Cunningham loves it — especially the high plains of the Llano Estacado, despite the oil field detritus, the abandoned grain elevators, the dry creek beds and the scrubby mesquite. He loves the cool night skies and the spectacular sunsets. Mostly, he loves the people. Cunningham is a high school principal in Smyer ISD and the president of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. He grew up in Fort Worth and attended R. L. Paschal High, which is a brisk 10- or 12-minute walk from the Texas Christian University campus. He figured he’d be a lawyer like his father and entered Texas Tech University as a political science

major with those intentions. By the end of his sophomore year, however, he knew he’d never be a lawyer, and he knew he’d never return to Fort Worth. He was going to teach, and he was going to teach out there. “I had an aunt and an uncle who were both teachers in Big Spring, and they were driving forces in my decision to go into education,” Cunningham says. “In college, I enjoyed the whole school process and that sealed the deal. I enjoyed the relationships with my professors and with other students, and I actually enjoyed going to class.” As a child, Cunningham remembers the year he couldn’t go to class. He was 8, a day away from entering the third grade. While out riding his bike, he was struck by a car. Both legs were broken in two places.

One was so mangled that doctors didn’t bother to set it. They put him in a body cast and chose to deal with it later. They had bigger concerns. Cunningham suffered massive head injuries. He would be in a coma for six weeks. “I came out of it not even knowing who my parents were,” he says. In a typical West Texas understatement, he adds, “It took a while to get everything back.” Did the experience change him? Not really, he insists. He could never play football or any contact sport, so he took up tennis and advanced to the regional semifinals. “I can run. I’m not in any pain,” he says. “I have scars all over, but that’s it.” He still plays, every Sunday.

Principal Bruce Cunningham visits with two high school journalism students, Cassi Hernandez (left) and Kristen Taylor. 18

Texas School Business • June 2013

Cunningham took his first job as a government/economics teacher at Plainview High in Plainview ISD. After six years there, he inched into administration, first as an assistant principal and later as principal at Frenship High School in Frenship ISD, and then as principal for the past 11 years at Smyer High School — a speck of a school in a tiny town of the same name, located halfway between Lubbock and Levelland. At last count, Smyer’s population hovered around 475. The café, the cotton gin, almost all of the businesses except for one convenience

Fun Facts about Bruce Cunningham The most challenging part of being a high school principal: Serving the needs of our students when regulations change and our budget is diminishing. In your role as TASSP president, how do you relate to the problems facing principals of urban and large suburban schools? There are certain issues that schools of all sizes face because state rules and regulations apply to us all. However, there are size-specific challenges. One of my objectives this year has been to stress that all principals should be vocal on school issues, particularly in a legislative year. The decisions made by our Legislature affect all of us, but the extent of the effects may differ depending on the size of the campus. All educators should make sure they build relationships with their legislators, even in non-legislative years.

store and two churches — one Baptist and one Church of Christ — have moved on. What’s left is a community of hardscrabble parents and their tough, resilient kids. Many of them work the cotton fields or what’s left of the oil patch. It’s these kids — they’re what Cunningham loves most about West Texas. “It’s important to understand the life experiences the kids are having — where they come from, what they’re dealing with,” he says. “I’ve taught students whose parents were doing awful things to their own children and to themselves, and the kids have to deal with that as well as all the other things that go on at school.” So, Cunningham works to build relationships with these students and with their parents. With everyone, actually. “If a kid or a parent is in the hospital, he’ll go out of his way to visit them,” Smyer ISD Superintendent Dane Kerns says. “He’s just that kind of guy. He’s always on the job, always there, always working to keep a handle on things.” If a teacher needs a word of advice or a pat on the back, he’s there too. “We were all young teachers once, and we all needed somebody to show us how to do things,” elementary Principal Jeff Brazil

says. “You learn by watching the veterans, and you learn by making mistakes. An administrator has to be tolerant and patient, and Bruce is certainly both of those things. He is willing to go into a classroom and say, ‘Let’s look at this situation from another perspective. Let’s try to find the good.’ That’s very important to him. He’s always looking to ‘find the good.’” The key, Cunningham repeats, is building relationships. “Kids will do what you ask of them, but you have to build trust with them,” he says. “I know you. You know me. We know what to expect of each other, and everyone is on the same page. If you have an understanding and compassion for the kids and if they learn that you care about them, they’ll do pretty much anything you ask them to do. I can’t emphasize enough: Building relationships is the key to success in everything.” BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.

Sunnyvale Elementary School Sunnyvale ISD

The most influential person in my life while growing up: My parents. My father taught me the value of hard work and being involved. My mother taught me the importance of treating everyone equally. Mountains or beach? Mountains. Our favorite place to visit is Estes Park in Colorado. Early bird or night owl? Early bird. June 2013 • Texas School Business


point of view

College- and career-readiness should not be two separate things by Ellen Williams


very educational journal and blog in the United States is demanding educational reform. Educators wonder how to make curriculum relevant to students and rigorous enough to meet state and federal standards. “College- and career-readiness” is the newest buzz term. Despite the hype, the reality is that in many Texas high schools, college-readiness is seen as one goal, and career-readiness is seen as something different — and usually in reference to a different set of students. College-readiness generally means that students have demonstrated proficiency in reading, writing and math skills that will prepare them for college-level course work. It also means they have had exposure to and an understanding of other subjects such as fine arts, foreign language, economics, history, and basic biology and chemistry. This level of academic collegereadiness is assessed through end-ofcourse high school exams and college entrance exams that test content knowledge and a student’s reasoning ability. The goal of college-readiness is for students to be successful in a college or university academic environment. Career-readiness, on the other hand, means that students have been taught skills related to a preferred trade or profession, including the “soft” skills that employers really want: organizational and time management skills, interpersonal relationship skills, good manners, good grooming and work ethics. Unfortunately, too many Texas high schools see these kinds of readiness as either-or, not and. Many counselors or teachers schedule students who are not considered “college material” into career and technical education classes. These recommendations may be made because of a student’s behavior, their ethnicity or their economic background, not according to their career interest or aptitude in a certain field. The well-intentioned assumption is that these students will not


Texas School Business • June 2013

be going to college, so putting them on a career-readiness track will enable them to get a good job and support themselves and their families after high school. The same counselors are placing the top academic students into upper-level AP or dual-credit classes that will help them get a head start on college credits during their high school years. Very little thought is put into what professions the students will pursue after college or what high school courses would benefit their preparation. The focus is getting them in the door at a college. The task of exploring future careers is placed on the highereducation institution four years down the road. I sometimes wonder why schools do not plan beyond college admission for our best and brightest students. What skills for being a productive working adult are we giving them while they are in high school? Regardless of the level of education students obtain, everyone is going to have to work for a living. They have to have a job to support themselves and perhaps a family. Are we depriving our brightest students by overlooking career and technical education (CTE) as a component of a well-rounded high school experience? Someday it may be a more useful addition to a college application to show evidence of a student’s career preparation, rather than his or her service projects or extracurricular activities, which all students include when they apply. CTE classes still have the stigma of being perceived as “less difficult” than academic courses. That reputation is undeserved, as the curriculum offers the rigorous application of concepts taught in math, science and English. If students are making better grades in these courses, it’s often due to the level of engagement; it’s the hands-on application of knowledge that makes students successful in CTE courses. A student cannot learn to color hair

in a cosmetology class without understanding chemistry. Culinary arts classes require an understanding of chemical changes, measurement and proportions. Construction technology cannot exist without an understanding of measurement and geometry. The most difficult textbook vocabulary in K-12 curriculum is found in the automotive technology textbooks. Reading is essential in all CTE courses, and these courses enable students to apply the reading, math, and science Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills with hands-on problem-solving activities, which makes learning relevant to students of all backgrounds. I believe that high schools should think of all students as future adults who need to be well-educated and wellprepared for future careers of their choice. I believe that schools should pair courses like chemistry with an elective that applies chemistry to real-life situations, such as culinary arts, cosmetology or a course in horticulture. Geometry concepts could be applied if they were paired with a course in construction technology, architecture, metal fabrication (welding) or fashion design. Physics concepts are demonstrated daily in automotive technology and in agricultural mechanics classes. End-of-course exam scores will soar once high schools begin to see the connection between CTE classes and the application of academic concepts. I hope that every student will be prepared academically for college if that is their choice; however, consideration should be given to preparing all children for the world of work. Schools can do this by scheduling students in CTE classes in addition to rigorous core content classes. The goal should not only be getting students admitted to college. The goal should be developing an educated and employable adult. ELLEN WILLIAMS is the senior director of special programs in Kerrville ISD.

Who’s News Andrews ISD Glen Teal, former principal of Slaton Middle School in Lubbock ISD, is the district’s new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Glen Teal

Archer City ISD Randal Beaver, who was superintendent for the past 16 years, has retired. Josh Castles is the new principal of Archer City Elementary School. He was formerly the district’s athletic director. Don Hasley has been named athletic director and head football coach at Archer City High School. A graduate of Texas Tech University, he previously worked in Aledo, Chico and Chisum ISDs. C.D. Knobloch, Archer City ISD’s elementary principal for the past four years, is now superintendent. An employee of the district for 17 years, he spent 13 of those as high school principal. Ethan Lunn is now head basketball coach at Archer City High. He comes to his new position from Ozona High in Ozona ISD, where he was a coach. He is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University. Bandera ISD David Sine has been named the district’s athletic director and head football coach. He was most recently with Columbus ISD, where he served in the same capacity. He began his career as athletic director and head football coach in Flatonia ISD in 2000, moving to Sonora ISD in 2009, also as athletic director and head football coach. He remained there until joining Columbus ISD. Sine attended Blinn College and is a graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). Brownfield ISD A new superintendent will be in place for the 2013-2014 school year. Tanya Monroe was most recently superintendent of Memphis ISD. Centerville ISD Superintendent Cathy Nichols, who

has been with the district for 39 years, has announced her upcoming retirement. Corsicana ISD Steve Hoffman has been named head football coach of Corsicana High School. He most recently held the same position at Del Rio High School in Del Rio ISD. Prior to that, he was defensive coordinator at Clemons High School in Scherz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD. Dallas ISD Olivia Henderson, principal of Jackson Elementary School for the past 22 years, has announced her upcoming retirement, effective the end of this school year. She has been with Dallas ISD for 42 years and was the district’s Principal of the Year in 2005. Deer Park ISD Pete Pape has been named the district’s chief financial officer. He comes to his new job from Goose Creek ISD, where he held the same position since 2007. Prior to that assignment, he was executive director of busiPete Pape ness services for Sealy ISD. He also served in supervisory business positions with Grape Creek ISD and ESC Region 12. Pape holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Angelo State University. Dripping Springs ISD Joe Burns has been named principal of Dripping Springs High School. He had been serving as the district’s curriculum coordinator and had previously spent seven years as the high school assistant principal and four in the district’s counseling department. He began his career in Uvalde ISD as a teacher, coach and educational diagnostician, then was assistant principal of Uvalde Middle School for four years and assistant principal of Uvalde High School for a year. Burns received his bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas and his master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University.

A new principal has been announced for Dripping Springs Elementary School. She is Tricia Hassell, who comes to Texas from Sterling Heights, Mich., where she had been principal of Browning Elementary Tricia Hassell for the past five years. She also was a member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet in the Utica Community School District as a cluster chairperson, representing six elementary schools, a junior high and a high school. She has worked as a principal and classroom teacher in the Gibraltar and Berkley school districts in Michigan. Hassell earned her bachelor’s degree in child development and language arts and her master’s degree in curriculum and teaching administration from Michigan State University. She also holds designation as an education specialist in school administration from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. Florence ISD Sam Atwood, who came out of retirement to take on the role of interim superintendent in December, has been named superintendent. He retired as superintendent of Goliad ISD in 2011 after a career that spanned Sam Atwood 40 years, 28 of those as an administrator. He also served as superintendent of Hamlin and Shiner ISDs. Atwood received his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and his master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. He did additional graduate work at West Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Fort Bend ISD Fort Bend ISD trustees have named Charles Dupre the district’s superintendent. He returns to Fort Bend ISD, where he was associate superintendent and chief financial officer, after serving as superintendent of Pflugerville ISD since 2006. He was ESC Region 13’s Superintendent of See WHO’S NEWS on page 24 June 2013 • Texas School Business


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Join other first- and second-year superintendents from around the state for this valuable academy, approaching its 22nd year. You’ll GAIN new perspectives as well as CULTIVATE a network of peers that will serve you well in the coming years. We look forward to welcoming you to the 22nd Annual First-time Superintendents’ Academy in July! ● Session 1: July 31–August 1, 2013 ● Session 2: Nov. 6–7, 2013 Texas Association of School Administrators



Texas School Business • June 2013

● Session 3: Feb. 26–27, 2014 ● Session 4: April 9–10, 2014

TAGT Leadership Conference hosted in Austin On April 8-9, the Texas Association of the Gifted and Talented hosted a two-day Leadership Conference for administrators, coordinators and specialists, so they could share best practices and programs in gifted education.

Kristen Brown of Coppell ISD (center) with Lindsey Lundin and Shelley Jordan of Summit Christian Academy.

Beth Cooper and Debra Price of Austin ISD.

Debbie Midkiff and Cathy Shaver of Grand Prairie ISD.

Executive Director JJ Colburn with Associate Director Tracy Weinberg.

Mary Christopher of Hardin-Simmons University and Deborah George of Irving ISD.

Mary Ann Clark of El Paso ISD, Lynette Breedlove of Spring Branch ISD and Jan DeLisle of Lovejoy ISD.

Melody Crowther and Debi Torres of Austin ISD.

Leigh Spillyards of Wylie ISD and Marilyn Swanson of Southern Methodist University.

Debbie Roby and Kim Bain of Lewisville ISD. June 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 21

the Year in 2012. That same year, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce chose Dupre as the Superintendent of the Year honoree. He holds a bachelor’s deCharles Dupre gree from Harding University in Arkansas and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston. He is pursuing his doctorate from Lamar University. Fort Elliot CISD Jeff Dyer, former high school principal in Iola ISD, is the district’s new superintendent. Granbury ISD Granbury ISD’s director of special education, Chuck Schreiber, has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of the school year. He has held his current position since 2008. He came to Granbury ISD from Grand Prairie ISD, where he had served since 1986, including leading that district’s special education department from 2002 to 2008. He also was a special education teacher, assistant principal of Jefferson Middle School and principal of Austin Elementary. Schreiber, who is an active member of the Texas

Council of Administrators of Special Education, holds a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Stephen F. Austin State University. His master’s degree in education was awarded from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas). Hamlin ISD Brock Cartwright, former superintendent of Loop ISD, is Hamlin ISD’s new superintendent. Initially a business and computer teacher at Lamesa High School in Lamesa ISD, he went on to teach Brock Cartwright and coach at Klondike High in Klondike ISD and to serve as the district’s technology coordinator. He was Loop ISD’s business manager from 2008 to 2010, when he accepted the superintendent position. Cartwright earned an associate’s degree in business management from Midland College and his bachelor’s degree in organizational management and master’s degree in educational leadership from Lubbock Christian University. Iola ISD New Superintendent Chad Jones comes to his new job from West Hardin

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Texas School Business • June 2013

County CISD, where he also held the top position. Kaufman ISD Lori Blaylock has been appointed to serve as interim superintendent. Kilgore ISD Cara Cooke is the district’s new superintendent. An educator for 25 years, she began her career in Palestine ISD, then was Neches ISD’s elementary principal. She next served as assistant superintendent of Industrial ISD and most recently was assistant superintendent of West Oso ISD in Corpus Christi. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas at Tyler and a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Krum ISD Cody Carroll, who joined the district in 2012 as assistant superintendent, is now superintendent. He had served in an interim position since January. He has been an educator for 21 years, working as a teacher, coach, Cody Carroll middle school principal and high school principal. He began as a junior high football coach in Slaton ISD in 1992, going on to become defensive coordinator at Slaton High School. He moved to Meadow High School in Meadow ISD in 2000 as head football coach, then became the district’s high school principal. He was named Meadow ISD superintendent in 2007. Carroll holds a bachelor’s degree in math from Angelo State University and a master’s degree in education from Lubbock Christian University. Leggett ISD Janice Koether is the new superintendent of Leggett ISD. An educator for 27 years, she spent the past five as director of support services in Diboll ISD. Initially a teacher in Splendora ISD, she then spent several years as the owner and director of a private school. During that time, she also taught kindergarten and was a primary school assistant principal and high school assistant principal in Shepherd

Who’s News ISD. In 1997 she took on the position of director of curriculum and child nutrition in that district, a job she held until 2008, when she joined Diboll ISD. KoJanice Koether ether holds a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Stephen F. Austin State University and two master’s degrees, one in vocational home economics and one in education and administration, both awarded from Sam Houston State University. Little Elm ISD Holly Davis is in place to serve as the district’s first chief technology officer. From 2009 to 2012, she was executive director of technology for Burleson ISD, returning to Texas from the Atlanta (Georgia) Public Schools, where she was executive director of instructional technology. Davis earned her bachelor’s degree in business education from the University of Central Oklahoma and her master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University. Cleota Epps has been chosen to serve as Little Elm ISD’s coordinator of human resources. She came to the district in 2005 as a French teacher and was the foreign language department chair. She has been summer school principal for two years and was Little Elm’s 2008 Secondary Teacher of the Year. Prior to joining the district, she taught Spanish at Christian Heritage Academy and also worked in the corporate sector, including leading International Language Inc. as director of French and Spanish. Epps, who earned her bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Llano ISD When Superintendent Dennis Hill retires at the end of this school year, he will be wrapping up a 36-year career, 31 of those with the district. He began as a junior high teacher and coach, moving up to serve as a high school Dennis Hill

teacher and coach and high school principal. He spent several years with Lampasas ISD and was named interim superintendent in 2003 and superintendent a year later. He will remain with Llano ISD as a special projects consultant. Longview ISD Bramlette Elementary School Principal Vanessa Gentry will retire at the end of this school year. She has been an educator since 1981, beginning as a science and language arts teacher at Foster Middle School, which she herself attended. In 1994, she took her first administrative position when she was named assistant principal of Henderson Middle School in Henderson ISD. Two years later she became principal of Tatum Middle School in Tatum ISD, where she remained for four years before returning to Longview ISD. She was appointed principal of Forest Park Middle School in 2000, then took the top job at Bramlette in 2004. During her 32-year career, she was a 2007 National Distinguished Principal nominee, was named Outstanding Middle School Principal at Tatum and was ESC Region 7’s Principal of the Year. She also was recognized as an Outstanding African American Educator by Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Gentry earned her bachelor’s and master’s

degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University. Lubbock ISD Superintendent Karen Garza has announced her resignation as she leaves the district to take up the superintendency of Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, Va. She led the Lubbock ISD for four years. Assistant Athletic Director Melynn Hunt has announced her upcoming retirement, effective at the end of this school year. A coach and administrator for 39 years, she has been with Lubbock ISD for 19 years, joining the Melynn Hunt district’s athletic department in 2001. She coached Monterey High girls’ basketball and at Wilson Middle School. She also coached in Plainview, Hale Center, Jacksboro and Cooper ISDs and at Haskell CISD. Hunt was inducted into the Hall of Honor for the Texas Girls’ Coaches in 2009 and will be recognized this month as part of the Lubbock ISD Hall of Honor banquet at Texas Tech University. See WHO’S NEWS on page 26

Endorse the Whole Child Approach P Do you agree that our children’s futures hold the key to the future of Texas?

P Can their personal success in the 21


century be based solely on academic knowledge reflected on state test scores?

P Do you agree that we all should address the Whole Child Approach?

Please invest in the future of Texas children by becoming an endorsing *district or *organization. There is NO COST or requirements to participate and you will be thanked for your endorsement on the Texas ASCD website, our Whole Child advocacy efforts and future publications.

*Visit www.tinyurl.com/WholeChildTX Or contact Texas ASCD at (512) 477-8200, ext. 13. June 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 25

Berhl Robertson, most recently chief administrative officer for the district, has been named interim superintendent. He came to Lubbock ISD in 2009 after serving as superintendent of Southland and Roosevelt ISDs. He was named ESC Region 17’s Superintendent of the Year in 2003. The new principal of Williams Elementary is Denise Smith, who has been serving as assistant principal of both Dupre and Bozeman elementary schools. She began her career in Round Rock ISD in 2000 as a first grade teacher. In Lubbock ISD, she has been a teacher at Murfee Elementary, where she was named that school’s Teacher of the Year and Educator of Excellence in 2010. Smith, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Tech University, earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.



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Texas School Business • June 2013

Lufkin ISD LaTonya Goffney has been hired to serve as superintendent. She was most recently superintendent of Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD, where she had spent her entire career until coming to Lufkin, LaTonya Goffney beginning in 1999 as an English teacher at Lincoln Junior High School. She then served as principal of that school before leading Coldspring Intermediate School for a year. She returned to her previous position at Lincoln for a year, then accepted the role of the district’s superintendent, where she served from 2008 until making the move to Lufkin. Goffney earned her bachelor’s degree in history and English, her master’s degree in educational administration, and her doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University. Mansfield ISD A new police chief has been named for the district. He is Jimmy Womack, who has been with Mansfield ISD since 2012, serving first as director of transportation and, most recently, as assistant chief of police. He has Jimmy Womack 34 years of law enforcement and public education experience, beginning as an officer with the North Richland Hills Police Department. He went on to serve in the Hurst Police Department, Tarrant County Constable’s Office, and as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice. He joined Arlington ISD in 1996 as a criminal justice and law enforcement instructor. In 1998, he was appointed that district’s security specialist. In 2002, he was named director of security and transportation. Womack is a graduate of the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration and holds instructor certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. Marion ISD A new superintendent, Edna DavisKennedy, is in place for the district. She has been an educator for 28 years, coming

to her new job from Oglesby ISD, where she was superintendent. She began her career as a special education teacher in Sonora ISD and also taught in Marble Falls, Dublin, San Angelo and McKinney ISDs. She was a special education psychologist in Garland ISD, an assistant principal and counselor in Burnet ISD and a director of a Central Texas special education cooperative. Davis-Kennedy, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University, earned her master’s degree from Angelo State University. Northside ISD April Mata, who was vice principal of Villarreal Elementary School since 2009, has been named principal of that campus. She began her career as a fifth grade teacher in San Antonio’s Judson ISD in 2002 before April Mata joining Northside ISD in the same capacity at Powell Elementary. She was an administrative intern at Galm Elementary prior to her most recent assignment. Mata, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word, earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Priscilla Paul, most recently vice principal of Krueger Elementary School, is now principal of Powell Elementary. After earning her bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University, Paul joined Priscilla Paul Northside ISD in 1988 as a teacher and Title I math specialist at Glenoaks Elementary. She then was a counselor at Glenoaks and Brauchle Elementary before serving as vice principal at Brauchle and Krueger. Paul earned her master’s degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Several other administrative appointments have been made for the district. They are: Gabriela Farias, director of compensation and employment support; Christopher Kenroy, vice princiSee WHO’S NEWS on page 28

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 26

pal, Villarreal Elementary School; Shawn McKenzie, vice principal, Folks Middle School; Marty Ortega, vice principal, Boone Elementary; Alicia Paredes , assistant principal, Stinson Middle School; Delissa Ramos, academic dean, Warren High; Kirsten Velasquez, vice principal, Krueger Elementary School; and Kim Young, academic dean, Folks Middle School. Northwest ISD Former Love Elementary Assistant Principal Yolanda Wallace will start the 2013-2014 school year as principal of Prairie View Elementary. She taught in Aurora, Ill., and in Fort Worth ISD Yolanda Wallace before joining Northwest ISD in 2008 as an

Re-energize your staff! Lift their spirits! Let him make a difference! • More motivational talks to educators than any other current Texas speaker. • Convocations, Conferences, Staff Development Workshops, and Graduation Ceremonies. • 30 years in Texas public education. • Hear him once and you’ll see why thousands have requested him nationally and internationally. • His best-selling book, All the Difference, is now in its sixth printing.

RINEY JORDAN A Motivational Humorist 254-386-4769 www.rineyjordan.com 28

Texas School Business • June 2013

elementary teacher. She has been a team leader for several grade levels and was named an Exemplary Educator in 2011. Wallace earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree from Lamar University. She is at work on a doctorate in educational administration. Pflugerville ISD Elia Mar Diaz-Ortiz is now principal of Copperfield Elementary School. She comes to the district from Austin ISD, where she was principal of Brooke Elementary and Hart Elementary, assistant principal of Sims Elementary and interim principal of Reilly Elementary. An interim superintendent is in place for the district. Freddie McFarland was the former director of student affairs and a former principal of Hendrickson High School, from 2009 to 2011. He was a teacher and coach in Pflugerville ISD, from 1982 to 1987, before leaving to serve as an assistant principal in Leander ISD, a principal in Jarrell ISD, and as superintendent in Kerens and Stockdale ISDs. McFarland holds a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and a master’s degree from Texas State University. A new principal has been named for Kelly Lane Middle School. She is Dina Schaefer, former assistant principal of Round Rock High School in Round Rock ISD. She also taught at that district’s McNeil High School and Canyon Vista Middle School. Plainview ISD Karen Miller-Kopp, most recently principal of Lake Travis Elementary School in Austin’s Lake Travis ISD, is now Plainview ISD’s executive director for school improvement and professional development. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a medical technician and disaster preparedness specialist, she joined Austin ISD in 1997 as a prekindergarten and kindergarten teacher. She came to Lake Travis ISD in 2006 as associate principal for curriculum and instruction at Lake Travis High School. Two years later, she was promoted to her most recent position with the district.

Pleasant Grove ISD A new superintendent has been appointed for the district. Todd Williams comes to his new position from Kaufman ISD, where he also held the top job. After beginning his career in 1987 in Anson ISD as a junior high and Todd Williams high school teacher and coach, he went on to teach and coach in Crandall ISD. He was assistant principal of Crandall Junior High and Crandall High School. He next moved to Scurry-Rosser ISD to serve as principal of Scurry-Rosser Middle School before taking his first superintendent position in Martin’s Mill ISD in 2001. He remained there until making the move to Kaufman ISD in 2007. Williams, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University and a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce, holds a doctoral degree in education from Tarleton State University. Round Rock ISD Cheryl Hester returns to Round Rock ISD as principal of Voigt Elementary School, where she served as assistant principal from 2009 to 2011. At that time, she transferred to Georgetown ISD, where she was principal of Pickett Elementary. Before joining Georgetown ISD, she was with Round Rock ISD for 13 years, serving as assistant principal of Blackland Prairie Elementary, a summer school principal at Callison Elementary, a summer enrichment coordinator at McNeil High School, an administrative intern at Cactus Ranch Elementary and as a teacher at Berkman Elementary. Hester earned her bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and her master’s degree from The University of Texas Principalship Program. Martha Werner comes to her new job as principal of Deep Wood Elementary from Bastrop ISD, where she was principal of Mina Elementary. She began her career in 1993 as a sixth grade teacher and went on to teach second, fourth and fifth grades in Richardson and Frisco ISDs and in Tallahassee, Fla. She was an assistant principal in Little Elm ISD, where she

Who’s News was named TEPSA’s ESC Region 11 Assistant Principal of the Year in 2007. She went on to serve as principal of Oak Point Elementary in that district before making the move to Bastrop ISD. Werner holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Florida State University. San Angelo ISD Human Resources Director Pattie Griffin received the 2013 Commitment to Excellence Award from the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) at its annual conference in February. An Pattie Griffin employee of the district for 28 years, she began as an elementary school library and office aide. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and her registered Texas school business administration certification from TASBO. She has served on the TASBO board of directors, including a term as president in 2009-2010. Scurry-Rosser ISD An interim superintendent has been named for the district. She is Rhonda Porter, who was the district’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Shelbyville ISD Jason Ferguson has been hired as the district’s new athletic director and head football coach. He held the same position in De Leon ISD from 2008 to 2011, followed by a year with Memphis ISD. He spent 2012 as defensive coordinator in Rogers ISD. Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) After a 39-year career in Texas public education, Dane Adkinson will retire at the end of June from his position as senior compensation consultant with the TASB Human Resource Services Department. He began his career in human resources with a nine-year stint in Dallas ISD, fol-

lowed by two years with Austin ISD. He came to TASB in 1985 and has spent the past 28 years teaching and consulting with districts throughout Texas to develop Dane Adkinson competitive pay strategies. Adkinson earned his doctoral degree in education from the University of Florida. Waxahachie ISD After eight years as superintendent, Thomas J. Collins will retire at the end of the school year. He taught physical education and coached football and basketball from 1985 to 1993 before being named a principal in Paul Pewitt CISD. He was superintendent of Hughes Springs ISD from 2002 to 2005 prior to coming to Waxahachie ISD as executive director of human resources. Collins, who holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Indiana University, earned his master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Deputy Superintendent David Truitt has been chosen to serve as interim superintendent. He joined the district in 2006 from Katy ISD, where he had been a teacher, assistant principal and principal since 1996. He also served as a teacher with Houston ISD.

job from serving as principal of Wylie Junior High since 2000. He has been with the district for 17 years, four of those as assistant principal of Wylie High. TSB

From Our Readers I was completely taken aback when I opened John’s issue of Texas School Business (May 2013) and saw his picture on page 7. Thank you so much for the lovely tribute to him. And it notifies educators around the state of his passing. I am not sure who to thank, but my family and I very much appreciate what you did. Carolyn Hoyle TSB

Wylie ISD Phil Boone, most recently assistant principal of Wylie High School, will be the first principal of the district’s newest middle school. Mitch Davis, who was principal of Wylie High School for the past six years, will transfer to an administrative role with the beginning of the new school year when he serves as director of curriculum and resources. He was principal of Wylie Intermediate School from 2004 to 2007. Rob Goodenough has been named principal of Wylie Junior High. Brad McVay, former technology services director, is now assistant superintendent for curriculum and technology integration. Tommy Vaughn is the new principal of Wylie High School, moving to his new June 2013 • Texas School Business


THE BACK PAGE by Riney Jordan

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On becoming an inspirational leader, Part 3


s there anything more tragic than someone who goes to work every day for years and absolutely hates it? I don’t think so! That old quote about finding a job you love and you’ll never have to work again is so true. Gosh, I hope you love what you do and are passionate about its purpose. Why? Because “its” purpose is also “your” purpose. Absolutely! Theodore Roosevelt is credited with this quote: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” And in this work called education, we know, without a doubt, that it is worth doing. Just think for a moment how many children and adults and taxpayers are depending on us! Why, it’s as if every eye in the world is upon us — and indeed they are. You may be able to fake it for a little while, but genuine love for something is undeniable. Others see it in your smile, your upbeat comments or the bounce in your step. Having a genuine love for what you do is another quality of an inspirational leader. May I share with you a personal story about my dad? Dad was one of the gentlest men I’ve ever met. He was always a bit shy and reserved. He was of German descent, and his parents were conservative, caring people who only knew one way to do things, and that was the “right” way. It took longer. It took more effort. But there was pride in everything they did, because they gave it 100 percent, no matter what the task. And they instilled that ethic in their children. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Dad moved his family to a much larger town to provide for his family. Giving up ranching in the Texas Hill Country was not easy, and he found himself in another world. He took whatever job he could find. For a while, he worked for a company that processed chickens. It was hard, messy and depressing, but he never complained. When he heard there was an opening for garbage collectors, he applied and was given


Texas School Business • June 2013

a route with a couple of other men. They took turns driving and picking up the cans of garbage. He was so grateful for that job! However, I remember a day in fourth grade that I got a sense of how unimpressive his job might be to others. On the first day of school, my fourth grade teacher was completing registration forms for the school. She would go from child to child asking them where their parents worked. When she asked me, I said, “My dad drives a garbage truck.” Several students began laughing and pointing, and instantly they were corrected by a sensitive, caring teacher. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. That evening, I told my dad about the incident. He thought for a moment, with a sad look on his face. Finally, he said, “Son, next time just tell ’em that your dad works for the sanitation department. They probably won’t know what that is.” I never forgot that, but it made me realize that every job is important — none more important than any other. Martin Luther King Jr. perhaps said it best: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and Earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Be grateful for your job. Be thankful that your job is making a difference to someone. Be proud of the work you’re doing. And let others see the joy that comes from a job well done. For you never know who might be watching and have their lives forever changed because of the love you have for what some might call “work,” but you call a joy and a blessing! Next issue: Our series continues with another quality of a great leader! RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book “All the Difference” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@yahoo.com or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

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2013 Back To School Special:

The Leading Resource for Texas Education Law

Legal Workshops with Jim Walsh Bring Your AdministrAtors, LeAd teAchers, counseLors, speciAL educAtion stAff, And centrAL office teAm! mAke pLAns to Attend A workshop neAr You todAY.

Workshop Dates and Locations Thursday, August 29 Wednesday, September 4

ESC 1 (Edinburg) ESC 17 (Lubbock)

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ESC 18 (Midland) HCDE (Houston) ESC 7 (Kilgore) ESC 8 (Pittsburg) ESC 13 (Austin)

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ESC 20 (San Antonio) ESC 10 (Richardson) ESC 11 (Ft Worth) ESC 9 (Wichita Falls)

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2013 WINNERS! Local educators and schools awarded

over $600,000 Awarded $5,000 | Rising Star Winners

Awarded $10,000 | Leadership Winners

A matching grant went to their schools.

A matching grant went to their schools.





Dr. Thomas Esparza Elementary Edinburg, Texas

Rockport-Fulton Middle School Rockport, Texas

Woodridge Elementary San Antonio, Texas

McNeil High School Austin, Texas

Awarded $25,000 | Lifetime Achievement Winners

Awarded $10,000 | Principal Winners

A matching grant went to their schools.

A $25,000 grant went to their schools.





Fulton 4-5 Learning Center Rockport, Texas

Luther Burbank Middle School Houston, Texas

Walter W. Fondren Elementary Houston, Texas

The High School for the Performing & Visual Arts Houston, Texas

Awarded $100,000

Awarded $50,000

Awarded $25,000

Large District Winner

Small District Winner

Early Childhood Winner

Over 230 finalists and semi-finalists were also recognized with awards ranging from $250 to $5,000. Visit heb.com/education to learn more about the Excellence in Education Awards program. ©2013 HEB, 13-3376

Early childhood education is an important part of the learning process for a child. That’s why we added an Early Childhood award to recognize those facilities that are preparing children to enter kindergarten physically and emotionally ready to learn.