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The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas MARCH/ APRIL


Texas School Business Meet the Caudill Class The most innovative school design in Texas

Also in this issue:

TASB President Charles Stafford TASSP President Devin Padavil Golden Deeds Recipient Thomas Ratliff

More Than 200 Years of Combined Public Finance Experience







P$6.7 BILLION* Underwriter Transactions




Texas Combined FA/Underwriter

Financial Advisor Transactions

Public Education Transactions

Underwriting & Sales Desks

in Austin, Dallas & Houston

Public Finance Experts

School Districts for Decades

*GKB Transactions from 2011 to Date

AUSTIN, TX (512) 542-8000 | DALLAS, TX (214) 365-0500 | HOUSTON, TX (214) 365-8209 | WWW.GKBAUM.COM GARY MACHAK, Executive Vice President & Manager 35 Years of Public Finance Experience

BOB POSWALK, First Vice President 30 Years of Public Finance Experience

KARL BIGGERS, Senior Vice President 23 Years of Public Finance Experience

DAVID WEBB, First Vice President 26 Years of K-12 School Finance Experience

LEON JOHNSON, Senior Vice President 43 Years of Public Finance Experience

JEANIE YARBROUGH, First Vice President 22 Years of Public Finance Experience

JACK LOGAN, Senior Vice President 35 Years of Public Finance Experience

THIIRI KIMATHI, Associate 5 Years of Public Finance Experience

JULIE VILLARREAL, Senior Vice President 30 Years of Public Finance & Underwriting Experience

DANIEL MAHONEY, Associate 2 Years of Public Finance Experience

BARTON WITHROW, Senior Vice President 30 Years of Public Finance Experience BRADLEY C.F. ANGST, First Vice President 7 Years of Public Finance Experience

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



TASB President Profile Charles Stafford, longtime Denton ISD school board member, serves as TASB president



In the Spotlight Golden Deeds Award Recipient and Former SBOE Vice Chair Thomas Ratlliff continues to work for Texas public ed

TASSP President Profile Devin Padavil of Frisco ISD reaches out to low-performing students

Cover Story

Meet the Caudill Class The most innovative schools in Texas by Dacia Rivers

Departments 6 Who’s News 27 Regional View 29 Calendar 32 The Arts 34 Ad Index


5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Digital Frontier by Adam Feind 13 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne

Photo Features

10 TASPA/TAEE winter conference held in Austin

26 Student Voices by Samantha Lock 34 The Back Page by Riney Jordan

12 TASA Midwinter draws school leaders from across the state 17 TCASE hosts Great Ideas Conference 19 TCWSE Members Meet During TASA's Midwinter Conference The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication.


From the editor

pring is here, and there’s no better time for inspiration. Between the wildflowers dotting the roads and the faint view of summer on the horizon, Texas springs are as beautiful as they are fertile. In the pages of this issue of Texas School Business, I think you’ll find plenty to get your own inspirational fires burning. In writing our cover story, I took virtual tours through three of the most cutting-edge new and remodeled schools in Texas. The most recent members of the Caudill Class, these schools boast some of the most unique school design around, including a remodel that took a school from confusing to classic, a high school built for 21st century learning and careers, and a bayfront school that serves to prepare tugboat operators and Coast Guardsmen with hands-on training. Also in this issue, you’ll read a student’s firsthand view of the Media Arts program at her high school, where students learn to shoot and edit video as well as produce their own schoolwide radio broadcasts. You’ll also get a glimpse into some of the arts programs in Lewisville ISD, which begin as early as kindergarten, where a strong emphasis is placed on musical and artistic education. Discover how this has paid off for the district in terms of statewide competitions as well as student growth. We love posting positive stories like these to highlight all the good things going on in Texas schools. If you have a story idea about an outstanding event or program in your school or district, don’t hesitate to send me your story ideas at I hope you all have a beautiful, and inspirational, spring.

Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) MARCH / APRIL 2017 Volume LXIV, Issue 2 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Dacia Rivers DESIGN

Phaedra Strecher COLUMNISTS

Dacia Rivers Editorial Director

Adam Feind Bobby Hawthorne Riney Jordan Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER

Ann M. Halstead


Johnny L. Veselka



Amy Francisco

Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. © Copyright 2017 Texas Association of School Administrators

Ann M. Halstead

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Who’s News Allen ISD Allen ISD has a new superintendent. Scott Niven, former superintendent of Red Oak ISD, joined the district in January. He previously held the top position in Liberty-Eylau ISD. A CPA, he has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Texarkana, and a doctorate in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Austin ISD Tommy Cox, AISD athletic director since 2004, has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of the school year. He coached in Killeen and South San Antonio ISDs before taking his first head coaching assignment, at Austin’s Travis High School, his alma mater. He went on to lead Bowie High School from the school’s first varsity season, in 1988, to 2001.

Crockett High School has a new principal. Kori Crawford, who previously served as Crockett’s associate principal and school improvement facilitator, was most recently academy director of Travis Early College High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas State University. Austin ISD’s new executive director of finance, David Edgar, was previously assistant superintendent of business services for Eanes ISD, business manager of Hallsville ISD, and assistant superintendent of finance at Vidor ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lamar University and is a CPA. Jose Mejia has been named principal of

Zavala Elementary School, coming to his new position from Brooke Elementary, where he was assistant principal. He has also worked at Eastside Memorial High School as part of the vertical team summer STEM academy and as an assistant principal and teacher in Del Valle ISD. A graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in government, he earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Barbers Hill ISD The new 10th grade assistant principal of Barbers Hill High School, Doug Anderson, comes to the district from Willis ISD, where he was a principal.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

He has been an educator for 29 years, serving as a teacher and coach as well as an administrator. Anderson received his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and his master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. Now serving as Barbers Hill ISD’s director of technology is Kristen Davis, who has been with the district for 12 years as a teacher and administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Shelley Deakle has joined the district as Barbers Hill High School’s 11th grade assistant principal. She was a 19 year employee of Goose Creek CISD, the past nine as an assistant principal. Deakle is a graduate of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where she also earned her master’s degree in education administration. Stephanie Farmer has

accepted the position of assistant principal of Barbers Hill Primary School. An employee of the district for 18 years, she previously worked in Goose Creek CISD as a kindergarten, first and second grade teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree from East Texas State University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Elizabeth Filer has been

promoted from assistant principal to principal of Barbers Hill Elementary School South. A member of the BHISD team since 2009, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Newly appointed state and federal programs coordinator Linda Gerhart has been with the district for 11 years and previously worked in Conroe ISD. An educator for 19 years, she received her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University, her master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, and her doctorate from Lamar University. The district’s new director of curriculum and advanced academics, Julie Hefner, was previously an associate principal at Barbers Hill High School. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from the University of HoustonClear Lake.

Natasha Holden is now BHISD’s assessment and accountability coordinator, coming to her new position from Goose Creek ISD. Both her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and her master’s degree in education administration were earned from Lamar University.

The new academic dean of Barbers Hill Middle School, Paula Jackson, was most recently an assistant principal at Barbers Hill High School. She is a 22-year educator and has been with the district for 10 of those. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and her master’s degree from the University of HoustonClear Lake. Brian Moore now leads the district’s first soccer program as head boys’ soccer coach, having coached the sport for ten years in Allen ISD. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce.

The district has a new math curriculum coordinator. Stormy Thibodeaux was most recently Goose Creek CISD’s K-12 math coordinator. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. A new director of choirs is in place for BHISD. Nikki Thompson previously worked in Goose Creek CISD and Waco ISD for ten years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Baylor University. Frankie Verner, who previously taught advanced placement history at Barbers Hill High, is now an assistant principal at Barbers Hill Elementary School South. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University.

Barbers Hill High School has welcomed Kyle Westerberg as offensive coordinator and girls’ head soccer coach. He previously coached in Bay City and Allen ISDs and is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

Now serving as athletic director and head football coach is Tom Westerberg, who most recently worked in Allen ISD, where he coached the Eagles to three state championships.

Bryan ISD Rudder High School’s new head football coach and athletic coordinator, Greg Morgan, comes to Bryan ISD from Madisonville CISD, where he spent the past 17 years in the same capacity. Prior to that, he was athletic director and head football coach at Shepherd ISD for four years.

Como-Pickton ISD Superintendent Kay Handlin will retire at the end of the academic year. She has been an educator for 42 years, 28 of those with CPISD and the past four in the top position. She previously served as an assistant superintendent in Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD and was an adjunct faculty member at Texas A&M University at Texarkana.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Former Cypress Falls High School’s athletic coordinator and head football coach Kirk Eaton is now the district’s associate director of athletics. He coached at Cypress Falls since 1998, joining CFISD after working in districts in Kermit and San Antonio. Eaton is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and is at work on his master’s degree in educational leadership at Lamar University. A new principal has been named for Wells Elementary School, a new campus which will open in August. Currently leading Keith Elementary, Cheryl Fisher is an alumna of the district and has been an educator for 20 years, all of them with CFISD. She has held the top job at Keith since 2009. Fisher is a graduate of Texas State University with a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston-Downtown. A new principal is in place for Kahla Middle School. Virgil Maddox, an educator with 13 years of experience, began his career as a special education teacher in Hancock ISD. He has spent the past seven years in CFISD, most recently serving as Cypress Springs High School’s director of instruction. Maddox

earned his bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from Oral Roberts University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. When Hoover Elementary School opens its doors for the first time in August, it will be led by Michelle Rice as principal. Currently principal of Copeland Elementary, she has spent the past seven of her 16 years as an educator with CFISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and is a graduate of the Rice Educational Entrepreneurship Program (REEP).

Denton ISD Dan Ford, former principal of Denton High School, is now the district’s executive director of curriculum, instruction and staff development. He joined Denton ISD in 2012 from Farmers Branch ISD. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and his master’s degree in business administration from Texas Woman’s University. He is at work on his doctorate at the University of North Texas.

Fort Bend ISD Now serving as director of athletics is Rodney Chant, who comes to his new job from Pasadena ISD, where he held the same position. An employee of that district since 2003, he holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Howard Payne University and a master’s degree in mid-management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The district’s new legal counsel, Robert Scamardo, brings more than 25 years of experience to the district. Most recently an attorney in the private sector, he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Joseph Seminary College and his juris doctor degree from the South Texas College of Law. The new principal of Fleming Elementary School is Jason Soileau, who joins the district from Pflugerville ISD, where he was an assistant principal at Kelly Lane Middle School. He began his career in 1994 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in special and elementary education from McNeese State University. He went on to earn a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Northwestern State University.

Damian Viltz, executive

director of facilities and operations, has more than 20 years of military experience and most recently served as chief staff officer of Naval Beach Group One. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University and his master’s degree in financial management from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also holds a master’s degree in administrative leadership from the University of Oklahoma.

Garland ISD Deborah Cron has agreed

to serve as Garland ISD’s interim superintendent. The long-time administrator was most recently superintendent of Weatherford ISD, a position she held for 10 years. Her new job with Garland ISD marks her return to the district where she previously taught and served in campus and central office administrative roles.

Georgetown ISD The district’s new director of transportation, Kirby Campbell, previously held the same position in Leander ISD and was most recently regional director of operations for Goldstar Transit. He is a graduate of Georgetown High School with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Texas Tech University.

Granbury ISD The district’s new human resources director, Wes Jones, had been serving in the position on an interim basis since July. A former superintendent of Chireno and Spring Hill ISDs, he began his career in 1985 as a junior high teacher and coach in Freer ISD. He attended Angelina College before earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas-Pan American and his master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Hamshire-Fannett ISD Former Beaumont ISD administrator Dwaine Augustine has been named Hamshire-Fannett ISD’s superintendent after serving in an interim capacity since September. A former assistant superintendent for the district, he has been with HFISD for 11 years. > See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Who’s News > Continued from page 7

Harts Bluff ISD Newly appointed interim superintendent Paul Trull spent 45 years as an educator before retiring as superintendent of Paris ISD. He previously also led Roxton ISD in an interim capacity.

Humble ISD Humble ISD announces the retirement of athletic director Krista Malmstrom after 35 years with the district. She began as a teacher at Creekwood Middle School, then moved to Kingwood High as an assistant volleyball and basketball coach.

Keller ISD The Keller ISD Board of Trustees has named Tommie Johnson assistant superintendent of human resources. She comes to Keller from Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, where she held the same position since 2012. Johnson received her bachelor’s degree in education curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in public school administration from the University of North Texas. After 36 years in education, the past five leading the district, superintendent Randy Reid will retire in July. Prior to coming to Keller ISD, Reid spent 24 years with Richardson ISD, taking his first superintendent job in Celina ISD and then working for Tyler ISD. In addition to his current role with Keller ISD, he is president of the Fast Growth School Coalition, a group of 50 leaders of the most rapidly expanding districts in the state.

Kerrville ISD A new superintendent has been appointed for Kerrville ISD. Mark Foust spent the past 21 years with Fort Bend ISD as an English teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal of Dulles High School, assistant superintendent and, most recently, chief of schools. Foust received a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria. His doctorate in education was awarded from the University of Houston.

Kress ISD Superintendent Doug Setliff has retired after leading the district for 16 years. Prior to that, the 29-year educator was Kress High School principal.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

Leah Zeigler, who began her career in

Kress ISD in 1990, is now the district’s superintendent. Most recently Kress High School principal, a position she held for 14 years, she will continue to also serve as the district’s technology coordinator, continuing a job she has held for 22 years. Zeigler received her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in physical sciences from Wayland Baptist University. Her master’s degree in instructional technology was earned from West Texas A&M University.

Lamar CISD Nicole Nelson has been chosen to serve as

the district’s athletic director after having served as assistant athletic director since last summer. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal at George Ranch High School. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Liberty Hill ISD When athletic director Jerry Vance retires at the end of the school year, it will bring to a close a career that has spanned four decades and includes leading the Liberty Hill High School Panthers to two back-to-back 3-A state football championships, in 2006 and 2007.

Lockney ISD Long-time educator Phil Cotham, who has served as served as superintendent for the past 10 years, will have completed 35 years with the district when he retires in June.

McGregor ISD McGregor ISD superintendent Kevin Houchin will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year, ending a 31-year career as an educator in the district, the past 17 in the top position. He began as a junior high coach and English teacher in 1986, going on to serve as high school baseball coach, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent before taking his current position. A graduate of Abilene Christian University, he holds a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University.

McKinney ISD Grace Harris, former assistant principal of McKinney Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Placement, now holds the same position at Johnson Middle School. She was a special education math inclusion teacher at Atwell Middle School in Dallas ISD for five years before coming to McKinney ISD as a special education first grade teacher at Burks Elementary.

Navasota ISD A new superintendent is in place for Navasota ISD. Stan Musick spent 17 years as a science teacher before serving as a junior high and high school principal. He was superintendent of Hubbard and Oakwood ISDs. Musick holds education degrees from Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University and earned his doctorate from Lamar University.

Northwest ISD (Fort Worth) The new principal of Tidwell Middle School, Rhett King, brings more than 20 years of experience as an educator to his new position. He began as a special education teacher in GrapevineColleyville, Lewisville and Dallas ISDs and was most recently principal of Alvord High School in Alvord ISD. King received his bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in K-12 leadership from Capella University, where he also earned his doctorate in educational leadership.

Pflugerville ISD Veteran Pflugerville ISD football coach Thomas Aultman has been named men’s athletic coordinator for Weiss High School, scheduled to open for the 2017-18 school year. Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Hendrickson High since 2010, he was wide receivers coach and assistant special teams coach at Connally High. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and political science from Eastern Oregon University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. When the new Weiss High School opens in the fall, it will have Robert Chreste as director of bands. Currently serving in the same position at Austin High in Fort Bend ISD, he was previously associate band director and director of marching band at Leander ISD’s Cedar Park High. Chreste, who received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Houston and master’s degree in music from Sam Houston State University, is also an adjudicator, clinician, arranger and drill writer. The Pflugerville ISD board of trustees has selected Gary Patterson as interim superintendent. He comes to his new position with 38 years of experience as an > See Who’s News, page 18


Who Deserves the Failing Grade? by Jim Walsh


heard TEA Commissioner Mike Morath speak to the special education directors of Texas at the recent TCASE conference. He did a great job. The man is not only smart—he struck me as thoughtful, insightful, respectful, humble. I can just about get over the fact that he apparently does not own a necktie. I especially liked the way he compared teaching to brain surgery. He pointed out that the surgeon scrubs up to prepare to operate on a human brain. While this is a complex process, the surgeon will be working on only one brain. Moreover, that brain is attached to a body that is strapped down and completely unconscious. He might have added that the brain surgeon will be assisted by a swarm of highly qualified assistants operating whiz-bang, state-of-the-art equipment. Compare that with a second-grade teacher, who enters the classroom to operate on more than 20 brains, none of which are attached to bodies that are strapped down and unconscious. Au contraire! They are attached to wiggly, energetic, wide-awake bodies. The equipment in the classroom was provided by the lowest bidder, and there is no there one to help out. Who has the harder job? Which job requires greater expertise? Commissioner Morath made those remarks by way of pointing out that our culture does not give teachers the respect they deserve. He pointed out that one of the goals of the agency is to do what it can to turn that cultural perception around. That is certainly a worthy goal, but one that will be hard to achieve. He has other goals that will be hard to achieve. Indeed, the commish is in a difficult situation. In his talk to the TCASE organization, he spoke of the agency’s goal to “wrap

our arms around” the campuses that are struggling the most. That sounds wonderful. But he works for politicians who don’t believe in “wrapping their arms around” those campuses. They prefer to point fingers. They assign blame with simplistic, inaccurate and unfair labels. A good teacher would never hand out “F” grades the way our state now does. The A-F grading system hands out grades based on wobbly test results that obviously correlate more with family income than the quality of instruction or any other factor. How can you “wrap your arms around” a campus while your boss is labeling it a complete failure? I think the public schools have an advocate and a friend in Mike Morath, but he is up against tough odds. The A-F system is just part of a comprehensive plan that has been systematically put in place over many years. The plan: raise accountability standards; measure success through standardized testing, which is simple, though not fair; do not increase funding; elect judges who will criticize the funding system, but not fix it; discredit public education and public educators at every opportunity; blame educators for not singlehandedly overcoming the barriers imposed by poverty and family dysfunction; and convince the public that the their children are consigned to “failing” public schools. It’s our politicians who deserve the failing grade. This is confirmed by Education Week’s recent ratings of all 50 states. Texas scored an “F” in spending on public education, and a “D” in the overall school finance system. Maybe the Legislature should work on getting those grades up before slapping failing grades on public schools. Maybe they should look at the beam in their own eyes, rather than the speck in someone else’s. Commissioner Morath has a lot to overcome. Let’s hope he can.


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JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Photo Feature

TASPA/TAEE WINTER CONFERENCE HELD IN AUSTIN The Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators and Texas Association for Employment in Education recently held their annual winter conference in Austin.

▲ Sheri Blankenship of Hereford ISD and Pattie Griffin of San Angelo ISD.

▲ Sonia Cardenas and Karen Rose of HurstEuless-Bedford ISD.

▲ Keith Garinger of Ector County ISD and Carol Cune of Bryan ISD.

▲ Matt Kimball of San Angelo ISD and Dr. Tim Rocka of Bryan ISD.

▲ Shannon Bermel and Kathy Kenney of New Braunfels ISD.

▲ Leroy Morales of Bryan ISD and LS Spencer of Klein ISD.

▲ Tivonda Tucker-Johnson and Tina Cole of Killeen ISD. 10

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

▲ Irma Hernandez and Monica Rodriguez of Judson ISD.

▲ Rodney McHenry of Garland ISD with Pamela Carroll and Judith Aguilar of Texans Can!


Classroom security cameras in promotion of student safety (aka SB 507) by Adam Feind


hen the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 507 on June 19, 2015, in promotion of student safety in special education settings, the Legislative Budget Board stated there would be no anticipated significant fiscal impact and therefore, provided no additional funding. As these cameras are requested, many school districts have had to find monies to fund this requirement. SB 507 brings about complexities of implementation and extensive funding requirements that need to be examined and addressed by the authors in future legislation. Protecting our students should always be a top priority, and we should explore every opportunity that would enhance their safety. As with all legislative mandates, it’s essential that we also understand the budget implications when implementing unfunded requirements. By discussing the whole picture of SB 507, I’m hopeful that our 2017 Texas Legislature will pass a supplemental bill that will fully fund this safety law and clarify some outstanding issues such as storage and retention, video and audio equipment and recurring costs of all licensing, maintenance, repair and staffing. The law, as enacted, requires school districts to keep six months of video and audio recordings of a self-contained special education classroom once the cameras are installed at the request of a parent, staff member or trustee. Without adequate state funding, the amount of disk space required to store six months of footage can be many terabytes which can be a significant expense on a school district. To further clarify how much storage space is required, a single 5-megapixel camera recording at 10 frames per second would consume approximately 4 terabytes of disk space in a six-month timeframe. To put this into perspective, one terabyte of disk space can save approximately 17,000 hours of recorded audio. Multiply this storage amount by the number of classroom cameras, and you can quickly see that storage requirements become

unmanageable without the proper video and storage equipment. If we decreased the quality of our video recording, compress the image and drop the number of frames, our storage requirements will decrease along with the quality, which could impact the ability to review actions in the classrooms. How many frames is enough to ensure we are doing what’s best for kids? What is the minimum resolution? How much compression can we allow? The law doesn’t provide any direction or requirements on quality, clarity, frame rates, resolution or pixel size, and the complexities of implementing security cameras properly is not an easy task. If it’s up to the district to interpret this mandate, is it adequate that students in different school districts will receive varying levels of quality depending on the local interpretation? Depending on the student population, internet bandwidth, wide-area bandwidth and network infrastructure, technical staff in the district will help determine the best options for where the recordings will occur. Many smaller districts lack adequate internet bandwidth to utilize cloud providers for storage. Many larger districts lack adequate wide-area bandwidth for centralized storage. Some districts will need technical help with implementation and will need to seek outside consultations. The number of iterations from district to district is huge. Any revisions to the law must provide for implementation variations and requirements based on district needs. Optional best practice methodologies should be identified for small, medium and large districts as starting templates while ensuring adequate funding is available for each district. Another consideration that will have an even higher impact is the amount of time required to watch and listen to video and audio that has been stored for six months. If a parent complaint is filed with an unspecified event date, this could require someone to watch and listen to up to six months of recordings. Current audio and video technology cannot replace a human watching the footage to determine

if and/or when an incident occurred. Assuming that children are present for eight hours a day, recording Monday through Friday for six months could generate as much as 1,024 hours of footage for a single classroom camera. My district places two cameras in each classroom to ensure 100 percent coverage and to help provide coverage for any technological issues that may arise. This creates more than 2,000 hours of footage during a six-month timeframe. Many school districts will choose to purchase and utilize security cameras that require network (IP) connectivity for use in classrooms (almost no one uses coaxial cameras anymore). To properly function, these cameras will require network cabling, network switch ports with power, and adequate bandwidth. Additionally, these cameras must be properly secured so that only authorized individuals can view and listen to their recordings. Many school districts that utilize various enterprise video recording solutions will also need to pay licensing fees to these vendors to use their various video and audio solutions. These licenses usually have an implementation cost as well as an annual maintenance cost associated with them. Student safety should always be first and foremost in our school districts. My recommendations for an update to SB 507 would be to implement adequate funding that will help ensure proper implementation. Setting specifications in the bill for minimum recording times, frame rates, and resolution will give better guidance to districts to ensure uniform implementations from district to district. Legislators need to work with school districts to ensure that we have a law that will allow for technological changes and advancements as our technology evolves as well as fund these requirements adequately. The Legislature must adequately fund this law with additional new funding on an annual basis. It must also fund replacement costs for equipment when it becomes obsolete and must also fund additional staff that may be required to watch and listen to the recordings if an event occurs. Safety is important...but it comes at a price.

ADAM FEIND is the Chief Technology Officer for Northwest ISD and Chair Elect for the Texas K-12 CTO Council. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Photo Feature

TASA MIDWINTER DRAWS SCHOOL LEADERS FROM ACROSS THE STATE At the end of January, educators and school administrators traveled to Austin to spend three days at TASA Midwinter, where they had the opportunities to gain professional development, network with other school leaders and hear from some inspirational speakers.

Midwinter attendees had the chance to experience virtual reality in the exhibit hall.

▲ Veronica Sopher represents Leander ISD, which was honored as a 2016 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award at Midwinter; also pictured are the recipients of the Learning Forward-Texas Awards. ►

John Horn of the Schlechty Center with 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples of Amarillo ISD.

TASA Vice-President Gayle Stinson of Lake Dallas ISD addresses the crowd.

TASA President Kevin Brown, Alamo Heights ISD, thanks Midwinter attendees for another successful conference.

A record number of Texas educators and school administrators flocked to the Austin Convention Center for TASA Midwinter in January.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Finding joy in times of grief by Bobby Hawthorne


round the first of December, I wrote a piece for another publication about a friend whose 2-year-old granddaughter had just been moved into hospice. She was born with microcephaly and was rapidly declining. He told me her story, and I must have asked, “How does anyone survive something so painful?” Instead of an obligatory response, he spoke to me about loss, grief and acceptance. There is no answer, he said. It is what it is, and they’re not wasting energy praying for miracles or asking questions that can never be answered. It is what it is, he said, then quoted Gertrude Stein. “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be no answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” His granddaughter, he told me, was a teacher of lessons we don’t want to learn. “Life is pain, but you don’t turn away from it,” he said. “You embrace it. You look at it, and you face it with a full heart.” My friend’s 2-year-old granddaughter died over the holidays. Not to conflate the two, but I was thinking of loss and grief when I invited Bill Farney, the former UIL director, to lunch. He and I joined the UIL in the summer of 1977 and were close personal friends before drifting apart toward the end of my 28-year tenure there. I drove us to a small, hip restaurant in East Austin, and we discussed children and grandchildren, our assorted health issues and, of course, the election and inauguration. He’s older than I remember him in my mind’s eye, lighter around the middle and a little pinker on top. His voice is reedier, but his eyes remain kind and playful, and he hasn’t lost his Hardy Boys sense of wonder. He told me about standing in a Wal-Mart check-out line behind a woman who eyeballed him two or three times, then spouted, “Didn’t you used to be somebody?” He did, but he doesn’t see it that way.

“I like to believe I never became what I did for a living,” he said. I asked him to reflect on his time with the League. Any regrets or take-aways? “I wish we hadn’t taken so long to develop a waiver process,” he said. He told me about a Sherman High football player — solid kid, senior year, middle of the season. The boy had fallen in love with a girl and thought she loved him. “One night, the girl and the boy’s dad announce they’re in love and she’s pregnant,” Bill said. “So, the boy is forced to move to Greenville to live with a grandmother, and the UIL rules him ineligible.” Hardship cases like this virtually guaranteed intrusion by the courts and politicians and empowered people to challenge everything — even piddly matters regarding marching band rankings and one-act play judging. “You tire of giving a logical explanation for a rule to someone who simply can’t grasp why it should apply to them.” It grinds you down and eventually, you realize it’s time, so, you hand over the keys and deal with retirement as best you can. You accept it. Bill said he’s lucky. He remains a member of the UIL scholarship foundation board and is involved in various church and education endeavors. His wife, Rhonda, is still coaching basketball, and he tries to attend all of her games without offering unsolicited advice or opinions. I finish by asking this question: What brings you joy? “I don’t want to sound overly sentimental, but every time I see a kid do something well. Write some beautiful piece. Achieve something in athletics that required them to go beyond themselves. Master a musical instrument. Just show a kind act toward somebody,” he said. “That excites me. I still get a thrill out of that.” That’s his way of saying, “Embrace life with a full heart.” It’s exactly what I needed to hear.

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

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Caudill Class recognizes the most innovative, purposebuilt schools in Texas by Dacia Rivers

◄ Deer Park High School North Campus


amed for Texas architect William Wayne Caudill, the Caudill Class is an annual distinction given by TASA, TASB and the Texas Society of Architects to new and remodeled schools that exhibit cutting-edge educational design. This year, three Texas schools received Caudill class recognition including a remodeled historic high school, a waterfront maritime training center, and a brand-new high school with an incorporated business center. From an on-site science garden to an aquatic training facility, each campus offers something unique to its students, reflecting the immense amount of planning and design that went into each project.

Deer Park High School North Campus, cre8 Architects, Houston Imagine having to take on the remodel of a high school campus that has had so many additions over the last 40-plus years that its classrooms are connected by a confusing jumble of hallways, and the students refer to the dingy, windowless gymnasium as “the


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

dungeon.” Now imagine having to complete the remodel while school is in session, and students fill those confusing corridors and outdated classrooms. That’s the challenge Susan Adkins of cre8 Architects in Houston took on in leading the redesign of Deer Park High School’s North Campus in Deer Park ISD. Her first step in this large task was to hold meetings and open forums for anyone with input into the school’s redesign, including administrators, faculty, students, and even nearby community members such as school parents and people who live near the school. One of the main complaints Adkins heard in planning the remodel was that decades of additions to the campus had resulted in so many modifications that students often wound up late to class, since getting from one end of the building to another meant wandering through maze-like corridors. Another issue was that the school’s dated design left parts of the campus dark and full of dated classroom designs that didn’t allow students comfortable spaces for collaborative work or group meetings,

something teachers at Deer Park High North sorely needed to help institute 21st century learning on campus. The school was originally constructed in 1974, which meant a lot of work was needed to bring in modern necessities, such as wireless technology, while taking into consideration the challenges of working with the existing structure to make use of what was there, while removing what was no longer needed. Also considered during the monthslong planning process was how to plan the work and swing students from one area of the school to another accordingly so demolition and construction wouldn’t interfere with the school day. “It was a massive planning project,” Adkins says. “The actual nitty-gritty part of the planning was pretty intense.” In the end, the remodel team was able to remove 2,500 square foot of inefficient space without reducing the school’s capacity. Before the remodel, Deer Park High North had 11 individual buildings and more than

Caudill Awards 12 additions that had been tacked on as needed over the years. Today, the campus is a solid, cohesive unit that flows from one end to the other and features several cuttingedge elements.

pleased with the outcome of the remodel, and have been enjoying the new flexible nature of the campus and taking care of its components—there has been no vandalism of any nature since the school’s redesign.

Built for 21st century learning

“They’re really taking care of it,” Adkins says. “They have a pride of ownership that this belongs to them.”

Powitzky traveled across the country, visiting similar facilities in Boston and Tennessee, and worked with maritime experts and industry partners for nearly a year to design a campus that would offer the most value to the industry and the area.

San Jacinto Community College Maritime Technology and Training Center, IBI Group, Houston

“The maritime industry was unknown right here in Houston, and they needed help from the community colleges,” Powitzky says. “So we didn’t have to do a lot of research, the maritime industry came to us and we had a lot of collaboration.”

Before the remodel, students at Deer Park High North had only two spaces that worked for group meetings: the cafeteria, which wasn’t always available, and the outside of the school, which relied on the cooperation of Mother Nature. Today, the school offers students numerous areas that foster collaborative discussion including smaller classrooms, mid-corridor break-out spaces and seating areas, and large classrooms with movable walls to allow for subdivision. “All the big corridors have tables and chairs for students to come out of the classroom and problem solve in smaller teams,” Adkins says. Another unique feature at Deer Park High North is an outdoor science garden where students can monitor plant activity and do water pH testing in a small garden pond. With all the new additions, the school hasn’t left all of its history behind. The old “dungeon” of a gymnasium is now the school’s bright and open library, but the original gym floors are still intact, serving as a reminder of the room’s past. Keeping it green Environmental friendliness was an important element of the school’s remodel. New windows allow natural light to flood into the school, with special shading and glazing added to block heat and UV rays from entering the building. The lighting systems in the school measure that natural light and kick on only on cloudy days where the sun’s rays aren’t getting the job done.

When San Jacinto Community College took on the challenge of building a training facility for maritime technology, something that was much needed in the Gulf Coast area, they decided to partner with IBI Group out of Houston to get the job done. Architect Calvin Powitzky served as the principal architect in charge of the project, and took the challenge to bring this unique, state-of-the-art maritime center to the area. The design planning process was involved, including more than a year of meetings with former tanker pilots, tugboat operators and Coast Guard members to determine exactly what facilities the training center would need. The goal of the center is to recruit people out of high school and community college into the maritime industry, which is in dire need

of new blood, as well as offer nearby, up-todate training facilities for Coast Guardsmen.

A waterfront shipfront When you pull into the parking lot at the Maritime Technology Center, the building clearly resembles a boat. It’s a trick that doesn’t work from other angles, to avoid being too obvious while still giving a nod to the building’s intended purpose. That kind of thoughtful design continues inside and beyond the building. Inside, one of Powitzky’s favorite features are the hightech simulation units. These allow students to get the feel of piloting an actual boat, while staying dry, through the magic of virtual reality. The units can be manipulated to give students a feel for piloting in multiple situations, from leading a big barge through an intercoastal waterway to maneuvering through a violent storm. > See Caudill, page 16

The campus also boasts adaptive HVAC systems that monitor comfort zones to heat and cool the building most efficiently. Outside, the school has a water harvesting system and cistern to help keep the science garden’s pond full and functioning. A crowd-pleaser The community surrounding Deer Park High North is tight-knit, and neighbors were curious as to how the remodel would look when complete. Adkins says the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. “It looks like one big, brand-new building, and that was important for the community to have,” she says. “It doesn’t look like a hodgepodge like it did before.” Students and staff at the school are also

▲ San Jacinto Community College Maritime Technology and Training Center Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


> Continued from page 15

“The room’s not moving, just the simulation, and it’s very tough work,” Powitzky says. “I think people will get seasick in there.” Outside, the center has a boat ramp for students who are ready for real-world practice, along with an aquatic training facility, which Potwitzky points out is not a pleasure pool in any way. The pool is used to train students and Coast Guardsmen in areas such as underwater salvage missions and life-saving water rescues. “I think facilities like this are getting more and more student-centered and will begin to help teachers reach students,” Potwitzky says. “That’s the most important thing.” A sensitive environment The Maritime Technology Center sits 14 feet above sea level, right on the water in La Porte. This added some environmental considerations to Potwitzky’s job. “We have a wetlands down near the water that we kept, and there’s a little pond down there,” he says. “We kept that all native and untouched, where there’s lots of seabirds and that sort of thing.” The building is not only energy efficient, but also hurricane-ready, a necessity for its location on the coast. “We are in a hurricane zone, so we had very strict permitting design to go through, “Potwitzky says. The building had to be at least 18 feet above sea level, meaning it had to be built on stilts. Rather than waste the space underneath, Potwitzky opted to pave that area, offering Coast Guardsmen a space for outdoor training exercises that is both sun- and rainproof. A seaworthy outcome The feedback for the Maritime Technology Center has been wonderful, as evidenced by how many different area groups come to use the facilities for everything from training to meetings. The center has even won awards beyond the Caudill—also receiving the Landmark Award from the Houston Business Journal in 2016, just based on the building’s unique design alone. “Everybody has really praised the multi use of it, from community groups to the Coast Guard, to the college,” Potwitzky says. “That’s been a pleasure, to see the success of that.”


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

▲ V.R. Eaton High School

V.R. Eaton High School, Corgan Associates, Dallas

workplaces into the school’s planning.

Collaborative space is something that hasn’t existed much in conventional high school classrooms. But, as more schools incorporate project-based learning, older classrooms designed for students to sit apart from each other and look straight ahead aren’t passing muster.

From the outside, V.R. Eaton High has a collegiate feel, with the 530,000-square-foot building surrounded by two large, grassy courtyards where students can congregate.

Charged with designing the plans for V.R. Eaton High School in Dallas, Susan Smith of Corgan Associates out of Dallas sat down to speak with Northwest ISD teachers and staff to see what they needed most in a new school’s design. In particular, Smith met with teachers working at STEM academies in the district, who use 21st century learning practices in their classrooms, to see what types of design best facilitated that kind of hands-on learning and peer collaboration. “We worked through various models with them to determine the right number of groupings of classrooms,” Smith says. V.R. Eaton High is home to classroom pods that allow for ultimate flexibility in teaching methods. Chairs and furniture in each room can be rearranged to meet a particular lesson’s needs, from lecture-hall seating to roundtable meetings and beyond. The school also features a business academy, which is a real business office right inside the school, where students get hands-on practice for real-world professions. “We’ve seen these types of collaborative spaces used in smaller schools, but this was the first time it was taken to a scale of a 2,500-student high school, so it made it a bit unique,” Smith says. “And the business academy really broke the mold on what a classroom is and redefined what those learning spaces could be, because it has so many different spaces and so much flexibility.” In planning the academy, Smith looked to actual small business design and incorporated the models used for designing corporate

A green place

It’s also a nod to the building’s environmentally friendly design. Natural light illuminates as many areas as is possible in the school, cutting down on electricity usage. Classrooms are oriented so that this natural light doesn’t heat up the classrooms. The building also features a geothermal cooling and heating system, resulting in further energy savings. Pride in practice Smith says the unique collaborative design at V.R. Eaton High has received positive feedback from the school’s students and staff. At first, there was a learning curve, as teachers learned how to best use the spaces available to them, which are different from the classrooms with which most teachers are familiar. “They’ve begun to grow into the building and they’re utilizing the spaces for group work and small group work and collaboration between students and collaboration between students and teachers,” Smith says. “We’ve seen a lot of positive feedback from the campus, through the main classroom pods and how those are arranged as well as the business academy.” The school’s award-winning design draws many visitors, looking for inspiration to take to other schools, and students and staff at V.R. Eaton High are used to giving guests tours and showing off the cutting-edge collaborative design that makes their school so unique. DACIA RIVERS is Editorial Director of Texas School Business. For more information on the Exhibit of School Architecture competition, visit

Photo Feature

TCASE HOSTS GREAT IDEAS CONFERENCE The Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education held its Great Ideas Conference in Austin this January. Speakers included TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and Educational Consultant Dr. Frances Stetson.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath speaks at the TCASE Convention.

TCASE members show off their "Free Hugs" t-shirts.

Stacy Johnson of Springtown ISD.

►TCASE President Don Schmidt of Northside ISD visits with exhibitors.

TCASE Director of Governmental Relations Jana Lilly discusses the legislative session with convention goers.

Attorney Marty DeLeon speaks to attendees about Texas' 85th legislative session.

TCASE President Don Schmidt addresses attendees. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Who’s News > Continued from page 8

educator, the past 14 as superintendent of East Central ISD in San Antonio.

Premont ISD The district’s new superintendent, Steve VanMatre, most recently held the top position in Freer ISD. He had retired as superintendent of Sinton ISD and returned to teaching in 2013, taking the superintendent job a year later. In addition, he was a curriculum consultant with ESC Region 2 and assistant superintendent of Kingsville ISD. VanMatre holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in educational administration from Corpus Christi State University (now Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi).

Raymondville ISD Superintendent Johnny Pineda, who led Raymondville ISD for 10 years, retired at the end of January. Prior to that, he was Brownsville ISD’s assistant superintendent for human resources. He was an educator for 38 years.

Richardson ISD Jeannie Stone is the district’s new superintendent, having served on an interim basis since June. She came to RISD in 2015 as deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the

Texas School Business

Submit Who’s News to: news@ Texas School Business provides education news to school districts, state organizations and vendors throughout the state. With ten issues a year, TSB can be an effective news source for your organization. 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Now in its 64th year of publication!


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

University of Texas at Arlington, a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Rochelle ISD A new superintendent has been named for Rochelle ISD. Dave Lewis was most recently a middle school principal in San Saba ISD.

Round Rock ISD Round Rock ISD has selected Marie Gonzales to serve as executive director of special education. An educator for 21 years, she has spent her entire career with the district, the past year as associate principal of McNeil High School. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in communications sciences and disorders from the University of Texas. Paige Hadziselimovic has been promoted from

assistant principal to principal of Grisham Middle School. An eight-year employee of the district and a 12-year educator, she previously worked at Deerpark Middle School and in Austin ISD’s Anderson High School, where she was director of theatre arts. She is a graduate of Concordia University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts in education and a master’s degree in educational administration from Furman University.

The district’s new executive director of teaching and learning, secondary, is Ryan Smith. He was RRISD’s director of professional development since 2013 and, prior to that, served as assistant principal of Walsh and Deerpark middle schools. An educator for 15 years, he holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at San Bernardino and is a graduate of the University of Texas’ principalship program.

Sharyland ISD Karen Meadors, principal of Warnecke

Elementary School since its opening in 2006, retired at the end of December after 24 years with the district. She worked as a teacher before accepting her first principalship, at Garza Elementary. Meadors received her master’s degree from the University of Texas Pan-American.

Soccoro ISD (El Paso) Now serving as principal of Mission Early College High School is Carlos Guerra, III. Beginning as a teacher in Ysleta ISD, he went on to work as a department head, testing coordinator and assistant principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Splendora ISD A new superintendent, Jeffrey Burke, is in place for Splendora ISD. After beginning his career in Little Cypress-Mauriceville ISD, he went on to serve as executive director of professional learning in Alvin ISD and as a

high school principal in Anderson-Shiro CISD. He was most recently assistant superintendent of academics in Georgetown ISD. Burke earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lamar University and his doctorate in educational leadership from Texas A&M University.

Spring Branch ISD Bruce Dareing has been promoted from assistant police chief to chief. He served 24 years in the U.S. Army, including Special Forces, and was a SWAT team member and police academy instructor. He was a member of the Lewisville and Memorial Village police departments and was chief of police in Holland (Tex.). Dareing has been an officer with the district since 2013.

Taylor ISD Keith Brown has come to Taylor ISD to serve as superintendent from Bay City ISD, where he held the top job since 2008. Prior to that, he was superintendent of Thrall ISD after working as a teacher, principal and athletic director in Rivercrest ISD. He is a graduate of Mid-America Nazarene College with a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Tomball ISD Superintendent Huey Kinchen will bring his 38 years as an educator to a close with his retirement at the end of March. He has spent the past 17 years in Tomball ISD, the last three in the top position.

Vernon ISD New superintendent Jeffery Byrd, who held the top position in Claude ISD since 2013, received his bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and his master’s degree in education from West Texas A&M University. He also served as secondary principal and superintendent of Gorman ISD and worked as an assistant principal, coach and teacher in Amarillo, Tom Bean, Dumas and St. Jo ISDs. He is at work on his doctorate through Lamar University’s Superintendent Academy.

Weslaco ISD The Weslaco ISD board of directors has approved Priscilla Canales as superintendent. She began her career in San Antonio ISD, where she was a teacher, assistant principal and principal supervisor. She served as assistant superintendent of Del Valle ISD since 2011.

Zapata County ISD The new district superintendent, Carlos Gonzalez, comes from Roma ISD, where he was the career and technical education director and assistant athletic director. ◄

Photo Feature

TCWSE MEMBERS MEET DURING TASA’S MIDWINTER CONFERENCE In January, the Texas Council of Women School Executives held its annual conference, which included an awards luncheon, focus sessions and résumé reviews.

TCWSE Secretary Karla Moyer, Vice President Sharon Ross, President Stacey McGraw, President-Elect Tina Seaman and Past President LaTonya Goffney.

TCWSE members spent a day networking and learning at their annual conference.

Conference attendees take the opportunity to network.

Lufkin ISD Superintendent LaTonya Goffney received the Margaret A. Montgomery Leadership Award.

Kathryn Washington of Goodrich ISD, TCWSE Vice President Sharon Ross and TCWSE Past President LaTonya Goffney of Lufkin ISD.

Britina Pesak of Schulenburg ISD and Angela Chadwick of Paris ISD.

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



Texas Association of School Boards

Charles Stafford, longtime Denton ISD school board member, serves as TASB president by Dacia Rivers

◄ Charles Stafford, TASB


harles Stafford has dedicated nearly two decades to serving on the Denton ISD school board, and he’s not done yet. He has been chosen to serve as president of the school board four times, and was recently elected president of the Texas Association of School Boards, following years of TASB membership and service. Professionally, Stafford works as a realtor and real estate developer in Denton. He was originally drawn to serve on the Denton ISD school board in 1988. Stafford and his wife have seven children, four of whom were adopted and had specific special needs. Realizing the great need for special services in schools, Stafford felt compelled to work to benefit public education in Texas after realizing the importance it held for so many families. When asked what he feels is the biggest issue facing Texas public school children today, Stafford points to childhood poverty, which creates steep educational declines for students who need it most. “It’s pretty common knowledge that children in poverty come to


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

president, has served on the Denton ISD school board for nearly two decades.

school in first grade with about a 5,000-word vocabulary, and children from high socio-economic backgrounds come with a 20,000 to 25,000-word vocabulary,” Stafford says. “They are undeveloped and if we don’t apply resources plentifully and early to bring those kids up, they’re going to get further and further behind and more and more frustrated. It’s a bad situation.” Stafford feels the answer to these issues is for schools to invest in early childhood education, including full day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs, pointing out that Head Start programs help, but only serve about 20 percent of students who need it. “I believe the earlier you can get kids started and bring them up to speed, the better,” Stafford says. “It’s a lot easier to fix a second grader than it is a junior in high school.” From his time on the Denton ISD school board, Stafford is most proud of the early childhood programs he helped implement. As a long-time TASB member, Stafford is proud of many of the

group’s accomplishments, including the BuyBoard—a purchasing cooperative that combines the buying power of schools to allow for lower prices across the board on necessary goods, services and equipment. In 2016, the BuyBoard passed $1 billion in gross sales for the first time ever. Stafford is also involved in TASB’s First Public program, an investment pool which helps combine public funds to provide savings. TASB buys and sells electricity to schools at a lower rate than most districts typically find otherwise. According to Stafford, TASB is looking into purchasing and selling solar power in the future, if the costs make sense. “I would love to be able to provide solar generators and electricity, cheaper, with a long-term guarantee on the price, and be able to demonstrate to kids that we can do things smarter and better,” Stafford says. So deep is his dedication to TASB’s mission that Stafford planned his service on the TASB board and in leadership roles so that he could spend the most possible time, the 12-year term limit, serving. “The diversity of the TASB board and staff is remarkable, and it’s a whole set of best practices,” Stafford says. “I wish everybody would avail themselves of all of these

opportunities, because there’s some great stuff out there.” TASB offers its members continuous opportunities for learning and improvement, something Stafford greatly appreciates. As a board member, he has received constant training, including the recent XG Summit, which was designed to inspire exceptional governance in leaders, with a host of speakers from across the country converging to discuss how school boards can best support and lead their schools. “They presented, with hard data, best practices that school boards can choose to follow and literally have a positive influence on student performance,” Stafford says. “That’s a new way of thinking, but there are things we can do that absolutely raise the bar for student achievement.” Stafford is endlessly complimentary of TASB, and of executive director Jim Crow, who Stafford says has assembled a remarkable team of people and empowered them to do their jobs. “Crow’s gift as a manager is, he’s surrounded himself with really capable people, and he empowers them and then gets out of the way,” Stafford says. “I like to use the analogy, ‘He hired himself a bunch of racehorses and then lets them run.’”

“I wish everybody would avail themselves of all of these opportunities, because there’s some great stuff out there.” With years of service to Texas public schools and school boards on top of his professional career and raising seven children, Stafford constantly has his hands full and spends a lot of time juggling his schedule around his personal life, but it’s something that’s well worth it to him. “I’m so proud to be involved with TASB,” Stafford says. “It’s a daily opportunity to do a good, solid deed. It’s a remarkable organization.” DACIA RIVERS is Editorial Director of Texas School Business.

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Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



Thought leaders and innovators in education

Golden Deeds Award Recipient and Former SBOE Vice Chair Thomas Ratlliff continues to work for Texas public ed by Dacia Rivers

Thomas Ratliff, Golden Deeds Award recipient and former SBOE vice chair, poses with his family.


homas Ratliff, who was elected to the Texas State Board of Education twice, in 2010 and 2012, and served as vice chair of the board, is no stranger to politics. His father is Bill Ratliff, former state senator and lieutenant governor, and his brother, Bennett Ratliff, serves in the Texas House of Representatives. But when entering into his own career in politics, Thomas Ratliff felt most compelled to the area of public education, and decided to run for the SBOE in an effort to help improve the work the board does for Texas’ schools. Ratliff cites his own experience watching his father work in public school policy, plus being educated by Texas public schools and now sending his children to Texas public schools as his reasons for choosing Texas’ education system as his personal political objective. “It just seemed like a logical fit,” Ratliff says.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

Looking back on his time as vice chair (Ratliff chose not to run for a third term and was replaced by Keven Ellis in the 2016 election), Ratliff feels his greatest contribution to the SBOE was helping to bring more awareness to the board and get more public school supporters elected. Before he served, Ratliff says members with more of a partisan political focus were drawn to the board, whereas now members’ focus is more toward public education, as he feels it should be. “If we got that momentum to turn, I’ll take partial credit for it,” Ratliff says. “The board’s in a far better place than it was before I started in 2011.” Ratliff feels the SBOE will continue in that positive direction even without him on board. He says the new chair, Donna Bahorich, is a great public servant who is capable of having constructive dialogues with

other board members, even when disagreements arise. “I think my replacement will be very good— candidly, he’s more qualified for the job than I was when I ran,” Ratliff says. “He’ll be less controversial than I have been, partly because his last name isn’t Ratliff and partly because he knows how to bite his tongue better than I did.” Ratliff ’s time on the SBOE improved public education in Texas enough that a committee of school superintendents from around the state nominated him for the Golden Deeds Award. The award serves to recognize distinguished service to education in Texas and was presented to Ratliff by TASA and Texas A&M’s Department of Educational Administration and Human Resources Department. Of the award, Ratliff says it can be difficult for him to receive recognition for his work, as he often feels like all he’s done is what has been asked of him. “I feel like I’ve just done the right thing,” Ratliff says. “It should be expected of elected officials to just do the right thing.” Considering the state of Texas public education right now, Ratliff believes the biggest issue going forward is an oversimplification of how schools are doing, especially when compared to charter or private schools.

“The problem is, it’s more of a rhetorical battle versus an actual, policy- and fact-based battle,” Ratliff says. “I think legislators are too quick to take one problem example and lay it over the entire public education system as an epidemic instead of an acute thing that can be solved at the local level, if they were given the authority to run their districts.” Ratliff says these generalizations happen in both political parties, as legislators look for examples that support their own narratives, then emphasize these and ignore counter-evidence. “Pro- and anti-public education folks do it,” Ratliff says. “I think sometimes they’ll take a grain of truth and turn it into an entire beef when it doesn’t merit that kind of emphasis or significance.” In general, Ratliff feels that public education in Texas is in a good place. He believes that as a whole, students are becoming more difficult to educate, and he applauds teachers for their continuing efforts to do so, even as the hill of academic measurements and expectations grows steeper. Going forward, Ratliff doesn’t plan on taking a backseat in public education policy. He’s been retained by the Texas Association of School Boards as a legislative consultant, where he’ll continue to advocate for local control. “I don’t see myself fading into the black on public education advocacy, and I’ve been very

“It should be expected of elected officials to just do the right thing.” involved in putting together the details and facts about vouchers and making members have those hard conversations that they seem to want to avoid at times,” Ratliff says. “The issue is complex--it’s not as easy as some of them want to make it out to be.” Ratliff has a plea for everyone working for Texas students, and that’s to keep the end goal in mind, benefitting Texas schools, and to avoid falling into rhetorical contests or shouting matches. “Focus on the specifics, the facts and the realities of what’s going on,” Ratliff says. “Don’t tear down the messengers on the other side. Whether we win or lose, at least we’ll come out on the other end with our integrity and our credibility intact.” DACIA RIVERS is Editorial Director of Texas School Business.

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Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



Texas Association of Secondary School Principals

Devin Padavil of Frisco ISD reaches out to lowperforming students by Dacia Rivers

Lebanon Trail High School Principal Devin Padavil poses with volleyball player Kay Chi Pua.


evin Padavil was not a star student in his high school days, finishing up his senior year with a 1.6 grade point average. But a lot can change in 20 years, and today Padavil is principal of the recently opened Lebanon Trail High School in ever-growing Frisco ISD. It wasn’t a straight shot from point A to point B for Padavil. He received his doctorate in education from the University of Texas at Austin, has served as principal at three Texas high schools, and was elected to serve as 2016-17 president of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. It’s an impressive, uphill climb that Padavil says would not have been possible for him without teachers and administrators who helped him realize that he could turn his school performance around and be successful in reaching his goals. “I owe an incredible debt to those teachers and principals that I had when I was in high school,” Padavil says. “And I always think of my career as paying that debt back.”


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

Being an under-performing high school student himself has helped Padavil by giving him insight into the students he now serves as principal. He feels drawn to helping unmotivated and academically disadvantaged students by giving them the support they need to be successful in school. “It’s my mission to help them be just a little bit better than they are,” Padavil says. “Sometimes they need encouragement and sometimes someone just needs to be pushed a little bit more. Those students always stand out to me; and they are the ones that really need us.” Padavil is dedicated to not just helping students, but working with the teachers at LTHS so that they can do their best to drive achievement as well. > See TASSP President Profile, page 24

> Continued from page 23

“The most rewarding part of the job for me is when I can see a teacher feel like they’re growing and that they’re better than when they started,” Padavil says. “I want to help create a school environment where we’re bringing out the best in people—not just students, but adults also.” Padavil strongly encourages his staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance, something he says he is always working on himself. “Between the hours of 7:30 to about 5:30, we want to give 110 percent to these students, but after 5:30, I want everyone to go home and be with their family and have a life,” Padavil says. “I always talk about my own struggle with that, because there are never enough hours in the day to get the job done, and there is always someone who needs you, but without that balance, people can’t be their best for the school and for the students.” Opening LTHS in 2016 was an exciting move for Padavil, who has spent the past year working hard to develop the school’s culture from the ground up. He brought with him to the post 15 years of education experience, with 13 years spent working in school administration, in such large districts as San Antonio Northside, Round Rock, Austin and

Pflugerville. Most recently before opening LTHS, Padavil spent seven years serving as principal at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville ISD, where he lead a combined 3,000 students and faculty members. “With this school, we really want to see our students achieve to the level that we are one of the best high schools in Texas,” Padavil says. LTHS opened in 2016 with only an incoming freshman class, something Padavil feels is exceptional in the way that class serves as groundbreakers for the school, establishing clubs and other student organizations that will pave the way for future attendees. Some members of that freshman class have already made great strides in statewide and regional competitions, including The United States Academic Decathlon and the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, putting the LTHS name on the map. “You can tell that academically, this is going to be a high-achieving group,” Padavil says. The Padavils are a true Texas education family—his wife is a teacher in Frisco and both of his children attend Frisco ISD public schools as well. Padavil was named the Region XIII High School Principal of the Year in 2014-15, and elected TASSP president in June 2016. He says he is honored to serve as the association’s

“Being a part of TASSP has been such a rewarding experience for me, not just because of the organization, but the people within it.” president and serve as a leader for secondary school principals across the state. “Being a part of TASSP has been such a rewarding experience for me, not just because of the organization, but the people within it,” Padavil says. “I have made such great connections with strong educational leaders that have added to my career and made me a better principal.” DACIA RIVERS is Editorial Director of Texas School Business.

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Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



Students get hands-on media experience at Galveston’s Ball High School by Samantha Lock


he Media Arts program at Ball High School has opened up enormous opportunities for all of the students in the program and for the community of Galveston. The students can make videos, edit them and even go on the radio with countless special guests from our community. The students that first came into the program are the building blocks for the whole program. It all started two years ago, my freshman year of high school, when we started with a crowded anchor area, a green room, and a miniature storage area with mediocre camera and sound systems. Today, we still have that green room, a new, enormous news studio with an anchor desk where students can sit when they are in front of the camera, an 80-foot television for the weather and multiple expensive cameras that actual television cameramen would use. We also turned that miniature storage room into a radio studio, where we have multiple shows going with four microphones, a soundboard and a program to record and be able to transfer the recording to our editing program, Final Cut. Recently, we launched our very own 24/7 internet radio station called K-TOR, The Tornado. Students get to host their own music and talk shows. We changed the way we do our daily school announcements. We do not use

the traditional PA system. We record the announcements a day ahead and put them on a website for all the teachers to show during third period. We call the daily newscast “Tor Report Today.” Using all of the available media is what we do best in the Media Arts program. The program ultimately teaches us how to produce videos and overcome creative challenges as we further our knowledge and enter the community with the tools necessary to be successful. The community has done so much for this program and vice versa, with food drives, convocations and numerous events that we have gone to and recorded for our school’s magazine program, Tor Report. We also have sponsors, such as the Humane Society, that we promote on our radio show by announcing a new dog up for adoption every day and even adopting a dog of our own. Other shows with which we partner include the United Way of Galveston, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Epilepsy Voyage, and countless others. To give back to our community, we interviewed our own football team and coaches on the radio show, we have made the radio station public for everyone to listen to, and all students who want to have a chance to be a part of the community are always welcomed to the Media Arts program, even if they are from a different community at Ball High School.

The most important person in the Media Arts program is the man that does it all, Mr. Dudas, who has done so much for the program and has given all the students their opportunity to get involved and become something. He has made that program what it is as much as the students have, with talking to the sponsors about when they should meet with everyone and communicating with the Galveston newspaper, even getting us a front page appearance. Mr. Dudas cares for all of his students and would do anything possible in order for his students succeed. The program is still in its early stages of development with the radio station just starting, but numerous students are enormously talented with what they do, and once I graduate, I hope to come back and see the community still available to the many astounding filmmakers, editors, and radio announcers coming up with astonishing ideas accomplishing their creativity in the Media Arts program at Ball High School. SAMANTHA LOCK is a junior at Ball High School in Galveston ISD and a member of the Media Arts & Digital Technology Small Learning Community. Michael Dudas, the teacher in charge of the Media Arts program, can be reached at

“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Dacia Rivers at for publishing guidelines.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


Education service center programs & practices

Professional Learning Transformed by Dr. Karin Holacka


ell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin Educators around the world spend countless hours annually perfecting their craft. Whether participating in trainings, engaging in self-study, or collaborating with colleagues, each effort shares the common purpose of professional growth. The question lies, however, in determining the value of these efforts. The team at Region 10 has deeply considered this question of value and impact of professional learning. For the past year, we have studied the research and asked: Is the current model of professional learning transforming schools? Is it changing the practices of teachers and leaders? Today’s students enter school with a different perspective from that of the educators who teach them. Most educators grew up viewing the world through a television screen whereas students view the world through a mobile device. This difference requires educators to shift their mental model to understand what interests and connects to students today in order to prepare them for a more global tomorrow. Many of the school districts served by ESC

Region 10 recognize the need to transform; they work to foster shifts in instructional practices. Unfortunately, breaking old habits is tough, thus classrooms throughout the region, state, and country remain more reflective of the past versus the future. The team at Region 10 reflected on the “why” behind this slow shift and determined the following: •

Many teachers do not have the mental model of teaching in a global world.

Traditional professional learning has not provided teachers with experiences that support a change in their practice.

It is obvious that everything from allocation of local resources to state requirements impact transformation. Region 10 focused on those areas of direct impact and determined a redesign in the delivery of professional learning was imperative. Region 10’s new professional learning model was designed based on the curation of various sources of research. The most impactful was a business model called 70/20/10 that provides a loose framework for consideration. The 70/20/10 model for learning and development was created in the 1980s at

the Center for Creative Leadership and has evolved over the years due to new technologies. To maximize professional growth, researchers say 70 percent of learning should take place through experience and practice, 20 percent through social collaboration, and only 10 percent in more structured, formal training. Trainings attended throughout an educator’s career are more likely to reflect a reversal of the 70/20/10 model with 70 percent of professional development being delivered through structured, formal approaches. This reflection was an “Aha!” moment for the Region 10 team and became foundational in the redesign. The new Professional Learning Model grew out of three beliefs: •

We are learning designers and facilitators

We guide teachers and leaders in the curation of their own learning

Learning at the highest level is achieved through experiences

It was Region 10’s determination that professional development should no longer > See Regional View, page 28 Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


> Continued from page 27

Risk Management   and Insurance Advisors

resemble a traditional instructional model where learners “sit and get,” but instead should provide a facilitated experience where learners practice and apply new skills in a simulated and collaborative environment. The new ESSA definitions support this same ideal by defining professional development [Sec. 4622 (42)] as sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused. The Region 10 learning model is centered on designing learning experiences that utilize a combination of seven design essentials including: feedback, curation, extension, choice, collaboration, application, and critical thinking experiences. The design essentials are the core of the redesigned framework; they ensure learning experiences are designed in a way that empowers educators with flexibility and customization through supportive facilitation. Each design essential is based on research regarding the acceleration of the learning process and is a critical aspect of effective andragogy. The learning facilitators at Region 10 strive to use all design essentials when creating learning experiences.

R. Lamar Sawyer, Jr.  CPCU, MBA, ARM, CSRM

25 Years Experience With Texas Public Education Risk Management and Insurance •  Bid Management •  RFP Development •  Proposal Evaluation •  Carrier Negotiations •  Coverage Audits •  Claims Audits •  Risk Manager Applicant    Evaluation •  Expert Witness


Practice Limited to Texas Public Education


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

In the Professional Learning Model, the design essentials are encircled by five learning pathways. These pathways are the delivery methods for ensuring quality experiences and include facilitated learning, discovery learning, authentic learning, e-learning and social learning. Each of the five pathways are relevant to adult learners, but also reflect the variation of learning methods that should be evident in today’s classrooms. The first pathway, facilitated learning, is an approach in which the “teacher” is more actively engaged in the delivery of content but serves in the role of facilitator or guide. The discovery learning pathway allows the learner to explore, create or dissect concepts while the teacher serves in the role of coach or facilitator. The pathway most aligned to a real-world experience is authentic learning while the most commonly used pathway is social learning. The authentic learning pathway provides an opportunity for the learner to actually practice the skill or concept in a supportive environment; social learning focuses on sharing new approaches and working towards solutions in collaboration with fellow educators. As stated by George Couros, “We not only have access to all of the information in our world today, but we have access to one another.” The fifth and final pathway is e-learning,

which is growing in its popularity and quickly becoming a preferred method for professional growth. The pathways are divided with a dotted line to indicate the importance of integration when designing learning experiences. The layer beyond the pathways describes the ever-changing delivery modes. Everchanging is an important term in that it means delivery should never be limited to one approach and learning facilitators must shift modes as appropriate with each skill, concept, or participant’s needs.  Presenters and teachers often embrace one mode of delivery and utilize this same mode repeatedly even when it is not the best approach for the specific skill, concept, or learner. Adaptability and versatility in approaches are key in today’s learning environments. The outer layer of the professional learning model includes all things that could be identified as a learning resource. This encompasses the technologies, the materials, the physical space, and more. When designing a learning experience, all aspects of the environment should be considered. Will the technology allow for students to easily curate their resources? Are there available open writing spaces for design thinking? Does the seating foster comfortable collaboration? In the factory-model of schooling, rooms and resources were designed for individuals, not collaborative groups. Not that long ago, technology was an unknown tool in the learning environment. Today’s students will never be prepared for a global society without learning to use digital resources, and teachers cannot prepare students for a global society until technology is viewed to be as vital as the No. 2 pencil. Therefore, Region 10 believes the outer layer of the learning model, learning resources, is critical and should not be overlooked when designing opportunities that shift the mental model or perspectives of teachers. We’re witnessing a seismic shift occurring in schools and a strong desire to transform teaching and learning for today’s students. However, to transform the classroom, we must first transform how we train educators using relevant, innovative approaches. We must stop telling teachers and leaders how to transform and instead, provide real experiences that allow them to see, try, and feel the future of education. Fixed perspectives that haunt our classrooms must be erased from the lesson plans of yesterday and replaced with a new vision that focuses on today’s learner. DR. KARIN HOLACKA is Deputy Executive Director of ESC Region 10. She can be reached at karin.

Calendar Professional development & events Cost: $575.

S TA N D O U T F R O M T H E C R OW D ! Get premium placement and get noticed! For a nominal fee, you can showcase your conference, workshop or seminar on the opening page as a Featured Event. Contact Ann Halstead at for more details. APRI L April 4 TACS Annual East Texas Spring Conference University of Texas, Tyler For more info, (512) 440-8227. TEPSA K-2 Learning Conference Renaissance Hotel, Dallas For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. TRTA District 9 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. Improve Problem Solving in Operations and Algebraic Reasoning, Grades 3-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $250. 8th Grade STAAR Success: Primary Sources, New Reading Strategies Harris County Department of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. Cost: $85. April 5 Capturing Kids’ Hearts Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. Cost: $525. April 5-8 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting and Exposition Location TBA, San Antonio

For more info, (800) 235-7566. April 6 TASBO Workshop: Advanced Spreadsheet Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. Cost: Members, $170; nonmembers, $220. TEPSA Region 10 Spring Meeting Location TBA, Irving For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. April 7 TASB Special Education Solutions Members’ Conference Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. TASBO CSRM Conference: Funding School Risks Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 476-1711. TASBO Workshop: Effective Communications Northside ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. Cost: Members, $170; nonmembers, $220. TSPRA North Central Regional Meeting Carroll ISD, Southlake For more info, (512) 474-9107. April 7-9 TEPSA Courageous Principals Institute Deloitte University Leadership Center, Westlake (Grapevine area) For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3521.

April 9-11 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Leadership Conference Omni Hotel, Houston For more info, (512) 499-8248. Cost: Members: By March 21, $215; after March 21, $250. Nonmembers: By March 21, $315; after March 21, $350. April 10 TASBO Workshop: PEIMS: The Foundation for Accountability Offices of ESC Region 11, White Settlement For more info, (512) 462-1711. Cost: Members, $170; nonmembers, $220. Texas ASCD Teaching, Learning and Leading in a Digital World Location TBA, San Antonio area For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. April 11 Lead4ward: Exploring Long Strand Reading Content for Special Educators, Grades K-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $160. TCASE Spring Conference on Special Education Law Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. Cost: Early Bird registration, $175; regular registration, $205; on-site registration, $215. April 12 TACS/Hardin-Simmons Conference Hardin-Simmons University, Jones School for Business, Abilene For more info, (512) 440-8227. Cost: $50.

TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting San Antonio ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-7107. April 13 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XX (session 2 of 3) Abilene ISD, Abilene For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. April 18 TCASE Annual Conference on Special Education Law Civic Center, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (800) 433-4492. Cost: Early Bird registration, $175; regular registration, $205; on-site registration, $215. Texas ASCD: Teaching, Learning and Leading in a Digital World Cypress Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. April 18-20 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level 2 TASA headquarters, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. April 19 Great Explorations in Math/ Science: Treasure Boxes (GT) Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $125. TASBO Workshop: Managing for Performance Excellence San Angelo ISD, San Angelo For more info, (512) 476-1711. Cost: Members, $170; nonmembers, $220.

April 19-20

> See Calendar, page 30 Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017


> Continued from page 29 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 4 of 4) Klein ISD Multipurpose Center, Klein For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. Cost: For TASA members, $1,995; non-members, $2,095. April 20 TRTA District 3 Spring Conference First Baptist Church, Bay City For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. April 21 TASBO Workshop: Investment Training TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. Cost: Members, $255; nonmembers, $305. TSPRA School Communications Legal Workshop Offices of Eichelbaum Wardell Hanson Powell & Mehl, Plano For more info, (512) 474-9107. Cost: $120. April 23-25 TASB Risk Management Fund Members’ Conference Hyatt Regency, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. April 24 TRTA District 10 Spring Conference Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. April 27 TASBO Academy: Texas School Records Management Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 462-1711. Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345. TRTA District 15 Spring Conference Church of the Good Shepherd, Brownwood For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

April 28 TRTA District 1 Spring Conference Galaxy Event Center, Brownsville For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650.

MAY May 3 TRTA District 4 Spring Conference Bethany United Methodist Church, Houston For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. May 4 TRTA District 7 Spring Conference Holiday Inn Select, Tyler For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 850-1650. TRTA District 17 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. May 5 TRTA District 5 Conference First Baptist Church, Nederland For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. TRTA District 18 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. TSPRA North Central Regional Meeting Northwest ISD, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 474-9107. TASBO Workshop: Business Ethics Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. Cost: Members, $170; nonmembers, $220.

May 9 TRTA District 12 Spring

Conference Offices of ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. May 10 TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals Offices of ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 494-9353. TRTA District 11 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 11, White Settlement For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Judson ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. May 11 TRTA District 6 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 6, Huntsville For more info, (5120 476-1622 or (800) 850-1650. TRTA District 13 Spring Conference First Christian Church, San Marcos For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. May 16 TRTA District 14 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. TRTA District 19 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 19, El Paso For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. May 18 Supporting STAAR Success with Reading Strategies Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 696-8223. Cost: $60. TRTA District 2 Spring Conference

St. John Lutheran Church, Robstown For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. TRTA District 8 Spring Conference First United Methodist Church, Longview For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. May 19 TASBO Workshop: Approaches to Leadership and Management For more info, (512) 462-1711. Northside ISD, San Antonio Cost: Members, $170; nonmembers, $220. May 19-20 TGCA Sports Clinic Location TBA, San Antonio For more info, (512) 708-1333. May 25 Build Your Own Bookshelf Series: Time for Change Social Studies in Elementary Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 696-1308. Cost: $130. TRTA District 16 Spring Conference Offices of ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650.

JUNE June 6 TASB Workshop: Managing State and Federal Leave TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. Cost: $200. Using Manipulatives to Teach TEKS, Grades K-2 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-2127. Cost: $125.

June 7 Building Conceptual

Understanding in Math, Grades 1-2 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $250. Capturing Kids’ Hearts Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. Cost: $525. TASB Workshop: Get a Grip on the FMLA TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. Cost: $200. What’s New in YA Literature 2017 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-9223. Cost: $85. June 9-10 TGCA Sports Clinic Location TBA, Lubbock For more info, (512) 708-1333. June 12-14 Texas ASCD Ignite 17 Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. June 14 TASB Post-Legislative Conference Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-9272. June 14-15 TGCA Sports Clinic Location TBA, Houston For more info, (512) 708-1333. Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference Conference Center, Hurst For more info, 266-3086. Cost: By March 1, $349; after March 1, $399.

June 14-16 TASSP Summer Workshop

Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100.

Galveston For more info, (512) 462-1711.

TEPSA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel, Dallas For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www. Cost: Members: By May 17, $349; after May 17, $399. Nonmembers: By May 17, $588; after May 17, $638.

June 22-24 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272.

June 15-16 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XIX Birdville ISD, Haltom City For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. June 15-17 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. June 19 Grade 8 Science STAAR: Closer Look at Matter and Energy Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $60. June 20 Test Prep Workshop for TExES Bilingual Supplemental Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. Cost: $525. June 20-22 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level 1 TASA headquarters, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. Cost: Members, $750; nonmembers, $850. June 21 TASB Post-Legislative Conference Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. TASBO Workshop: CSRM Admin(WHAT) School Risks Moody Gardens Hotel,

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Gifted Plus Conference Eilan Hotel, San Antonio For more info, (512) 499-8248. June 25-27 UT/TASA Summer Conference on Education Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361.

JULY July 10-13 TGCA Summer Clinic Location TBA, Austin For more info, (512) 708-1333. July 12 TASPA Summer Law Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. July 12-14 TASPA Summer Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353.

Environment Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $30. July 19 TASBO Workshop: Workers’ Compensation Specialist Update for CSRM TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. July 23-26 THSCA Convention and Coaching School Brown Convention Center, Houston No phone number provided July 26 Developing Proportional Thinking for Making Connections, Grades 6-8 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $150. July 27 Model Drawing, Grades 6-8 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. Cost: $150. July 28-30 SummerFest Theatre Conference Angelo State University, San Angelo For more info, (832) 303-8382.

July 13-16 TASSP New Principal Academy: Tools for the Principalship Trinity University, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. July 16-18 TAHPERD Annual Summer Conference Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, San Marcos For more info, (512) 459-1299.

July 17 Science Teachers in Industry – Learning about Chemicals and

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



News in fine arts education

Lewisville ISD prides itself on its strong fine arts programs by Tristen Wilson

Lewisville ISD theatre students pose backstage during a dress rehearsal for a production of Disney’s Mary Poppins.


lower Mound High School senior Marshall Cahill could feel the gleam of the bright stadium lights and the tense anticipation of the crowd. Suddenly, he heard the explosion of resounding cheers and realized his school had just won the state marching band championship. But more than that, Cahill could feel a sense of deep satisfaction and appreciation from all the years of discipline and dedication that he, his classmates and the directors had given to the art.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

In the last three years, four out of five Lewisville ISD high schools have won a state title in fine arts. The district consistently ranks high in accolades and awards including: six consecutive state UIL marching band championship titles, two UIL state championship One-Act plays and numerous state orchestra and art awards. These successes don’t just begin in middle school or high school; they start in

elementary school. Because LISD places a high value on fine arts, students receive a strong foundation in music and art classes beginning in kindergarten. LISD Fine Arts Director Bill Watson believes elementary art and music teachers are often overlooked, but are a vital piece to an outstanding art program. “This is where kids really learn to love and enjoy the arts,” Watson says. “We are very purposeful and deliberate about

our elementary art education. It can give students the ability to express themselves early on and teach them to explore, create and take risks.” This foundation is then enhanced and fortified in middle and high school where more fine art options are available to students. Over the past several years, LISD has made an intentional decision to expand its fine arts program to include all the main fine art courses at its 15 middle schools. In addition, the district designed and created advocacy groups. The groups are composed of educators and directors who collaborate and provide insight into ways to promote and continually move the programs forward. LISD Fine Arts Coordinator Missey Head says the groups were created with the students in mind. “These groups serve as a voice to guide the direction on a particular art, set goals and discuss better ways to support the aspirations of our students,” Head says. “We are always looking for opportunities to develop our skill sets, as well as streamline processes to allow students the freedom and ability to flourish.” Encouraging student growth, both professionally and personally, is always at the forefront of LISD’s decision making process. While nurturing a passion for art is certainly one aspect of a fine arts program, perhaps a more important aspect is growing a student’s ability to lead, problem solve and think critically. By providing boundless fine art opportunities, students can develop these skills that will extend well beyond the classroom and into their adult lives. Data continues to show the study of fine arts enhances the process of learning overall. According to a study by Eric Jensen in “Arts with the Brain in Mind,” the systems that fine arts nourish, which include sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional and motor capabilities, are the driving forces behind all learning. Lewisville High School junior Jay Teamer knew he wanted to be involved in theater and choir in high school. Since childhood, Teamer had always loved being on stage and performing. However, what Teamer didn’t know was how dramatically those classes would influence him not just as an artist, but as a person. “I have always wanted to pursue a career in music education,” Teamer says, “but the skills and knowledge I have learned here has given me a toolkit for much more. It has taught me how to work through challenges, successes and failures. I have learned a

number of valuable life skills such as how to work together, even with disagreements, toward a common goal. Theater has given me the confidence in other areas of study and prompted me to probe deeper.” Head said Teamer’s story is an example of why LISD puts a great amount of time and energy into fine arts. “Often times people just think of the art itself and not what it teaches. I have had students say, ‘I am not going to pursue a career in that so I don’t think I will take it,’ and that is the opposite way to think about an art program,” Head says. “Art programs prepare you for life no matter what career you choose. They teach discipline, prioritizing, collaboration and time management. All the skills you need as an adult and in any career, you can learn in art.” Head says her time in LISD has been different than in any other district. “I think LISD provides so many wonderful opportunities for kids in fine arts,” Head says. “Our teachers and students work tirelessly to achieve success beyond what I have seen in other school districts. Students not only want to be better artists, but better people. I think you have to have both to achieve the kind of consistent success our students achieve.” Head’s sentiment rings true for senior Cahill. He credits his time in the FMHS band with helping him become a better, stronger and more capable person. “Through music, I have learned a lot about individual responsibility and had opportunities to really lead,” Cahill says. “It has exposed me to different perspectives, concepts and ideas, and I know for the rest of my life that is going to be a very huge part of me. Even if I don’t pursue a career in music, I will hold onto it very deeply because of what it has taught me about myself and life.”

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Having fine arts ingrained into the culture of LISD is about much more than shiny gold trophies, it’s about growing the mind and heart of each student. By incorporating a piece of the arts into every school and every classroom, our students can accomplish exceedingly more than a first-place win— they can accomplish their dreams. TRISTEN WILSON is Communications Specialist for Lewisville ISD. She can be reached at

855-821-HCDE 855-821-HCDE (4233) (4233)

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017



The one necessary quality of a great educator by Riney Jordan here has always been a debate about whether great educators are born or made. In the short space of this column, I have no intention of debating the issue—one way or the other.


Think about it. Love is the one thing that can change lives, tear down walls, lift people up, and give them purpose.

What I would like to do is point out one characteristic of an educator that defines the role, the purpose, and the quality of an exceptional educator. It doesn’t matter what your role is in the process, I believe it’s necessary to be the most effective ingredient for teaching children and helping lead them to their highest potential.

I treasure the quote from George Washington Carver, which says, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”

Now that’s a strong statement, but it’s one of those beliefs that I would “go to the stake to defend.” In other words, I have no doubt this quality is critical in the lives of each educator if we’re truly wanting to make a difference in the lives of those whom we have been blessed to serve. Of course, there are countless numbers of attributes that can be part of the makeup of a great teacher. We should all possess the qualities of honesty, integrity, dignity and the like. But one quality supersedes all others. Before I share it with you, let me remind you of my own experiences. It was truly a teacher who inspired me to teach. It was an educator who persuaded me to become a principal and serve as a model for teachers and students. It was the encouragement of scores of educators that convinced me to motivate and inspire others after retirement through books and seminars. You see, I am the product of educational professionals who shaped, directed and determined my life. And each possessed this one critical characteristic of a master educator: a genuine love for others. Yep, that’s it. Love. A deep, profound, meaningful, expressive love for all humanity. It’s one of those things that is easier said than done.

And any definition of love involves giving of one’s self.

Oh, what a truth! Sonya Romero is a kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Because the school is in an area of extreme poverty, each day begins with her quietly asking each student, “Have you eaten today?” That is followed by, “Do you need anything to wear?” She provides the snack items, clothing, and hygiene items for each one. She feels that it’s a valuable lesson to show them how much she cares about them. Now, I ask you, do you think that those students will ever forget this valuable lesson that she has taught them? Of course not. And, in every classroom in the country, there are students like those who are hurting. They may have personal demons. Their lives at home may be living hells. Their fear of peer rejection and pressure is as real as any life-threatening disease. The person who can truly turn their lives around is the educator, who has been entrusted with this most sacred of treasures. Meet the challenge! Accept the responsibility! Make a life-changing difference in another person’s life! Then, and only then, will you discover the greatest joy in the world.

RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2017

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