TSB—March/April 2019

Page 1



The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas

Texas School Business



The art of public school PR Reap the rewards of positive communications in your district with tips from the pros

Also in this issue: MOE money, MOE problems TASB President James de Garavilla TASSP President Herb Cox

Helping You Create Great Learning Spaces Custom solutions for today’s learning environments Our experts can manage your furniture project from start to finish. We’ll listen to your vision, recommend products, help plan your space and coordinate delivery and installation for a complete turnkey experience. School Outfitters is an authorized vendor on many regional and local school district contracts throughout Texas.




Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2019



TASSP President Profile Inspired by his coaches, Dr. Herb Cox takes to educational leadership with aplomb

Cover Story The art of public school PR

by James Golsan



TASB President Profile Silsbee’s James de Garavilla seeks to unify TASB members’ voices during the legislative session

Moe Money, Moe Problems by Andrew Tatgenhorst

by James Golsan

30 Spotlight Region 12’s Andi McNair says run, don’t walk, away from the “sit and get” teaching model by Dacia Rivers

Photo Features 13 School leaders convene in Austin for Midwinter Conference 38 Members of TCWSE meet during TASA Midwinter

Departments 7 Who’s News 32 TASA Honorary Life Members 35 Calendar 42 Ad Index


5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 15 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 17 Digital Frontier by Frankie Jackson and Alice Owen 19 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne 34 Regional View by Karen Schoen 39 Student Voices by Ema Waring 42 The Back Page by Riney Jordan

41 TASPA/TAEE host annual winter 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.


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From the editor


hope you’re all in the mood to read, because we have a packed issue for you this time around. For starters, we have two features: one offering vital public relations and communications tips from some pros whose advice is sure to help any administrator get a handle on district communications, from Facebook to good old-fashioned printed media. We also have an update penned by an expert on special education funding — another topic that is on the forefront of all of our minds these days. In Spotlight, on page 30, we profile an amazing educator, Andi McNair, who is going above and beyond to change the way instruction works to benefit a new generation of learners and use the many tools educators have at their fingertips in our tech-forward era. I hope her words are as inspirational to you as they are to me. Our Regional View column on page 39 focuses on an exciting program out of Round Top-Carmine ISD, where principal Karen Schoen details the Power Half Hour on her campus, during which students take time out of their day to get into small groups and learn unique skills while developing relationships with each other and teachers they might not get to know otherwise. As always, my email box is open to any of you who have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered in these pages, in any of our standing columns, or even as a future feature. As administrators, you have your fingers on the pulse, and I count on you to let me know what you’d like to read about in Texas School Business. Feel free to reach out to me at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com anytime. I hope this spring finds you energized and looking forward. The end of the school year will be here before we know it, so what better time than the present to take a break with what I can only assume must be your favorite magazine. May it bring you some inspiration and maybe even a little new information.

Texas School Business

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) MARCH / APRIL 2019 Volume LXVI, Issue 2 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Dacia Rivers DESIGN

Phaedra Strecher COLUMNISTS

Bobby Hawthorne Frankie Jackson Riney Jordan Alice Owen Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER

Ann M. Halstead

Dacia Rivers Editorial Director


Kevin Brown



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 2019 Texas Association of School Administrators

Ann M. Halstead

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019




Who’s News Abilene ISD Carla Garrett, executive director of

elementary education, retired at the end of 2018.

Roger Thomas retired at the end of the first semester of the 2018-19 school year. He was principal of Johnson Elementary School since 2005.

A new associate superintendent for human resources has been named. Joseph Waldron returns to Texas from Illinois, where he was superintendent of schools for the Morris Community High School District. Prior to that, he was a high school principal and assistant superintendent in Childress ISD and led Lefors ISD as superintendent.

Alvin ISD Now serving as interim superintendent is Daniel Combs, who was assistant superintendent of professional learning and student and community engagement. He has been with the district for seven years. Superintendent Buck Gilcrease has announced his upcoming retirement. He has led the district since 2015, coming to Alvin from Hillsboro ISD, where he was superintendent for seven years. In addition, he worked as a teacher, coach and principal and led Haskell CISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree from Tarleton State University and a doctorate in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Athens ISD The district’s new athletic director and head football coach is Zac Harrell, former football offensive coordinator at Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie ISD. He previously coached in Van, Prosper, Sweetwater, Denton and Alvarado ISDs.

Big Spring ISD Mike Ritchey has been named the district’s

athletic director after serving in an interim capacity. He will remain the district’s high school principal. He has been head football coach and Big Spring High School athletic director since 2007.

Bryan ISD Former Johnson Elementary School assistant principal Amy Thomman is now serving as interim principal. An employee of the school since 2011, she has twice been named its teacher of the year.

Burton ISD The district has a new secondary principal. Matthew Wamble was most recently an assistant principal at Brenham ISD’s Brenham High School.

Carrizo Springs

DeSoto ISD Marshall ISD’s head football coach Claude Mathis now will serve in the same capacity at Desoto High School. He previously led the DeSoto Eagles from 2008 to 2014, when he moved to Marshall.

Alberto Gonzales has been named district

superintendent. He had been serving in the top job on an interim basis.

Carthage ISD New superintendent John Wink comes to Carthage from Blue Ridge ISD, where he also held the top job. He began his career in Longview ISD and has also worked in Tatum, Hallsville and Gilmer ISDs.

Cleveland ISD. Superintendent Darrell Myers has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of June. A Texas educator for 33 years, he has led Cleveland ISD since 2014.

Coahoma ISD A new superintendent is in place for Coahoma ISD. Brad Cox, a 17-year educator, was the district’s assistant superintendent since 2014.

Coppell ISD Ashley Minton has been named principal

of the district’s newest elementary school, Canyon Ranch Elementary. She has been with the district for 10 years, working as an elementary teacher and math instructional coach and, most recently, assistant principal of Lee Elementary.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Rene McIntyre has been

promoted from Sheridan Elementary School’s assistant principal to principal. She has spent her 28-year career with the district working as a teacher before taking her first administrative position as an instructional specialist in 2005. She served in her most recent position since 2009. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, she holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Sam Houston State University. Paula Ross, former director

of network infrastructure and communications, is now chief technology officer. She has been with the district since 1999, working as a network engineer in server support and as manager of server infrastructure in addition to her most recent position. She received her degree in computer engineering from Lamar University.

Damon ISD Former Moulton ISD principal David Hayward has accepted the position of superintendent of Damon ISD.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD The district’s new director of operations, Dwayne Jones, was previously executive director of business services for Crowley ISD. An educator for 14 years, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business education from the University of Texas at Arlington. Ally Surface has accepted the position of director of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Education Foundation and Community Partnerships. She previously served as the Foundation’s marketing and development liaison and had served as interim director since July. She has 15 years of experience in the district and with nonprofit organizations in the private sector.

East Central ISD (San Antonio) Amanda Holman, director of college, career and military readiness, was named CTE (Career and Technical Education) Administrator of the Year for Area 7 by the Career and Technical Association of Texas. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University, where she is completing her doctorate.

El Paso ISD Former Brown Middle School principal Laurie Enloe is now the district’s interim assistant superintendent for special education and special services.

Elkhart ISD Former language arts teacher Rebecca Huff has been promoted to principal of Elkhart Middle School. A 17-year veteran educator, she also worked as an elementary and junior high principal in Grapeland ISD and as an assistant principal in Palestine ISD.

Fort Bend ISD Fort Bend ISD’s fine arts director James Drew was named 2018’s Administrator of the Year by the Texas Music Administrators Conference, a consortium of music and arts administrators. He was recognized in February at the annual conference of the Texas Music Educators Association.

> See Who’s News, page 9 Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



Who’s News > Continued from page 7

Frenship ISD The new chief of police, Roy Bassett, is a 32-year law enforcement veteran. He has spent the majority of his career with the Lubbock Police Department, including 10 years as a detective and, most recently, deputy chief.

Gainesville ISD The district’s new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction is La Creasha Stille. The Gainesville High School graduate has been an educator for 24 years, the past 13 as an assistant principal and principal in Crowley, Andrews and Schertz-CiboloUniversal City ISDs.

Hays CISD When the new Johnson High School opens in August, Steve Hoffman will be in place as athletic coordinator and head football coach. He will make the move to his new position from Corsicana ISD, where he is head football coach for Corsicana High School and the district’s assistant athletic director. He previously taught and coached in Cleburne, SchertzCibolo-Universal City and Del Rio ISDs. A graduate of Texas Tech University, he is completing his master’s degree at Sul Ross State University. Joey Lucita has been hired

to serve as band director for Johnson High School, scheduled to open its doors in August. He currently serves in the same position at Lehman High School. An educator for 25 years, he began his career in Calhoun County and Brazoria ISDs, coming to HCISD in 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the same institution.

Highland Park ISD (Dallas) The Highland Park Education Foundation has appointed Lauren Holloway its executive director. She joined the foundation in 2017 and has served as its director of major gifts for the past year. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international business from Trinity University and her

master’s degree in international political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Hull-Daisetta ISD Former Aspermont ISD superintendent Tim Bartram now leads Hull-Daisetta ISD as superintendent. He previously served in Iowa Park CISD, where he was a coach, teacher and high school assistant principal and principal. He earned his bachelor’s degree in occupational education and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Wayland Baptist and is nearing completion of his doctorate at the University of North Texas.

Irving ISD Longtime Irving ISD employee Magda Hernandez has been selected to lead the district as superintendent. She began her career in 1992 as a bilingual aide, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University. She subsequently worked as a teacher, assistant principal, director, assistant superintendent and associate superintendent of human resources, and as deputy superintendent of administration services. In addition, she was assistant superintendent of Waxahachie ISD.

Katy ISD The Katy ISD board of trustees has hired interim superintendent Ken Gregorski as superintendent. A 26year educator, he comes to Katy from Allen ISD, where he served as assistant superintendent for human resources since 2014. Prior to that, he was assistant superintendent in the Stafford Municipal School District and a high school and middle school principal in Fort Bend ISD. A graduate of Ohio State University, he received his master’s degree from Sul Ross State University. He is a doctoral candidate in educational administration at Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Keller ISD Former Keller Learning Center principal Chelsea Allison now leads Central High School as principal. She came to Keller in 2013 as principal of Swift Elementary, going on to serve in the same position at Vista Ridge Middle School. Prior to joining Keller ISD, she was an administrator in Arlington and Fort Worth ISDs. A graduate of the University of Texas, she holds master’s degrees from Tarleton State University and the University of North Texas, where she also completed her doctorate. Keller ISD’s new director of student services is Joseph Baker, who joins the district

from Kansas, where he was the director/principal of alternative education and at-risk programs for the Olathe Public Schools. He received his bachelor’s degree from Mid-America Nazarene University and his master’s degree in school leadership from Baker University. He is nearing completion of his doctorate in educational leadership. Former Heritage Elementary School assistant principal Edwina Dukes-West has been promoted to principal. Previously an assistant principal at Chisholm Trail Intermediate School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Prairie View A&M University and her master’s degree in urban affairs and educational leadership and policy from the University of Texas at Arlington. Now serving as director of the Keller Learning Center is Jose Angel Lara, who most recently was with the International High School of Rugao Academy through Beijing Foreign Studies University. Prior to that, he worked in Crowley, Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs as a teacher, assistant principal and dean of students.

Kennedale ISD Former Yorktown ISD superintendent Chad Gee has been chosen to lead Kennedale ISD as superintendent.

Kilgore ISD Andy Baker has been hired to lead the

district as superintendent. He comes to Kilgore from Edgewood ISD in Van Zandt County, where he served since 2011. Prior to that, he led Tioga ISD and was an administrator in Prosper ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas, a master’s degree in education administration from Southeastern Oklahoma University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Texas.

Killeen ISD Evan Leach is the newly appointed director of school nutrition. He is a 22-year, recently retired veteran of the U.S. Army, where he managed food service and logistics, including stints in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

> See Who’s News, page 11 Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


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Who’s News > Continued from page 9

effective at the end of the school year.

Round Rock


Robertson Elementary School’s new principal, Kyle Borel, led Harmony Science Academy since 2015 and was a teacher and principal at the Harmony School of Science. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Arizona and her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Karina Barrera, formerly an assistant principal in the district, has been named director of human servicescertified/professional staff. She joined MISD 20 years ago as a math teacher.

Kingsville ISD Previously deputy superintendent of San Antonio’s Judson ISD, Elida Bera has accepted the role of superintendent of Kingsville ISD. She began her career in Austin ISD, going on to serve as a principal in San Antonio ISD, as Outward Bound’s national director for expeditionary learning, and as a senior education associate with the Intercultural Development Research Association. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas-Pan American and holds two master’s degrees from the University of Texas, in curriculum and instruction and in educational leadership.

Lake Travis ISD The new principal of Bee Cave Middle School is Amanda Prehn. An employee of Lake Travis ISD since 2015, she has also served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Cypress-Fairbanks and Leander ISDs. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in teaching from Schreiner University.

Liberty Hill ISD Former Spring Hill ISD superintendent Steve Snell has accepted the position of superintendent of Liberty Hill ISD. An educator for 25 years, he has also worked as a teacher, junior high and high school principal and assistant superintendent. He was most recently superintendent of Spring Hill ISD.

Loraine ISD Dustin Anders has been

promoted from district principal to superintendent. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University, he began his career in Colorado ISD, going on to teach and work as an administrator in Hillsboro, Burleson, Gatesville and San Saba ISDs before joining Loraine ISD in 2018. He completed his master’s degree in educational administration at Concordia University.

Mabank ISD Lee Joffre, former superintendent of Italy ISD, is now superintendent of Mabank ISD.

Mesquite ISD Executive director of athletics Steve Bragg has announced his upcoming retirement,

Samantha Blevins is the new payroll director.

The district’s new director of human resource services for support staff is a Lee High School graduate who began his career in Midland ISD as a math teacher. Tony De La Rosa then joined the central office in the student services department and most recently worked as the district’s truancy intervention coordinator.

New Boston ISD Brian Bobbitt, former superintendent of

Malta ISD, now leads New Boston ISD as superintendent.

North East ISD (San Antonio) Superintendent Brian Gottardy has announced his upcoming retirement, effective at the end of June. He came to North East ISD in 1985 as a PE teacher and coach and has led the district since 2011.

Palacios ISD Former Kennedale ISD deputy superintendent Missy Glenn has been named superintendent of Palacios ISD. Prior to her time in Kennedale, she served as Birdville ISD’s director of finance.

Pflugerville ISD Pflugerville ISD has hired its first chief of police. Patrick Petherbridge has been with the Pflugerville Police Department since 1998. Formerly a principal at Spring Hill and River Oaks elementary schools, Tere Tidwell is now interim principal of Northwest Elementary School. An educator for 27 years, she most recently was the district’s coordinator of student affairs. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University).

Pine Tree ISD Assistant superintendent of business and finance Judy Downing retired in December after 20 years of work in school finance, 15 of those with Pine Tree ISD. During her career, she also served on the board of directors of the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) and on the Texas Education Agency’s District Financial Performance Council.

Raine Maggio, RRISD’s

gifted services coordinator, is the recipient of the 2018 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) Administrator of the Gifted award, presented annually to a district or administrator for championing exemplary services and programming for gifted students. Now serving as principal of Hernandez Middle School is Patricia Rendon-Ephlin. She has spent the past 11 of her 14 years with the district as principal of Robertson Elementary. In addition, she has taught and worked as an assistant principal and principal in Del Valle and Leander ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University and holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Socorro ISD (El Paso) The new principal of Hernando Middle School, Valerie Hairston, is a Socorro ISD alumnae who began her career in 2005 in El Paso’s Ysleta ISD. She joined Socorro ISD in 2015 as an administrator at El Dorado High School, overseeing the math, social studies, physical education and athletics departments. Deana White, the new

principal of Purple Heart Elementary School, came to Socorro ISD in 2007. She has since been a teacher, department head and academic coach at Americas High School and an assistant principal at Paseo Del Norte School.

Spring Hill ISD Former Decatur ISD superintendent Rod Townsend has been selected to serve as Spring Hill ISD’s interim superintendent. With more than 20 years of administrative experience in Texas public schools, he retired from his most recent position after seven years. ◄ Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


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Photo Feature

SCHOOL LEADERS CONVENE IN AUSTIN FOR MIDWINTER CONFERENCE The Texas Association of School Administrators held its annual Midwinter Conference in Austin in January. School leaders from across the state gathered for three days of learning opportunities, networking and awards presentations.

▲ Conference attendees from McAllen ISD pose in the exhibit hall.

▲ Students participate in the DLR Group’s Student

Innovation Challenge during the Midwinter Conference.

▲ Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial

Stadium lights up in honor of TASA’s Midwinter Conference.

▲ The Colleyville Heritage High School Panther Chorale from GrapevineColleyville ISD performs at the conference.

▲ Sean Covey of FranklinCovey Education

addresses the crowd at the first general session.

◄ Jaime Casap, chief education

evangelist at Google, speaks to attendees at the second general session.

► The jazz ensemble from

Westlake High School in Eanes ISD performs for conference attendees. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


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THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED September 20–22 Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas

A small but life-changing moment


by Jim Walsh

thoroughly enjoyed reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, and highly recommend it. It’s well-written, interesting and insightful. It’s not very political. You don’t have to be a supporter of former President Obama to enjoy this book. It’s much more a personal story of how a lower middle class African-American girl from the South Side of Chicago became our first lady, and, according to a recent survey, the most admired woman in America. There is one story in the book to which educators can especially relate. The former FLOTUS describes her second grade experience at Bryn Mawr Elementary School as “a mayhem of unruly kids and flying erasers.” She continues: All this seemed due to a teacher who couldn’t figure out how to assert control — who didn’t seem to like children, even. Beyond that, it wasn’t clear that anyone was particularly bothered by the fact that the teacher was incompetent. The students used it as an excuse to act out, and she seemed to think only the worst of us. In her eyes, we were a class of “bad kids,” though we had no guidance and no structure and had been sentenced to a grim, underlit room in the basement of the school. Fortunately for young Michelle Robinson, she had an advocate — her mother: Without telling me, she went over to the school and began a weeks-long process of behind-the-scenes lobbying, which led to me and a couple of other highperforming kids getting quietly pulled out of class, given a battery of tests, and about a week later installed permanently into a bright and orderly third grade class upstairs, governed by a smiling, no-nonsense teacher who knew her stuff. She characterized this move, engineered by her mother, as “a small but life changing

move.” Years later — after the magnet high school in downtown Chicago, after Princeton, after Harvard Law School — she looked back on this event with enhanced perspective: … my mind often traveled back to childhood, and in particular to the month or so I’d spent in the pencilflying pandemonium of that second grade class at Bryn Mawr Elementary, before my mother had the wherewithal to have me plucked out. In the moment, I’d felt nothing but relieved by my own good fortune. But as my luck in life seemed only to snowball from there, I thought more about the twenty or so kids who’d been marooned in that classroom, stuck with an uncaring and unmotivated teacher. I knew I was no smarter than any of them. I just had the advantage of an advocate. … Through no fault of their own, those second graders had lost a year of learning. I’d seen enough at this point to understand how quickly even small deficits can snowball too. Those “small, but life changing moments,” happen in our public schools every day. And they “snowball,” as Obama puts it. That image may not resonate with some folks who have spent their whole life in parts of Texas where snowballs are as rare as Komodo dragons. But like Obama, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and I can tell you that when snowballs roll downhill, they pick up mass. In fact “snowball” as a verb is now in the dictionary: “to increase rapidly in size, intensity or importance.” Young Michelle Robinson was fortunate to have the mother whom she had. Many kids don’t have that kind of advocate at home — but they can have that advocate at school. All of us who serve students in our public schools have the opportunity — daily — to start that snowball rolling in the right direction.

Help us create your learning experience! Session Selector is the new process created for potential presenters to submit proposals and attendees to review and offer feedback on which sessions they want to attend at this year’s Convention. Go to tasa.tasb.org to submit a proposal application January 15–March 1. Following the submissions window, Session Selector will reopen March 15–31 for voting, allowing board members, administrators, and other potential attendees to help create the ultimate program at this year’s event.

#tasatasb tasa.tasb.org

JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


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The CTO: your strategic partner by Frankie Jackson and Alice Owen


he CTO is the chief technology officer, or the highest-ranking technology leader in a school district. They have a range of titles, e.g. CTO, chief information officer (CIO), director of technology and others. They come from a variety of backgrounds, including technology, information systems, instruction, administrative and business. As technology demands in school districts have increased with each passing year, the role of the CTO has transitioned into a critical, strategic position in school business. Here are just a few examples. 1. Enterprise-level systems synthesizer. If your district has implemented technology systems that won’t “talk to each other,” you’ll understand how critical it is for the CTO to think at the enterprise level before any system is implemented or facility is built. Technologies are a synthesis of complex systems with interdependent operations. Successful implementations require alignment and integration of data. CTOs must see the district with X-ray vision and understand how the district works as a whole. Otherwise systems fail.

2. Visionary strategist. Superintendents expect the CTO to shape the district’s vision because technology is the underlying foundation that supports all programs. CTOs must envision the potential for how the world will exist, then build systems and networks to lead the district’s transformation. Being a

visionary isn’t enough. The CTO must be a visionary strategist who maps out plans to support the district’s vision, clearly communicate and articulate the value, then influence others to buy in and ultimately get the work done.

for CTOs to be innovators; what’s changed is that CTOs are expected to be forerunners of innovation, to see a space that others can’t see, or reimagine things that are already there and find new ways to improve.

3. Instructionally centered enabler. Students, parents, teachers and instructional leaders are the ultimate customers of the district. Because CTOs are critical enablers of education, they are expected to ensure all modes of technology access and services are available 100 percent of the time, whether it be family mobile apps with real-time grades, attendance reports and homework assignments, or online classroom websites and instructional resources.

6. Supporter of instruction and administration. From the district level to the device level, tentacles of technology affect everything and everyone. CTOs don’t take care of just one organizational unit, they sustain all of them. CTOs must be strategic in assuring all students and staff are served equitably in a safe environment.

4. Transformational change agent. Triggered by new technologies, weather disturbances, cybersecurity attacks or emergent social issues, disruptive events happen. CTOs must be capable of making transformational changes quickly and, at the same time, managing the risk. The entire district operation is now in the hands of the CTO, who must act with a sense of urgency, remain calm, think through all the repercussions, then quickly create action and cause change. 5. Forerunner of innovation. Technology is about innovating and finding ways to automate and improve. It’s common

7. World-class service provider. Stakeholders expect world-class technology service. What could be more important than educating our kids and serving our staff? To deliver, CTOs must understand the critical aspects of managing the performance of a technology organization. They must possess two strategic assets: leadership and a framework to improve performance. The strength of skills demonstrated by your CTO will increasingly affect how your district operates. The skills that previously got technology leaders a seat at the table aren’t the skills that will keep them there. You can help your CTO be more successful by understanding their role and providing your support.

FRANKIE JACKSON, RTSBA, CETL, is an independent chief technology officer helping education technology leaders build world-class technology teams, systems and services so they are ready to focus on what matters most. She is a national trainer for the CoSN Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL™) program, Texas K-12 CTO Council board member and chair of the Leadership Advisory committee. ALICE OWEN, Ph.D., CAE, CETL, is the executive director of the Texas K-12 CTO Council, the state chapter of CoSN. She has served as CoSN board member, developer of national training, and chair of the Certification Governance Committee for the CoSN CETL™ certification program. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


A future doctor sits here A future architect sits here A future engineer sits here A future artist sits here A future programmer sits here

A future CEO sits here A future principal sits here A future world changer sits here

The future sits here. indecosales.com Untitled-6.indd 1

1/15/19 10:20 PM


When you come around by Bobby Hawthorne


ot long ago, I got the crazy idea to visit the elementary school my daughter attended from 1990 to 1995 or thereabouts, just to see how things were going and whether I needed to come up and crack the whip. Well, to my surprise, things seemed to be going great. In fact, it seemed exactly as I had remembered it. Lots of braids, metal mouths, polo shirts and floral sun dresses. Ridiculously dedicated teachers and quiet, competent administrators, and we loved the school so much. It almost killed us when our little darlings were required by state law to grow into surly, insolent, pizza-face teenagers, as well they did. The fifth-grade graduation ceremony was particularly bittersweet. In closing, the lady in charge of the music played Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” and when the band reached the third stanza — “No time to search the world around; ‘Cause you know where I’ll be found…” — our little darlings, with their soft Texas accents, chimed in, “When I come ah-rau-ound.” That’s when we lost it. Well, that was a long time ago, I wanted to see if and how the school had changed, so I asked permission to interview a class of first-graders, and the principal kindly put me in touch with a young teacher, who said, “Be here at 8 a.m. tomorrow.” And so the next morning, I was sitting in a little tiny chair across from a gaggle of 6- and 7-yearolds who stared at me as if I had just fallen through the roof. I suspect they were ready to pounce when they were distracted by the Pledge of Allegiance, a minute of silent meditation and the principal’s message of the day, which was, “Acknowledge others.” “Kind, simple words can make other people feel good, all day through,” the principal said. “Compliment others. Live, love, laugh and learn.”

With the niceties expended, I got to the point: “Tell me, young people, how was your first year, and what did you learn?” Well, it wasn’t their first year, they protested. It was their second year. Last year, they were in kindergarten. This year, they were in first grade. Do the math, old man. They didn’t actually say that, but I could tell by the look in their eyes. They just had that look. Regardless, I had expected philosophical answers, such as, “We learned our fragile democracy needs active, informed citizens if it is to survive,” but I didn’t get that. I got this: “Just practice and you’ll succeed,” and, “Don’t leave your stuff just lying around. No one’s going to steal anything, but it’s just a bad habit to get into.” If I wanted to get the kids revved up, I asked them to tell me a secret about their teacher, and they ratted her out. Apparently, she lies constantly. “Every time, she says, ‘This is my favorite project. This is my favorite subject. This is my favorite assignment,’” one little girl confessed to me. When the teacher tried to explain that, “I love them all,” the kids hooted, but then they forgave. I asked them what they thought second grade would be like, and everyone agreed it would be different and probably harder, but if they’d remember to apply the things they learned in first grade such as practicing and not leaving their stuff lying around, then it probably wouldn’t be so bad. By and large, they were all excited to be on the path to becoming surly, insolent, pizza-face teenagers. My hour almost expired, I thanked them. They acknowledged me, and I scooted out and headed back to my car. And in the recesses of my mind, I could hear Green Day singing, “When I come ah-rau-ound.” And so, my message to you, as this school year spirals to an end, is this: Live, learn, laugh and love.

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 2019


The art of public school PR

Reap the rewards of positive communications in your district with tips By Dacia Rivers from the pros


ome folks will tell you there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but school administrators know that nothing could be further from the truth. In the current political environment, positive press couldn’t be more important, as public school administrators face a new task — promoting and defending their schools. “Public education is under attack,” says Veronica Sopher, chief communications officer in Fort Bend ISD and a 16-year veteran in school public relations. “It’s imperative that school districts take control of the narrative. We need to be telling our stories and promoting and marketing the good things that are happening within our schools every day.”


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

Ronnie Zamora has worked in school communications since 1986, and currently serves as the one-man communications and marketing department in Los Fresnos CISD. He agrees with Sopher that marketing your district is more important now than ever. In Willis ISD, Director of Communications Jamie Fails has worked in district PR for eight years, following 10 years spent teaching. She says it’s of the utmost importance for districts to provide information quickly and concisely, as communities have come to expect it. “It’s absolutely critical that parents and community members hear from the school district and happy parents what’s great about a school,” she says. “Because if we’re not telling our story, someone else will.

What works While some bigger school districts are able to staff large communications and PR departments, many Texas districts have one-person communications teams, while in others, the duty falls to administrators who are also assigned to other tasks. Whatever the situation in your district, positive communications are within your reach and easier than ever, thanks in part to technology such as social media. “Social media and video are easy to put together, and it’s even easier for our consumers to share and grow organically,” Sopher says. “We always want to drive traffic back to our website, but we know that social media is where the majority of our parents are getting their news, so we want to catch them where they’re at.”

Having a school district Facebook page isn’t an option anymore, Sopher says. It’s a necessity. Fails agrees, and adds that other social sharing sites are equally beneficial. In Willis, one of the newest assistant superintendents kicked off a big Twitter push about two years ago, and she’s seen it grow in leaps and bounds since then. Starting with principals in the district, Fails suggested each of them start up their own Twitter account, then suggest that their teachers do the same. Seeing other teachers and other campuses run with it has encouraged others who see how just a few minutes can make a big impact. Just snap a photo of your kindergarteners sorting dried beans into piles, post it on Twitter, and watch the engagements take off. “Anyone can tell the story, regardless if you have a communications team or not,” Sopher says. “There is always an opportunity to share things that are happening in other districts, too, because at the end of the day, we are all public ed, and we’ve all got great stories to tell from all parts of the state.” Fails keeps the longer posts for Facebook, where there is no character limit, especially when she expects feedback on a post, since it’s easier to track responses and reply on the site. She also urges that while social media is a great, free resource, districts should not rely on it as a sole means of communication. “Not everybody gets their information in the same way,” she says. “Our principals still use call-outs and they send emails and newsletters home. We try to hit them in a lot of different ways.” In Fort Bend ISD, Sopher and her staff have started putting out a traditional printed magazine over the past two years, in an attempt to reach community members who might not follow the district on social media. “More than half of the homeowners in our district do not have children in our school system, so when they get the magazine in the mail and it’s glossy and it shows photos and detailed feature stories, they get a sense

“There is always an opportunity to share things that are happening in other districts, too, because at the end of the day, we are all public ed, and we’ve all got great stories to tell from all parts of the state.” — Veronica Sopher, Fort Bend ISD

of what’s going on,” she says. “We want to make sure that we are reaching everybody.” The district also puts out a successful podcast called “The Frequency.” Released monthly, each episode introduces a Fort Bend staff member or program to members, delivering the district’s good news to anyone who prefers to get their media in audio format. In Los Fresnos, Zamora makes use of a historically beneficial relationship that he says is worth its weight in gold by maintaining a positive working relationship with the local newspaper. Every week, the Brownsville Herald prints a full-page dedicated just to news from the district. The paper’s editors have a great relationship with Zamora, who pens the articles himself and provides them with photos for publishing. “The better written a story is, the less editing they have to do, and they love you for it,” Zamora says.

Where to start If you’re a one-person communications team in your district, or an administrator trying to enhance your district’s reputation, help is readily available. Fails, Sopher and Zamora are all members of the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA), and they all serve as mentors to any Texas school districts who need assistance getting started.

“It’s important for a district that doesn’t have a communications team to invest in some training for the administrators who are responsible for that function,” Sopher says. “TSPRA is a great resource. There are materials that we can provide and mentoring opportunities with other districts. School PR folks are always available to help each other.” She also recommends starting things off by looking to your district’s strategic plan, or your school board’s mission and vision, for guidance. Understanding your district’s game plan is essential, along with recognizing your prospective audience. “What you don’t want to do is land in a district where the majority of your stakeholders are taxpayers without children in the district and start sending out everything communications-wise through your parent channels,” Sopher says. “You’re going to miss the majority of your stakeholders that way.” Fails agrees, recommending district staff look at their communities and determine the best avenue for reaching them, whether through traditional or online channels. She also suggests talking to teachers and getting them excited about sharing what’s going on in their classrooms through photos and videos, so they can be the voice of the district. “Try not to stay tied to your chair or your desk for too long,” Fails says. “Get into the

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


schools and see what’s going on yourself, because that’s how you find the good stories that are fun to share with your community.” It’s advice that Zamora lives every day, as he has posted more than 69,000 photos on the district’s Flickr account. He also writes and posts about 300 original stories on the district’s website every year. Because so many district communications come in written form, he urges districts to hire communications staff who can write first and foremost. “I could take a good writer and show them how to do graphic design, photography, websites, but I can’t take an expert at photography and show them how to write,” Zamora says. With 33 years in public and higher education communications on his résumé, Zamora has seen many changes in schools and the way people communicate. He wears many hats in his district, as most communications staff and administrators do, but he takes his job one day at a time, making a to-do list and tackling it in a focused and organized way. He suggests communications staff focus on where their talents lie and remember to log off and take time for themselves at the end of the day to avoid burning out in what can be a stressful position.

Tips for dealing with the media In “The Administrator’s Guide to School-Community Relations,” (Eye on Education, 1995), Dr. George E. Pawlas of the University of Central Florida shares a dozen helpful tips for building positive relationships with the media. The following tips are among them:

Get to know members of the media on a first name basis. Find out what their interests are; what deadlines they face.

Always avoid educational jargon.

Help the reporter get the story, but don’t try to suggest how it should be reported.

“If you do your job well, you’re respected and trusted,” he says. “And that’s the most important part of your job — that your superintendent trusts you to do your job right.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.

Don’t say anything “off the record.” Never ask a reporter to show you a story before it is published. Take time to say “thank you” when your school gets good coverage. The time spent making a telephone call or writing a note is “money in the bank.” Source: education world


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

MOE money, MOE problems

by Andrew Tatgenhorst


33.3 million dollars. That’s the reduction in federal funding to Texas schools for the state’s failure to comply with federal special education funding requirements in 2012, a decision upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November 2018.1 This decision was Texas’ hard lesson on the operation and application of the federal Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements. But what is MOE? How does it work? And how does it impact our school finance debate? We’re already well underway in the 86th legislative session, and our legislators are charged with the crucial and ambitious task of fixing the way Texas public schools are funded while simultaneously creating and funding programs that will support and advance the achievement of the state’s schoolchildren. As of this magazine’s press date, there have been many proposals on altering the funding formula and shifting funds to suit various needs; however, there has been little discussion of how MOE may impact the school funding formula.

Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the federal government provides significant funding to assist states with the education of students with disabilities, provided they comply with certain statutory requirements. One such requirement is the MOE mandate for both the State Education Agency (SEA) — the Texas Education Agency — and Local Education Agencies (LEAs), also known as local school districts. MOE requires that in any given fiscal year, each LEA spend at least the same amount as it spent from the same source for the most recent fiscal year.2 To meet this requirement, the LEA can demonstrate that it spent at least the same amount of: (1) local funds, (2) combination of state and local funds, (3) local funds on a per capita basis, or (4) a combination of state and local funds on a per capita basis.3 When comparing fiscal year expenditures, the LEA must use the same option for each year. In other words, if the LEA relied upon local funds per capita to meet MOE in 2017, it must rely on

that calculation for 2018. Importantly, this obligation remains even if the state changes or shifts the amount of money it provides to the LEA.4 If the LEA fails to maintain its effort, it must repay the U.S. Department of Education either the difference between what the LEA actually spent and what it should have spent to meet the MOE requirement, or the amount of the LEA’s entire IDEA Part B subgrant for that fiscal year, whichever is lower.5 The state’s repayment obligation must be met using nonfederal funds or funds for which accountability to the federal government is not required. SEAs have a similar rule and are not permitted to reduce the amount of support for serving students with disabilities below the amount of support for the preceding year.6 Note, there is nothing in this mandate requiring the SEA to provide the same amount of funding to each district — that can change. The SEA must simply expend the same amount of money on special education across the state. Like Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the federal government provides significant funding to assist states with the education of students with disabilities, provided they comply with certain statutory requirements.

the LEA requirement, failure to meet this requirement will result in a reduction in federal funding. Those contemplating changes or discussing the impact of proposed changes should remain mindful of the MOE requirement for both the SEA and LEAs. Any funding formula needs to at the very least comply with these requirements to maximize federal funding for the education of

students with disabilities and avoid any financial penalties. As of the time of this writing, several policymakers have suggested removing the small or midsize district adjustment. The proposal eliminates this adjustment and uses those same dollars for another adjustment, with separate qualifications, or moves the money (albeit a smaller amount) to the basic allotment. Such a change could have a significant impact on compliance with the MOE, especially LEAs. To explore the potential ramifications of cutting the small or midsize district adjustment, we will examine how this changes the funding formula and analyze the potential impact to LEAs attempting to comply with MOE. For example, consider a student who is in a district receiving the small/midsize adjustment and is being served in a resource room special education setting. The current funding for this student is $12,069.24, and if the small/ midsize adjustment is removed, the funding for this student would be $10,621. This is demonstrated below. In our example, the average adjusted allotment (AAA) is $6,546 [$5,140 (basic

allotment) + $620 (average cost of education increase) = $5,760 + $786 (average small district or midsize district increase) = $6,546]. With this AAA, the student’s special education funding is $8,837 and the total allotment is $12,160, computed as follows: If the small/midsize adjustment is removed, the AAA is $5,760 [$5,140 (basic allotment) + $620 (average cost of education increase) = $5,760]. With this AAA, the student’s special education funding is $7,776 and the total allotment is $10,621, computed as follows: In example two, the total reduction in funding for this student would be decreased by $1,448.24, and a decrease of $1,061 in special education funding. This 73 percent decrease in special education funding for this student displays both the cost of educating students with disabilities and how even a change to the small/midsize adjustment can significantly impact the funding of special education funding. What does MOE have to do with this? Remember, the LEA is required to spend the same amount of state or local funds either on an aggregate or on a per capita basis.

Example 1

Days Present 170 Contact Hours 486

Days Present (170) x Contact Hour Multiplier (2.859)

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) 0.45

Contact Hours (486) divided by [Days Taught (180) x Daily Contact Hours (6)]

Weighted FTE 1.35

FTE (.45) x Instructional Arrangement Weight (3.0)

SPED Funding Allotment $8,837

District's Adjusted Allotment ($6,546) x Weighted FTE (1.35)

Regular Program Allotment $3,232

{ADA (0.944) FTE [minus SPED FTE] (0.45)} x Adjusted Allotment ($6,546)

Total FSP Allotment $12,069


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

SPED Allot. ($8,837) + Regular Allot. ($3,232)

Example 2

Days Present 170 Contact Hours 486

Days Present (170) x Contact Hour Multiplier (2.859)

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) 0.45

Contact Hours (486) divided by [Days Taught (180) x Daily Contact Hours (6)]

Weighted FTE 1.35

FTE (.45) x Instructional Arrangement Weight (3.0)

SPED Funding Allotment $7,776

District's Adjusted Allotment ($5,760) x Weighted FTE (1.35)

Regular Program Allotment $2,845

{ADA (0.944) FTE [minus SPED FTE] (0.45)} x Adjusted Allotment ($5,760)

Total FSP Allotment $10,621

Because the state has reduced funding, the LEA won’t be able to rely on state funding for MOE compliance. It must demonstrate MOE compliance using local funds only, giving it only two options for compliance where it previously had four. The LEA will be further hamstrung if it previously relied on state and local funds to comply with MOE in the previous fiscal year, because it will be limited to that method for demonstrating MOE compliance — and it won’t be able to if there is a reduction of funding. What if the Legislature decides to move the money previously used for the small/ midsize adjustment and redistribute those funds to the basic allotment? Well, to avoid any MOE issues, it would need to move the exact amount, or provide more funding, than what the district previously received in the small/midsize adjustment. Even underfunding by $1 results in an MOE shortfall. Using the same example from above, reducing the district’s adjusted allotment

by even $5 reduces the total funding by $8, and underfunds special education by $7. Obviously, this has a disproportionate impact on the state’s special education population. Adjusted allotment: $6,546, results in $12,069 total allotment = [$8,837 (SPED funding) + $3,232 (regular allotment)]. Adjusted allotment: $6,541, results in $12,061 total allotment = [$8,830 (SPED funding) + $3,231 (regular allotment)]. The SEA does not necessarily encounter the same MOE problem. If the SEA simply shifts the dollar amount to other special education funding programs, it provides the level of support required. For our example above, that money saved by not providing special education funding to the LEA could be diverted to other LEAs or otherwise spent on a qualifying program.7 The four methods do not apply to the SEA; they simply need to spend the same dollar amount.

SPED Allot. ($7,776) + Regular Allot. ($2,845)

ENDNOTES 1 Texas Educ. Agency v. United States Dep’t of Educ., 73 IDELR 87, 908 F.3d 127 (5th Cir. 2018) (“The statute makes clear that states must maintain the same level of funding, irrespective of any fluctuations in the actual needs of children with disabilities”). 2 See 34 C.F.R. 300.203. 3 There are, of course, exceptions which allow for flexibility in certain specific situations. See 34 C.F.R. 300.204. For example, if an exceptionally costly student program is cut because the student leaves the district, the LEA may be excused from the MOE requirement. 4 See 34 C.F.R. 300.203(b). 5 The LEA must pay this amount to the SEA, which in turn returns it to the U.S. Department of Education. 6 See 34 C.F.R. 300.163. While the requirement for the SEA is technically called “maintenance of state financial support” we will continue to refer to this as the SEA’s MOE requirement, because of the similarity of concepts. 7 A cynic might argue this is a way for the SEA to help fund the corrective action required pursuant to the directives of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

ANDREW TATGENHORST is an associate at Underwood Law Firm in Austin.

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



Texas Association of Secondary School Principals

Inspired by his coaches, Dr. Herb Cox takes to educational leadership with aplomb by James Golsan


r. Herb Cox, who recently took the helm as president of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP), wanted to be a lawyer. At least, he thought he did during his first two years at Baylor University. “I was a sophomore pre-law major at Baylor; I was struggling and I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy,” Cox says. “And it occured to me as I reflected back on my junior high and high school years as a football and basketball player and track athlete, my favorite people in the whole world were my coaches.”

After 11 years of coaching and teaching in Plano and Anna ISDs, Cox got out of education for 10 years to work in the corporate world so he’d have more time to spend with his family while his children grew up, but his passion for education never left him. He decided he wanted to get back into the education field after his children finished high school, and he knew it was time to get back to his “true calling, which was serving students in public education.” Cox decided he wanted to reach a broader group of students when he reentered the education field.

It was a life-altering revelation. Cox decided then and there that he wanted to be the same sort of person and role model for young people that his coaches had been for him, and changed his major to pursue a career in coaching and education. At the time he had no aspirations toward the types of leadership positions he now occupies.

“I’d been in the classroom for 11 years and I felt like I’d made an impact on the kids within the four walls of my classroom, but if I was gonna get back into this thing, I wanted to be all-in as an educational leader and become a building-level principal to make an impact on all the kids in the school.”

“I got into education to coach first and teach if I had to,” Cox jokes. “Administration, man, that was the dark side, and honestly I fought it for a long time.”

Realizing he would need to advance his own education to pursue a career in education leadership, Cox enrolled in a master’s program at North Texas University. He worked as an education paraprofessional


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

while in school, and it was during that time that he first joined TASSP, and became a fullfledged member of the organization when he started his first principal job as an assistant principal at Belton High School in the fall of 2004.

nation, with more than 6,000 members. He also wants to build upon TASSP’s dedication to providing professional development opportunities and chances for its members to share best practices, emphasizing the importance of TASSP’s multiple annual conferences on that front. Cox is more than aware of the the important position TASSP occupies as a community for education leaders, and that it strives to support its members any way it can.

While he may have resisted leadership in education early in his career, it’s a profession in which he has flourished over the last 15 years. Cox is now the principal at Midway Middle School in Waco, and while he credits his rise within TASSP to being an active member and taking advantage of their conferences and other networking opportunities, his natural talent and passion for education leadership is apparent in the way he speaks on the organization and its responsibilities toward its members, as well as his goals for the organization during his time in leadership.

“My message to principals is to always remember your ‘why’ in this job,” Cox says. “This is a tough gig; the toughest job in the world, but it can also be the most rewarding job in the world.” He emphasizes the importance of principals remembering why they got into the education field on the hardest days. “If your answer is ‘to serve kids’’ that’ll keep you going through those tough times.”

“First and foremost, I want to continue to grow the strength of this organization by building an engaged membership,” Cox says, adding that TASSP is the largest secondary school administrators’ association in the


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It’s a “why” in keeping with TASSP’s studentfirst mission, and a “why” that’s been a bedrock principle of Cox’s career.

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“As teachers, we never really know the impact we’re making on kids, but I can assure you, it’s a powerful and positive thing,” he says, adding that he has no idea whether the coaches he had growing up know they made such a difference in his life, though he hopes they do. Dr. Cox graduated from high school in Pottsboro ISD; here’s hoping a copy or two of this profile makes its way to North Texas.

A better SIS and ERP experience. The Qmlativ® Education Management System offers a simple design interface, easy customization, and commonsense navigation on all of your devices.

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Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



Texas Association of School Boards

Silsbee’s James de Garavilla seeks to unify TASB members’ voices during the legislative session by James Golsan


ew Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) President James de Garavilla is a living, breathing example of the difference hard work and persistence can make for a school district and its surrounding community. His 12-year run as a school board member in Silsbee — a run that will continue, as de Garavilla was elected to his fifth term on the board in the fall of 2018 — has been a dynamic and innovative time for the district. De Garavilla has been a driving force behind many of the positive changes Silsbee ISD has experienced during that time frame, and brings a strong track record in public education leadership to his young TASB presidency. A Massachusetts native, de Garavilla moved to Texas shortly after graduating from Northeastern University in 1984, when he accepted an engineering position at Dupont Chemical. A family man and father of two, it wasn’t until de Garavilla’s youngest daughter graduated from Silsbee High School that he decided to run for a position with the local school board, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about it sooner.


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

“I kinda got bitten by the ‘getting involved’ bug,” de Garavilla says, and adds that while his own children’s time in Texas public schools was a substantial part of what inspired him to run for a board position, he didn’t want voters to think he was running to be an advocate for his family’s interests in Silsbee ISD. “I wanted to be an advocate for all Silsbee students, not just my kids,” he says. First elected in the fall of 2006, de Garavilla quickly got to work on behalf of his district. Recognizing that Silsbee’s schools were antiquated both in their physical and academic designs — elementary and middle school students were broken up into several small schools across small, uneven grade bands — de Garavilla advocated for and managed to convince the citizens of Silsbee to pass a bond to build a new elementary school that would house all kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the district. “We wanted to be sure that all our students had access to equitable education,” de Garavilla says, adding that the structural change has

already paid dividends academically even though the school has only been open for a few years. A new building is just one achievement among many during de Garavilla’s tenure as a school board member. Others include the establishment of a growing Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) program in Silsbee’s middle and high schools, district-wide all-day prekindergarten, and the creation of an early college high school, one of the region’s first. While all of these changes have made a substantial difference in the community, de Garavilla particularly emphasizes the potential for a positive impact in Silsbee that the early college high school brings. “The early college high school puts kids who might think college is too costly or intimidating in a much stronger position to pursue higher education,” he says, and adds many of those graduates are the kids who will stay local and make lifetime contributions to their community.

emphasizes as extremely important, as well as student safety and reforms to unfunded mandates and the state’s school accountability system. “We want to be sure we equip our membership with the right arguments for our Advocacy Agenda,” he says.

Now, as de Garavilla moves into a statewide leadership role with TASB, he says he wants to inspire not just the TASB board in its mission of public education advocacy, but all 7,700-plus members of the organization as well. “It’s important that we be a strong, collective voice,” he says, especially in support of TASB’s legislative agenda for the 86th Texas Legislature. “I believe in local control when it comes to public education,” de Garavilla says, and emphasizes that locally elected school boards are an important component of what that local control should look like. “We [TASB] are concerned about the influence of private, profiteering entities encroaching into public education. You see the sorts of predatory practices that private lenders participated in in the higher education sector, and you worry about similar practices making their way into K-12.”

With what promises to be a challenging, education-centric legislative session ongoing, TASB has a chosen an experienced, innovative and persistent leader to steer their ship. De Garavilla has done great things for Silsbee ISD. There’s no reason to think he won’t do the same on behalf of TASB, its membership, and Texas students during his time as TASB president. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.

TASB’s agenda also includes a call for school finance reform, which de Garavilla




Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



Thought leaders and innovators in education

Region 12’s Andi McNair says run, don’t walk, away from the “sit and get” teaching model by Dacia Rivers


Realizing that her students needed more than she was giving them, McNair began a quest to empower and inspire them. It started by changing her way of thinking.

The sight was a wake-up call for McNair, a 16-year educator who says she didn’t want to do things the old-fashioned way anymore. It wasn’t working for her students, and it was wasting her time right along with theirs.

McNair now works as a digital innovation specialist at the Region 12 ESC, where her job involves helping educators understand this new generation of learners, including who they are, where their passions lie, and what they bring to the table. Students today are technologically savvy and have access to abundant information, and many educators see these factors as weaknesses, when McNair says they really are strengths — especially outside of the traditional classroom setting.

ndi McNair can remember the day she realized her teaching methods weren’t working. Despite a lifelong passion for education that began before she got her degree from Baylor University, McNair says she was a traditional teacher at first, doing what she thought was best for her students, but still not quite reaching them. One day as she stood before her elementary classroom, she noticed barely any of her students were paying attention. Some were talking to their neighbors. Some rested their heads in their hands, looking half asleep. Others had that compliant, glazed-over look in their eyes, clearly miles away, lost in their own thoughts.

“When I first became an educator, I saw myself as a giver of information,” McNair says. “I never would have let my students know that I didn’t know the answer to something.”


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

“It’s a big shift from teachers being people who provide information to facilitators who support students in their learning, and who oftentimes are learning right alongside them,” McNair says. “When I started letting my students learn through pursuing their passions, it changed everything.”

“We can use technology not just in place of a worksheet, but to engage and empower today’s learners,” McNair says. “School should be an experience, not just a place.” Creating experiences for students is a large part of McNair’s educational philosophy. She doesn’t think students have changed all that much, rather the culture has changed to allow for more interactive educational experiences. What student throughout history wouldn’t respond better to a handson lesson over a seated lecture? And now educators have access to the resources that facilitate personalized lessons, connecting students with their interests without concerns such as distance or access. “Students should look forward to going to school and experiencing learning, rather than seeing it as a place where they go to be compliant and do what they’re told and sit down and listen to something they know they could learn from the device in their pocket on their own,” McNair says. “They thrive when they are really invested in an experience.” If she could make one suggestion to teachers and administrators looking to make a difference in their schools, it’s to

give students the opportunity to pursue their passions during the school day. The results, she says, are palpable, adding that administrators must be on board to support their teachers as they make this shift in their classrooms. McNair acknowledges that it can feel risky making changes in the way teachers have always worked, but believes but every school can start with small changes and see a big difference. “It’s a game changer,” McNair says. “I think we have students sitting in our classrooms right now who we think struggle, or we think just can’t learn, and the reality is that they don’t need a label — they just need a different experience.” McNair is passionate about Generation Z learners. She and her husband have three of their own children who fit into this group, and she sees their strengths. She believes in their capabilities and thinks they get a bad reputation by groups who don’t quite understand them. Her passions go beyond raising her own children and her work in Region 12 — McNair has also published two books on education innovation and hosts a podcast on the topic. Administrators and educators can visit

andimcnair.com to read about McNair’s philosophy, listen to her podcast and partake in her informational webinars. Her first book, “Genius Hour,” provides a roadmap to anyone looking to update their teaching style. Her second book, “A Meaningful Mess,” will be published in April and is more of a call to action for making changes in educational methods that will reach the new generation of learners in ways that will benefit them, and society as a whole. A product of Texas public schools herself, McNair is passionate about education, and her passion is contagious. Wholly invested in her mission, she travels across the country, sharing the gospel of passionbased learning and inspiring educators to give today’s students the kind of learning opportunities that will reach them most. “I want to see change happen,” McNair says. “Not because it’s what everyone’s talking about or because it’s popular, but because we know it’s what’s right for students. I love to share what this generation is capable of if we’ll just get out of their way.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.

Texas School Business THE News Magazine for Public Education in Texas!

Since 1954, Texas School Business has published positive school news about and for Texas educators and the districts they serve. Considered an institution among public school administrators for its insightful writing and positive message, the magazine is a mustread for K-12 leadership teams in Texas.

Annual subscription rate: $24/year Subscription includes 6 bimonthly issues, plus our annual Bragging Rights special issue Subscribe online today at www.texasschoolbusiness.com Reminder: Active, Associate and Student members of the Texas Association of School Administrators receive a copy of Texas School Business magazine as a membership benefit. Subscribe now for board members and other members of your leadership team.

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


TASA 2019 Honorary Life Members The following TASA members were recognized as 2019 Honorary Life Members during TASA’s Midwinter Conference in January. ANTONIO AGUIRRE, JR Superintendent Austwell-Tivoli ISD 09/28/2018 - 42 years

CINDY EDWARDS Superintendent Lipan ISD 07/31/2018 - 37 years

ROBERT JAKLICH Superintendent Victoria ISD 08/31/2018 - 37 years

RICHARD J. BAIN, JR. Superintendent Silsbee ISD 12/31/2018 - 32 years

TERESA J. FARLER Superintendent Pine Tree ISD 06/30/2018 - 33 years

RONNIE J. KINCAID Executive Director ESC Region 14 08/31/2018 - 43 years

JOHN BAKER Superintendent Seymour ISD 07/01/2018 - 33 years

LANNY D. FRASIER Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Services Mesquite ISD 06/30/18 - 42 years

JAMES MICHAEL LARGENT Superintendent Granbury ISD 07/31/2018 - 31 years

LOUIS L. BATY Superintendent Knox City-O’Brien CISD 06/30/2018 - 35 years MARVIN BEATY Superintendent Bonham ISD 12/31/2018 - 34 years PETE J. BIENSKI, JR. Superintendent Mumford ISD 06/30/2018 - 48 years PAMELA J. BRYANT Superintendent Clarksville ISD 06/30/2018 - 42 years BOBBY C. BURNS Superintendent Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD 06/30/2018 - 38 years RAY DESPAIN Superintendent Elkhart ISD 06/30/2018 - 37 years ROBERT J. DURON Superintendent San Antonio ISD 04/1/2012 - 32 years


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

CLARENCE DEAN GILSTRAP Superintendent Bellevue ISD 08/31/2018 - 38 years LEIGH ANN GLAZE Superintendent San Saba ISD 02/28/2017 - 27 years MARLA M. GUERRA Superintendent South Texas ISD 10/31/2018 - 40 years CINDY GUNN Superintendent Holland ISD 01/31/2019 - 36 years PAULINE HARGROVE Superintendent Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD 01/31/2019 - 46 years LAWRENCE A. HINDT Superintendent Katy ISD 01/01/2019 - 28 years

STEVE LONG Superintendent Glasscock County ISD 06/30/2018 - 34 years CARL A. MONTOYA Superintendent Judson ISD 07/31/2018 - 44 years ANN LIGON MOORE Superintendent Compass Academy Charter School 06/30/2018 - 29 years BOB MORRISON Superintendent Garland ISD 02/28/2017 - 27 years MICHAEL A. MOSES Superintendent Dallas ISD 2004 - 30 years JOHNNY I. PINEDA Superintendent Raymondville ISD 01/31/2017 - 38 years DAVID PRIDDY Chief Academic Officer Crowley ISD 06/30/18 - 39 years

JAMES CRAIG REED Superintendent Dodd City ISD 07/01/2018 - 34 years

PAULA TRAYNHAM Assistant Superintendent Fort Stockton ISD 08/32/2018 - 32 years

PARI WHITTEN Superintendent Sinton ISD 09/30/2018 - 33 years

DON G. RHODES Superintendent May ISD 05/31/2007 - 35 years

DANIEL DAVID TWARDOWSKI Superintendent Waller ISD 08/31/2018 - 41 years

PAUL L. WHITTON, JR. Associate Executive Director TASA 05/31/2018 - 48 years

BERHL L. ROBERTSON Superintendent Lubbock ISD 06/30/2018 - 29 years

KARL VAUGHN Superintendent White Deer ISD 08/31/2018 - 28 years

KENNETH E. STEIN Deputy Superintendent Bellville ISD 06/30/2018 - 50 years

JOHNNY L. VESELKA Executive Director TASA 06/30/2018 - 49 years

DONALD J. STOCKTON Superintendent Conroe ISD 06/01/2018 - 34 years

TOM WEEAKS Superintendent Glasscock County ISD 08/31/2018 - 37 years

2020 Honorary Life Nominations Now Open! Honorary Life Members receive regular news and information from the association through our popular TASA Daily e-newsletter. Honorary Life Members also are listed in the TASA membership directory, Who's Who in Texas Public Schools. Please visit tasanet.org/honorarylife for more details.

If you or someone you know will be retiring from education this year, submit a nomination* for Honorary Life Membership in TASA. The association's Honorary Life Members are school administrators who have demonstrated extraordinary devotion to education and to the association who meet the following criteria: •

Retirement from one of the administrative positions listed in Article III, Section 2, of the TASA Constitution

At least 25 years of experience in education

10 years of membership in TASA

A member of TASA upon retirement

A record of outstanding service to the education profession

Approval by the TASA Executive Committee

*Nomination forms are due in the TASA office no later than Friday, November 15, 2019. TASA’s 2020 Honorary Life Memberships will be presented at the TASA Midwinter Conference on Monday, January 27, 2020, at the Austin Convention Center.

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



Education service center programs & practices

Round Top-Carmine students build relationships and grow skills through the Power Half Hour by Kate Schoen


e are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.” —William Glasser Nearly any article about schools you read, or educational speaker you hear, will tell you that students today need to feel like they belong and that they have personal connections with someone at school. In today’s world of bullying and school violence, this has become a critical part of our school life. We need to do a better job of creating schools where all students share a feeling of belonging. The intense pressure for students to succeed on standardized tests often interferes with the joy and fun of learning as well. So we decided that at Round Top-Carmine Elementary School, we would do something about it. But how to do that in the school day with only the current staff and time? As luck would have it, while attending the TASA Midwinter Conference in Austin in January 2017, I visited with John Kuhn, superintendent of Mineral Wells ISD. He described a new initiative their high school was planning called Mega Lunch. They would have hour-long lunches that included a 30-minute period for club meetings and/or other interesting activities. I brought the idea back to my staff and asked what they thought about doing something like this the next year. I worried that organizing this and then planning activities for it would be a bit daunting and that it might kill the idea quickly. Neither of these things made a dent in the staff ’s enthusiasm. We decided to try it with grades four through six. We designed it so students would be able to choose a Monday/Wednesday/Friday activity and a different activity for Tuesdays and Thursdays. The four core teachers, one special education teacher, the librarian, and


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

a paraprofessional all dove right into the project. With seven teachers, we were able to keep the groups at eight to 10 students. If there was a big interest in a particular activity, we put two teachers in charge and allowed 20 students. We sought student input on activities they would enjoy, and we added some we thought they’d like as well. All three of these grade levels were already in a common lunch. We made sure it was the last lunch of the day and added 30 minutes to the end for what we ended up calling the Power Half Hour. During the first week of school, we described PHH to them. We also explained the expectations and procedures we would be following. We distributed a list of activities that at least one teacher was comfortable leading, and then asked the students to make suggestions as well. One of the teachers volunteered to compile the list, and then we all looked at the activities and how many students showed an interest in each and made out final choice forms. We did not tell the students which teacher would lead which activities. We wanted students to choose an activity they liked even if that choice put them with a teacher they didn’t know well, or with whom they didn’t have a good connection yet. Over the past two years, our choices have included: line dancing, STEM activities, jigsaw puzzles, conversational Spanish, brain games, chess, current events, sketching, Legos, Star Wars script writing, crochet, dominoes and card games, holiday crafts, yoga, book club, gardening, tech skills, American Sign Language, Cubs Care (our only “club,” they drew inspirational messages in sidewalk

chalk and painted on windows, read to kindergarteners and first-graders, left positive notes around school and to staff, etc.), coloring, making friendship bracelets (even our superintendent made one!) and 4-H experience. We invited community members to help. Our local 4-H extension office sent someone to teach a smattering of things about 4-H (they made butter, ice cream and pickles, planted seedlings, learned about indigenous snakes and animals, sewed buttons and more). Our local library sent members of their master gardeners group; parents volunteered to come in and teach crafts for holidays. A parent has taught a yoga class each year. Another community member (a grandmother of two of our students) taught a chess class. Each six weeks we change some of the activities, but keep some the same. We survey the students to see what they liked and didn’t like and if they’d like to add something new to the schedule. One thing that nearly all the students and teachers have noted is how they get to know each other without the stress of grades, a formal classroom setting, and even behavioral distractions. We have not had behavioral issues in these groups. (Though sometimes the Lego group gets a bit loud!) Students said they loved being in classrooms with students in other grades, too. They have enjoyed getting to > See Regional, page 37

Calendar Professional development & events

S TA N D O U T F R O M T H E C R OW D ! Get premium placement and get noticed! For a nominal fee, you can showcase your conference, workshop or seminar on the opening page as a Featured Event. Contact Ann Halstead at ahalstead@tasanet.org for more details. APRI L April 2 TASB Best Practices Training: Procurement TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. April 3 TACS Annual Conference Location TBA, Tyler For more info, (512) 440-8277. www.tacsnet.org TASB Best Practices Training: Efficient Facilities TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. TASBO Workshop: EDGAR and Texas School District Procurement Harris Co. Department of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $205; nonmembers, $255. April 4 TEPSA Region 10 Spring Meeting Offices of ESC Region 10, Irving For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 580-8272. www.tepsa.org April 5 TSPRA North Central Regional Meeting Allen ISD, Allen For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

April 9 TASB Class for Asbestos Designated Person Dayton ISD, Dayton For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. April 10 TASB Class for Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Dayton ISD, Dayton For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. TASBO Workshop: Developing a Fiscal Manual Offices of ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $205; nonmembers, $255. TEPSA Region 16 Spring Meeting Offices of ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 11 TASB Class for Indoor Air Quality Coordinator Dayton ISD, Dayton For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. TEPSA Region 13 Spring Meeting Location TBA, Wimberley For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org

April 11-12 TASB Special Education Members Conference Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Texas ASCD Academy: Curriculum Leadership (session 2 of 3) Pat May Center, Hurst-EulessBedford ISD, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: $1,500. April 12 TASBO Course: Managing Special Revenue and State Programs Offices of ESC Region 1, Edinburg and Brownsville (Brownsville – teleconference) For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $170; nonmembers, $220. TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Austin ISD, Austin For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org April 14-16 TAGT Leadership Conference Sheraton Hotel, Georgetown For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: TAGT members, $225; nonmembers, $325. April 16 TASB Class for Asbestos Designated Person Offices of ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. TASBO Course: Workers’ Compensation Specialist Update for CSRM TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org April 17 TASB Class for Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Offices of ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272.

www.tasb.org Cost: TASB members, no charge; nonmembers, $425. April 18 TASB Best Practices Training: Construction Fundamentals Offices of ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. April 23 TEPSA Region 8 Spring Meeting Offices of ESC Region 8, Pittsburg For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 23-25 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level 2 TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. April 24 TASPA Workshop: Personnel Skills for Supervisors of NonExempt Staff Offices of ESC Region 2, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. TEPSA Region 3 Spring Meeting Offices of ESC Region 3, Victoria For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 25-26 TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss Galena Park ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $490; nonmembers, $540.

> See Calendar, page 36 Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


> Continued from page 35 April 29 TASBO Workshop: Developing a Fiscal Manual TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $205; nonmembers, $255. TCASE/Legal Digest Conference on Special Education Law Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 474-4492, (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: $210. April 29-30 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 4 of 4) Georgetown ISD, Georgetown For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,995 for all four sessions. April 30 TASBO Course: Financial Essentials TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $175; nonmembers, $225. TASBO Workshop: Internal Audit Klein ISD, Spring For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $205; nonmembers, $255.

M AY May 1 TASBO Academy: Texas School Records Management Omni Hotel Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345. May 1-3 TASB Risk Management Fund Members’ Conference Hyatt Regency, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org May 2 TCASE/Legal Digest Conference on Special Education Law Embassy Suites, San Marcos


Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

For more info, (512) 474-4492, (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: Early registration, $180; regular registration, $210. May 2-3 Texas ASCD Academy: Curriculum Leadership (sessions 6 and 7 of 7) Rio Grande City ISD, Rio Grande ISD For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: $1,700. May 6 TASBO Construction Academy Courtyard Austin Hotel, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345. May 6-7 TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss Offices of ESC Region 19, El Paso For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $490; nonmembers, $540. May 7 TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals Manor ISD, Manor For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. May 9 Learning Forward Texas Course: Tips, Tools and Techniques 2 Dallas ISD, Dallas For more info, (512) 266-3086 www.learningforwardtexas.org TASBO Course for Certified School Risk Managers: School Risk Katy ISD, Katy For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org May 10 Learning Forward Texas Course: More Tips, Tools and Techniques Dallas ISD, Dallas For more info, (512) 266-3086 www.learningforwardtexas.org TASBO Course: Business Ethics Offices of ESC Region 1, Edinburg and Brownsville (Brownsville – teleconference) For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: TASBO members, $170; nonmembers, $220. TASBO Course: Internal Auditing Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $175; nonmembers, $225. May 14 TASB Course: Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. May 15 TASB Course: Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Responses TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. TASBO Workshop: Investment Training Offices of ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $205; nonmembers, $255. May 16 TASB Best Practices Training: Construction Fundamentals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425.

nonmembers, $440. May 22 Learning Forward Texas Course: Tips, Tools and Techniques Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org TASPA Workshop: Documentation 101 Offices of ESC Region 2, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. May 22-23 Learning Forward Texas Course: Tips, Tools and Techniques Comal ISD, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss Keller ISD, Keller For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $490; nonmembers, $540.

JUNE June 4 TASB Course: Managing State and Federal Leave TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org June 5 TASB Course: Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

May 21 Learning Forward Texas Course: Tips, Tools and Techniques 2 Comal ISD, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org

June 6 TASSP workshop: Documentation Whitehouse ISD, Whitehouse For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135.

May 21-22 TASBO Workshop: Project Management for School Business Professionals Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $390;

June 10-12 Texas ASCD Conference: Ignite 19 Omni Hotel, Houston For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: Texas ASCD members: $439; nonmembers, $578.

June 12 Legal Digest Conference: Education Law for Principals Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com June 12-13 Texas ASCD Academy: Curriculum Leadership (session 3 of 3) Bastrop ISD, Bastrop For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: $1,500. June 12-14 TASSP Summer Workshop Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org TEPSA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268, (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Conference only: Early registration (by May 13): Members, $374; nonmembers, $613. Regular registration (after May 13): Members, $424; nonmembers, $663. Conference and master class: Early registration (by May 13): Members, $523; nonmembers, $822. Regular registration: (after May 13): Members, $623; nonmembers, $922. June 13-15 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Marriott River Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

June 14-16 TETA Summerfest Tyler Junior College, Tyler No phone number provided www.tetatx.com June 18 TASBO Source: Measuring School Risks Watters Convention Center, Allen For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org June 18-19 Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference: Unlocking the Learning Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org Cost: $424. Texas ASCD Academy: Transformative Principal Leadership (session 1 of 3) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Cypress For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: $1,750. June 19-20 TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss Allen ISD, Allen For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $490; nonmembers, $540. June 20-22 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

> Continued from page 34

know their teachers in a relaxed, non-graded setting. Students who don’t always shine in academic classes are able to shine in PHH. Teachers have time to just talk to kids and get a feel for anyone who is struggling emotionally, has problems at home, or has problems with other students. Parents tell me their kids really hate to miss school because they don’t want to miss their Power Half Hour activity. We believe that we are covering three of the five genetic needs, according to William Glasser: love and belonging, freedom and fun. Some student quotes: “…you get to learn

JULY July 14-16 TAHPERD Summer Conference Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Early Bird (by May 15): Professional and associate members, $85; student and retired members, $35. Preregistration (by June 15): Professional and associate members, $95; student and retired members, $35. Late registration (after June 15): Professional and associate members, $105; student and retired members, $45.

July 17 TASB Course: Integrated Pest Management Coordinator TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425. July 17-18 Texas ASCD Academy: Transformative Principal Leadership (session 1 of 3) Round Rock ISD, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: $1,750.

July 15 TASBO Academy: New Business Managers’ Boot Camp Omni Hotel at Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $215; nonmembers, $265.

July 18 TASB Course: Environmental/ Facilities Compliance TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from member districts; all others, $425.

July 16 TASB Course: Asbestos Designated Person TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Free to participants from members districts; all others, $425.

July 21-23 THSCA Convention and Coaching School Brown Convention Center, Houston For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.com Cost: In advance, $60; at the door, $75.

TASBO Academy: Internal Audit Omni Hotel at Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345.

July 22-24 TCASE Interactive 2019 Location and city TBA For more info, (512) 474-4492, (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org ◄

new things that you might never get to learn again.” “I like that there is a free period after lunch when we can relax our brains.” “It is fun and you can give what you made to someone like your mom.” “PHH makes people be happy and be together.” “PHH gives you a break after classes to get your mind started up again so you can pay attention better.” “PHH allows us to take a break and learn without knowing it.” “PHH gives me something to look forward to every day.” “Power Half Hour is super fun and I love it. Especially on days I don’t feel too good or am having a bad day.” We tweaked things a bit this year by building our UIL practice into PHH the six weeks before the UIL competition.

Our students and the community see RTC Elementary as an important part of our whole school community, but it feels like we have our own identity as well. We are more than a great school with great staff and students preparing for high school. We are creating connections and a sense of belonging of our own as well. We believe that, “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story,” as said by Josh Shipp, former foster child and author. We are all connected. We are all important. #rtcthegreatestschoolonearth KATE SCHOEN is principal of Round Top-Carmine Elementary School in Round Top-Carmine ISD.

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019


Photo Feature

TCWSE MEMBERS CONVENE FOR ANNUAL CONFERENCE Members of the Texas Council of Women School Executives gathered in Austin in January for the group’s annual conference, with a theme of making today’s dreams tomorrow’s realities.

▲ TCWSE members were excited to welcome 97 newcomers to the conference.

▲ TCWSE founder

Margret MontgomerySheffield and President Sharon Ross.

▲ TCWSE’s officers for 2019.

▲ The TCWSE conference provides ample networking opportunities for attendees.

► Jean Bahney accepts the

Margret A. Montgomery Leadership Award from its namesake.

▲ Valerie Walker and Jamie

Goodwin, recipients of the Bravo Award, pose with TCWSE President Sharon Ross.

▲ Learning opportunities abound at the annual conference.

▲ The conference included a career recruitment panel. 38

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



Life as a student leader by Ema Waring


hold two primary positions: that of a student and a student leader. Both require the same effort: the commitment to never stop learning. After attending approximately 25 leadership programs and serving in five student council offices, my biggest takeaway is that when opportunity knocks, I must open the door. I have been a student council member for almost six years. Now serving my second term as student body president of Azle High School (AHS), I realize much of my success has to do with constantly adapting and being willing to improve. I got my foot in the door during eighth grade, when I was asked if I wanted to run for a StuCo position. That felt like a knock to me, so I took the chance and ran for it. Later as a sophomore in high school when I was running to be president once again, it dawned on me how little I knew. I was campaigning for 1,800 votes, but I could barely name 400 people in my own grade. When I surprisingly won the election, I knew my work was far from over. Then I attended my first Texas Association of Student Council (TASC) Advanced Leadership Workshop. TASC is an association that promotes an active student voice and empowers leadership development. After being a part of this nonprofit for three years now, I can vouch that my whole life is affected by what I learned at these conferences. The first keynote speaker I heard was John Norlin, cofounder of CharacterStrong. He presented the idea of holding doors open for students and faculty in the morning. As they walk into school, greet them with a smile so their day starts off well. What a genius thought! Hold doors open for others; it sounded good both in reality and metaphorically. The next semester of school, I grabbed

my senior class president, Danielle Lease, and together we started our own “opendoor policy” of leadership. It was not easy. Being at school an hour early, standing outside in weather that got as low as 16 degrees, and saying “good morning” more than 500 times a day was definitely a new learning experience, and I had to step out of my comfort zone to welcome that many people. It slowly became a routine, and together Danielle and I built many friendships that helped create a more positive atmosphere in our school. Becoming a door greeter was one of the many aspects of leadership I learned through TASC. It prepared me to yet again switch my paradigm and lead my council. During my junior year, I noticed how much waste StuCo could produce through posters and school decorations. As a nature lover, I was convinced that we could do something different. I pitched to my executive board the challenge of running for TASC state president and promoting an eco-friendly platform that encouraged councils across the state to go green. Jumping from a local office to seeking a state office made me grow tremendously. My most treasured memory is hearing my school announced as that of the state president of TASC. My council’s delegates became leaders the day we began our campaign, because they had the mindset to learn that helped them grow. Personally, I acknowledged that no one becomes a leader alone. Sometimes it takes more than a knock, but a push of encouragement from others. To broaden my own capabilities, I looked to the people around me. Having that web of support from advisors and peers along the way gave me the push I needed. TASC is a student-driv-

en effort that includes advisors to develop new ideas. The TASC board of directors is a group of students, teachers, principals and directors who work together to make our association better. Continuing to open new doors, we helped create and promote the TASC state service project, Resolve to Rise — Change Lives. This year we are truly breaking boundaries to help students reach their full potential by focusing on mental wellness with a yearlong initiative to help people rise by lifting others up. My council has been able to execute so many projects and activities for this cause thanks to the support of my advisor, Chad Cooke; our principal, Randy Cobb; and TASC Executive Director Terry Hamm. Based on what I have observed, AHS and schools around Texas are now more driven to have a positive school climate and culture. As a champion for the AHS student body, it delights me to know that we are making progress, even if it is one step at a time. If I want to be successful, I need to open the door when I hear a knock. If I want to be a leader, I need to open the door for others. It’s possible to do both, and it’s enriching to see how others are impacted by these actions. As both a student and a leader, I wake up every morning knowing that serving in both capacities causes me to engage in the courage zone and learn something new. I know that it will help me to change someone’s life. More importantly, I know that it can make the world a better place, one with more opportunity. EMA WARING is a senior at Azle High School in Azle ISD, where she actively engages in student council and TASC leadership trainings to promote community service.

“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 drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com for publishing guidelines. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



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Photo Feature

TASPA/TAEE HOST ANNUAL WINTER CONFERENCE Every year, the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators and the Texas Association for Employment in Education host a winter conference where the two groups recognize and honor several members for their service.

▲ At the AASPA national conference in October, TASPA was recognized as the best large affiliate with the Arch S. Brown Award for the 23rd consecutive year.

▲ Lolly Guerra, TASPA executive director, recognizes Phil Guerra of Dumas ISD as the 2018 Dr. Mary Hopkins Personnel Administrator of the Year.

► Rick Rodriguez

of Lubbock ISD was honored with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award.

◄ Keith Garinger of Ector County ISD received an honorary TASPA membership. Honorary memberships are awarded to those who have distinguished themselves in school personnel and human resources work. Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019



You’ve got to have HEART Part four: Be reliable by Riney Jordan


s we continue our series entitled “You’ve got to have HEART,” I focus this month on the letter “R.” For this, I have chosen the word “reliable.” Being reliable means “following through on our commitments; doing what we say we will do.” It also shows that you are considerate of others and care about their expectations of you. I remember being asked several years ago to recommend a young lady for an aide position in an area school district. Having known her and her parents only briefly, I cautiously worded my letter of recommendation in order not to give a false impression of her. “She has always been polite when I have been around her.” “She has a nice smile.” “From all indications, she will be good to work with students and adults.”

Well, she got the job, and I didn’t hear anything for a few months. One day she was at our house with her parents. “How’s your job working out?” I asked. “Well, I’m not an early riser, so I worked out a deal with my lead teacher that I don’t have to come to work until 9 a.m. She punches my time card for me.” “Do you make up that hour each day?” I queried. “Nah. This way, if the teacher wants to leave early in the afternoon, I cover for her and punch her card.” “I’m surprised that your principal approved that arrangement,” I said. “Oh, he doesn’t know it,” she responded. As you might guess, her position was terminated at the end of the school year. On the other hand, I remember how my dad valued his job with the sanitation department in Brownwood. When we moved to Brownwood, Dad was already past 50 years of age and jobs were scarce. The only work he could

find was riding on the back of a garbage truck with another man, jumping down, grabbing a can and physically dumping it into the bed of the truck. No matter what the weather, whether raining, freezing or searing, the trash got emptied on each assigned day. It helps to remember, too, that this was before the convenience of garbage disposals, so most people simply threw all their garbage in the trash. Incidentally, plastic trash liners were not used yet either, so you can imagine the smells, the filth, and the unsanitary conditions that he dealt with every day from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Quite honestly, if it had been me, I might well have looked for excuses to call in many of those mornings, but not my father. He appreciated the job. He was committed to it when he signed on. And he knew that they were depending on him every work day. To my recollection, he never took a sick day and was at work on time every morning. One cold morning, the car wouldn’t start, so he quickly started walking. The “barn” was across town, but he made it there with minutes to spare. That is being reliable. Reliability causes those around you to respect your quality ethics, thus creating deeper and more meaningful relationships. It tells your employer that you value your job and can be trusted with more responsibility and freedom. It signals to those who are depending on you that they need not worry. You are one person who will complete the task thoroughly and in a timely manner. How reassuring that is for any organization!

In today’s world, we sometimes think that values such as reliability, integrity and honesty are a thing of the past. They’re not. They’re needed more than ever before in the workplace. Do your part to become a reliable and valued servant to the children and adults that you serve.

convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.


Advertiser Index

ABM....................................................40 Abm.com AlphaBEST.........................................16 alphabest.org BTC.........................................................8 BTCbuilds.com ETS.........................................................4 ets.org Houston ISD Medicaid Finance and Consulting...............................10 eshars.com Huckabee.............................................6 huckabee-inc.com Indeco..................................................18 Indecosales.com NaviGate Prepared.......................... 12 navigateprepared.com PBK..................................................... 43 PBK.com School Outfitters...............................2 schooloutfitters.com Skyward.............................................27 skyward.com Spectrum Corp.............................5, 19 spectrumscoreboards.com Stantec...............................................14 stantec.com TASA/TASB...................................... 15 tasa.tasb.org TASPA.................................................19 taspa.org Texas ASCD....................................... 29 txascd.org Texas Reads One Book.................. 44 readtothem.org Texas School Business................... 31 texasschoolbusiness.com

As Confucius once said, “A person who lacks reliability is utterly useless.”

RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your

Texas School Business MARCH / APRIL 2019

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