The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas
Texas School Business
Cybersecurity in your district What it takes to stay ahead of the bad guys
Also in this issue: TASSP President Herb Cox TASB President James de Garavilla Kimberly Booker of Spring ISD
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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
TACS President Profile New president steps up to the plate for Texas’ schoolchildren
by James Golsan
Cybersecurity in your district by Dacia Rivers
TEPSA President Profile TEPSA president teaches, leads, inspires from the principal’s office
TSPRA recognizes Riney Jordan’s commitment to education with President’s Award
by James Golsan
28 Spotlight Through the Young Ladies of Excellence, Dr. Kimberly Booker reaches out to those who need it most by Dacia Rivers
Departments 7 Who’s News 32 Calendar 38 Ad Index
5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 15 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 19 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne 30 Regional View by Kelsey Cook 36 The Arts by Stacie Jannise 38 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
12 Cedar Creek hosts annual TSPRA conference for school communicators 34 TASBO members convene for engage conference in San Antonio
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
guess in some parts of the country, they’d still call it spring, but here in Texas, it sure feels like summer, and that’s alright with me. I hope each of you is enjoying the return to warmth and the wind down of yet another school year. We’ve got a chock-full issue for you this month, starting with a feature on cybersecurity (page 20) that is a must-read for any school administrator. It includes some eye-opening advice from an accomplished expert, and you won’t want to miss it. Of course, you also must read the Spotlight column in this issue, on page 28. I had the extreme fortune to interview Dr. Kimberly Booker for the column, and learn all about her fierce commitment to at-risk girls in the Houston area. Dr. Booker goes above and beyond in her work with her students, and her passion is inspiring and should be a blueprint for all of us. I’m also pleased to feature in these pages a little feature on one of our esteemed columnists, Riney Jordan. Riney received a very special award at the TSPRA conference this year, and no one could be more deserving. You can read all about it on page 18, and then be sure to flip to page 38 for Riney’s column, The Back Page, which is always a heartfelt and thoughtful piece. I feel lucky to know him, and lucky to have him as a contributor. One more thing I want to mention is our special Bragging Rights edition of the magazine. This is where we highlight 12 Texas school districts with outstanding programs in action. I encourage each of you to nominate a program or two from your district. It only takes a minute, and you can do it online at texasschoolbusiness.com/bragging-rights. We love to be inspired by the amazing things you’re doing in your schools, and we love to share the good news about what’s going on in your districts. As always, thank you for reading, and enjoy these final days of the school year.
Texas School Business
(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) MAY / JUNE 2019 Volume LXVI, Issue 3 406 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
Kelsey Cook Bobby Hawthorne Stacie Jannise Riney Jordan Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER
Ann M. Halstead
Dacia Rivers Editorial Director
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVICES AND SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATION
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS
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
In the March/April 2019 issue of Texas School Business, on page 9, Chelsea Allison was mistakenly listed as the new principal of Central High School. She is an assistant principal at the school. We regret the error. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
The stories that shape education are the stories that inspire us the most! The triumphs inside the classroom are personal to us. They mean more, because they illustrate how learning and shared experience can change lives. At Huckabee, we are committed to celebrating MORE of what matters, because witnessing the success of all students drives us to do what we love.
Who’s News Argyle ISD Argyle Intermediate School’s newly appointed principal, Dawn Jordan, comes to the district from Lewisville ISD, where she led Rockbrook Elementary since 2017. She attained a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word before moving to Mississippi, where she earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi and a doctorate in education from William Carey University.
Athens ISD The district’s new athletic director and head football coach is Zac Harrell, who comes to Athens from Waxahachie ISD, where he was football offensive coordinator. He has also coached in Van, Prosper, Sweetwater, Denton and Alvarado ISDs.
Avalon ISD Superintendent David Del Bosque has announced his retirement, concluding 17 years leading the district.
Beaumont ISD John Frossard, who was superintendent of Beaumont ISD since 2015, will retire this summer.
graduate of Texas Wesleyan University, he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas Christian University.
Matt Langley has been hired to serve as district athletic director and head coach. He spent the past two years as offensive coordinator at Brandeis High School in San Antonio’s Northside ISD and brings 15 years of high school coaching experience to his new job.
Cameron ISD Superintendent Allen Sapp has announced his upcoming retirement, effective in August, after 34 years as an educator. He began his career in Glen Rose ISD, then joined Conroe ISD as athletic director and assistant principal. He has led Cameron ISD for the past four years.
Central ISD After 12 years as superintendent, Allen Garner has announced his intention to retire in August. He has spent 17 of his 28 years in education as a superintendent, beginning his career in Humble ISD and going on to serve in Hudson and Martinsville ISDs.
Former Assistant Superintendent Tricia Meek has been promoted to superintendent. She has been an administrator with the district for 16 years.
Former Rayburn Intermediate School Principal Justin Smith has been promoted to district community outreach officer. A native of Bryan and graduate of Bryan High, he returned to his hometown to teach and serve in administrative roles.
Burleson ISD A new principal is in place for the district’s REALM (Rigorous Educational Arcade Learning Model) program, a secondary campus that applies game design to blended learning. An administrator for 22 years, Jim Calvin came to BISD in 2015. A
Cypress Ranch High School’s head baseball coach, Corey Cephus, has been named 2017-18’s Texas Coach of the Year for Boys’ Baseball by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Vogel Intermediate School will begin the new academic year with Christa Haymark at the helm as principal. She came to Conroe ISD in 2008 to teach science and social studies at Vogel, transferring to Runyan Elementary as assistant principal in 2016.
University of North Texas. Her doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from the University of Arizona.
New Chief Financial Officer Diana Sircar has served as the district’s executive director of finance since April 2018. She has 14 years of business experience, including five with Coppell ISD and nine in the private sector.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD The newly appointed principal of Kirk Elementary School is Jennifer Bell, former director of instruction at Salyards Middle School. An employee of CFISD since 2010, she is a 19-year educator with a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the
Langham Creek High School’s director of bands, Gloria Ramirez, is the recipient of the 2019 Texas Bandmasters Association’s Meritorious Achievement Award. She will be recognized in July during the organization’s annual conference in San Antonio. Former Cypress Ranch High School defensive coordinator Andrew Shanle has transferred to Cypress Ridge High as athletic coordinator and head football coach. A member of the New York Giants during the team’s 2007 Super Bowl win, he has 10 years of coaching experience, including stints in Brenham and Bastrop ISDs and at Midland University in Nebraska. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and is completing his master’s degree in educational leadership at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Decatur ISD Jadie Matthews has been hired as Decatur ISD’s assistant superintendent for operations. An educator for 15 years, he was previously a high school principal in Dilley and Post ISDs and was most recently superintendent of Claude ISD.
Denton ISD The new principal of Alexander Elementary School is Lindsay Henderson, who was dean of instruction at Lewisville ISD’s Central Elementary since 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University. Denton ISD’s newest campus, Union Park Elementary School, will have Lorena Salas as principal when it opens its doors in August. Principal of Alexander Elementary since 2013, Salas previously worked as an assistant principal at Wilson and Ryan elementaries and served as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas’ bilingual/ESL department.
> See Who’s News, page 9
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years, he comes to his new assignment from Manor ISD, where he was chief financial officer. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University.
> Continued from page 7
DeSoto ISD Celeste Barretto, former
principal of Treasure Forest Elementary in Spring Branch ISD, is now DeSoto ISD’s chief academic officer. She previously led KIPP Dream Prep in Houston and was a teacher, interventionist, special education coordinator and assistant principal at Houston’s KIPP Explore Academy. She is a graduate of Douglass College at Rutgers University and completed her master’s degree at Rice University. The district’s new chief of staff, Sonya Cole-Hamilton, previously served as chief of communications for Lancaster ISD.
Now serving as chief of student support services is Natalia Fernandez, who spent the past five years as director of Spring Branch ISD’s system of care team. Prior to that assignment, she worked as a teacher leadership development coach for Teach for America. Most recently principal of Dallas ISD’s School for the Gifted and Talented, Ben Mackey has joined Desoto ISD as chief of research, evaluation and design. He holds bachelor’s degrees in finance and history from the University of Florida; his master’s degree in school leadership was awarded from Harvard University. Sajade Miller, the district’s new chief of
schools, most recently served as assistant superintendent of innovation in Fort Worth ISD. Mia Stroy comes to her new position as chief of human resources from Irving ISD, where she was director of compensation, benefits and human resource systems. She previously served as staffing coordinator for that district and worked in human resources positions in Dallas ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and a master’s degree in human resources and training from Amberton University.
Dripping Springs ISD Scott Drillette has accepted the position
of assistant superintendent for finance and operations. An administrator for 15
Duncanville ISD New athletic director Dwight Weaver was most recently principal of the district’s Summit Education Center. An educator for more than 30 years, he was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff before working as a coach and administrator at Fort Worth ISD’s Dunbar High School. A graduate of Harding University with a master’s degree in education administration from Tarleton State University, he joined Duncanville ISD in 2008.
El Paso ISD In the wake of the closure and consolidation of several elementary campuses, new principal assignments have been made for the district. They are: Alonzo Barraza, former principal of Douglass Elementary, is now principal of Crosby Elementary; Alma Brockhoff, former principal of Zavala
Elementary, now leads Zavala and Burleson elementary schools;
Jose Gijon, former Coldwell Elementary principal, now holds the top job at Coldwell and Alta Vista elementary schools; Maria Guerra, former Beall Elementary
principal, is now principal of Beall and Douglass elementary schools;
Jesus Medina, former principal of Burleson
Elementary, transferred to lead Moye Elementary;
Yeni Ontiveros, former Dowell Elementary
principal, is now principal of Dowell and Schuster elementary schools.
The new principal of Marine Creek Middle School, scheduled to open in August, is Danny Knowles. He will come to his new job from Willkie Middle School, where he also served in the lead position. He received his bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and is pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership from the same institution. Boswell High School will begin the academic year with Leah Roberts as principal. She came to the district in 2012 as a teacher at Highland Middle School and, two years later, was named principal of Wayside Middle School. She is a graduate of Concordia University with a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. The district’s new director of student services is Chandra Turrentine, a 16-year education veteran who most recently served as assistant principal of Boswell High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Now serving as assistant principal of Marine Creek Middle School, set to open for the new academic year, is Christie Warden. An employee of EM-SISD since 2000, she has been an educator for 24 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in education administration from Grand Canyon University.
Electra ISD Superintendent Scott Hogue has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of June, after leading the district for six years. An educator for 35 years, he began his career in Throckmorton ISD and has a total of 17 years as a superintendent.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Brian Booker has accepted the position of principal of Willkie Middle School. The 15-year educator comes to the district from Rockdale ISD, where he was assistant principal of Rockdale Junior High. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Fairfield ISD Former North Lamar ISD Superintendent Jason Adams is now leading Fairfield ISD as superintendent. He was with North Lamar since 2018 and, prior to that, led Kerens ISD and worked as a principal and assistant principal in Huntington and Madisonville ISDs. He is a graduate of Sam Houston State University with a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Arkansas. > See Who’s News, page 11 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 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
Who’s News > Continued from page 9
Gonzales ISD Kim Strozier, superintendent since 2010,
has announced her upcoming retirement, effective in August.
The district’s new athletic director and head football coach, Michael Waldie, comes to Gonzales from Pearland ISD, where he was offensive coordinator. He has also served as athletic director in Daingerfield, Woodville and Luling ISDs.
Granbury ISD Two longtime Granbury ISD department directors will retire in June.
assistant principal at Bear Creek Elementary. He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Keller ISD Three longtime district administrators will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year. David Hinson served as principal of Central High School since 2005. He was an employee of the district for 20 years and is a 28-year education veteran. Sandra McAuley joined KISD 11 years ago
as principal of Keller Middle School. An educator for 28 years, she also worked in Galveston and Alvin ISDs.
Tommie Johnson spent the past three years as assistant superintendent of human resources and previously led Willis Lane and Perot elementary schools.
transportation director, will complete 18 years with the district. Prior to his time in Granbury, he held the same position for five years in Arlington ISD, where he also worked as a teacher, assistant principal and coach. Linda Williams, support
services director, came to Granbury ISD in 2014 from Clyde ISD, where she had worked since 1990.
Holland ISD Former Holland Elementary Principal Shane Downing has been promoted to superintendent.
Houston ISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan has been named one of this year’s Outstanding Texans by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus (TLBC). She received her award, given to individuals who demonstrate exemplary service and commitment to their community, at the TLBC’s annual gala in Austin in March.
Katy ISD Stephens Elementary School’s new principal, Michael Schwartz, was most recently assistant principal of Wolfe Elementary. He has spent the majority of his 13-year career in Katy ISD, also working as a teacher and instructional coach at Cimarron Elementary and as an
Killeen ISD A new chief college, career and military readiness officer has been named for the district. Nancy Duran has been chosen to lead this new KISD department. She is a veteran of the U.S. army and a longtime employee of the district, previously serving as principal of Meadows Elementary School, assistant principal of Killeen High School and, since 2016, executive director of career and technical education. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University.
Lamar CISD The district’s newest middle school, Roberts, will open in August with Janice Harvey as principal. Most recently principal of Huggins Elementary School, she has also worked as an assistant principal at Bowie Elementary and Briscoe Junior High. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and earned her master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Culver Elementary School, set to open in August, will have Carla Thomas as principal. She is a 24-year veteran educator, spending the past 11 years at Smith Elementary as principal, assistant principal, teacher and campus facilitator. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and her master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria.
Little Elm ISD Kelly Hastings, former principal of Young
Junior High in Arlington ISD, will now serve as co-principal of Lakeside Middle School until the end of this academic year, at which time she will open the new Strike Middle School as principal. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were earned from the University of Texas at Arlington, and she is at work on her doctorate in educational leadership at Walden University.
Kori Werth, now leading Oak Point Elementary School as principal, comes to LEISD from Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, where she spent the past four years as principal of Elkins Elementary. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas.
Lubbock ISD The new executive director of fine arts, Andrew Babcock, was assistant director of fine arts since 2015 and previously served as director of bands at Lubbock Christian University. His bachelor’s degree in music was awarded from Abilene Christian University and his master’s degree in music education from Texas Tech University. Jeff Klotzman has been appointed executive
director of communications and community relations. He joins LISD from the private sector, where he served as news director and anchor for Lubbock FOX-34 TV since 2000. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in mass communications, both from Texas Tech University.
The district’s new assistant superintendent for school curriculum is Misty Rieber. She joined LISD in 2003 and has been the district’s leadership and professional development coordinator since 2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lubbock Christian University.
McAllen ISD McAllen High School has welcomed Patrick Shelby as head football coach and athletic coordinator. A coach at the college and high school level for 11 years, he most recently was offensive coordinator at Weslaco ISD’s Weslaco High School.
> See Who’s News, page 14 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
CEDAR CREEK HOSTS ANNUAL TSPRA CONFERENCE FOR SCHOOL COMMUNICATORS School districts across Texas sent their communications and public relations professionals to Cedar Creek in February for four days of timely sessions, inspiring speeches and plenty of networking opportunities.
▲ TSPRA Immediate Past President Kristin Zastoupil addresses conference attendees.
▲ Conference attendees pose for a group photo before heading home.
▲ TSPRA Past President Melissa Tortorici, President Monica
Faulkenbery, Immediate Past President Kristin Zastoupil and Executive Director Linsae Snider shine at the Star Awards banquet.
▲ NSPRA board
member Tony Heaberlin addresses the crowd.
▲ Roundtable sessions allow
conference attendees several chances for quick informational sessions.
attendees enjoy an inspiring keynote speech from Lynne Wester.
▲ Reverend Charles Foster Johnson receives the Key
Communicator award from Past President Kristin Zastoupil and AJ Morgan of West SchoolMessenger Solutions.
◄ Attendees get on their feet at the awards banquet.
▲ Monica Faulkenbery, TSPRA president, makes a new friend at the conference.
▲ TSPRA Past President Ian
Halperin poses with former Executive Director Annell Todd.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Who’s News > Continued from page 11
Mesquite ISD Chris Hudler has been promoted from defensive coordinator to head football coach at Horn High School. A graduate of Texas Tech University, where he played football and worked as a defensive graduate assistant, he joined Mesquite ISD as a teacher and coach in 2013.
At Poteet High School, Rodney McLain has been promoted from defensive coordinator to head football coach. He has been with the school since 2015. The new principal of West Mesquite High School is Karen Morris, an employee of the district since 2000 and principal of Vanston Middle School since 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Midland ISD Newly appointed Chief Communications Officer Elana Ladd was most recently communications officer for the City of Midland. A graduate of Smith College with a degree in government, she has also held positions in Washington, D.C., and Austin. Now serving as executive director of state and federal programs is Teresa Moore. She has spent the past 28 years of her 33-year career with Midland ISD, most recently as executive director of student services. The district’s new Young Women’s Leadership Academy will have Jennifer Seybert as its first principal when the academic year begins in August. Most recently principal of Abell Junior High, she has been an educator for 21 years, working as a math teacher at the Washington STEM Academy and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s STEM Academy.
Mission CISD The Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) has announced the recipient of its 2019 Professional
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Achievement Award. Craig Verley, director of public relations and marketing, is a graduate of New Mexico State University who previously worked in TV and radio news as a writer and anchor. He was TSPRA’s Gulf Coast area vice-president in 2017 and won the organization’s 2016 Bright Idea Award for his district’s Picture YourSelfie at College campaign.
Nacogdoches ISD Darren Allman has accepted the role of head football coach and athletic director at Nacogdoches High School. Most recently executive director of athletics for Carroll ISD, he was previously head football coach at Westlake High School in Austin ISD and at Odessa ISD’s Permian High. He is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University.
Nocona ISD Nocona ISD has selected Rick Weaver as head football coach. He previously coached in Grandview, Snyder and Iowa Park ISDs, and spent the past two years with Weatherford ISD.
North East ISD (San Antonio) Sean Maika has been named
interim superintendent. Most recently the district’s assistant superintendent of instruction and campus administration, he previously was executive director for school administration and principal of Harris Middle School.
North Lamar ISD Kelli Stewart has agreed to serve as North Lamar ISD’s interim superintendent. She has spent the past 17 years with the district as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal and, most recently, principal of Stone Middle School.
Northwest ISD (Fort Worth) Former Lakeview Elementary School Principal Mary Seltzer is now Northwest ISD’s director of student services. An employee of the district since 2007, she was an instructional teacher at Hatfield Elementary and Chisholm Trail Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Chapman University and completed her doctorate at Nova Southeastern University.
Pearland ISD The new director of accounting is Thu Pham, who comes to Pearland from Spring ISD, where she was senior accountant. In addition, she has served in accounting positions in the Harris County Department of Education and in Houston and North Forest ISDs.
Pettus ISD A new superintendent is in place for the district. Michael Homann was most recently assistant superintendent for business and finance in Medina Valley ISD.
Point Isabel ISD The district’s new superintendent is Theresa Alacron, who most recently served as an assistant superintendent in Brownsville ISD.
Rio Vista ISD Former Rio Vista High School Principal Tony Martin is now serving as the district’s interim superintendent. After 10 years with the district, Tim Wright has retired as superintendent.
Round Rock ISD Former Bastrop ISD police Chief Jeff Yarbrough now serves as director of safety and security in Round Rock ISD. Prior to his most recent position, he was police chief and assistant city manager for the City of Tulia. He also worked in the sheriff ’s departments of Bastrop and Lee counties and in the Giddings Police Department as well as serving as an investigator with the Travis County public integrity unit and as a senior investigator for the State Bar of Texas.
San Angelo ISD Assistant Director of Athletics Mark Baker has been named 2019’s Region 2 Athletic Administrator of the Year by the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA). He will be recognized by the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) at its annual conference in July in Houston.
San Diego ISD Superintendent Samuel Bueno has announced his retirement in June, which will bring to a close more than two decades as a Texas educator. He began his career as a > See Who’s News, page 17
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
Principals, our nation’s leaders
by Jim Walsh
ho are the most important leaders in our country? Politicians? CEOs of major corporations? Rock stars of the media?
I had not thought of them as leaders. Principals supervise. They evaluate. They train. They discipline. They communicate. Do they lead?
Jim Quigley insists that the answer is, “none of the above.” He claims that the most important leaders in our country are the principals of our public schools.
The best ones do. The best principals lay out a vision for their schools, and then hold people accountable for fulfilling that vision. They demand the best from people, and give the best of themselves. They stand for something. They need to be well trained, smart, energetic, persistent, engaged and courageous. Just imagine what our schools would be like if every single building principal was that kind of leader.
What a radical thought. What a true statement. Jim Quigley is the former CEO of Deloitte, where he is now a senior partner. I heard him speak at TASA’s Midwinter Conference in January 2018. That’s when he made the outrageous observation that our country’s most important leaders are not the 52 (67?) people running for president, but the 230,000 principals of our public schools. Deloitte is seeking to inspire, equip and train 230,000 principals so they can inspire, equip and train 3.8 million teachers and thereby inspire, equip and train the 50 million kids in our schools. That’s a big job, but Deloitte has chopped it down to a manageable scale by making its world-class training facility available for principals from Texas and elsewhere. A few months ago I got a tour of the place along with a conversation with Mr. Quigley about their program, Courageous Principals. For educators accustomed to sharing a room at La Quinta and dining at Applebee’s, Deloitte University is mindblowing. This is where Deloitte brings its high-powered executives and sales force for top-notch training on leadership and other critical skills. For a few weekends a year, Deloitte turns the place over to educators — the layout, the technology, the food service, the workout room, the artwork, all of it world class. How wonderful for public school principals to see, learn and network in such an environment. I have long known how important principals are, but until I heard Mr. Quigley speak,
Deloitte’s Courageous Principals is not the only program helping to produce outstanding leaders. The Holdsworth Center in Austin is doing the same, taking on selected school districts to provide leadership training. I’m excited to see the new campus for Holdsworth that will open in 2020. As a lawyer serving school districts, I have had a lot of professional contact with principals. For many years I have believed that polling organizations would be wise to cease randomly selecting people to interview, and instead, to focus their attention on the principals and assistant principals of our public schools. There is no group of people better situated to know what is really happening on the ground in our families, with our children, and in our communities. There is a huge body of research confirming how important the principal is to the overall climate and effectiveness of a school. But you don’t have to review that research. Just talk to teachers. I have heard more than one teacher talk about her job satisfaction going from bad (last year) to good (this year) or vice versa, with the only variable being a change in principals. These programs are worth checking out. Courageous Principals by Deloitte. The Holdsworth Center in Austin.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas
JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
> Continued from page 14
Jane Black has joined the
bilingual teacher in Harlandale ISD, taught in Alice ISD, and joined San Diego ISD in 2018 as elementary principal. He has served as superintendent for 13 years. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Santa Rosa ISD The district’s newly appointed superintendent, Angela Gonzalez, has been an educator for 28 years. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and bilingual education from the University of Texas Pan American and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Brownsville. She was superintendent of Ramirez CSD since 2017.
Sherman ISD Julie Hill has accepted the position of coordinator of counseling and student services, returning to her hometown of Sherman from South Carolina, where she was director of counselors for the Greenville County Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in counseling from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
district as an assistant principal at Gilbert Intermediate School. She spent the past 20 years with Hico ISD as a teacher, testing coordinator, 504/dyslexia coordinator and counselor. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University. The new principal of Henderson Junior High is Brad Burleson. He comes to Stephenville from Keller ISD, where he spent nine years as a teacher and secondary level assistant principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree from Texas Christian University. Cheryl Dowell has been named the district’s
child nutrition director. A graduate of Tarleton State University, she comes to her new position after working in the private sector in the human resources field.
Now serving as an assistant principal at Stephenville High School is Casey Hamilton. An employee of the district since 2010, he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Whitewright ISD Brian Garner, former superintendent of
Riesel ISD, now leads Whitewright ISD.
Whitney ISD Superintendent Gene Solis has announced his plan to retire at the end of the academic year. He came to the district in 2008 from Thorndale ISD.
Woodville ISD Superintendent Glen Connor has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of June. A 38-year educator, he has led the district for 13 years.
Yorktown ISD Katherine Kuenstler has been named
superintendent of Yorktown ISD.
Ysleta ISD (El Paso) Associate Superintendent of Middle Schools Catherine Kennedy has been inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women’s Hall of Fame. Her career has spanned almost three decades, during which she has been both a teacher and administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science, a master’s degree in educational administration, and a doctorate in educational leadership. Patrick O’Neill has retired
after more than 40 years as an educator. He began his career at Hanks High School, going on to serve as the district’s athletic director. He then worked in El Paso’s Clint and Socorro ISDs, returning to Ysleta twice, the final time in 2014, serving since then as chief operations officer. Joining her husband in retirement is Rebecca O’Neill, associate superintendent of elementary schools. She began her career in El Paso ISD, joining YISD in 1977, where she has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. ◄
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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
“Riney Jordan has been an inspiration to so many people in school public relations and to educators across Texas,” said retired TSPRA member Christy Willman. ◄ Riney Jordan (center) receives the TSPRA President's Award from Steve Knagg, Annell Todd and Pascual Gonzalez.
TSPRA recognizes Riney Jordan’s commitment to education with President’s Award
he Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) presented author, speaker and longtime member Riney Jordan with the organization’s President’s Award in February at the group’s annual conference It’s a bit of a, “What do you get the man who already has everything?” situation. During his years in public school communications, Jordan received just about every award TSPRA has to offer for his work promoting his students, his district, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, and public education throughout the state. He was the organization’s Most Valuable Member in 1988, received its Professional Achievement Award for his career in school public relations 1999 and was named its Key Communicator, TSPRA’s highest honor that recognizes outstanding contributions to public education through effective communication, in 2000. He also served as TSPRA president during the 1991-92 year. Most people would have called that — plus time spent as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent in GrapevineColleyville ISD and as a broadcaster before that — a pretty good career. Jordan was just getting started. During the last 20-
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
plus years he’s delivered more than 1,000 workshops, keynotes and convocations to school districts, civic groups and businesses throughout the country. He’s written two books, “All the Difference,” and “The Second Book.” He has contributed a column to Texas School Business since 2003. Through it all, he’s kept his message humorous, uplifting and affirming for people seeking to make a difference, particularly in the lives of children. “Riney Jordan has been an inspiration to so many people in school public relations and to educators across Texas,” said retired TSPRA member Christy Willman. “His wisdom and humor, intertwined with his love of children, always convey a positive message about Texas public schools. I am honored to call him a friend.” Jordan’s honor, awarded by TSPRA President Kristin Zastoupil and presented to him by past presidents Pascual Gonzalez and Steve Knagg and former executive director Annell Todd, is an acknowledgement that even after his retirement from school PR proper, he has been one of the most effective messengers Texas public education has had. It was either that or going back and retroactively
giving him the Rookie of the Year award he somehow missed out on. “I am proud to call Riney Jordan my good friend,” said Shirley Brothers, a former communications director in Alvin ISD. “He has been for many years and continues to be an inspiring communicator who always puts kids first. His many funny and heartwarming stories take you from laughter to tears in the very best way.” Gonzalez created the President’s Award in 2005 to recognize, “service above and beyond anyone’s expectations.” The inaugural President’s Award was awarded to Major General Peter W. Chiarelli for helping to facilitate the first-ever cross-continental commencement ceremony, a live webcast for parents deployed in Iraq to watch their children graduate from Killeen High School near Fort Hood. Other recipients include former Pasadena ISD superintendent Kirk Lewis for his career-long contributions to school communications and TSPRA members Julie Zwahr, Angela Shelley, Tamerah Ringo and Julie Thannum in recognition of their volunteer efforts on behalf of schools in Moore, Oklahoma, following a tornado in 2013.
Pause for perspective by Bobby Hawthorne
t’s almost the end of the school year, and I know how ready you are for a little R&R. I was an administrator for 25-plus years, and I often feared reaching the point where I wondered, “If the building catches fire, and children are running out screaming, will I care?” When I finally reached the point where I sensed that I could smell the smoke, I knew it was time to saddle up and hit the trail. So then, I started writing, sometimes for money, sometimes for pleasure, often for some of both. For the past five or six years, I’ve written this column for Texas School Business. After this one, I will write only one more because it’s time. It’s not that I have nothing more to say. It’s that I suspect I have nothing more to add. Well, except for these two points. First point: When you’re similarly exhausted, visit with a couple of elementary school kids. Ask what they enjoyed about their year. What would they change? What would they keep? Ask, “What advice do you have for me?” You might be surprised. I’m suggesting this because I recently interviewed some first, third and fourth graders and asked them what they liked most about an after-school gymnastics program in which they were enrolled. They were not shy in telling me. Mostly they liked their coaches. A third grader said, “If you do something wrong, the coaches will show you what you did wrong, and then they’ll help you fix it.” Like, if your posture is bad, and you’re not standing straight with your chin up and your shoulders back, the coaches will help you in a super-encouraging way. So, that makes it fun, and who doesn’t want to have fun? Certainly not the kids I interviewed. They practice two or three times a week, and the practices go longer than an hour, and that could get old, but it never does because the kids are with their friends, having fun. Oh sure, they learn coordination and listening and social skills, but that’s neither here nor there. As one mom told me, “We’re not trying to be Olympians. We’re just trying to find something she enjoys.”
For the record, the kids liked cupcakes number one, coaches number two. I also interviewed an eighth grader who said she’d been working out in this gym practically all of her life, and she loves it — the thud of heels grinding into floorboards, giggles pinging off walls, the screaming of trampoline springs. “It always lights up my day to be here,” she told me, and I feel better about the world knowing she’s in it. Then, I asked a third grader, “If someone wanted to know about this place, what would you tell them?” She didn’t waste a second. “I would say to them, ‘Look, all my friends are here, so you guys should come and hang out with us and do gymnastics and be our friends too.’” She had me at, “Look.” I asked another third grader, “What do you like most about this place?” She wiggled and strummed her purple and pink fingernails on a blue mat, then scrunched her face and said, “Everything.” So, I followed up. “Well, what’s the best thing?” Through the gaps of her not-quite-yet-grownback two front teeth, she lisped, somewhat philosophically, “It always surprises me what we get to learn,” which means, “I love the beam, the bars, the backbends, the cartwheels, the trampoline, my friends.” “And,” I asked, doing the whirly thing with my left index finger. “And the coaches, too? “Yes,” she replied. “Especially.” So, when you’re wrung out, get up, walk out of your office, find a first, third or fourth grader and chat with them. Ask them how their day went, how their year went. What did they like most? What did they learn? Was it fun? If someone wanted to know about this place, what would they tell them? In 10 minutes, you too will feel better about your world and the world knowing they’re in it. Last point: Repeat as necessary.
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 MAY / JUNE 2019
Cybersecurity in your district: What it takes to stay ahead of the bad guys by Dacia Rivers
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
e’ve all seen the headlines. Per Education Week, in 2018, 122 schools in the U.S. suffered cybersecurity attacks, including one Texas school district that was scammed out of $2 million in a phishing scheme. A school district in Montana had to close for three days after suffering a cyber attack. In Massachusetts, one district had to pay out a $10,000 ransom following an attack that left its schools unable to access their own email servers and cafeteria systems. The list goes on and on, but are these attacks isolated incidents for an unlucky few, or are they a sign of the future that’s coming for all of us? One Texas cybersecurity expert has the answer to that question, and you might want to sit down for this one, because you’re probably not going to like it.
The threat Martin Yarborough spent 35 years working in education. He spent 25 of those years serving as chief information officer for Texas school districts and universities before heading to the private sector to work in educational services for Dell. Several years ago, he decided to form his own consulting firm, Martin Yarborough and Associates, and he now lends his cybersecurity expertise to clients across the country. He’s worked with Laredo and Manor ISDs, among several others across the state, bringing more than four decades of education technology experience with him. He’s an expert in the field, and he understands the risk and the potential threats as well as anyone. “It’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen,” Yarborough says. “Security is totally non-discriminatory. It makes no difference if you’re a Houston public school or a Walnut Springs public school, it rears its ugly head regardless of the size of the organization, and it presents problems for your mega schools as well as your tiny districts as well.” Even the smallest, most rural school districts in Texas are at risk, Yarborough says, and the impacts of a cyber attack can be crippling. Right now, there are four main ways he sees schools fall victim to cybercrime. The first is phishing. This is a scam typically involving email or social media, where a user is tricked into clicking on a link that looks legitimate but is designed to steal data. When someone on a school’s
network, whether on their work computer or personal device, clicks on a phishing link, it can potentially provide a hacker access to the school’s information database. You’ve seen these data breaches happen to large companies, including Target and Home Depot, and your school district is not immune. With private data on students and their families sitting in your database, you can become a target for these types of attacks. And when personal information is exposed, it could open your district up to liability and even a loss of funding. “It’s hard to quantify loss of reputation, but it’s a major thing when you allow your district to be hacked and you put your students and your staff at risk. That dramatically affects your overall educational reputation,” Yarborough says. “When a superintendent has to write a letter home to mom and dad, explaining how someone hacked into the network and stole their child’s data, that’s not a very pleasant experience.” Of course, phishing is just one way a cyber attack can happen. Another Yarborough sees on the rise is ransomware. This one sounds straight out of the pages of a crime novel: A group breaks into your system, infects it with malware so that everything comes to a screeching halt, then demands a ransom to get things up and running again. When this happens, some victims have little recourse besides just handing over the money, which Yarborough says can reach upwards of a half-million dollars for some large districts. A denial of service attack is similar to ransomware in that an attacker shuts down your entire website and holds it hostage until a ransom is paid. Often referred to as a DoS or DDoS attack, these used to happen mostly to larger business websites, but universities and school districts are seeing an uptick in these types of crimes as well. “With more school districts depending upon networks and internet to conduct e-commerce and business, taking the ability to use the internet or use your networks away can be very, very costly,” Yarborough says. The last type of cyber attack Yarborough warns districts about is called SQL injection. In this attack, a group finds a vulnerability in your network and sneaks data out the backdoor, often without even alerting the victim that anything untoward is happening. With this kind of attack, you usually don’t even know it’s happened until it’s too late.
‘It’s hard to quantify loss of reputation, but it’s a major thing when you allow your district to be hacked and you put your students and your staff at risk.’
“We’re seeing that happening with schools on a daily basis now,” Yarborough says. “Unfortunately you don’t always know it’s going on; that’s the sad thing about it.”
Prevent the inevitable If it’s only a matter of time before cyber criminals come for us all, then the best offense is a good defense, as they say. “I recently spoke down in Region 1, and 28% of the school districts in Region 1 had been affected by some type of a cyber threat within the past two years,” Yarborough says. “And I daresay if we run the same study next year, we’re probably going to find more than just 28%.” According to Yarborough, the worst thing school districts can do in the face of these threats is to pretend like it won’t happen to them. Now is the time to be proactive, to build up defenses and make an investment on the front end, before you wind up being held hostage by a cyber attack. Luckily, Yarborough and several others are here to help. “I wish I had that magic bullet that could fix all the problems, but unfortunately I don’t,” Yarborough says. “My recommendations to any school, whether it be a mega school or a little tiny district, is to know what’s currently happening in your district because you cannot improve what you do not measure.” > See Cybersecurity, page 22 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
VA L U E I T. P R O T EC T I T. Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected by apps and websites.
> Continued from page 21
Through his firm, Yarborough provides security assessments and vulnerability scans. He says these are two important tools for any district to employ as soon as possible, and with regularity. Cyber criminals are always sharpening their own tools and changing their methods to try and catch victims off guard. By running frequent assessments, you have a much better chance of staying one step ahead of them. Yarborough says that security assessments and vulnerability scans are not expensive, but they do require a regular commitment to be most effective. “You have to go out and identify the vulnerabilities yourself, fix them, go back and test them to make sure you plugged the holes, and then sit back and smile and know that you’ve done your due diligence in helping to protect students and faculty,” he says. Another important part of prevention is training. When everyone in a school building is connected to the network through various devices, the chance that any one of them could succumb to an attack puts the district at an increased risk. Teaching staff how to identify phishing scams, use safe passwords and protect their logins can be crucial to keeping data safe from attack. “When you’re dealing with third and fourth and fifth graders who don’t fully understand, it becomes the responsibility of the classroom teacher to make sure they’re trained in the appropriate use, the digital citizenship of the use of that device,” Yarborough says. “Even the individuals that bring their own devices from home, they’re able to connect to the school district’s network, even though they may be quarantined or partitioned off of the main network, they’re still on the school’s network, and there can still be vulnerabilities.”
Your toolbox School districts aren’t alone in the fight to prevent cyber attacks. Yarborough’s firm is well versed in working with Texas schools, and there are other similar consultants available. TEA offers a series of cybersecurity webinars on its website, all of which are designed to keep school administrators up to date and offer tips for shoring up your systems and staying on top of the latest potential threats.
FOLLOW THESE STOP. THINK . CONNECT.TM
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through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
Source: National Cyber Security Alliance
The good news is that things could get better. Yarborough points out that while use to align their security program to those computer viruses used to be a top threat standards, and that helps to mitigate some to businesses and schools, those risks have of the risk,” Yarborough says. been lessened. They have been replaced by The threat of a cyber attack is real, but new risks, it’s true, but experts on the side realizing that’s the case is half the battle. The of good are working O WtoNmake YOphishing, U R ODoS, N L I Nother E Phalf RE E Naction C E now to secure is S taking malware attacks and others like them a the of yourlevel data for andinformation your networks. Set the privacy and security settings on websites to safety your comfort thing of the past. School administrators make it a priority to sharing. It’s OKEtoPlimit how and with whom share KE A M their Ayou C students H I Ninformation. Eand their staff safe, and a “Federal and state organizations haveC L E A Nkeep stepped establishon security standards, strong, secure cyber is just one part Keepupalltosoftware internet-connected devices – including PCs,defense smartphones minimum security standards, and of the web that protects you, your schools and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware. organizations like the National Institute of and everyone in them. Standards and Technology, the Center for DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Internet Security Controls, the ISO 27001 Business. standards, and they’ve presented a program that organizations, including schools, can
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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Use the #CyberAware hashtag in your posts, follow us on Facebook (/StaySafeOnline) and Twitter (@StaySafeOnline) and download our sample social media content to share before
Help Texas School Business brag on your schools! Does your school or district have a program that's wildly successful? Tell us about it! Submit your nomination today for possible inclusion in the 13th Annual Bragging Rights special issue, which honors 12 deserving school districts and their innovative programs. To apply, visit texasschoolbusiness.com and fill out the Bragging Rights online nomination form. The nomination deadline is 5 p.m., Sept. 6, 2019. Winners will be announced with the debut of the special issue, out on Dec. 1, 2019. Nominated programs must have been in operation for at least one semester. There is no limit on nominations submitted per school or district. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
texasschoolbusiness.com Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Texas Association of Community Schools
New TACS president steps up to the plate for Texas’ schoolchildren by James Golsan
ot many people are born to be a school superintendent, but new Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) President and Palestine ISD Superintendent Jason Marshall might just be such a person. His mother was a superintendent in Texas, as was his father, and his brother currently is, too. That’s not to say Marshall doesn’t have a broad experience base in the education profession. He’s a 26-year education veteran, and like many Texas educators, has worn a number of hats during his time in the field. “I’ve been a superintendent for 11 years. Before that, a high school principal, an assistant principal, a teacher-coach, and an athletic director,” says Marshall, adding that between his career and his upbringing, an educator’s life is all he’s ever known. His wife works in the school district as well, and Marshall says between their two families there are 17 people working in the education field. Marshall’s rise to leadership with TACS, an organization that represents school districts with no more than one high school or total enrollment over 12,000 students in average daily attendance,
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
allows him to represent school districts much like the one in which he was raised. He graduated from Leonard High School in a small town northeast of McKinney, where he was a strong student-athlete and a good enough baseball player to continue his athletic career at the college level, first at Paris Junior College and ultimately at Baylor University. In fact, professional baseball — Marshall played minor league ball for a few years following his time at Baylor — is the only profession he’s had that wasn’t in education. While playing in the majors may not have been in the cards for Marshall, he’s certainly fought his way into the major leagues of Texas education, and he’s done so quickly since becoming a superintendent. During his first year at the district-wide leadership level, Marshall was invited to serve on the TACS legislative council, helping to shape the organization’s legislative agenda. A few years later he would assume the organization’s vice presidency. Now, as president of TACS, Marshall will be the primary representative for more than 600 small and/or rural school districts at the Capitol, during the 86th Texas Legislature and beyond.
“The most important thing that TACS does is provide a legislative voice and represent its member schools at the Texas Capitol for a variety of legislative issues,” Marshall says, adding that school finance is their primary concern in 2019. “We haven’t received much of a legislative [financial] increase over the last two sessions, so certainly TACS is advocating for more funding for Texas public schools.” Marshall would love to see some of that funding go toward across-the-board pay raises for educators represented by TACS, as well as toward relieving the rising insurance costs Texas educators have had to absorb in recent years. “For our teachers in Palestine, the raises that we’ve been able to give over the last four to five years have pretty much been eaten up by rising insurance costs,” Marshall says. Other issues TACS is working with the Legislature on this session include improved school
safety (he says he knows and appreciates that lawmakers are working hard to improve safety in Texas schools), as well as full-day pre-K funding, which Marshall says TACS supports. All of those issues are difficult to address, but Marshall characterizes himself as, “as optimistic as I’ve ever been,” regarding meaningful school finance reform and increased pay for educators, adding that he was happy to see both the Senate and House come forward with plans that would provide teachers statewide with meaningful pay raises. TACS’ role in all of these issues is never far from Marshall’s mind. When asked about his primary goals for his time as TACS president, he reiterates the importance of the role his organization plays on behalf of its membership at the Capitol, before adding that he would also like to see TACS expand its membership and develop strong
relationships with other statewide education organizations, as they are often times fighting for the same things. “More than anything else, we want to encourage people to support Texas public education,” Marshall says. “Public schools in the state of Texas service more than 5 million children, and we believe that an education is the greatest thing that a child can receive. We want TACS to be known as an organization that works for the betterment of those 5 million-plus children.” It’s no small task, but as a dyed-in-the wool educator with a competitive streak that carried him to professional baseball, who could be better at going to bat for those 5 million kids? JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional living in Austin.
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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association
TEPSA president teaches, leads, inspires from the principal’s office by James Golsan
t didn’t take long for Annette Sanchez, the new president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), to figure out that teaching was her calling.
“I always imagined myself being a teacher as a child,” says Sanchez. “My mother majored in education [when she was in college], and always reminded me that teaching was a limitless profession.” While Sanchez herself was an interdisciplinary studies major as an undergraduate, she knew by then that she wanted to spend her career in education. Upon graduating from Texas A&M UniversityKingsville, she relocated to Beeville and took a job teaching fourth grade at just 20 years old.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
“I knew that teaching was my calling, and taught pretty much every subject early on,” Sanchez says, adding that it took some light prodding from her principal to send her down the path toward administration. “She invited me to join her at the TEPSA summer conference as a guest,” Sanchez says. “This would be almost 20 years ago now, and I remember just looking around the room at all the principals there and being really mesmerized by their impact on education.” At that same conference, Sanchez recalls watching the TEPSA president speak and having her principal lean over and tell her that she could see her on that same stage someday. It would prove to be
the start of a journey toward becoming a principal herself that Sanchez describes as incredible. “Becoming a principal has really been a dream come true, for myself and for being able to lead kids, and making their day the best day ever,” she says. Much as Sanchez didn’t start her career in education imagining herself in a leadership role, leadership within TEPSA wasn’t something she sought initially either. “I started out just going to the TEPSA summer conferences, and I would hear the speakers talk about making an impact in education, not just at the campus level, but at the state level, and even the national level,” Sanchez says, adding that it made her understand that being a principal and leader in education is also being a teacher, and thus pursuing leadership roles wouldn’t compromise her passion for teaching. Now that she has assumed one of the highest profile education leadership roles in the state, Sanchez hopes to continue TEPSA’s proud tradition of providing quality professional development for principals and advocating for public school students at the Legislature. “This year we’ve gone to the state level and talked to our legislators about modernizing the school finance system, making sure
school environments are safe, targeted support to close educational achievement gaps, and establishing a comprehensive accountability system,” Sanchez says, but is quick to add that it’s the opportunity to mentor and coach other principals among TEPSA’s 6,000-strong membership that really drew her to the organization and inspired her to take a leadership role. “I want to make sure that we grow people and grow leaders,” Sanchez says when asked about the goals she has for her time in leadership. “I hope to inspire principals and supervisors and assistant principals to be strong advocates for Texas public schools, and to be a well-informed voice for every child in Texas. I think it’s important that we are relentless in advocating for children, and relentless in getting the best teachers and the best administrators into schools for Texas kids.” Sanchez adds that every year at TEPSA they have a theme, and the theme for this year is “Opening the Doors to Limitless Imagination,” which she says is inspired by her own TEPSA journey.
Still, as she brings passion and expertise to her role as TEPSA’s new president, Sanchez says her true passion is working directly with children. “I see myself as always being an elementary school principal. I feel like I still have a long way to go and am looking forward to working with kids for quite a few more years,” she says, adding that she looks forward to growing her staff and developing aspiring administrators for the remainder of her career as well. There are many paths to a career in education, and in turn many paths to leadership within the education community. In Sanchez, TEPSA has chosen a career educator and leader whose passion for working with and advocating for children, as well as developing new leaders in elementary education, is apparent in everything she says. If TEPSA’s members aren’t already excited for her time leading their organization, they will be soon. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional living in Austin.
“As principals, we have the ability to open the doors to all learning, and through TEPSA I’ve really learned that leaders grow leaders, and that teaching and learning and growing is limitless.”
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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Thought leaders and innovators in education
▲ Dr. Kimberly Booker poses with some of her Young Ladies of Excellence and their mothers.
Through the Young Ladies of Excellence, Dr. Kimberly Booker reaches out to those who need it most by Dacia Rivers
chool districts across Texas frequently host clubs and special events that cater to top achieving students. In fact, the opportunities for these high performers can seem limitless. Cheerleaders are invited to represent their schools at community events. Honor roll students are rewarded with trips to amusement parks. But one educator in the Houston area has created her own organization that serves to inspire, appreciate and reward at-risk girls in the hopes of helping them realize their full potential.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
“This is for the girl that you probably would not think to put on your list,” says Dr. Kimberly Booker, founder of the Young Ladies of Elegance (YLOE). “This is for the girl who got into a fight yesterday. The one who is failing all of her subjects. She needs to come.” A 24-year veteran educator, Booker was born and raised in the Houston area and came up through Texas public schools. Her own amazing teachers inspired her to become one as well, and with her bachelor’s and master’s from University of Houston and doctorate
from Texas Southern University, she has achieved her dream and beyond. Booker is an instructional specialist in Spring ISD, where she works at a virtual high school for at-risk students and serves to assist teachers in creating lesson plans and programs for the students, who range in age up to 26 years old. She’s also served on the school board in Aldine ISD for the last two years. Among many positions she’s held, she’s been a classroom teacher, an assistant principal and a college professor.
“Too many times, grown-ups try to come up with our own ideas, but it may not be what kids need or want,” Booker says. “So my girls came up with all the topics.” Sessions at the summit ranged in scope from bullying and etiquette to strategic scheduling and health and beauty. Booker required that each presenter provide a resume, references and a lesson plan. She wanted each session to be interactive; this was no sit-and-get event.
If that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Booker formed YLOE, a nonprofit, 14 years ago, and since then has dedicated all of her free time to serving at-risk girls in and around Houston.
Each girl attended a YLOE event at the summit, where they were invited to join the organization, and Booker did something many would consider unthinkable: She gave every attendee her contact information, including her phone number.
Booker came to Aldine to serve as an administrator, but says a divine revelation showed her that she needed to go above and beyond for some students.
“I told them all, ‘You can call me, if you’re going through something. I can help, I can speak to your parents, and I can walk you through it,’” she says.
“I started in Aldine, and I saw these girls with very bad attitudes,” she says. “They were letting boys beat them and curse them out and steal their money. I was going through this daily as an administrator, and it had nothing to do with school. Everything they were going through had to do with their social well-being.”
That kind of personal touch makes evident Booker’s passion about YLOE, the summit and the girls she hopes to inspire. On the day of the summit, tears flowed freely for many attendees and presenters. Girls were opening up in sessions like many of them never had before. These girls, all wearing that at-risk label over their heads like a scarlet letter, were hearing for the first time that they had value, that they were worthwhile, that they had potential.
When the idea for YLOE came to Booker, she proposed starting the group to her counselor who gave the green light, as long as it didn’t interfere with Booker’s job as an administrator. The program was instantly popular — in the first year, 75 ninth grade girls signed up for the club. Shortly thereafter, Booker made the decision to turn YLOE into a nonprofit and open it up to girls outside of Aldine. The organization now has a staff that works to provide meetings and programs to its members. A few years ago, Booker and her program manager, Danyell Pennington, had the idea to host a female empowerment summit. After years of planning, the I Am Beautiful Female Empowerment Summit became a reality this year, thanks to support from the superintendents in Aldine and Spring ISDs. It was the first event of its kind in either district. YLOE sent beautiful, personal invitations to 500 at-risk girls, 250 from each district, all between the ages of eight and 18. Booker enlisted YLOE members to help plan the topics that would be addressed at the summit.
The event’s importance can’t be measured, except that both districts have decided that the summit will be an annual event going forward. And Booker has hopes to expand it from a one-day meeting to a three-day summit, to be able to incorporate more sessions and reach even more students. Booker believes that the benefits of this kind of empowerment for these specific students will extend into the classroom and beyond. She feels this is a way to build up and inspire these young girls, rather than following traditional punitive cycles that can hold students down and set them up for a life of failure. “Instead of just talking about the problem, we have to find solutions,” she says. “If we find solutions outside of the classroom, they won’t bring problems inside the classroom. I truly believe that.” A mother of two sons, Booker doesn't have a daughter or sister, but she felt compelled to help young women in her community. Inspired by the love of her mother, who passed away in 2010, Booker continues to reach out to those who need it most in her community.
YLOE is a year-round organization, providing opportunities for its members even in the summer months. So far this year, besides the summit, members have been invited to a tea party and a formal cotillion for at-risk boys and girls in the community. While YLOE is a nonprofit and separate from any school district, Booker feels that similar types of groups belong in schools across the state. “I truly believe someone should be in the schools, helping young ladies through their trials and tribulations and motivating them,” she says. “We’re always talking about reaching the whole child; well, that’s a big part of the child.” Booker has just finished writing her first book on YLOE, called, “Mama, I Need Help.” The book is designed to help parents, school administrators or anyone who cares identify stressors and characteristics of young women in distress. Between her day job, her school board post, her family and her nonprofit, Booker is a busy woman. But she wouldn’t give any of it up for the world. Feeling called upon by a higher power and a desire to initiate change in a population that often gets cast aside, her enthusiasm and her drive keeps her going, and the young women in her charge are fortunate to have her in their corner. “I don’t want to go to school and just work for a check,” she says. “I want to, every day, say that I touched somebody’s child, even if it’s just one.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Education service center programs & practices
Backpack Program offers sustenance, support to Robstown ISD students by Kelsey Cook
▲ Director of Special Populations Eric Gonzalez helps distribute backpacks filled with food to a student at Robert Driscoll Jr. Elementary School.
student population has been identified as economically disadvantaged. As one may imagine, assistance is welcomed with open arms.
Each year, 22 million children receive free or reduced meals through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. It’s a hard reality to face, but for many children, school meals may be the only meals they receive. At Robstown ISD, 89% of the
Robstown ISD is unique with its meal services, as the district takes an additional step to ensure students never miss a meal. In South Texas, one in four children struggle with hunger. In addition to breakfast and lunch, the district began serving a dinner program during the 2017-18 school year. One of the greatest differences teachers and administration noticed was an increase in students’ energy levels. This improved attitude and the level of focus students put into their work
t’s Friday. The school week has reached its end for students at Robert Driscoll Jr. Elementary in Robstown ISD. But while a typical elementary student may daydream all week about exciting weekend activities, some students are faced with worry as they think about where their meals will come from over the next two days. What happens when those students go home over the weekend?
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
created a profound impact on student achievement. While in school, children can rely on a regular meal served in their cafeteria, but regular meals are not a guarantee for every child over the weekend. After recognizing that some students were still facing a challenge on Saturdays and Sundays, Superintendent Dr. José H. Moreno took the initiative and collaborated with the Coastal Bend Food Bank to launch the Backpack Program. The Backpack Program now provides 206 Robstown ISD students with nutritious food to ensure students get enough to eat on the weekends.
Director of Special Populations Eric Gonzalez says that students and parents have truly appreciated the help. Gonzalez oversees the Backpack Program and credits the program’s success to one simple thing: total team effort. Various departments such as Parent Involvement, Maintenance and Operations, Campus Administrators and Communities in Schools all collaborate to put students first while eliminating barriers to success. “Limitless Opportunities for Success” is the district’s vision, and faculty and staff take it to heart as they carry out their daily operations. The Coastal Bend Food Bank delivers approximately 70 boxes of food on Friday mornings. From that moment, teamwork unfolds. Shortly after arrival, the Maintenance and Operations Department unloads the boxes and divides them accordingly to disperse at each of the seven campuses. Designees from each campus who receive the delivery organize the backpacks to distribute to students identified by campus counselors. When students pick up the food at the end of the instructional day, that’s when faculty and staff receive the biggest reward. “The students see it as a type of gift on Fridays,” Gonzalez says. “You see them lined up to get their food with smiles from ear to ear.” Manuel Lunoff, principal of Driscoll Elementary, says that the students actually remind the staff that it’s “Friday, food day.” He says that initially when students were given backpacks, they thought that it was only a one-time thing. “Once they realized it’s every week, they really looked forward to their food items.” Since the launch of the program in November, families in Robstown ISD
have received approximately 2,800 meals. Gonzalez says this number illustrates how many people work collaboratively to go the extra mile and make a positive impact on students and their families. Gonzalez adds that there are times when home visits are conducted and clues reveal families need help. “We’ve been out knocking on doors, and you notice a car is there, but has two flat tires. That makes us wonder how they’ll be able to shop. It’s tough to make it to the store with those circumstances.” Susan Pesina, mother of a third grade student who receives a backpack, says her daughter enjoys the foods that are provided, with the juice boxes and soups being her favorite. Because of this, she appreciates the extra help when it comes to feeding her child. “It not only makes things easier at home, but makes it easier on me as a parent as well.” Pesina elaborates, “The backpack was given without having to ask for it; it’s a nice form of assistance for the family that we’re grateful to receive.” The backpacks contain foods such as peanut butter, canned vegetables, cereal or soup, which are meant to be easy-to-prepare items. According to nutrition experts, fruits and vegetables should be incorporated into every day eating habits and should be eaten as a substitute for pre-packed, processed foods such as chips and candy. The following fruit and vegetable servings are recommended daily for children: • • •
Children ages 2 to 8: 1 – 1 ½ cups of fruit and an additional 1-1 ½ cups of vegetables Girls ages 8 and older: 1 ½ - 2 cups Boys ages 8 and older: 2-3 cups
It’s especially important for children to eat healthy and nutritious foods because
research shows the relationship between good nutrition and health is undeniably strong. Nutrition is one of the three major factors that impact a child’s development, along with genes and environment. A healthy diet is key in preventing issues such as: • • • • •
Short stature Delayed puberty Menstrual irregularities Poor bone health Increased risk of eating disorders
Experts also suggest that healthy eating over the weekend keeps children on track with good eating habits and less distracted when they return to school during the week. Continuing a positive relationship with food over the weekend helps keep children focused on their academic and social development. The Backpack Program is funded by the Coastal Bend Food Bank and has completed 14 deliveries to the district thus far in the 2018-19 school year. As the district eliminates barriers to success, the Backpack Program is illustrative of how healthy eating has been incorporated as an investment in students’ futures. Showing children the importance of good nutrition and how many people care for their well-being is just one way the foundation is laid for better physical, mental and social health later in life for Robstown ISD students. KELSEY COOK is the director of human resources and public relations at Robstown ISD.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
Calendar Professional development & events
S TA N D O U T F R O M T H E C R OW D ! Get premium placement and get noticed! For a nominal fee, you can showcase your conference, workshop or seminar on the opening page as a Featured Event. Contact Ann Halstead at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. 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 Cost: Members, $200; nonmembers, $250. June 4-6 ED311 Workshop: Certified Specialist in Restorative Practices Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $850. 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 June 6 TASSP Workshop: Documentation Whitehouse ISD, Whitehouse For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. TGCA All Sports Clinic Location TBA, Lubbock For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com Cost: $80. June 7 TAHPERD Areas 6 and 7 Workshop UT Maverick Center, Arlington For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
June 8 TAHPERD Area 8 Workshop University of Texas, El Paso For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org 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 11 ED311/TASSP Conference on Education Law for Principals Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $205. 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. TGCA Sports Clinic Location TBA, Houston For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com Cost: $80. June 12-14 TASSP Summer Workshop Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: By May 22: Members, $266; nonmembers, $466. After May 22: Members, $466; nonmembers, $516. TEPSA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (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 Learning Forward Texas Workshop: Tips, Tool and Techniques 1 Northside ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org TGCA Sports Clinic Pieper Ranch Middle School, San Antonio For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com Cost: $80. June 14-16 TETA Summerfest Tyler Junior College, Tyler No phone number provided www.tetatx.com June 18 TASBO Course: 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 18-20 TAGT Conference Eilan Hotel, San Antonio For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org June 19 ED311 Workshop: Navigating Texas RtI Requirements Convention Center, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $175. 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 June 23-25 UT/TASA Summer Conference on Education University of Texas, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org June 27-29 ED311 Workshop: Certified Specialist in Restorative Practices Menger Hotel, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $850.
JULY July 8-11 TGCA Summer Clinic Convention Center, Arlington For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com July 11-14 TASSP New Principals Academy Trinity University, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org
July 12 TASB/Council of School Attorneys Post-Legislative Seminar TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org 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 15 TASBO Academy: New Business Managersâ€™ Boot Camp Omni Hotel at Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $215; nonmembers, $265. July 15-17 ED311 Conference: Restorative Practices Community-Building Huston-Tillotson University, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $375. 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 16-17 TASBO Academy: Internal Audit Omni Hotel at Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $295; nonmembers, $345.
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. TASPA Summer Law Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org July 17-18 TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $490; nonmembers, $540. 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 17-19 TASPA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Early registration (through May 11): Members, $250; nonmembers, $375; retired, $100. Regular registration (May 12-June 29): Members, $270; nonmembers, $395; retired, $115. Late registration (June 30-July 12): Members, $280; nonmembers, $405; retired, $130. Onsite registration: Members, $290; nonmembers, $415; retired, $140. 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. TGCA Sports Clinic Location TBA, El Paso For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.tgca.com Cost: $80.
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. July 22-24 TCASE Interactive 2019 Marriott Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 474-4492, (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Registration through May 31: Pre-conference and main conference: Members, $455; nonmembers, $530. Main conference only: Members, $365; nonmembers, $440. Oneday registration: Members, $305; nonmembers, $355. Registration June 1-28: Pre-conference and main conference: Members, $535; nonmembers, $610; Main conference only: Members, $445; nonmembers, $520. Oneday registration: Members, $385; nonmembers, $435. Registration June 29-July 24: Pre-conference and main conference: Members, $635; nonmembers, $710. Main conference only: Members, $545; nonmembers, $620. Oneday registration: Members, $485; nonmembers, $535.
September 19-21 TASPA Workshop: Human Capital Leaders in Education Alief ISD, Alief For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. September 20-22 TASA/TASB Convention Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasa.tasb.org September 21 TGCA CenTex Sports Clinic Akins High School, Austin For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com Cost: $80. September 23-24 TASBO Academy: PEIMS Boot Camp Marriott Town Square, Sugar Land For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $215; nonmembers, $265. September 26-27 TASBO Workshop: Bud to Boss TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $490; nonmembers, $540. â—„
AUG UST July 31-August 1 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (Session 1 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock. For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org
SEPTEMBER September 10 TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals Alief ISD, Alief For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $110; nonmembers, $135. September 12-13 Texas ASCD Academy: Curriculum Leadership (session 3 of 3) Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org Cost: $1,500. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
TASBO MEMBERS CONVENE FOR ENGAGE CONFERENCE IN SAN ANTONIO The Texas Association of School Boards held its annual conference this spring in San Antonio, with more than 3,000 school finance and operations professionals coming together for learning, certification and networking.
▲ Stacey Proctor, chief financial officer from Robinson ISD, and Angela Bettinger, payroll & PEIMS manager from Robinson ISD.
▲ Plano ISD Executive Director of Finance Services Elaine Cogburn during the first general session.
▲ Capital Area Maintenance & Operations Affiliate donated $8,000 to the TASBO Scholarship Foundation.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
▲ Chief financial officer of Austin ISD
Nicole Conley Johnson with TASBO life member Debbie Cabrera.
▲Dr. Jim Vaszauskas from Mansfield ISD.
▲ TASBO Immediate Past President Jonathan Bey ▲ The Spurs Coyote visited attendees at ▲ TASBO Executive Director Dr. Tracy from Fort Worth ISD, keynote speaker Vince Poscente and TASBO Executive Director Tracy Ginsburg.
the TASBO Engage Conference in San Antonio.
▲ TASBO Immediate Past President Jonathan Bey from Fort Worth ISD; Megan Lawson,
assistant business manager from Kilgore ISD; Revard Pfeffer, CFO from Kilgore ISD; TASBO President-Elect Michele Trongaard from Wylie ISD; and TASBO 2019-20 Board President Julie Novak from Fort Sam Houston ISD.
Ginsburg addresses attendees at the First General Session.
▲ TASBO Executive Director Tracy
Ginsburg, keynote speaker Eric Boles and TASBO Immediate Past President Jonathan Bey. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
News in fine arts education
Therapy through art in Vidor ISD by Stacie Jannise
â—„ Stacie Jannise uses art therapy to reach students in need in Vidor ISD.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
ccasionally, you are given an opportunity to not only use your skills but your love for your work in a way that has the potential to positively affect those you are serving while profoundly changing yourself. Such was the case a little over a year ago, in the months after Hurricane Harvey when Sally Andrews, coordinator of community relations with Vidor ISD, approached the Young Audience Program and me with the proposition to use art to help students struggling after the heartbreaking disaster. More than 80% of students attending Vidor ISD were touched by the storm. For many of these students, they were already at or below the poverty level and also had numerous issues in their lives that affected their ability to learn. This traumatic event was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. We worked together to craft a program that would use the arts to help students not only express what they were feeling but would also give them useful, concrete ways to handle these challenges throughout their lives. We decided to start with elementary students and began meeting weekly with those recommended by the counselor and teachers. The approach was multifaceted and designed to use the arts to help students relax, have a safe place to let their guard down and express themselves openly and honestly, while giving them usable skills. These could be viewed as lofty goals for elementary students in a weekly 45-minute session creating art. However, exciting and amazing transformations have occurred during the past year. With younger students, simply asking them what’s wrong and how they feel often leads to one word answers, shrugs and sometimes confusion. With the exercises and projects chosen, students are guided and inspired to open up in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. The opening day activity continues to be a student favorite. Students are given all the ingredients to make volcanoes from baking soda and vinegar. Food coloring is incorporated as students experiment with combining colors to create new hues — yellow and red for orange, blue and yellow for green, blue and green for teal. As they work with the ingredients and colors, we talk about how sometimes we keep things that are bothering us deep inside, then a small ingredient is added and suddenly we erupt in a messy overflow.
Students love the unpredictability and volatility of the ingredients, range of colors and fun. They also are triggered to talk about how they get in trouble in class for outbursts or sometimes just inappropriate use of excess energy. The discussion evolves into ways to release that energy before it boils over by using the arts, exercise and positive self-expression. The use of straws to blow paint across paper and create a picture teaches students deep breathing techniques that help them self calm when they’re feeling stressed. They’re able to connect the fun activity to the cleansing deep breathing activities and think calming thoughts during stressful events. Many of the students do not feel that they excel at anything. The freedom to create things that do not have a specific right or wrong outcome allow them to build true self-esteem cultivated by trying new things in a safe and encouraging environment. A student questioned why anyone would want to do activities with them or allow them to do something fun like this. When asked why not, he simply but resignedly stated, “Because we’re the bad kids. Everyone knows we are. Why do you do these things with us?” Upon further questioning, he said his mother always tells him he will never be anything. For a child to believe at 10 years old that his future is already set in stone and is not one with promise is often a self-fulfilling prophesy. The opportunity to redirect and change that thinking is vital if there is to be any chance of changing the outcome. Allowing these students to not only create projects, but also do something that other students would like to participate in and to end up with useful life skills in the process is important in breaking the cycle.
The approach was multifaceted and designed to use the arts to help students relax, have a safe place to let their guard down and express themselves openly and honestly, while giving them usable skills.
Other students have commented that they always make sure they are at school on art class day. Students have also formed friendships in these groups because they often find they share common challenges such as parents in jail, learning difficulties or having lost parents in violent situations. An autistic student has been able to hone his social skills with students who are accepting of his challenges. The progress has varied from student to student, but each one has exhibited some level of improvement. Through continued classes and activities we are excited and expectant about ongoing success. STACIE JANNISE is an art therapist in Vidor ISD. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
THE BACK PAGE
by Riney Jordan
Let me remind you of the four characteristics that preceded this column. The first was “happy.” It’s such a simple concept, but if you’re not happy in the role you’re in, please evaluate where you find happiness and pursue that route. Seriously, there is nothing more damaging to a student than to have an unhappy teacher or an administrator who passes that misery down to those he or she serves. The second quality of an individual with heart is being “empathetic.” Oh, what problems can be avoided with a little dose of empathy. What joys one is missing who doesn’t possess empathy. Next comes “adaptable.” When one refuses to be adaptable, he misses opportunities to improve and see possibilities from a different perspective. “The way we’ve always done it,” isn’t always the best way to do it. In the previous column, to live with heart, I addressed the topic of being “reliable.” What a wonderful and beneficial trait to exhibit to others. It shows you care. It reflects one’s respect for others. What a treasure when you know there is someone on whom you can rely. And so now we come to the final component of developing our heart for others, and it’s the icing on the cake. Let’s strongly consider what it means to be truly “thankful.” For me, my biggest thanks go to God who has led me down a path that I might never have taken. He put teachers and individuals in my path who cared about me. One in particular went above and beyond to see that I would go to college and become a teacher. God’s real, and I thank Him every day for being in my life. Of course, I’m also thankful for my family.
My wife of 54 years has been perfect! My heart swells as I think about how thankful I am for her and our children and their spouses and our grandchildren. We truly do reap what we sow. And there are so many other individuals who encouraged me along life’s path. I shall forever be indebted to Dr. Mike Taylor for leading me to become a school administrator. I’m so thankful for friends like him in my past. Writing for Texas School Business would never have happened had it not been for Annell Todd, a former owner and publisher of the magazine. She asked me one day to write a column for the upcoming issue. I did, and the next month she asked again. I’ve lost track of how many years now I’ve been penning this column, but it’s around 14 or 15 years. For that, I am thankful. I recently was asked to do the eulogy for a dear friend, and after the church service, we joined the procession to the cemetery. After the brief service there, I noticed a little girl running around picking wildflowers while her parents and I visited. She was probably 4 or 5 years old, and she was just having the most wonderful time gathering the tiniest little flowers that had started to bloom in those early days of spring. A few minutes later, I felt a little tug on my sleeve. I turned around, and it was the little girl with her hand opened and filled with the yellow petals of what had been a full flower a few minutes earlier.
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“Sir, would you like to have a petal?” I couldn’t help but smile and graciously accept this tiny, unique gift. Was I thankful for this little experience? Oh, I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Sharing your heart is this way. You don’t have to give it all, just give a portion of it to everyone you meet.
RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.
You’ve got to have HEART Part five: Be thankful n this five-part series, I’ve addressed five components that I feel school personnel need to possess to have a real heart for others.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2019
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Summer Conference on Education
Join us for a summer conference focused on "Developing the Whole Leader," with emphasis on:
• legislative advocacy • personal wellness • professional ethics • transformational leadership
June 23-25, 2019 Hyatt Regency Austin | Austin, Texas