The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER
Texas School Business
LaTonya Goffney Lufkin ISD 2017 Superintendent of the Year
Also in this issue: 2017 Outstanding Board Coahoma ISD TAGT President D'Lana Barbay TCASE President Montie Parker
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Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
2017 Outstanding Board
Coahoma ISD trustees juggle financial changes and come out on top By Dacia Rivers
22 2017 Key Communicator Texas House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty receives highest honor from TSPRA
14 Cover Story
2017 Superintendent of the Year Lufkin ISD’s LaTonya Goffney is one of Texas public ed’s greatest success stories
26 TCASE President Profile Montie Parker finds his life purpose supporting Texas’ special education coordinators
By Dacia Rivers
28 TAGT President Profile D’Lana Barbay brings a unique insight to gifted and talented programs
6 Who’s News 34 Calendar 40 The Arts 42 Ad Index
Photo Features 10 THSCA convention held in Houston
30 TASA/TASB Convention brings administrators and trustees to Dallas
5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Digital Frontier by Kevin Schwartz 13 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne 32 Student Voices by Kendra Johnson 42 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
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
his issue of Texas School Business is the one to look to if you want to find a handy list of some of the most prominent administrators working in Texas public schools today. In these pages, you’ll get acquainted with TASB’s choice for Superintendent of the Year along with the members of TASA’s Outstanding School Board and TSPRA’s Key Communicator for 2017. In addition, we’re pleased to profile the new presidents of two of Texas’ important education associations: the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education. These folks are wholly dedicated to continuing the success in Texas’ public schools, and it brings me great joy to be able to share their stories with all of you. Beyond the profiles, in “The Arts” we feature an outstanding program in Fort Stockton ISD that turns STEM to STEAM, and our “Student Voices” was penned by a now college-freshman, detailing her experience competing in the journalism program and competitions in Santa Gertrudis ISD. You’ll want to keep an eye on your mail for our annual Bragging Rights issue, due to show up at your mailbox on Dec. 1. We’re excitedly compiling and interviewing the finalists now.
Texas School Business
As always, our priority at Texas School Business is to share all of the good news coming out of Texas public schools. If you have any story ideas coming out of your district, please keep me in the loop at email@example.com.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017 Volume LXIV, Issue 6
(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620)
406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
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Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. © Copyright 2017 Texas Association of School Administrators
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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Who’s News Abilene ISD Mitch Aston is the new head coach of the
Cooper High School men’s golf team. A graduate of Abilene High, where he played tennis and golf, he was an All-American tennis player at Hardin-Simmons University. He has been a tennis coach for the past seven years at Mann Middle School and Cooper High.
In August, longtime administrator Joe Humphrey retired from the district for the second time. The Abilene High graduate returned to his hometown after college to begin his career, teaching government for 11 years before accepting his first principalship. After leading three schools, he took his first central administration job, eventually serving as deputy superintendent. His first retirement came in 2004, but he came back to serve as construction coordinator, the position he held until August, when he wrapped up a career that lasted five decades and included 10 superintendents. Kelly McNamee has taken over as head
coach for the Abilene High and Cooper High swim teams. She graduated from McMurry University.
Longtime Abilene ISD teacher and coach Jim Reese has been named head coach of the Abilene High Lady Eagles softball team. He previously was head coach for that school’s baseball program, and also worked as head baseball coach at Cooper High and in Pflugerville ISD. Now serving as head coach of the Abilene High School men’s soccer program is Kyle Riese, a graduate of McMurry University. He began his career last year as an assistant soccer and football coach at Abilene High.
Adrian ISD Steve Reynolds, former high school prin-
cipal in Meadow ISD, is now Adrian ISD’s superintendent.
Angleton ISD The new principal of Angleton Junior High, Alice Clayton, comes to AISD from Livingston ISD, where she held the top position at Livingston Junior High. She has been an educator for 20 years and holds a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
The Austin ISD board of trustees has approved Alan Lambert as director of fine arts. He most recently was director of fine arts for the Albuquerque (N.M.) Public Schools. A graduate of Texas Tech University, he earned his master’s degree in music from New Mexico State University and is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of New Mexico.
The new superintendent is Guillermo Mancha, who was most recently with San Antonio’s Southside ISD. In that district, he served as a special education compliance specialist.
Bastrop ISD Now serving as principal of Bastrop Intermediate School is Daniel Brown, who began his career in San Antonio’s Northside ISD. He joined Bastrop ISD in 2011 and in 2015 was named assistant principal of Bastrop Middle School. He is a graduate of Sul Ross State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in educational administration. A new principal is in place for Emile Elementary School. Windy Burnett comes to her new campus from Lost Pines Elementary, where she was assistant principal for the past two years. Prior to joining BISD, she spent 11 years in Hutto ISD, two of those as an administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas State University, where she also earned her master’s degree in educational leadership. Krystal Gabriel has been ap-
proved to lead Cedar Creek Intermediate School as principal. She has been associate principal of Cedar Creek High School since 2015 and, prior to that, was a teacher and coach at the school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Angelo State University. Jacob Layton has been
named manager of the district’s Wilhelm Center for the Performing Arts. A graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre, he has worked as technical director for Boyd High School in McKinney ISD and as technical director and auditorium manager for Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD.
Blanco The district has welcomed Clay Rosenbaum as superintendent. He comes to his new position from Floresville, where he served in the same capacity.
Bryan ISD Former Bryan Collegiate High School Associate Principal Tommy Roberts has been promoted to principal. He came to Collegiate in 2009 after initially serving as a math teacher and department head at Davila Middle School. Roberts earned both his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and his master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University.
Bushland ISD Superintendent Don Wood will conclude his 30-year career when he retires in January. He began as a teacher in Highland Park ISD in Amarillo and was an administrator in Nazareth and Childress ISDs. He served as an assistant superintendent in Muleshoe ISD before joining Bushland ISD in 2009.
Chico ISD After 22 years as an educator, 17 of those as a teacher and coach, Monte Sewell is now principal of Chico Middle School. He was most recently a coach and assistant principal in Bowie ISD.
Clear Creek ISD The following administrative appointments are announced: Mandy Antolini, assistant principal,
Victory Lakes Intermediate School;
Mary Baca, assistant principal, Clear Creek High School; Kacie Bevel, career and technical educa-
Jamie Brownson, assistant principal,
Space Center Intermediate School;
Bridget Christmas, assistant principal, Clear Brook High School; Glenda Kay Holder, director of advanced
Sharon Lopez, principal, Seabrook Intermediate School; Elizabeth Olin, assistant principal, Clear
Creek Intermediate School;
Leatrice Sanders, dean of instruction, Clear Falls High School; Erin Schmidt, assistant principal, Creekside Intermediate School; Christina Varsos, dean of instruction, Clear Brook High School.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Cleveland ISD The following administrative appointments have been made for the district: Glen Barnes, principal, Cleveland High
Bryan Brooks, assistant principal, Cleveland
Dennis Jamison, assistant principal,
Southside Primary School;
Rebecca Smith, principal, Eastside Elementary School; Sheila Stephens, principal, Cleveland
Alyson Wilkins, assistant principal,
Southside Primary School;
Sandy Williamson, coordinator of special
Coppell ISD Greg Axelson is the new principal of
Coppell Middle School North, joining the district from Lewisville ISD, where he was assistant principal of the Marcus Ninth Grade Campus. He also worked in DeSoto and Cedar Hill ISDs. His bachelor’s degree is from Texas A&M University and both his master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded from the University of North Texas. Lakeside Elementary School Principal
Gema Hall has been named ESC Region 10
president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA).
New Superintendent Brad Hunt began his career in Coppell in 1990 as a teacher, going on to serve as an assistant principal before transferring to Carroll ISD. He returned to Coppell as director of human services and in 2006 became principal of Coppell High School. For the past six years he has served as assistant superintendent of administrative services. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler. He is at work on a doctoral degree from the University of North Texas.
Culberson County-Allamoore ISD Former Throckmorton ISD Superintendent Ken Baugh now leads Culberson CountyAllamoore ISD as superintendent.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Former Bane Elementary School Assistant Principal Cesar Diaz now leads Reed Elementary as principal. Prior to his time at Bane, he taught in Houston and in Aldine ISD, where he also served as an assistant principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information engineering from Universidad Rafael Belloso Chacin in Venezuela and a master’s degree in education from Prairie View A&M University.
Rashad Godbolt has been
of Alexander Elementary.
named principal of the Alternative Learning Center East, coming to his new position from Cypress Creek High, where he was associate principal. He previously taught in East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana and in Alief ISD. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern University.
The new principal of Bilhartz Elementary School, Valerie Nelms-Harris, was previously an assistant principal of Duncanville High School. She has been an educator for 21 years.
Eric Mendez, recently appointed CFISD chief of police, served on the Austin ISD police force since 1999, the past five years as chief. Prior to his time with that district, he was with the Kingsville police department.
After serving four years as assistant principal of Hardin Intermediate School, Tamra Thompson has made a move to lead Brandenburg Intermediate. She is a 14-year employee of DISD.
Former Francone Elementary School Assistant Principal Renee Silliman has been promoted to the lead position at Hemmenway Elementary. Her 18-year career began in Spring Branch ISD and she joined CFISD in 2009. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in educational administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Denton ISD Jairia Diggs, assistant principal of Roanoke Elementary School in Northwest ISD since 2013, is now principal of Providence Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and her master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University.
Duncanville ISD Chief Technology Officer Chuck Allsup is new to the district, with a background in managing network and security services. He has a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University. Now serving as director of professional development is Thomas Cyprian, who began his career as a history teacher in the district. He holds a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in educational leadership. Ed Hernandez has transitioned from serving as one of DISD’s two chiefs of schools to chief academic officer. He began his career 19 years ago, previously serving as a teacher, middle and high school principal, and as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Hyman Elementary School’s 2017-18 school year began with Brandee King as principal. The 17-year educator was most recently principal of Kennemer Middle School. Brandi Lee, new principal of Smith Elemen-
tary School, joined the district in 2004 as a counselor. She was most recently principal
Kennemer Middle School now has Monica Smith as principal. She makes the move to her new position from Duncanville High, where she was an associate principal.
Melinda Turner, principal of Hyman Elementary School since 2012, is now the district’s director of early childhood education. She has spent 15 of her 18 years as an educator with DISD.
Former Bilhartz Elementary School principal Pam Wilson is now principal of Reed Middle School. A two-year employee of the district, she has been an educator for 17 years.
El Campo ISD Former Edna ISD high school principal Demetric Wells has been named principal of El Campo High School.
El Paso ISD The district has named a new chief academic officer. Tamekia Brown, who joined El Paso ISD in 2015 as executive director of academics, served in her new position on an interim basis since January. Prior to that, she was assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in the Springdale (Ark.) Public Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Central Arkansas. Her doctorate in educational administration was conferred by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Ector County ISD Maribel Aranda has been tapped to serve as principal of Crockett Middle School. She has spent the past four years in the lead position at Cavazos Elementary and worked as assistant principal of LBJ and Noel elementary schools. Brandon Chesser has been
promoted to principal of Cavazos Elementary after serving as assistant principal of Reagan Elementary for the past two years. He also taught and coached at Crockett Middle School for six years and was the school’s athletic coordinator for two years. > See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 7
West Elementary School’s new principal is Gisela Davila, former assistant principal of Goliad Elementary. A 20-year employee of ECISD, she began as a classroom aide and has also served as a teacher and assistant principal of Dowling Elementary. Danny Gex is now principal
of Permian High School. He comes from serving as principal of Stratford High School in Spring Branch ISD. Prior to that, he was with Katy ISD for 10 years.
Mauricio Marquez has tran-
sitioned from his job as principal of Crockett Middle School to the top job at Odessa High School. He has been with the district for 19 years, working as a teacher, assistant principal and fine arts magnet director.
Fort Bend ISD Rebecca Bangstein, director of talent ac-
quisition, came to the district in 2006 as an assistant principal at Jones Elementary, then served as principal of Mission West Elementary before joining Fort Bend ISD’s human resources department. The new principal of Mission Glen Elementary School, Yvette Blake, was most recently principal of Lantern Lane Elementary. In addition to her time with FBISD, she has been an adjunct instructor at San Jacinto College. Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a doctorate in counselor education/school counseling and guidance services. Kandy Bond is Sienna Crossing Elementary School’s new principal. An educator for 20 years, she comes to her new position from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, where she led Reed Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston. Mary Brewster, executive director of student
affairs, was principal of McAuliffe Middle School for the past three years. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Southern University and her master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston.
The new academic year opened with Cory Collins as principal of Garcia Middle School. Most recently principal of the district’s Progressive High School, he also worked as an assistant principal in Lamar CISD. A graduate of Texas A&M University,
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
he earned his master’s degree and his doctorate in professional leadership from the University of Houston. Lisa Coston, the district’s new director of assessment and accountability, has returned to Fort Bend ISD from Pflugerville ISD, where she was director of the extended day program. She began her career in Magnolia and Austin ISDs and previously served in FBISD as a dean of instruction, program facilitator and speech and debate teacher. Alice Ledford is director of human resources leadership experience. An educator for 27 years, she has been an elementary teacher, high school counselor, university dean, coordinator of organizational development and assistant director of special education. Lori Oliver has been tapped to lead Kempner
High School as principal. She has been an educator for 30 years, working as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, associate principal and dean of instruction. She received her bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and her master’s degree in education from Baylor University.
Newly hired principal of Quail Valley Middle School Jeff Post spent the past seven years as a principal in Spring Branch ISD. His bachelor’s degree in elementary education was awarded from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and his master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University. Rizvan Quadri now leads Austin High School as principal. For the past four years, he has served in the top post at Garcia Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degrees in secondary education and administration, and a doctorate in educational leadership, all from Lamar University.
The district has named Audra Ude director of assessment and accountability. Most recently director of FBISD’s leadership experience division, she was previously associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Abilene ISD.
Fort Worth ISD The following principal appointments have been approved for the district: Baldwin Brown, Terrell Academy for STEM/ Visual and Performing Arts; Dirrick Butler, Sagamore Hill Elementary
Amparo Martinez, Hubbard Heights Ele-
Angelia Ross, International Newcomer
Latanya Sadler, Jacquet Middle School; Nick Torrez, Polytechnic High School.
Georgetown ISD The GISD board of trustees announces the hiring of Tray Mitchell as director of
nutritional services. He comes to his new position from Leander ISD, where he was assistant director of child nutritional services. He received his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University.
Gilmer ISD Josh Barton, new assistant principal at
Gilmer High School, joins the district from Bronte ISD, where he was pre-K-12 principal. Prior to that, he was Overton ISD’s athletic director and head football coach. He graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise sports science and earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Jeff Hamilton has accepted the position of director of student services. An employee of GISD for 16 years, he was Gilmer High School’s assistant principal. He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University.
New Assistant Superintendent Dawn Harris was a GISD campus administrator for 13 years and spent the past two as director of teacher support. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in education, she received her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Texarkana and her doctorate in the same field from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Kim Kemp, now leading
Gilmer Elementary School as principal, is a 12-year employee of the district and was most recently principal of Gilmer Intermediate School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Texarkana. Now serving as the district’s director of literacy is Lisa Killebrew, former assistant principal of Gilmer Intermediate School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Russell Sage University and two master’s degrees, one in educational psychology from the College of St. Rose and one in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Texarkana.
> See Who’s News, page 12
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
Always read the footnotes
One source for all learners.
by Jim Walsh
hen lawyers advise their clients about giving testimony, there are a couple of things you can count on. The lawyer will always emphasize three things. First, listen carefully to the question. Second, tell the truth. Third, don’t provide more information than what is asked for. If you can answer the question with a “yes” or “no,” then do so. The example sometimes given is that if someone asks you if you know what time it is, you look at your watch and say, “Yes.” And leave it at that. The problem is that clients rarely comply with that “yes” or “no” suggestion. People want to tell their story, and it’s very difficult to stick to a short answer. So, I took particular note of Footnote 10 in a court case that I read recently. It involves a former teacher in El Paso ISD, suing the district over her termination. Footnote 10 contains an exchange from the teacher’s deposition testimony. The school district’s attorney is questioning the teacher about some of the comments she allegedly made in her classroom: Q. OK. And in those classes, you made the statement that Barack Obama was a Muslim, correct? A. Yes. Q. You made the statement that he was an evil man, correct? A. Yes. Q. OK. You made a statement that a hurricane in Haiti had been God’s punishment of the Haitian people, correct? A. Yes. Q. That was because they were voodoo — they practiced voodoo? A. Yes. Q. You talked about the origin of AIDS in Africa, correct? A. Yes. Q. OK. What did you tell your students about the origin of AIDS in Africa?
A. It started with a monkey having sex with a person. Q. OK. You told this to your sixth grade tech applications class. (Emphasis added.) A. Yes. Now there’s a witness who knows how to follow instructions. You can probably figure out from that exchange why the district terminated the teacher. Here we have a classroom teacher taking advantage of a captive audience of sixth graders to express her personal religious and political views in a class that has nothing to do with religion or politics. Moreover, the teacher had been warned before about this kind of thing. Here’s part of the reprimand the teacher received in 2009: “During the course of the investigation additional allegations were made by students in your classroom. They alleged that you frequently made comments to them about God, read passages from the Bible, told students that the middle finger meant “you want to have sex,” and the Texas Longhorn sign was satanic. (!!) Finally, students alleged that you made inappropriate comments about President Obama and told them that the world was going to end and everyone was going to die.” (Emphasis added.) Hook ’em Horns is satanic?! As a two-time graduate of UT, that left me speechless. The legal issues in the case involved the Whistleblower Act. The teacher was unsuccessful in her effort to get her termination overturned. But I’m telling you, the Whistleblower stuff is downright boring. Read the footnotes. That’s where the good stuff is, thanks to a witness who knows how to answer the questions directly and without further explanation. (The case is Whitney v. El Paso ISD, decided by the Court of Appeals in El Paso on Aug. 23, 2017. We found it at 2017 WL 3614149.)
JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
THSCA HOLDS 85TH ANNUAL COACHES CONVENTION IN HOUSTON This summer, the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) welcomed more than 12,000 coaches, athletic directors, exhibitors and athletics fans to the group’s 2017 Texas High School Coaches Association Convention and Coaching School in Houston. .
▲ Convention attendees pose in the exhibit hall.
▲ Assistant Executive Director Joe Martin reads minutes from the last General Meeting.
▲ Directors work the packet pick-up area at Coaching School.
▲ Coaches Jacob Escamilla
and Frank Aguilar, Harlandale High School.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
▲ The highlight of the convention is the THSCA Hall of Honor Luncheon.
▲ Executive Director D.W. Rutledge addresses THSCA members.
▲ Directors Lee Wiginton, Midlothian Heritage High School, and Director Hal Wasson, Southlake Carroll High School.
▲ Executive Director D.W. Rutledge with Past Presidents Mike Copeland and Larry Hill.
Escape the diminishing tide pools of Texas’ public education funding by Kevin Schwartz
have been preoccupied with a metaphor recently. Many who know me wouldn’t be surprised to find that it connects schools and fishing. Picture a beautiful fish, swimming gracefully, frolicking in a school of its species. It feels healthy. Gills are working, heart is beating, and it has a good slime coating to help it slip through the waves. As an organism, it has what it needs to sustain itself. Now imagine that same fish caught in a tide pool with the water receding. Existential panic. This is what recapture, (Texas’ massively flawed but technically legal process for taking money disproportionately from some school districts and sending it to the state’s General Fund), feels like. It’s not just a matter of, “Hey, you’ve got plenty of water, will you share?” It has become a suffocation. Austin ISD will send more than $500 million of local property taxes to the state this year. Let that sink in. Five. Hundred. Million. That represents all by itself an effective tax rate of $.49 per $100 in Austin ISD. It isn’t even “recapture” anymore. Recapture has evolved from its origins so that we are now simply doing the dirty work for the state by providing a revenue stream to subsidize all funding priorities. We are then chastised and degraded for doing nothing more than pouring everything we have into serving every student in our district. Without a doubt, you’ve heard this before. My purpose in writing this is twofold. The first is to say, “Guess what? We are STILL
suffocating!” But the second is to challenge our thinking about the fish. If you are the fish and you notice that water receding and the panic begins to set in, what do you do? A likely first reaction might be to quickly race through the water to see if there is some way out, like a little channel or submerged tunnel.
invests all of its resources into the one thing that can save it, which are its muscles. It curls tightly and unleashes, flipping itself up and out of the water. It can’t breathe. It lands on the sand, losing much of its slime coating. Its heart races unsustainably. It flips again and again, and it finds …
Texas schools have tried this before. Borrowing from the most recent opinion issued by the Texas Supreme Court, “Despite the imperfections of the current school funding regime, it meets minimum constitutional requirements.” (http://www.txcourts.gov/ media/1371141/140776.pdf) There is no alternate passage out from this tide pool.
Water. The ocean again. It can breathe, it can swim. It can compete ferociously. It’s not just alive now — it’s thriving.
It’s the fish’s next choice that matters, though. All too often, the fish will settle into the lowest part of the tide pool, slow down its metabolism and hide, trusting that surely, one day, the tide will return. The goal is to hold on, scrimp, save, cut and live to fight another day. Slowly the tide pool lowers and lowers. Soon, the water is so low that the sun begins to burn the fish’s back. Predators prowl nearby searching for a meal, and still the fish waits, energy sapped by the moment, believing the tide will return. Maybe every once in awhile a little water washes back in, but each day the tide pool shrinks, and the oxygen is further depleted. Eventually, the inevitable occurs.
The next part of that opinion from the Texas Supreme Court says, “They deserve transformational, top-to-bottom reforms that amount to more than Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid. They deserve a revamped, nonsclerotic system fit for the 21st century.” My point is that it’s foolish to expect that change to be bestowed on us. We must be the change. We don’t need to simply cut back everywhere. We should alter our resource investments and solve for this problem as if our lives depend upon it. What is your district’s “muscle”? In Austin ISD, our muscle is our diversity, our fight for equity, our empowered teachers, and investments in technology that create the context for us to flip from our shrinking tide pool. Austin ISD is reinventing the urban education experience.
But maybe one fish has a different mindset. This fish recognizes the predicament and says, “If I stay in this tide pool, I will die. My only chance is to get out of the pool.” It
KEVIN SCHWARTZ serves as the technology officer for learning and systems for Austin ISD, a district of 83,000-plus students. He brings a CETL certification and 20-plus years of experience in K-12 to bear on the district’s challenge to “Reinvent the Urban Education Experience.” He is a past chair of the Texas K-12 CTO Council and serves on CoSN’s SEND and SmartIT committees. His teams have been honored with the CTO Council’s TEAM Award in 2013, as well as the World Impact and People’s Choice awards from Dell in 2015. He received the Grace Hopper Award as the Outstanding CTO in Texas in 2016 and went on to also receive the Frank Withrow Award from CoSN for Outstanding CTO at the national level. He serves on multiple industry CIO Advisory Panels. Kevin can also be found on Twitter at @AISD_Reinvent. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 8
The new principal of Gilmer Intermediate School, Gina Treadway, returns to the district from New Diana ISD, where she was elementary principal for the past two years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Texas at Tyler and her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Texarkana. Gilmer Intermediate School’s new assistant principal, Jennifer Rucker, spent the past six years as an English language arts teacher. She is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Her master’s degree in educational administration is from Texas A&M University at Texarkana. Greg Watson is the district’s
new deputy superintendent, having served as assistant superintendent for the past two years and as a principal in three GISD schools prior to that. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Louisiana State University at Shreveport and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.
He comes to his new position from Parkland High School in El Paso’s Ysleta ISD. He has also coached at schools in Houston and Bryan and in Baton Rouge, La. Kirkland holds a bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science from West Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University. Science Hall Elementary School now has Karen Zuniga as principal. She has been with the district since 2002, beginning her career as a teacher at Hemphill Elementary and going on to work in Tobias Elementary and Chapa Middle School, where she most recently was assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas State University and two master’s degrees, in curriculum and instruction from Texas State and in educational administration from Lamar University.
Houston ISD Ann Best Scott will continue her work as
executive director of the Houston ISD Foundation while adding the position of chief development officer to her duties. She has also served as HISD’s chief human resources officer.
Former Houston ISD Governmental Relations Director Alesha Turner is now the district’s chief governmental relations and strategy officer. She previously worked with the Greater Houston Partnership and for several elected government officials.
In July, Brad Schnautz was appointed deputy superintendent. An educator for 15 years, he is the prior superintendent of Lexington ISD. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in educational administration from Sam Houston State University and a doctorate in the same field from Texas A&M.
Former HISD Superintendent Fred Rush has agreed to return to the district to serve as interim superintendent. Since his retirement, he has led superintendent searches, performed PEIMS audits, provided board training and, on occasion, served as interim superintendent for other Texas districts.
Three administrative appointments have been made for the district. They are:
Doreen Martinez returns to Katy ISD as
Amber Daub, executive director of curriculum and instruction; Eve Ford, executive director of human
John Martin, assistant superintendent.
Harts Bluff ISD Bobby Rice comes to his new position of
superintendent from Gilmer ISD, where he was assistant superintendent.
Hays CISD The district announces the appointment of Joshua Kirkland as head football coach and athletic coordinator for Lehman High School.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
principal of Memorial Parkway Elementary School. She initially joined the district in 2001, then left for several years for stints in Angleton and Clear Creek ISDs. McRoberts Elementary School welcomed
Rahsan Smith as principal at the beginning
of the academic year. He began his career in Houston ISD in 2001, coming to Katy ISD in 2012 as an assistant principal. He most recently held that position at Seven Lakes High.
Lamar CISD Stacy Boarman is Adolphus Elementary School’s new principal. She has been an educator for 13 years, working as a teacher and ESL facilitator in Aldine and Fort Bend ISDs
and, most recently, as assistant principal of Lamar ISD’s Hubenak Elementary. The Northern Arizona University graduate holds a master’s degree from the University of Houston. Now serving as principal of Travis Elementary School is Jearine Jordan. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and earned her master’s degree from the University of Houston. George Junior High School began the new school year with Stephen Judice as principal. A 12-year educator in the schools of Lafayette, La., where he was a teacher, assistant principal and principal, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Lamar Consolidated High School’s new principal, Kaye Williams, has 24 years of experience as an educator, having worked as a teacher and coach in Port Arthur ISD and as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, associate principal and principal in Spring Branch ISD. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lamar University and her doctorate from Southern California University. Jennifer Zebold has been tapped to serve as principal of Wertheimer Middle School. Most recently principal of Adolphus Elementary, she also worked in Katy and Alief ISDs. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and her master’s degree in education administration from Houston Baptist University.
Leander ISD Melody Maples began the new school year as principal of Stiles Middle School. Previously an administrator in Round Rock ISD’s McNeil High School and Walsh Middle School, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Winona State University and a master’s degree from Concordia University.
Lewisville ISD Angela Cortez has been
named principal of Camey Elementary School, coming to her new position from Vickery Elementary, where she was assistant principal since 2014. In addition, she has worked in Wylie ISD as a Title I instructional facilitator and special education and fourth grade teacher. She is a gradu> See Who’s News, page 23
If it bleeds, it leads by Bobby Hawthorne
ecently, my hometown newspaper snidely published the names and salaries of some of the state’s highest paid high school football coaches. Yours might have, too. The article, I suppose, was meant to raise awareness about wise stewardship of tax dollars and misplaced priorities, but it came across as a sign of the apocalypse, meant mainly to agitate the easily agitated. Here’s the deal: The state’s major newspapers are hypocrites when it comes to prep sports versus everything else involving public education in general and secondary education in particular. They feed the win-at-all-costs frenzy, then feign Pollyanna shock when school boards do just that — try to win by paying top dollar for the hottest coach on the market. It’s difficult to take a newspaper editorial board seriously as it grouses about “misplaced priorities,” when its news staff has devoted little or no boots-on-the-ground reporting about the whys and hows of test scores, dropout rates, teacher retention or the societal and cultural changes that have made the task so exhausting and frustrating. I have yet to see a story that explains exactly why the school district’s best teacher took retirement the second he or she could without defaulting into clichés about reading books and playing with grandkids. The fact is, newspapers are tethered to a calcified paradigm. On a regular news day, they automatically devote X number of column inches to this, and X number of column inches to that, and prep sports always gets its cut. The news and editorial sides tend to view the public education beat through a top-down prism that focuses on policy and management. The sports side tends to view public education through a bottom-up prism that focuses on people. In the end, the message is clear. Run. Jump. Throw … you get covered. Read. Write. Think … you don’t, unless you break the law or confirm a stereotype.
Here’s how it plays out: A visually impaired kid who plays the violin or wins a debate competition won’t be covered unless he or she also tosses a discus or wrestles. About 12 years ago, a visually impaired young lady near Denton wanted to compete in a current issues and events contest, but needed permission to use a specialized keyboard. I directed the contest and took the call from her principal. “No problem,” I told him. “We’ll see that she’s accommodated.” I gave her no chance of winning. The current issues and events contest was and is a beast. Kids who win it bury themselves in news websites and wear “Talk nerdy to me” T-shirts. Two weeks later, the principal called again. “She won!” he said. “We’re going to region.” I thought, “Wow. Must be the weakest district in the state.” I gave her no chance of winning at region. Two weeks later, the principal called. “She won!” he said. “We’re headed to state.” I thought, “Wow. Must be the weakest region in the state.” I gave her no chance of even placing at state. Two weeks later, the girl won state. Her competitors, coaches, other coaches and assorted others gave her a standing ovation. Sweet story, but no one read or heard about it, because no one covered it. Perhaps if she had tossed her keyboard 70 yards, she might have gotten a sniff from the local press. I don’t know. I do know newspapers are struggling, and I believe they’re struggling for a reason, and that reason is this: They tell us what we already know or can find out or figure out ourselves. As for the story about head football coaches’ salaries, my awareness has been raised, and I’m agitated, but not for the reasons they snidely intended.
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 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
y Lufkin ISD board members pose with their superintendent at the TASA/TASB Convention. Pictured from left to right: board member Don Muhlbach, Secretary Allyson Langston, Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, board member Kristi Gay, board member Andra Self, and President Scott Skelton.
2017 Superintendent of the Year
aTonya Goffney was the kind of student many might not expect to succeed. Born to a teen mother, Goffney never knew her father and was raised by her grandmother in relative poverty. Her grandmother had a fifth-grade education, and spent the bulk of her time
Lufkin ISDâ€™s LaTonya Goffney is one of Texas public edâ€™s greatest success stories By Dacia Rivers
working hard as a housekeeper to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, leaving Goffney largely alone when it came to forwarding her own education. A student in Coldspring-Oakhurst ISD, Goffney was exposed to great teachers and
administrators who built her confidence by recognizing her intelligence and her potential, and encouraging her to succeed. It was that influence in her formative years that lead her to seek out a job in education herself.
2017 Superintendent of the Year “They let me know that with an education, I could do anything, and I wanted to give that gift to someone else,” Goffney says. “That passion fueled my desire to finish school and go out and hopefully make a difference for someone like my educators have made a difference for me.” Ultimately receiving her bachelor’s, master’s and and doctoral degrees from Sam Houston State University, Goffney worked as a language arts teacher, assistant principal, principal and superintendent in her native Coldspring-Oakhurst ISD before making the move to superintendent of Lufkin ISD in 2013, where she currently supports the district’s 8,200 students. Among Texas school superintendents, Goffney comes from a unique and challenging background, and that’s a factor she believes gives her a different outlook when it comes to educating historically hard-to-reach students. “I’ve heard my fellow educators blame lack of parental involvement or being from a low-income family as an excuse for low achievement, and I’m certainly not making light of that, but I recognize as a person who was both of those things … that we’ve got to work extra hard to make sure those students understand the importance of an education,” Goffney says. Goffney and her husband are parents to two children on the opposite ends of the educational spectrum. The couple has a special-needs son, who is wheelchair bound and unable to speak, and a daughter in the gifted and talented program. Both are students in Lufkin ISD, and Goffney is proud to see how the district has helped both of them make great strides thanks to the services available. “We truly add value to all students,” Goffney says. “My rallying cry to staff is that we are not responsible for how students come to us, but we are responsible for how they leave us.”
A community philosophy As far as Goffney is concerned, the goal of each educator in Lufkin ISD should be to make all students better prepared for what’s next in their life than they were at the start of the school year. She feels looking toward
graduation is important, but more so is ensuring that each student has choices and opportunities available to them, both before and after getting their diplomas. During her time in Lufkin ISD, Goffney has inspired a collaborative culture in the district, creating an education foundation to enhance opportunities for all students, developing a strategic planning group comprised of community members and organizing a Hispanic advisory committee designed to connect with Hispanic mothers in the area to keep all diverse populations connected and informed. She has also initiated quarterly meetings between the community and parents to foster a collaborative spirit between Lufkin’s schools and local residents, and developed a high school advisory group of student ambassadors — both groups that help her keep in touch with the concerns and needs of her students and neighbors. Lufkin ISD has a unique feel, considered to be a rural East Texas district, it’s also one of the largest in its region. In the area, it’s often “All eyes on Lufkin,” and one of Goffney’s goals in that arena is to make sure that community focus is on academics as much as it is on athletics. But what she’s most proud of in her district is the way it serves as a microcosm of Texas’ diversity. The district is made up of roughly 40 percent Hispanic, 28 percent white and 27 percent African-American students. Rather than see this as a challenge, Goffney sees it as a feature. In Lufkin, all of the elementary and middle schools feed into one high school, and it’s Goffney’s goal to treat all of these diverse kiddos as one unified group, on hand to support not only each other, but the entire community. “We have high school teams mentor our kids at the primary level, and our primary kids support our high school teams,” Goffney says. “In addition, our kids are active in the community; they do community service projects from community gardening to singing at nursing homes. No things are common in all places, but I am telling you, they are extra special here, where everybody looks like the world.”
When dreams come true Goffney describes being named as the 2017 TASB Superintendent of the Year as “surreal,” but she’s no stranger to being a forerunner and a ground-breaker in Texas education. She’s the first African-American woman to receive the honor — she was also the first African-American hired as superintendent of both Coldspring-Oakhurst and Lufkin ISDs. But personally, she hasn’t given much thought to these designations — she’s much more determined to simply be the best. “I don’t care about those descriptors,” Goffney says. “But it is surreal, dream-wise, because I think of all the different women who’ve come before me, how I’ve worked with men and women, African-Americans and Hispanics, all across the state, but you’re so busy doing the work that you don’t even imagine receiving this type of award.” When she does allow herself a moment to reflect on her success, she’s happy to receive recognition that she’s making her dream come true — her dream to leave a school district better than it was when she got there. “Of course I’m honored,” Goffney says. “And I hope as we move forward and our state becomes even more diverse, that we see more women and more people of color taking advantage of the opportunities that make a difference for our children.” Goffney’s story sounds a lot like the American dream, achieved at a young age, and with so much of her career ahead of her, it’s inspiring to think of what she will go on to achieve for Texas’ public school students. When looking for her own inspiration in a high-stress, high-profile position, she turns to a quote by Larry Bell that she says has remained with her throughout her career: “Even on your worst day on the job, you’re still some child’s best hope.” “Only in America is my story even possible,” Goffney says. “If we do what we’re supposed to do, as we are living our dreams, then we can create opportunities for our children to live their dreams.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2017
2017 Superintendent of the Year Finalists
Serving more than 14,300 students, Robert Jaklich has led Victoria ISD for five years and has 24 years of administrative experience. The committee cited his commitment that all students reach their maximum potential, serving every child in every classroom every day. The district also thrives under his leadership by being the center of communication in the community. Jaklich earned his bachelor’s degree at St. Mary’s University, master’s at Texas A&I University, and doctorate at The University of Texas at Austin.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Thomas Randle, superintendent of Lamar CISD for 16 years, serves approximately 32,000 students. He has 36 years of administrative experience. Of particular note to the state selection committee were his emphasis on academic excellence, creative learning, and innovative practices. Working with his staff and board of trustees, the district stresses that every decision should be made with the students in mind. Randle earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University and doctorate at Oklahoma State University.
2017 Superintendent of the Year Finalists
At the helm of Mount Pleasant ISD for four years, Judd Marshall has 11 years of experience in education administration and serves about 5,350 students. Noted by the committee members were his emphasis on visibility and civic involvement in the community. Also cited were his aggressive and progressive approaches to learning and belief that education leaders can act as change agents in the community and state. Marshall earned his bachelor’s degree at Henderson State University and master’s degree at Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Jim Vaszauskas serves approximately 34,500 students and has 17 years of administrative experience. He has led Mansfield ISD for four years. The committee cited his focus on a clear, simplified strategic plan to attain district goals. Also noted were his emphasis on district transparency for the community and straightforward communication with lawmakers. Vaszauskas earned his bachelor’s degree at Baylor University, master’s degree at Texas Wesleyan University, and doctorate at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
The Coahoma ISD board accepts the outstanding board honor at the 2017 TASA/TASB Convention. Pictured are Dicky Stone; Lori Martinez; Craig Ferguson, secretary; Dr. Kandy Alaman ; Brian Moore, president; Jody Reid, vice president; and Michael Brooks.
2017 Outstanding Board
f you’ve ever driven from Abilene to Midland, you’ve probably gone through Coahoma. A small, rural town near Big Spring, Coahoma is home to 913 public school students, all of whom go to Coahoma ISD schools and are served by the district’s board of trustees, which was
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Coahoma ISD trustees juggle financial changes and come out on top By Dacia Rivers
named the 2017 Outstanding Board by TASA. Since 1971, the TASA School Board Awards program has recognized outstanding Texas school boards that demonstrate commitment to their students and communities.
Chosen from five final boards, the Coahoma board received the recognition for many reasons, including how the board supports student performance, improves and transforms schools to benefit students and cares for the welfare of the district’s children while committing to an import-
2017 Outstanding Board ant code of ethics. TASA's School Board Awards Committee was particularly impressed by how the Coahoma board handled a severe reduction in funding for the district.
a diverse group of professions, including Moore, who is CIO at a health care system, as well as a banker, a firefighter, a farmer/ rancher, an IT professional, a chiropractor and a pharmacist.
A financial challenge
“All of us are managers in some form of fashion, we’ve been in the business world, we’re able to take that knowledge to the school district, and I think that really has benefitted us,” Moore says. “At the end of the day, as important as money is, it’s really about taking those negative impacts away and making everything positive in Coahoma.”
A few years ago, Coahoma ISD saw a huge reduction in its tax revenue rate. Triggered by a decline in the oil and gas industry, the reduction could have meant significant negative impacts for students in the district — but thanks to the board’s financial stewardship, that wasn’t the case. “I think we had about $520 million one year, and we dropped to $373 million the next year,” says Coahoma Board President Brian Moore. “We were able to actually handle that internally without any negative impacts to the district.” It’s a move that Moore and his fellow board members are proud of, understandably, though they also consider it one of their biggest challenges to date. “The funding base we use in the state of Texas is very difficult, especially for rural sites like ourselves, so being able to adapt to losing that money and not negatively affecting our district was our biggest challenge,” Moore says. “Every year we’re wondering what the revenue’s going to be and what our tax base is.” Moore has been on the Coahoma board for nine years, spending more than five years in the president’s role, and though he doesn’t plan to run for the position again next year, he considers his time serving on the board as one of his most important roles. “We have the opportunity to impact students’ lives on a daily basis, and it may not be direct like our awesome teachers and administrators, but in some form or fashion, we get to be a part of it, and I think it’s pretty cool to grow our children and help develop those leadership skills they’re going to need in real-life situations,” Moore says.
A hometown board The Coahoma board is a hometown board — five of its seven members graduated from Coahoma ISD themselves, including Moore. Board members come from
Part of the Coahoma board’s work to better the situation for students in the area includes having a voice with lawmakers. Board members have met with their local representatives to sit down with them and have conversations about what can be done to help the district’s financial situation and address other concerns. When on a business trip to Washington, D.C., Moore also met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to bring their attention to Coahoma ISD and the funding challenges it faces right along with other Texas school districts. “We’re just a tiny speck on the map in a great big state, but I think our community is the heart of our district,” Moore says. “Our community members are amazingly supportive.” Students in Coahoma ISD have made tremendous gains in academics, and the district recently launched the Coahoma ISD Academy, a program of choice for Kindergarteners through eighth graders that serves to build students’ academic gains while fostering growth in student responsibility, leadership and self-confidence.
Do it for the district As his time on the Coahoma board winds down, Moore says he’d encourage anyone to consider running for their local district’s board of trustees, even though it’s a significant time commitment with little financial return. “The rewards are endless — we get to see our kids walk across the stage at the end of every year, and we get to see them win football games on Fridays and volleyball games on Tuesdays,” Moore says. “I’ve seen the smiles on the kids' faces, and just being
“We have the opportunity to impact students’ lives on a daily basis, and it may not be direct like our awesome teachers and administrators, but in some form or fashion, we get to be a part of it, and I think it’s pretty cool to grow our children and help develop those leadership skills they’re going to need in real-life situations.”
a part of our future is really rewarding, and I think that’s what it’s all about.” Upon learning that they’d received the Outstanding Board distinction for 2017, Moore says the board members were largely shocked, but excited for what the recognition meant for the local community. “I think several of us said, ‘I don’t really know what makes the board deserve this, but our community, our teachers, our faculty, our staff and our kids, they’re the ones that deserve it,’” Moore says. “There are a lot of bigger districts, more high-profile districts, but after the shock wore off, we fully understood that our district deserves it, so we are excited for them.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.
2017 Honor Boards Galena Park ISD Jeff Miller, president; Wanda Heath Johnson, vice president; Wilfred J. Broussard, Jr.; Dr. Angi M. Williams, superintendent; Ramon Garza; Dawn Fisher; and Joe Stephens.
HardinJefferson ISD Jimmy Padgett; Alex J. Stelly, Jr.; Shannon Holmes, superintendent; Michelle Yentzen, president; Mark Aldrich, vice president; Gary Hidalgo; Mary Fontenot; and Brent Walters.
2017 Honor Boards
Mansfield ISD Daniel Gallagher, former board member and current Little Elm ISD superintendent; Beth Light; Karen Marcucci, vice president; Raul Gonzales, president; Michelle Newsom; Dr. Michael Evans; Courtney Lackey Wilson, secretary; Dr. Jim Vaszauskas, superintendent.
Royse City ISD Eric Fort; Mike Anderson; Christina Carrion, secretary; Julie Stutts, president; Scott Muckensturm, vice president; Dr. Brian Zator; and Bobby Summers.
2017 KEY COMMUNICATOR
Texas School Public Relations Association
Texas House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty receives highest honor from TSPRA
he Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) named Dan Huberty, Texas state representative and chair of the House Public Education Committee, as the recipient of the association’s 2017 Key Communicator Award. Huberty receives the award in recognition of his work to improve and defend the public education system in Texas. Huberty received his award, sponsored by West (SchoolMessenger solutions), from TSPRA President Melissa Tortorici at the TASA/TASB Convention in Dallas in October. “Rep. Huberty has proven to be a consistent defender of public schools and Texas students during his seven years in the Legislature,” said Tortorici. “His work to overhaul school finance, improve ratings systems and stand against vouchers makes him a worthy recipient of TSPRA’s highest award.” Huberty has represented District 127, northeast of Houston in and around Humble, in the Texas House of Representatives since 2011. During his career in the Legislature he has served on the Public Education, State Affairs, Calendars and Pensions committees, as well as a Select Committee on Redistricting and a Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Expenditures & Finance. He was appointed chair of the House Public Education Committee in 2017, replacing the retired Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, TSPRA’s 2015 Key Communicator. “Chairman Huberty showed true support for public education this session by authoring legislation that would have added nearly $2 billion to Texas public schools and taken steps to reform the school finance system,”
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
said Alamo Heights ISD Superintendent Kevin Brown. “Texas Monthly magazine named him one of this session’s best legislators, calling his efforts to reform school finance ‘impressive.’” In addition to his school finance reform efforts, Huberty emerged from the session as an outspoken opponent of any voucher proposal to divert public school monies to pay for students to attend private schools, breaking with some members of his own party in the process. “Huberty never blinked despite the pressure put on him from our governor, lieutenant governor, members of the Senate and outside forces that have a tremendous impact on policy makers,” said Alief ISD Superintendent HD Chambers. “He stayed true in keeping the best interest of all students in the state of Texas as his priority, not just a select few students that would attend schools in private school or for-profit charter schools.” Prior to his election to the Texas House, Huberty served on the Humble ISD Board of Trustees for five years, including as board president in his last year on the board. Huberty currently serves as president of MVP REIT, a real estate investment trust. In 2011, Texas Monthly named him the Legislature’s Rookie of the Year. “Representative Huberty is, by far, the most collaborative leader I have ever experienced,” said Guy Sconzo, executive director of the
Fast Growth School Coalition and former Humble ISD superintendent. “He consistently goes well beyond what I would consider reasonable in assuring that all diverse voices are a part of any deliberation affecting them … He spent countless hours reaching out and engaging school practitioners at all levels, school finance experts, legal experts and association representatives to develop a proposal (HB 21) that garnered unanimous support from the public education community.” Since 1981, TSPRA has recognized a Key Communicator for outstanding contributions to public education through effective communications. The recipient may be a legislator, educator or a professional in another field who has improved school communications, or a member of TSPRA who has contributed outstanding service to the profession of school communications. Recipients have included leaders from business, media, PTA, politics and education. <
Who’s News > Continued from page 12
ate of Nicholls State University and holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. The new principal of Durham Middle School is Gary Holt, previously an assistant principal at Huffines Middle School. The 20-year educator previously worked in Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD. He is a graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University and holds a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Hebron Valley Elementary School welcomed Tina Krol as principal at the beginning of the school year. She was most recently assistant principal of Killian Middle School, where she worked since 2007. She received her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Texas. Lewisville ISD’s new assistant chief of schools is Lori Litchfield, who was principal of Parkway Elementary School since 2012. She also worked as an assistant principal and was assessment coordinator for three years. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University. She is at work on her doctorate in educational leadership through Dallas Baptist University.
Steffanie Webb, Creek Valley Middle School’s new principal, was most recently assistant principal of Owen Elementary. She began her career in Richardson ISD and joined Lewisville ISD in 2006. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and of the University of North Texas, from which her master’s degree in education administration was awarded.
Lovejoy ISD The following appointments have been made for the district’s 2017-18 school year: Marcy Hambrick, assistant principal, Lovejoy
Julie Hirsch, assistant principal, Lovejoy High
Lacey Moser, principal, Hart Elementary
Jeff Roberts, assistant principal, Lovejoy High
James Rodgers, assistant principal, Willow
Springs Middle School;
Amber Ross, assistant principal, Hart Elemen-
Lufkin ISD The district has a new director of student nutrition services, Amanda Calk, who spent the past 12 years as child nutrition director in Huntington ISD. She is a registered dietician with a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in food, nutrition and dietetics.
Valerie Parsons, newly ap-
pointed principal of Parkway Elementary School, has been an educator for more than 20 years. Most recently assistant principal of Independence Elementary, she has also worked in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and in California schools. She graduated from Liberty University and holds two master’s degrees, in curriculum and instruction from Lynchburg College and in educational administration and leadership from California State University. She is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Texas. The district announces the appointment of Chad Russell as principal of Lamar Middle School. He served as assistant principal of Lewisville ISD’s Flower Mound High School since 2007. He received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and mathematics from West Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Trey Wright, the district’s newly
in the district.
appointed elementary gifted and talented coordinator, was assistant principal of Eddins Elementary School for the past five years. He has also worked as a gifted and talented teacher
Nine new assistant principals have been selected. They are: Mandy Bourland, Minshew Elementary School.
A product of McKinney ISD schools, she has spent her 17-year career with the district as a teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.
Angela Ceyphes, County Residential Cen-
ter/Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Placement. She taught in the district’s DAEP program for two years and, prior to that, was an English teacher and department chair, girls’ basketball and UIL coordinator and teacher mentor. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Rachel Corbin, Johnson Elementary School.
She began her 19-year career in Ohio before
moving to Texas to join Richardson ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Miami University and her bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University. Roberto Dominguez, Faubion Middle
School. He has been an ESL teacher for two years at Faubion, previously serving at Finch and Malvern elementaries. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lubbock Christian University and a master’s degree from Lamar University.
Illiana Gonzalez, Lawson Early Childhood School. She came to McKinney ISD in 2003 as a bilingual aide and has remained at the school since that time, also working as a classroom teacher and bilingual coach. Melanie Machost, Cockrill Middle School. The former campus instructional specialist is a 13-year educator with a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Lisa Paine, Valley Creek Elementary School. An educator for 20 years and employee of MISD for the past 15, she was a special education and general education teacher and instructional coach. She is a graduate of Kansas State University with a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Chris Turner, McKinney High School. He
joins MISD from Garland ISD, where he spent the past 14 years as a middle school math teacher and facilitator and assistant principal. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Grambling State University and his master’s degree from Lamar University.
Ashley Williams, Eddins Elementary School. An educator for nine years, she taught math and science at both the elementary and secondary levels. A graduate of West Texas A&M University with a master’s degree from Lamar University, she has also served in Cleburne, Electra and Seymour ISDs.
Marshall ISD Yolanda Martin, who was assistant principal of Marshall Junior High since 2015, has been promoted to principal. Before joining the district, she worked for seven years as a counselor and then nine years as a principal in the Windham School District, Telford Unit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce and a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Texas A&M University at Texarkana.
Midland ISD The district’s new chief financial officer, Darla Moss, comes to her new position with more than 12 years of experience in > See Who’s News, page 24 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 23
school finance and 30 years in accounting and finance. For the past six years, she has served as chief financial officer for Liberty-Eylau ISD. Midland Senior High School’s new principal, Leslie Sparacello, has been an administrator for 18 years, most recently serving as academic dean of Jay High School in San Antonio’s Northside ISD. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri and her doctorate in organizational leadership from Incarnate Word University.
Pflugerville ISD Lindsay Eaton has been named Hendrickson High School’s head softball coach after serving in an interim capacity since last season. Formerly a coach in White Settlement and Northside ISDs, she holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where she was a four-year starter on the women’s basketball team.
Plano ISD Brooks Baca, now serving as principal of
Bowman Middle School, began his career in La Porte and Denton ISDs and has been with Plano ISD since 2012, most recently working as assistant principal of Haggard Middle School. His bachelor’s degree was awarded from the University of North Texas.
The MISD board of trustees has approved the appointment of Lacy Sperry as executive director of communications. Her career has been in the public sector, including stints with USA Today, Texas Monthly, Fortune and, for the past twelve years, Energy Future Holdings. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech University.
Sharon Bradley, newly appointed director of family and social services, began her career as a teacher in the district and was most recently principal of Guinn Special Programs Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University.
Edgar Tibayan is the new principal of Em-
superintendent for employee services.
erson Elementary School. An administrator for seven years after starting his career as an elementary and middle school math teacher, he was Ysleta ISD’s 2006 Teacher of the Year. Both his master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded from De la Salle University in the Philippines.
Beth Brockman has been named assistant
The new principal of Davis Elementary School, Karma Cunningham, has been with the district since 1998, most recently serving as assistant principal of Forman Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, where she also earned a master’s degree. A second master’s, in education, was awarded from Lesley University.
Kai Bouchard is Turner College and Career High School’s new principal. He comes to Pearland from Clear Creek ISD, where he was associate principal of Clear Falls High. His master’s degree in educational leadership was earned from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Meadows Elementary School’s new principal, Kathy Foster, comes to Plano from Lovejoy ISD, where she was principal of Hart Elementary. Prior to that, she worked as a teacher, academic specialist and principal in McKinney and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISDs. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from the University of North Texas.
Brad Hayes, new principal
of Alexander Middle School, returns to Pearland ISD, where he previously taught science at Pearland High, from serving as an assistant principal of Clear Lake High in Clear Creek ISD. His master’s degree in educational leadership was awarded from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. A new principal welcomed students to the 2017-18 school year at Challenger Elementary School. Juanita Santos, former assistant principal of Cockrell Elementary, is an educator with 24 years of experience, five of those as an administrator. She holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kansas.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Newly appointed Memorial Elementary School Principal Mary Hardin was previously assistant principal of Armstrong Middle School. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she holds a master’s degree in education from Lamar University. The district’s new assistant superintendent of academic services is Karen Horn-Hasley. Now serving as executive director for elementary campus services is Saul Laredo. He has been with the district since 1990, beginning as a teacher at Barron Elementary and going on to serve as a principal at three schools. He has a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and a master’s degree in education from Southern Methodist University. His doctorate in education was awarded from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Karen Lee, now serving as principal of Skaggs Elementary School, was most recently assistant principal of Huffman Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and her master’s degree in education from Dallas Baptist University. Sara Meyer has been promoted from assis-
tant principal of Haun Elementary to principal of Wells Elementary School. An employee of the district since 2004, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and her master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas. The district’s new director of purchasing,
John Orr, has been promoted from his pre-
vious position as coordinator of purchasing. He holds a bachelor’s degree from McMurry University and previously worked in Highland Park, Grand Prairie and Duncanville ISDs and for ESC Region 10. Jana Prince has been promoted from assis-
tant principal to principal of Mendenhall Elementary School. A former employee of Dolton-Riverside and Garland ISDs, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri.
Raymondville ISD The district’s new superintendent is Stetson Roane, who previously led Seguin ISD.
Robinson ISD Dawn Griffin, most recently an assistant principal in Waco ISD, has been named coordinator of career and technical education and assessment. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Tarleton State University.
Formerly a special education teacher at Robinson Intermediate School, John-Henry Keane is now an assistant principal at the school. An employee of the district for four years, he is a graduate of Baylor University with a master’s degree from Tarleton State University. The district’s new director of integration and media services is Willie Thomas, formerly an instructional technology coach at Robinson Junior High and Robinson High School. He began his career in Marlin ISD and has been with the district for nine years.
Rockwall ISD The district’s newly hired director of accounting, Bobby Vaughan, was previously chief financial officer of Brownfield ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Angelo State University and has 11 years of experience in school district finance and government audits.
Round Rock ISD Former Fulkes Middle School Principal Nancy Guerrero has been promoted to area superintendent of the district’s Cedar Ridge learning community. She has been an educator for 25 years, working as a language arts teacher in Austin and Georgetown ISDs before joining Round Rock ISD as an assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s degree from Texas State University, and a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University.
San Angelo ISD A new athletics coordinator and head football coach has been named for Lake View High School. Hector Guevara comes to San Angelo from Bovina ISD, where he worked at Bovina High since 1998, serving as the school’s head football coach since 2006.
San Benito ISD A new superintendent is in place for the district. Nate Carman comes from Teague ISD, where he was superintendent since 2013. Prior to that, he worked in Pine Tree, Grand Prairie and Wilmer-Hutchins ISDs. He was ESC Region 12’s Superintendent of the Year for 2016-17.
Seguin ISD Matthew Gutierrez, most recently an assis-
tant superintendent in Plano ISD, has been chosen to lead Seguin ISD as superintendent.
Sherman ISD Belinda Frailicks, new assistant principal
of Fairview Elementary, has taken her first administrative position after serving as a teacher at Fairview and at Pottsboro Middle School in Pottsboro ISD. The new assistant principal of Piner Middle School is Zachary Hartman, a former math, government and economics teacher and P.E. coach. Crutchfield Elementary has welcomed Kalyn McAlester as its assistant principal. She has been an instructional coach for three years, previously working as a teacher at Savoy Elementary and Lee and Truman middle schools.
Greg Pierce, now serving as an assistant principal of Sherman High School, comes to his new position from Pottsboro ISD’s Pottsboro High, where he held the same position. He has also been a P.E., health and special education teacher and a football and baseball coach. Amy Porter has been tapped to lead Piner Middle School as principal. A graduate of Sherman High, her appointment marks a return to campus administration after serving as the district’s director of elementary education and director of teaching and learning. She is a graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Filling a second assistant principal position at Sherman High School is Nadine Raybourn. She spent the past 10 years as an AP language and composition teacher and English/language arts and reading and instructional coach and department chair in Frisco ISD. Now serving as an assistant principal of Piner Middle School is Leda Roelke, who most recently held the same position at Fairview Elementary. She holds an associate’s degree from Grayson County College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Dillingham Intermediate School’s new assistant principal, Chad Stoker, formerly served in the same capacity at Hernandez Elementary and as a math, science, social studies and reading teacher at Stevens Park Elementary. Greg Stover has been named assistant prin-
cipal of Piner Middle School. He has been a special education teacher and football, baseball and basketball coach at Valley Mills High in Valley Mills ISD and worked also at Seale Middle School in Midlothian ISD.
Socorro ISD Jose Castorena, an employee
of the district for 26 years, is now chief of police after serving in that capacity on an interim basis. Additionally, he has served the district as a truant officer and coordinator of transportation. The new principal of Ensor Middle School, Lisa Estrada-Batson, has been with the district for three years as an assistant principal of Americas High School after beginning her career as a special education teacher in Fabens and
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> See Who’s News, page 37 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education
Montie Parker finds his life purpose supporting Texas’ special education coordinators
ontie Parker of Allen ISD has spent the past 17 years volunteering with the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE), and recently stepped into the role of the association’s president. Currently in his second year as executive director of special services in Allen, Parker is a graduate of East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University - Commerce). He entered school with plans to become a history professor, but when a mentor encouraged him to minor in special education, Parker made the move and has been dedicated to serving special needs students ever since. “I had the interest in doing that because I grew up with a couple of kiddos in my community who influenced me greatly as far as wanting to help kids with disabilities,” Parker says. “I was always kind of their champion, and I felt like I couldn’t go wrong by minoring in special education, and after I did, the rest was history.” After college, Parker did teach high school history and algebra before he was quickly hired as a special education teacher in Sulphur Springs ISD. He toyed with the idea of becoming a licensed specialist in school psychology, going back to school before ultimately decid-
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
ing to move into administration. By the time he was 29 years old, Parker was serving as the director of special education in Sulphur Springs. Parker’s mother spent her 40-year career working in public education, and his father, a lifelong minister, enjoyed a second career working as a paraprofessional in Rains ISD. During college and in his 20s, Parker continued to flirt with the idea of other careers, including becoming a fireman or an EMT, but in the end, he felt special education was the place he needed to be. “Your purpose will chase you until you yield,” Parker says, “or you will be left to live a life tormented by what it was meant to be.” After Sulphur Springs, Parker worked as director of special education in Coppell ISD for 10 years before making the move to his current position in Allen. As executive director of special services, he works for the near 5,000 students in the district who are in special education programs or require 504 services. “I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity at this point in my career,” Allen says. “I inherited a great team of coordinators that are very connected to the work and have a lot of wisdom.”
In his time working in special education, Parker says he’s seen some beneficial changes, including a growth in the interest of getting children more meaningful access to instruction and generating a culture of inclusion. “I think for the most part, there’s growing pains with any type of struggle for innovation in that regard, but our kids are excelling and have received more benefits because of those changes,” Parker says. When asked what he’d like to see change in the world of special education in the future, Parker quickly points to a need for support with post-secondary employment for students with disabilities. “We’re working on some projects here in Allen to make that a reality or create simulation opportunities,” Parker says. “I’m also a huge proponent of supporting interest at the state level by some legislators for the regional-based school concept for students with autism. We’re trying to do some experimental things in that regard because there’s a level of expertise that it takes for that unique population.” Advocacy is part of Parker’s goal for his time as TCASE president as well. The group recently received the opportunity to work
with the deputy commissioner’s cabinet, ushering in a new era of communication between the agency and the group that Parker helps will be beneficial to special education programs across the state. “I think that’s a huge piece of what we want to accomplish, and the next part is expanding our horizon of what we offer as an organization to aspiring leaders in special education,” Parker says. “Not just directors, but coordinators and aspiring leaders, so they can get a little more of the environment so they understand what they’re getting into before they actually commit to the profession.” TCASE and its mission are near and dear to Parker’s heart. He feels personally connected to the group, and says he has made relationships through the organization that have lasted and benefitted him for years.
“Your purpose will chase you until you yield, or you will be left to live a life tormented by what it was meant to be.”
“We have such a niche group that understands the challenges that are associated with that type of administration of public education — it becomes a family environment,” Parker says. “It’s a unique group of people, and when you go to conferences, it’s like a homecoming. Everybody knows everybody, and it’s a great environment for educators to make long-term connections.”
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented
D’Lana Barbay brings a unique insight to gifted and talented programs
’Lana Barbay is no stranger to gifted and talented (GT) programs in Texas public schools. As a public school attendee in her youth, Barbay was one of the students picked to participate in Nederland ISD’s pilot GT program back in the 70s, when such programs weren’t the norm in Texas schools. Since then, Barbay has spent 25 years working in Texas public education, specifically in southeast Texas, working with schools’ GT programs. A graduate of Lamar and Sam Houston State universities, Barbay is certified as a teacher, librarian, principal and superintendent, along with having her GT supplemental certification. She spent nearly 10 years at the Region 5 Education Service Center working to provide creative resources for teachers before moving to Vidor ISD to serve as executive director of elementary curriculum and development. Currently, Barbay works as director of professional development and coordinator of the GT program in Beaumont ISD. A third generation educator, Barbay says teaching is in her blood. Combined with a lifelong urge to serve her community, having a teacher-filled family made her decision to work in education an easy one. Between her own background in Nederland’s pilot GT classes and the fact that she did her student teaching in a GT classroom, Barbay is passionate about serving gifted and talented students and teachers in Texas.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
“I have truly witnessed GT develop from an idea to see if it might work to a mandated program we now have in every single district across the state,” Barbay says. “I’ve seen awareness of GT students and their unique needs really expand.” When GT programs were new to the state, some 40 years ago, Barbay says many educators didn’t understand what exactly the programs should entail. Today, she’s happy that research and work in the field have shown educators how to address GT students needs not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. “Educators and parents have come to realize that gifted isn’t a label that means, ‘My child is really smart,’ it means, ‘My child learns in different ways, they see the world differently, and they need to be taught differently,’” Barbay says. “I think our GT students need to be viewed through the same lens we view [Response to Intervention] students, and we need to provide services for them equally, like we do for our struggling students.” After completing her student teaching and returning to Lamar University to complete her GT supplemental certificate, Barbay joined the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT). She was a member for nearly 20 years before she made the move to a more active involvement, serving as the Region 5 TAGT board representative
in 2008. Since then, Barbay has held several board positions, and recently was elected TAGT president. “I’ve always believed that you need to fully participate in your association, because if you don’t support it, then it’s not going to exist,” Barbay says. “I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility, so when I’m in associations or organizations, I step up to help, and I don’t mind serving.” TAGT is a special organization, in Barbay’s eyes, because of the way it works to serve everyone connected to gifted and talented programs, from teachers and administrators to parents, students and college professors — all of whom are eligible to receive training and support through the association. During her time as TAGT president, Barbay hopes to focus on advocacy, addressing budget issues for GT programs in Texas and bringing more attention to GT in general. She aims to do this through continued use of social media and participation in advocacy days with other education associations. “I think it’s important to use our digital media to reach members across Texas and let them know what is going on, how they can get involved and who they need to speak to so that gifted students have their needs met,” Barbay says. TAGT has a scholarship and award program for students and teachers with unique ideas on how to serve gifted students — during her presidency, Barbay would like to see that program grow into more of a fundraising event that helps GT programs on a large scale.
“I just hope when I finish my service that TAGT has benefited from my being there.”
“I want to provide assistance to every child or educator who applies, and to do that, we are really going to have to enhance our philanthropic efforts,” Barbay says. “I want to see a fundraising event at our conference so we can send students to summer camps and enrichment trainings.” With two and a half decades of education experience to guide her, Barbay is excited to lead TAGT over the next two years, and happy to dedicate herself to a cause so near to her heart. “I so admire the leaders that have come before me that I feel honored and humbled to follow in their footsteps,” Barbay says. “I just hope when I finish my service that TAGT has benefited from my being there.”
MIDWINTER CONFERENCE JANUARY 28 - 31
Early-bird registration ends December 15! Register online at tasanet.org/midwinter Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
TASA/TASB 2017 CONVENTION BRINGS ADMINISTRATORS AND TRUSTEES TO DALLAS The annual TASA/TASB Convention was held in Dallas in October, where administrators and school board members from across the state came together to learn, network and celebrate.
y Lanny Evans, Penny Riordan and Danny Kelton of Henrietta ISD.
y Charles Stafford, Denton ISD; Johnny Veselka, TASA executive director; Dan Huberty, chair of the Texas House Public Education Committee; and Buck Gilcrease, TASA president, Alvin ISD.
y Tami Keeling, Victoria ISD and Vernagene Mott, Pflugerville ISD.
y Front row: Bubba Galvan, Jeff Bradburn, Rick Hines, Holly Dunham and Chris Gerick, back row: Dr. Kevin Pitts, assistant superintendent; and Dr. Marc Faulkner, superintendent, all from China Spring ISD. 30
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
y Joe Lopez and Henry LeVrier of South Texas ISD pose with speaker Hill Harper, actor and author.
< Jeff Jennings, Texas regional director, west (SchoolMessenger Solutions); TSPRA 2017 Key Communicator Dan Huberty; and Melissa Tortorici, TSPRA president, Texas City ISD.
y Students create art pieces in the Texas Art Education Association exhibit.
< John QuiÃ±ones of ABC News speaks to convention attendees. y Tanya Eagleton, Crosby ISD; AJ Crabill, TEA; and James Keeton, Liberty-Eylau ISD. < Ingleside ISD; Lee Lentz-Edwards, Kermit ISD; and Andra Self, Lufkin ISD.
> Lanetta Roberts, John McPeters and Kathy Garrison of Clarksville ISD.
y Students from Alvin ISD perform at the convention Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Santa Gertrudis Academy graduate learns true meaning of success through journalism by Kendra Johnson
hen I was in second grade, one of my dreams was to be a news reporter. I would set up a table in my living room and deliver nightly news reports for my family. Over the years, however, that dream was lost. Years later, I found my way back to the written aspect of journalism and learned lessons that expanded far beyond grammatical style. Participation in journalism taught me about finding success within ourselves. In elementary school I began to write not only for academic assignments but for competitions as well. As I got older, I fell in love with the ability to place my feelings on a piece of paper. Knowing that someone else could read those words and form a connection without even knowing me amazed me. Unfortunately, this desire for writing began to dwindle in my middle school years, and by the time I reached high school, I no longer had the same passion for writing that I once did. However, the passion I thought was lost began to reemerge after I was placed in a journalism class in high school. I immediately fell in love with the class. It brought back my dreams of being a news reporter when I was little. I began writing articles for the Santa Gertrudis Academy High School newspaper, The Voice, which were printed in the local newspaper. My journalism teacher and student newspaper advisor, Rebecca West, recognized how much I enjoyed news writing and recommended I participate in UIL Journalism. It was as though I had just been given the opportu-
nity to have one of my childhood dreams back; however, I was scared of failure or finding out I wasn’t good enough, so I first declined her offers.
so defeated,” West said. “She had finally decided to share her talent in journalism that year, and I didn’t want her to regret she did.”
“Kendra has such a gift for writing, and I didn’t want her to keep that gift from the world,” West said. “I had the privilege of having her as a student in both English and Journalism. While in English her freshman year, I submitted some of her writing in a local writing competition, and she won first place. Everyone else around her could see her talent, but it seems as though she, herself, couldn’t always acknowledge it.”
My senior year, I continued to serve as editor for The Voice and participate in UIL Journalism; however, my heart wasn’t truly in the competitions. I was just doing it for fun. It wasn’t until the week before the district competition that things became serious. The writers who had advanced the previous year had all graduated, so I felt as though the pressure to advance our high school’s UIL journalism team was on me. The anxiety began to sink in, and all I could think about was how if I didn’t advance, I wouldn’t only be letting myself down, but my high school as well.
Even after my journalism class ended, I continued writing for our school’s student newspaper when I was able to and assisted in the coordination of the production process. By my junior year, I had become an editor for The Voice, and after endless requests from West, I finally joined the journalism team. My first year competing in UIL journalism, I competed in news, headline and feature writing. My passion was news writing. At the close of the district competition, the results were announced. I could not believe it. My friend who had never competed in news writing had advanced to regionals, while I was only an alternate. I was devastated. I had fallen in love with competing in news writing so quickly, and yet my passion wasn’t enough. “I knew how much Kendra wanted to advance in her favorite competition, news writing, and it was hard to watch her feel
When the day of competition came, I was beyond nervous, but my best friend gave me some of the best advice I have ever received. “I know you are going to do great no matter what. If you try your hardest nothing else matters, because you did your best and that’s all anyone can ask for,” said my best friend, Sebastian Gomez. “Don’t be nervous. Be confident. Take a deep breath and focus.” Those words of encouragement made it possible for me to make it through the competition. Right before competing, I took a moment to pray that I would do the best I could. If that wasn’t enough to advance, it was OK, because I was doing something I loved.
“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Dacia Rivers at email@example.com for publishing guidelines.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
I remember sitting with my friends at the competition, waiting for results, when West came running to me and told me I had placed second in news writing and was advancing to regionals. I felt so relieved and beyond happy. However, the feeling of nervousness soon followed. Sharing my feelings of excitement with my best friend about how I had advanced suddenly caused me to take a step back from the enthusiasm. This meant that I had to compete again. I had raised the bar for how well I was expected to do. “Why are you so nervous about this competition?” I remember Gomez asking. “You should focus on your accomplishment, not your worries.” What I couldn’t explain to him was I was scared to let anyone down and be a disappointment. It was in that conversation I realized that I couldn’t allow someone else’s success determine my own. I was putting stress on myself to be what everyone else wanted me to be and achieve the success they expected for me. That shouldn’t be how it is for young people who have a passion for something. Others push us to do better because they
recognize our capabilities, even if we don’t always recognize them within ourselves. Once I came to that realization, it was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Before each of the final competitions that followed, I remember reading the inspirational messages from my best friend reminding me no matter what happened, he was proud of me. I would take a deep breath, thank God for letting me be able to advance this far doing something I love so much and pray for a peace of mind that would allow the nerves to go away. That year, my senior year at Santa Gertrudis Academy, I went on to place second at the regional UIL meet held at Texas State University and advance to the state competition at the University of Texas in UIL News Writing. I was the first student to advance to a state UIL competition in a journalism event in many years. That accomplishment is something I am truly blessed to have had and an experience I am so thankful for.
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my own worth. Success is measured only through the recognition of our own talents and goals. I truly could not have experienced the success I achieved without the inspiration of my best friend, Sebastian Gomez, and my journalism coach and mentor, Rebecca West.
Participation in journalism, both writing for Santa Gertrudis Academy High School’s The Voice and competing in UIL journalism for my high school, allowed me to learn so much about myself and understanding
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“Others push us to do better because they recognize our capabilities, even if we don’t always recognize them within ourselves.”
KENDRA JOHNSON is a freshman at Houston Baptist University and a 2017 graduate of Santa Gertrudis Academy.
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webinar series ] Live webinars 3:15-4:15pm (CDT). Recordings posted within 24 hours. November 14: Priming Your Campus for Motivation Sanée Bell, EdD, Principal, Morton Ranch Junior High, Katy ISD
November 28: December 5: Motivating Your Amplify the Staff for Empowered Voices and Changes Build Your Brand Amber Teamann, Matt Arend, Principal, Whitt Elementary, Principal, Sigler Elementary, Wylie ISD Plano ISD
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
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. DEC EM BE R December 1 TSPRA North Central Regional Meeting Forney ISD, Forney For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org TSPRA Houston/Beaumont Regional Meeting Pearland ISD, Pearland For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org December 4 TASBO Workshop: Project Management for School Business Professionals Pine Tree ISD, Longview For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $390; nonmembers, $440. December 5 Learning Forward Texas Training: More Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org December 6 TASBO Course: CSRM Administrators School Risks TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org December 7-8 TAMS Annual Legislative Conference Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, Bastrop For more info, (512) 346-2177. www.midsizeschools.org Cost: TAMS districts: $100 for the first participant from that district; $90 for each subsequent participant from the same district. All other districts: $200, with $100 rebate for joining TAMS.
December 8 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Pflugerville ISD, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org December 12 TEPSA Lean Leadership Institute (session 3 of 3) Rockwall ISD, Rockwall For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: $600. December 13 TASPA/Legal Digest Personnel Law Conference for School Administrators Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Early Bird registration (by Oct. 13): $190; after Oct. 13: $220. TEPSA ESC Region 20 Fall Meeting Location TBA, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org December 13-15 TASPA/TAEE Winter Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Early registration (through Oct. 20): Members, $225; nonmembers, $350; retired, $100. Regular registration (Oct. 21-Nov. 17): Members, $245; nonmembers, $370; retired, $120. Late registration (Nov. 18-Dec. 6): Members, $255; nonmembers, $380; retired, $130.
JA N UA RY January 10 TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Southwest ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
January 11-12 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXI (session 3 of 3) Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 12 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Lockhart ISD, Lockhart For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org January 12-14 TAHPERD Annual Leadership Conference Conference Center, Granbury For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd January 17 Board2Board Waco Conference Midway ISD, Waco For more info, (512) 535-2046. www.foundationinnovation.com Cost: $45. January 18-19 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXII (session 1 of 3) Leander ISD, Leander For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2712. www.txascd.org January 21-23 TASSP Symposium: Making Middle School Matter Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Until Jan. 5, $265; after Jan. 5, $315. January 24-27 TETA Theatrefest Moody Gardens, Galveston No phone number available. www.tetatx.com January 26 TASBO Workshop: EDGAR Procurement Laws Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $205; nonmembers, $255. January 27-28 Texas Council of Women School Executives Annual Conference Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org
January 28-31 TASA Midwinter Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Educational entity, Early Bird registration: TASA member, $265; nonmember, $315; teachers and other campus staff, $95. Educational entity, regular registration: TASA member, $295; nonmember, $345; teachers and other campus staff, $95. Educational entity, on-site registration: TASA member, $325; nonmember, $375; teachers and other campus staff, $95. Non-educational entity, Early Bird registration: TASA member, $365; nonmember, $415; TASA student member, $95; TEA/ESC: no charge. Non-educational entity, regular registration: TASA member, $395; nonmember, $445; TASA student member, $95; TEA/ESC: no charge. Noneducational entity, on-site registration: TASA member, $425; nonmember, $475; TASA student member, $95; TEA/ESC: no charge. January 28 TASA Budget Boot Camp Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $125. January 30-31 TASA Aspiring Superintendents Academy Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Academy participants must be registered for the TASA Midwinter Conference; in addition to that fee, there is an additional fee for the Academy.
F EBRUARY February 1 TASSP ESC Region 19 Spring Meeting Famous Daveâ€™s, El Paso For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org
> See Calendar, page 36
> Continued from page 34 February 3 TSPRA North Central Regional Meeting Argyle ISD, Argyle For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org February 6-7 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 3 of 4) San Angelo ISD, San Angelo For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,995. February 7 TASSP ESC Region 15 Spring Meeting Cooperâ€™s BBQ, Christoval For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org TASSP ESC Region 18 Spring Meeting Location TBA, Midland area For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org February 11-13 TASSP Assistant Principal Workshop Airport Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Until Jan. 26, $239; after Jan. 26, $289. February 13 TASB Winter Legal Seminar Holiday Inn, Tyler For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $160. TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Boerne ISD, Boerne For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org February 14 TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting South San Antonio ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org February 15 TASPA Certification Fundamentals Workshop Offices of ESC Region 8, Pittsburg For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: TASPA members, $100; nonmembers, $125. TASSP ESC Region 6 Spring Meeting Location TBA, Conroe area For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXIII (session 1 of 3) San Angelo ISD, San Angelo For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: All four sessions: TASA members, $695; nonmembers, $795. Any one of four sessions: Members and nonmembers, $250.
February 18-20 Texas Counseling Association Annual School Counselor Conference Moody Gardens Hotel, Galveston For more info, (512) 472-3403 or (800) 580-8144. www.txca.org Cost: Early Bird registration (by Sept. 30), $125; Early Bird registration with professional membership, $250.
February 22 TASSP ESC Region 5 Spring Meeting Nederland High School PAC, Nederland For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org
February 19-21 TCASE Great Ideas 2018 Conference Marriott Downtown, Austin For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (800) 433-4492. www.tcase.org February 19-22 TSPRA Annual Conference Embassy Suites Hotel, Frisco For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org February 20 TASB Winter Legal Seminar Offices of ESC Region 19, El Paso For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $160. Texas ASCD Workshop: Performance-Based Assessment in the Classroom North East ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (512) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 20-22 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level 1 TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. February 21 TASSP ESC Region 4 Spring Meeting Lamar High School, Houston For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org February 21-22 TASA First Time Superintendent Academy (session 4 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock
February 22-23 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $159. February 27-March 1 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level I TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. February 28 TASSP ESC Region 2 Spring Meeting Ray High School, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org
MARCH March 1-3 TASB Winter Governance and Legal Seminar Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis, Galveston For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org March 7 TASSP ESC Region 13 Spring Meeting Weiss High School, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org March 8 TASSP ESC Region 3 Spring Meeting Location TBA, Edna/Victoria area For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org March 9 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Lake Travis ISD, Austin For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org March 21
TASSP ESC Region 10 Spring Meeting Spring Creek Barbecue, Richardson For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org TASSP ESC Region 14 Spring Meeting Abilene Country Club, Abilene For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Offices of IDRA (Intercultural Development Research Association), San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org March 21-22 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership San Angelo ISD, San Angelo For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,995. March 25-28 Texas High School Athletic Directors Association State Conference Convention Center, Waco For more info, (832) 623-7803. www.thsada.org March 28 TASSP ESC Region 9 Spring Meeting Offices of ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org <
Who’s News > Continued from page 25
Tornillo ISDs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of New Mexico. Now serving as principal of Socorro Middle School is Mauro Guerro. He has been an educator for 18 years, most recently as principal of Tornillo ISD’s Tornillo High School. He has also worked in El Paso’s Ysleta ISD and was with Socorro ISD previously as an assistant principal. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and his master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University. Maribel Pidone, newly ap-
pointed principal of Jordan Elementary School, has been an instructor at El Paso Community College and a bilingual teacher, instructional technology specialist and curriculum coach for Socorro ISD. Most recently, she was an assistant principal at Desert Wind School. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, where she received her bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, in bilingual education and educational leadership. Now serving as principal of Clarke Middle School is Ivan Ramirez, an educator since 2006. He transferred from El Paso ISD to Socorro ISD in 2013 as an administrator at Americas High School and was most recently an assistant principal of Socorro High School. The new director of human resources for staffing and recruiting is Thomas Redlinger, a 25-year educator who has been with the district since 1997. Since 2013, he has served as principal of Clarke Middle School. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. Veronica Reyes has been
named principal of Mission Early College High School. A part of the SISD family for four years, she most recently was assistant principal of Americas High School. Jesse Sepulveda has been
named principal of the district’s newest, as-yet unnamed, elementary school. He began his career in El Paso ISD in 2002, joining Socorro ISD as a teacher in 2005. He then served as assistant principal of Loma Verde and Ball elementaries and
most recently led Jordan Elementary. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso, where he is pursuing his doctorate.
Spring ISD Spring High School Band Director Gabe Musella received the 2017 Meritorious Achievement Award from the Texas Bandmasters Association during its annual convention and clinic in San Antonio in July. A 30-year veteran of music education, Musella came to Spring in 2000 after working in Lubbock, Lubbock-Cooper and Canyon ISDs. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University.
Stephenville ISD Stephanie Atchley has been
promoted from principal of Hook Elementary to director of special education. She has spent the past nine years of her 18-year education career with Stephenville ISD. A graduate of Texas Christian University, she received her master’s degree from Texas A&M University. The new assistant principal of Gilbert Intermediate School, Jennifer Englert, came to Stephenville ISD after working in Corpus Christi, Merkel and New Braunfels ISDs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Mission Early College High School has welcomed Veronica Reyes as principal. Daresa Rhine has been named
principal of Hook Elementary School after spending 11 years at the campus as a teacher, librarian and, most recently, assistant principal. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and her master’s degree from West Texas A&M University. Mica Rudd is now Central
Elementary School’s assistant principal. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University.
Stratford ISD The district’s newly hired superintendent, Mike Dominguez, is an educator with 28 years of experience, 14 of those as an administrator. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and his master’s degree from West Texas A&M University.
Sunray ISD New Superintendent Marshall Harrison comes to Sunray ISD from Blooming Grove ISD, where he also held the top position.
Tahoka ISD Alan Umholtz, former superintendent of
Henrietta-Midway ISD, now leads Tahoka ISD as superintendent.
Temple ISD Kennedy-Powell Elementary School welcomed Kelly Madden as principal at the beginning of the academic year. Now serving as assistant principal of Temple High School is Candace Martin, who has taught at the school since 2014. John Woodward has been promoted to assistant principal of Kennedy-Powell Elementary School from his position as a teacher at the school. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Johnny L. Veselka, who has served TASA for 43 years, the past 31 as executive director, will retire Feb. 28, 2018. A former classroom teacher in North East ISD in San Antonio, Veselka joined the TASA staff in 1974. From 1979 to 1981, he participated in the Cooperative Superintendency Program, a doctoral superintendency program jointly sponsored by the University of Texas and the Texas Education Agency, earning his Ph.D. in educational administration in 1982. Under his leadership, TASA has become a major voice for school administrators on legislative issues and state policy matters, and has become the leading provider of professional development programs for Texas school leaders. Veselka has been instrumental in establishing TASA as the leading statewide organization focused on transforming learning in Texas schools. He says that he is most proud of TASA’s mission to develop leaders who create student-centered schools and one of the highlights of his career has been “witnessing the passion of TASA members across the state who are committed to transforming the learning opportunities for the students they serve.”
> See Who’s News, page 38 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 37
Tyler ISD Cassandra Chapa, previously an ESL instructional specialist, has been promoted to principal of Ramey Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from St. Edward’s University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Southern Methodist University.
Now serving as principal of Boulter Middle School is Tara Brown Hinton, who was most recently principal of Orr Elementary. She received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Texas at Tyler and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Chanel Howard-Veazy has stepped into the position of principal of Tyler High School, coming to her new job from Sealy ISD, where she was executive director of curriculum and instruction and district testing director. A graduate of Grambling State University with a bachelor’s degree in English education, she holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
The new principal of Orr Elementary School, Steven Young, is a former assistant principal of Woods and Griffin elementary schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a master’s degree in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Vernon ISD New Superintendent Jeff Byrd most recently led Claude ISD. An educator since 1993, he has also served as a coach, classroom teacher, athletic director, assistant principal and principal and as superintendent of Gorman ISD. He is a graduate of Tarleton State University with a master’s degree in educational administration from West Texas A&M University. He is at work on his doctorate.
Weslaco ISD Priscilla Canales has come to Weslaco from Del Valle ISD, where she was assistant superintendent, to accept the position of superintendent.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
West Oso ISD (Corpus Christi) Conrado Garcia has been
approved as district superintendent after serving in an interim capacity since November. He began his career in Corpus Christi ISD as an assistant principal, going on to serve as a principal in five schools in that district as well as working as an instructor at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station and as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. He joined West Oso ISD in 2013 as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Garcia received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville) and his master’s degree from Corpus Christi State University (now Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi).
Willis ISD Brian Greeney has been tapped to serve
as assistant superintendent of innovation, teaching and learning. He has been head principal of Klein Oak High School since 2013. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate in education from Sam Houston State University.
Lisa Severns, assistant superintendent of
teaching and learning, completed 11 years of service to the district with her retirement in June. She was initially principal of Willis High School’s ninth grade campus, going on to lead Lucas Middle School before taking her most recent position in 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University, where she also received a master’s degree in counseling. A second master’s degree, in educational administration, was earned from Stephen F. Austin State University, and she returned to Sam Houston for her doctorate in educational leadership.
Ysleta ISD Natalie Alvarez, who was as-
sistant principal of Parkland Elementary School, has been named principal of Marian Manor Elementary. Now in her 11th year with YISD, she received her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at El Paso. Parkland High School’s new principal, Penelope Bankston, began her career as a bilingual teacher in Alpine ISD. A graduate of Sul Ross State University, she was most recently principal of YISD’s Valley View Middle School.
David Boatright has assumed the role of principal of Eastwood High School. The former Eastwood Middle School principal also taught world history and geography and worked as a wrestling coach and assistant principal. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso.
The district’s new director of middle school academics is Naomi Esparza, a 26-year education veteran with 13 years of experience as an administrator. She began her career in El Paso’s Socorro ISD and was a high school assistant principal in that city’s Clint ISD. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso. Former Pasodale Elementary School Principal Veronica Frias now leads Lancaster Elementary School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at El Paso. The new principal of Ysleta Middle School, David Gonzalez, is a product of YISD schools who began his career in the district at Parkland High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from the University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University. James McIntyre has been pro-
moted from assistant principal to principal of Hulbert Elementary School. He has been with the district for 13 years and is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in education.
Claudia Poblano, former assistant principal of Edgemere Elementary School, has been named principal of Del Norte Elementary. An employee of the district for 10 years, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and her master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University. <
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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
News in fine arts education
Full STEAM ahead in Fort Stockton by Dawn Ramirez
▲Jose Marquez, a seventh grader at Fort Stockton Middle School, uses hand lenses and jewelers loops to make visual observations of a "mystery object."
ort Stockton is a small west Texas town with a growing population of just over 8,200 people. It is located along I-10, almost exactly halfway between San Antonio and El Paso — an island in the West Texas desert. Despite its isolated location and arid environment, Fort Stockton is a town rich in resources. Historically, the ranch lands that surround it have been a foundation for the town’s economy, and they continue to contribute today. This pioneer community sits in the heart of oil and gas country, with a large number of households making a living from these industries. Hundreds of wind turbines are visible dotting the horizon on the surrounding mesas, and one of the largest solar-energy farms in the United States is currently
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
under construction just north of town. The open West Texas skies mean resources such as McDonald Observatory and Midland International Spaceport are just a couple hours’ drive away for residents. However, Fort Stockton’s greatest resource is its people, especially its youth, and Fort Stockton Middle School is investing heavily in that resource. Like any typical middle school, Fort Stockton Middle has a visual arts program available as an elective class to all of its sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The goal of the program is to give students a foundational experience in creating visual artworks by learning about the basic elements and principles of design. Basic mechanics and techniques are practiced, but the focus is on
discovery. Students experiment with a wide variety of media and art forms throughout the year, so they understand anyone can create “art,” even if they cannot draw or paint well. Students learn art is all around them and there are many kinds of artists. But, that’s not the most exciting part…. This year, at Fort Stockton Middle School, a new elective class is giving students an opportunity to approach learning in a different way designed to engage them fully and help prepare them for the jobs of the future. The name of the program is STEAM-X, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Explorations. While STEM education has been a growing trend in schools across the country for a while, adding the A for art into the mix is
a more recent idea that just makes sense. Science and engineering provide us with so many essential products and services we use in our daily lives. Technology is the tools we use to make those products and services happen, and math is the language basic to the other three disciplines. Who says those products and services can’t look good while they do their job? A good artist or designer can take a functional object and make it more pleasing to the senses. This is an important part of product design and marketing, and therefore should be taught as part of the process. After introductory units on safety, scientific methods and engineering design processes, STEAM-X students use an integrated approach to tackle different challenges through problem-based learning. A crime scene investigation, a virtual “battle” using robot avatars equipped with scientific facts to support an argument, and a competition-level group project in which real-world problems are addressed are just a few of the experiences in the STEAM-X curriculum. Multiple engineering design challenges sprinkled in throughout the year are another fun way to keep the creative juices flowing. As an elective, in STEAM-X there is more time and freedom to go deeper into problems than would be possible in core curriculum classes. While the program is designed to support the school’s math and science programs by reinforcing the TEKS for those classes, there is much more flexibility in which TEKS are addressed and how deeply. Open-ended questions
allow for creative thinking and imagination to come into play. Hands-on experiences and a safe environment, in which to “fail” means to make a “first attempt in learning,” give students the confidence they need to try new things and follow through on their own ideas and goals. Working individually, with partners and in small groups allows students to gain academic discipline and the interpersonal skills they need to be successful in their secondary education and their professional lives. The shared experiences of STEAM-X students are great community builders and give the students a sense of belonging. The STEAM-X program at Fort Stockton Middle School is in its pilot year, and it’s already off to a great start. The class is filled to capacity with more students constantly asking how to get in. True to the engineering design process, now that it is built, the program will be tested, evaluated, and re-engineered to make it even better. It will be a constant experiment in how to hook students into learning about the world around them and becoming better problem solvers. Motivating all students in FSISD to pursue STEAM careers is the long-term goal as the program grows and develops. For now, the kids participating in the class are having fun and moving full STEAM ahead. DAWN RAMIREZ has been teaching science and art at Fort Stockton Middle School for 17 years. She is dedicated to exposing students to a wide variety of learning experiences in the hopes of creating better problem-solvers and lifelong learners.
▲ Students Lauryn Calderon and Yahaira Fortson measure the mass of their "mystery object" with Fort Stockton Middle School art and science teacher Dawn Ramirez. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
THE BACK PAGE
Why we do what we do by Riney Jordan
or some 14 years now, give or take a few, I’ve been writing this regular feature in Texas School Business magazine. I’m always at the same place — the last page in the back. This little education news publication has changed owners at least three times over those years. It’s gone from a totally black and white publication to one filled with color. I’ve had at least three different editors over these years. But one thing hasn’t changed. And that is my reason for continuing to write for each issue. You see, I have always wanted just one thing to happen as a result of my column each month. And, simply stated, it was to write something that would cause educators to become even better than they already are. Each issue is read by superintendents, administrative staff, board members, teachers and others in the profession. And I’m hoping that at least one person has read my stories and my comments and made a conscious effort to make an even greater impact in the lives of the students they serve. On the other hand, I hope I’ve encouraged those who don’t have the gift of serving kids to get out and follow their passions. Here’s the cold, hard truth. Working in our public schools is not easy. It’s hard work. It’s exhausting work. It can drain you both physically and emotionally. And there are many days when it doesn’t appear to be very rewarding. As I have said many times to those in the profession, “If you’re in this just for the money, you’re missing the real reward.” Your “pay” doesn’t come in that monthly check. It comes in the smiles, the thanks, the appreciation and the gratitude when a child acknowledges that you have impacted his or her life. There is nothing better. I wonder how many of you have heard the story of Joseph “Gabe” Sonnier from Louisiana. Gabe was the school custodian, and he loved his job. The principal, Mr. Wesley
Jones, told him one day, “Gabe, I’d rather see you grading papers than picking them up.” Gabe thought about those words almost daily for 15 years. And then, he decided to do something about it. “I would come to work at like five in the morning and leave at seven and go to school all day, and then come back and finish up my eight hours of work here, and then go home and do homework,” he said. Upon receiving his degree, he got a job teaching in one of the very classrooms he had been cleaning. But the story doesn’t end there. He continued furthering his education, and when the school district began searching for a new principal, they approached him about the position. Today, he is the principal of Port Barre Elementary, the campus where he’s been for 30 years, in one role or another. Oh, I’m so proud of Mr. Sonnier. But I’m also grateful for Mr. Jones, the principal who saw potential in him and told him. How differently this story might have turned out had it not been for the encouragement from one individual to another. Today, Principal Gabe Sonnier is affecting the lives of hundreds of students in his community. He frequently shows students the janitorial closet where it all started. And his encouraging words to the students no doubt make a difference. “Don’t let your situation that you’re in now define what you’re going to become later. I always tell them — it’s not where you start, it’s how you finish. I’d go on to add, it’s also who you meet and are inspired by along the way.” So, today, as you read this, vow to do everything you can to change a life. Don’t miss the opportunity to make a difference. Because your words today could truly change someone forever.
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.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
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