TSB—November 2012

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Greg Smith Clear Creek ISD Superintendent of the Year Also inside: 2012 Outstanding Board TSPRA Key Communicator Caudill Award Photos from TASA/TASB Annual Convention

November / December 2012

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TSB contents news and features

Daniel King claims TSPRA’s Key Communicator Award


by Jennifer Leclaire

photo features TASA/TASB Annual Convention held in September


Irving ISD school earns Caudill Award


departments Who’s News


Ad Index


columns From the Editor


The Law Dawg  —  Unleashed


Tech Toolbox


by Katie Ford

Greg Smith of Clear Creek ISD is Superintendent of the Year by Bobby Hawthorne

by Jim Walsh


by Terry Morawski

Game On!


The Back Page


by Bobby Hawthorne by Riney Jordan

McAllen ISD trustees named Outstanding School Board


by Elizabeth Millard

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. November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


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Texas School Business • November / December 2012



From the Editor Is the November/December issue really already here? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like this school year is charging ahead at warp speed! May I suggest that we all stop for a moment and soak up the inspiration and celebration we’ve packed into this issue? Our November/ December lineup features TASB’s 2012 Superintendent of the Year, TASA’s 2012 Outstanding Board and honor boards, TSPRA’s 2012 Key Communicator and this year’s Caudill Award recipient. Plus, we have photos from this year’s TASA/TASB Annual Convention and so much Who’s News that we had to hold almost half of it for the January issue! I mentioned this idea in my last letter, but I want to make another plug because a few of you have stepped up to bat and I’d love to have more contributors! I want to add a bloggers’ section to the Texas School Business website. I’m envisioning an eclectic group of active and retired educators and administrators who write about their specialized areas of public education. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an “independent voice for public education” by blogging under the Texas School Business banner, please contact me and let’s talk! Lastly, keep an eye out for our Sixth Annual Bragging Rights special issue, which comes out Dec. 1. The 12 programs we brag about this year are exemplary and phenomenal in every way. Perhaps one or more of these stories will inspire you to create similar successes in your district. As always, please send any feedback or ideas to me at katie@ texasschoolbusiness.com.

Katie Ford Editorial Director

Sunnyvale Elementary School Sunnyvale Independent School District

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) November / December 2012 Volume LVIX, Issue 2 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-478-2113 • Fax: 512-495-9955 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Publisher Ted Siff Editor in Chief Jim Walsh Editorial Director Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Riney Jordan, Terry Morawski, Jim Walsh Advertising Sales Manager Jim Johnson Director of Marketing and Customer Relations Stephen Markel Office Services Ambrose Austin ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620 Published monthly, except for July/August and November/ December, and for the Best in Class issue published in August and the Bragging Rights issue published in December (12 times a year) by Texas School Business Magazine, LLC, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455, Austin, TX 78701. Periodical Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas School Business,1601 Rio Grande Street, #455, Austin, TX 78701. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $28 per year; $52 for two yrs; $72 for three yrs. Group rate: 10 or more, $18; single issues, $4.50.

© Copyright 2012 Texas School Business Magazine LLC November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


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Texas School Business • November / December 2012


THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh

Keep Current L As all GAS T AS LE E TEX OL school G I O ’D SCH ORS T A TR administrators, INIS ADM board members, and school attorneys know, Now in its school law does 28th year of not stand still. publication Published ten times a year, the Legal Digest provides the latest developments in the law to help administrators stay abreast of this rapidly changing field and avoid litigation. . , L.P tions blica lsh e Pu Plac r: Jim Wa s Park ito Childres Siff d r sher: ing Ed Publi Manag r: Jennife ficer: Te Of om Edito erating t.c Op iges gald Chief w.le

Name calling in the DAEP


o one is taking me seriously. For years now I have urged school districts to get more creative in naming their disciplinary alternative education programs. Far too many call it “the DAEP.” There are some with more positive, creative names, such as New Horizons or The Learning Center (TLC). But no one has taken me up on the idea of naming the place Hotel California. We have had DAEPs in Texas since 1995. In a state as big as Texas, you would think that someone would take a chance on a catchy and creative name for this program. Perhaps you are wondering why a Texas school would adopt a California name for one of its special programs. But Hotel California does not have to be in California. Hotel California is not a place. It is a state of mind. The biggest advantage in calling your DAEP “Hotel California” is that it inevitably would lead to a teachable moment. A student eventually is going to ask: “Why is this place called ‘Hotel California’?” And then you can tell them: “We call it ‘Hotel California’ because you can check out anytime you like. But you can never leave.” Most of today’s callow youth will have no idea what that means. Some of the readers of this publication do not understand the reference. But I think we aging boomers have a moral obligation here. We grew up with the world’s greatest music and have a duty to pass it along. Naming your DAEP Hotel California is a step in the right direction. Or how about “The Janis Joplin Alternative Education Program”? Naming your disciplinary program after Janis Joplin accomplishes several things at once. Instantly, it gives you a JJAEP! Moreover, it addresses the gender imbalance in school names in Texas. We do not have enough schools named for women. And you have to make sure that your disciplinary programs are named for people who fit that

program. We do have schools named after Barbara Jordan, Ladybird Johnson and Barbara Bush — but you can’t name your DAEP after these women. They had no edge. The kids won’t relate. Joplin was a Texas girl. She had her issues, but she also had success. And, as with Hotel California, you subtly would be promoting the good music of years past. We hear that some schools are having a hard time with the new law that limits expulsions from the DAEP. Previously, a student who engaged in “serious or persistent” misconduct while attending the DAEP could be expelled. Not anymore. As of this year, DAEP expulsions can only be based on “serious” misconduct. The statute has a pretty narrow definition of “serious.” One educator told me that his district has a few students in the DAEP right now who are overtly and belligerently noncompliant. These students will not do any assigned work and will respond to any adult with choice language of an inappropriate nature. I hear that lots of “F bombs” are being dropped. This kind of behavior can be very aggravating to an educator, but it does not satisfy the statute’s definition of “serious misconduct,” which could lead to expulsion. Obviously the ideal course of action is to find that magical behavioral intervention that turns this student in the right direction. But that takes time, and sometimes, there simply is no magical behavioral intervention. What to do? Perhaps districts should consider having two DAEPs — one for the majority of the kids who are pursuing their studies seriously and seeking to return to the regular program, and another for the others. Perhaps you could call that second program “Section F.” Just a thought. JIM WALSH, an attorney with Walsh Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C., serves as editor in chief of Texas School Business. He can be reached at jwalsh@ wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JWalshtxlawdawg.

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n” Numb itutio e 28, const the “re from ce. Both an arose case cases perform In one nt Both rs. t. stude amine cher los the poor tea ng ex of heari case, the decision ww l the cy. other nera cases, the Agen y Ge both .. office torne by DE . cases, one Atissioner’ss. Here upheld mm cision INSI t nfire gie cour the Co e Bo OK ess de the Ag tock ort 11 from Aggi proc over A LO we rep cisions due tion Coms de Litiga wen v. ort this ation month This on, three ial educ Bo we rep t se by ec ini mp or no sp ion Op a gli decis whether vereign three hlights. vides ps in to — and ste ) pro issue same “so The the hig ge 10 agency es. are . ion to the cy (pa state of truste ts, but T.E.A ucat en Agen ich the of ard Ed is um on l rs ia ucati n in wh es the bo ty of arg ve. This cial Powe s Ed Spec ee spe Texa e situatio d remov a varie persuasi ry ruling thr v. r ll th an ina m t wi Ross very rar Of ou of you wi of the a prelim distric effort of the school ght this find any t rather y relief. many sting and t al bu to rar a loc board fou did no s case, intere likely tempo ities. urt are in thi tion for nsibil local eral co ts we ion po sen cis mo res cer ) pre the fed final de trict’s find” dis ge 11 tly failed ng offi not the school en in heari ys (pa torne inadvert opinion ral e! on the ty ’s ict At ne mor ests Distr rrant Coun y General The ge sted And t). unty Requ ne ue n. Ta Attor . u of PIA on Ac nt Co s req In lie es, Tarra al situatio st for an Informati that wa disclosed v. ue be Doe er unusu blic ation of cas wg ely req uest (Pu inform , would anoth ke a tim ore the Da with req t the m a PIA e is tha and theref ws. to ma new along sho cas nse to c, two respo such a be publi this case Board lcome Case in to we sting a rule sumed to tions, as hted Intere ge 13) t delig is pre are excep (pa Most tha We areory ency ation ard for st ISD, l There e Ag ’s Aw rth Ea of Educ appraisa Advis th wg No e er Da ing v. n at the e the ission nistrativ study e Hall Actio dridg We giv nth to the Commthe admi is worth ating the Al e me mo this from tails of so this on for evalu er agreed welco ion de s ion ” he decis of the rare, and bilitie mmiss valid Co ponsi some es are s “in flawed, s l wa ve res hile the sses cas addre s. Such u who ha tors. W r appraisa praisal wa problem proces se of yo administra l, that he h the ap was no d people ug re name by tho ance of a principa Even tho And the rm of un ief. lid. Hall, up” perfo Ms. further rel n was va cus gro l. d th wi icklan ). a “fo ncipa d no n pla —Str ordere erventio t’s use of t the pri s ISD (page 18 ou Dalla the int distric ation ab from Dallas ISD the ions inform with decis ussaint v. ther d two to ga To o issue ) and .A. als (page 17 , and The T.E s ISD Cases lla le of v. Da Tab ex, r Matte ... Also bject es 8 Su ticl • 200 le of Ar Tab



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Texas School Business • November / December 2012

Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski

The 123 of updating your AUP


he Acceptable Use Policy, or AUP, is a necessary document for district operations. A good AUP clearly states who can use district technology, when they can use it and how. “District technology” includes not only devices, but wired and wireless Internet connections. The AUP also should include specific language about what will happen when technology is not used properly. It’s also wise for the school district’s attorney to review the documents, as he or she will be called on to potentially defend the district’s stance in technology-related legal challenges.

Essentials of an AUP Summary statement. Explain the purpose of the AUP and what technology is covered by the document. Remember, this might be the first time many parents and some staff members have ever seen an AUP. What is acceptable use? Be sure your definitions of acceptable use match your district’s philosophy. You don’t want an AUP that heavily restricts use of technology if all other district communications reflect an open and innovative approach to learning. What is unacceptable use? Be clear and use specific examples. As technology evolves, community expectations also change. Steer clear of suggesting people use “common sense,” and similar generic terms, as this is subjective to each individual. How will you monitor usage? It’s fair and reasonable to explain how you plan to monitor use of technology in the district. Many don’t know how much monitoring the average district engages in on a regular basis. Discipline for misuse. When it comes to discipline, every administrator knows this can be sticky. Be sure you are prepared to enforce and defend your rules. Be careful not to go off the deep end with discipline, remembering that you are working with young students who will make mistakes and poor decisions. Disclaimer. This statement covers the liability for the district, should any legal issues arise. Signature. Provide a page where technology users can sign to verify they have read and understand the AUP. Rapidly changing technology proves to

be the biggest problem in drafting an AUP. Also, community attitudes toward technology in schools are rapidly changing and incredibly varied. An important consideration for any district is to make sure Internet access standards comply with Texas law. The law states that public schools and public libraries that provide Internet access are only eligible for a Texas Infrastructure Fund loan or grant if they adopt an Internet safety policy protecting children from access to obscene materials. (To read the education code, search for Texas Education Code Ann. §§ 32.201 to 202 [http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ ED/htm/ED.32.htm#E], Texas Govt. Code Ann. §441.1385 [http://www.statutes.legis. state.tx.us/Docs/GV/pdf/GV.441.pdf]) Five tips for updating your AUP 1. Review the AUP annually, and consider a quick review at mid-year. 2. Include all devices that are applicable. Because Wi-Fi is a district resource, any device connected to the district’s Internet connection counts. 3. Train your staff, students and parents on AUP rules. You don’t want the first time a person really understands the AUP to be when they are in trouble. 4. Review AUP documents of other districts regularly. 5. Survey staff, students and parents about use of technology in schools. It is possible you are holding students back in some ways or leaving yourself open for trouble in other areas. A well-written AUP will help keep everyone on the same page in your district when it comes to technology. Hopefully it also will keep you out of hot water when students or employees misuse resources. I hope this was helpful for you. Good luck out there. Please let me know what technology challenges and wins you are experiencing; they could make a future column. TERRY MORAWSKI is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. Email compliments, complaints and article suggestions to terrymorawski@gmail.com.

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November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


It’s Time!

Texas High School Athletic Directors Association The 2013 THSADA State Conference • San Angelo, Texas • March 2-6, 2013 Registration for Membership/State Conference will begin November 1, 2012

Opening Session Speaker DeLoss Dodds Director of Athletics University of Texas

Monday Featured Speaker Kirby Hocutt Director of Athletics Texas Tech University

Membership Information Active Membership – Membership Fee: $40.00 – Active membership shall be limited to those having primarily athletic administrative responsibilities within the State of Texas. Example: AD/Head Football Coach-Campus Athletic Coordinator-Assistant Campus Athletic Coordinator. Associate Membership – Membership Fee: $40.00 – Any 7-12 coaches in the State of Texas or, an out-of-state athletic administrator, or someone involved in working with a state coaching/athletic association as an employee or a college/university level athletic administrator may become an Associate Member. College students may also become Associate Members. Registration for THSADA membership and THSADA State Conference registration will begin on-line starting November 1st, 2012. The membership year is annual and it runs from the March 2013 State Conference to the following March 2014 State Conference. For more information, go to www.thsada.com or contact the THSADA at Kathy.thsada@yahoo.com 10

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne

Texas football in freeze frame


hree years ago, I was asked to write the text for a book of photographs of Texas high school football stadiums. A guy dangled a few bucks in front of me and asked me to attend a meeting, and before I knew it, I was on board even though I thought the book’s premise was slightly preposterous. Then I saw the photographs. Each was shot from the 50-yard line facing the press box between dawn and 10 a.m., which guaranteed a dramatic range of February morning skies and long shadows. They were taken by a short, intense, young man by the name of Jeff Wilson, and a few of them first ran in Texas Monthly, where they were nominated for a fancy magazine award. The University of Texas Press in Austin figured an entire book of them would do as well or better. As it turned out, my job wasn’t to write, but rather to talk. I scratched out a list of people connected to high school football and then hitched each archetype to a specific stadium. Example 1: Meridian High + groundskeeper = Bubba Crawford. “We try to mow three times a week, basically every other day,” Bubba told me. “We run the sprinkler twice a week. I’m thinking about going organic with my fertilizer. Getting up to date. I guess the hardest part about the job is marking the field. That’s a lot of walking. We use a water-based paint that we spray down every week. We can sometimes go once every two weeks, but not three. That third week, you’re not going to see any lines.” Example 2: Fredericksburg High + coach’s daughter = Tracy Linker. I knew Tracy from her days as a high school newspaper editor. The stadium at Fredericksburg High is now named after her father, Carlin Wicker. “From August to November, if we wanted to see our dad, we went to the field house. My sisters and I had the ‘privilege’ of moving sprinklers on the practice fields, cleaning up the trash in the stands after a

game and washing uniforms. Who else got to wash their classmates’ jock straps?” You can’t make that up. My favorite quote, though, came from Robert Strait of Cuero High, a school that enjoyed fabulous success in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Strait once rambled for 356 yards in a district-clinching victory win over Halletsville, and he led the Gobblers to the 1987 3A state championship over McGregor. Prior to that game, a Houston sportswriter wrote of Strait: “He is, it is said, the best running back ever to spring from the Texas high school ranks.” Who said it, it turns out, was a Cuero gas station attendant named Slick Williams. Strait was great, but the greatest? Better than Earl or Sims or Dickerson? Better than Kenneth Hall? Probably not. At any rate, Strait disappointed Texas, Oklahoma and USC by choosing to attend Baylor, and then he disappointed Baylor by turning into another mouth to feed and not much more, which is hardly unique. Five-star recruits flame out left and right and then drop out of the public eye until someone like me finds them on Facebook and asks them to look back on it all and

explain what they think it means. Here’s what he told me: “I have a 13-year-old son. Not long ago, I took him to the Cuero stadium. I hadn’t been there in years. We walked out on the field and it was surreal. I could almost hear the crowd cheering, and I remembered some of those long touchdown runs. I tried to explain to him what it all meant because he plays and is about to experience this himself. It was a pretty emotional thing.” He didn’t seem bitter or sad that it all turned out like it did. It is what it is — a journey worth taking. I hope UT Press sent him a copy of the book. The photo of Gobbler Stadium at daybreak — with a bank of pewter clouds rolling in from the north — is ominous and surreal. And Robert’s right. You can almost hear the crowd cheering.

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


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November / December 2012 • Texas School Business




KEY communicator

PSJA ISD Superintendent Daniel King gets it done by Jennifer LeClaire


aniel King, superintendent for Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD, is widely known as a voice for underserved students across Texas. He has stepped up as a spokesperson in the Rio Grande Valley and onto state and national platforms with his ideas about public education reform and funding. For his efforts, the Texas School Public Relations Association has tapped the 36year public education veteran as its 2012 Key Communicator. Since 1981, TSPRA has recognized a Key Communicator for outstanding contributions to public education through effective communications. Past recipients have included leaders from business, media, PTA, politics and education.

“Education reform is easy to talk about, but hard to do,” wrote Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, deputy commissioner for policy and programs at the Texas Education Agency, in her nomination letter for King. “At its core, reform is doing things a better way, and innovation is key. Dr. King embraces that spirit and, as a result, has made tremendous progress for the students of PSJA.” Indeed, King has achieved unprecedented goals: dramatically reducing dropout rates, putting all students on a trajectory to college and career success, and using innovative means in a low-income community to stretch limited education funding. One of King’s community initiatives is called Countdown to Zero, which aims

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD Superintendent Daniel King (left) strolls a neighborhood with Aida C. Escobar Elementary Principal Eleticia Nava and staff as part of the district’s sixth annual Countdown to Zero Dropout Recovery Walk. Every September, PSJA ISD staff go door-to-door to check on students who have not enrolled in school for the new year and are unaccounted for. This walk is an important component of the district’s dropout recovery program, which has helped reduce the number of annual dropouts by more than 90 percent, according to the district’s communications department. 12

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

to track down every missing student and make sure they get back in school. Part of the initiative includes what King calls a “dropout recovery walk” each September. Organizing the initiative requires keen communication skills, including daily reports on the desks of every administrator that list how many students are still missing. “Every Saturday, 200 or 300 volunteers go into the neighborhood looking for the kids missing from school. It’s kind of like detective work to track them down and find out if they moved away or if they dropped out,” King says. “It’s very intentional.” King doesn’t stop with preventing dropouts or even helping kids graduate from high school. He believes college readiness for all is possible. King serves as president of the South Texas Association of Schools. Through a P-16 early college high school planning consortium that he co-chairs, 23 other districts learn from what PSJA ISD is doing. The Texas Commissioner of Higher Education recently appointed King to serve on the State P-16 Council. “We opened a dual-enrollment high school for dropouts at the community college,” King explains. “It focuses on young people ages 18 to 26 who are missing a few credits or exit exams. We get them working toward an associate degree or an industry certification while they are still finishing high school.” Over the past five years, more than 1,000 young people have benefited from the program. The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 975 to urge schools across the state to replicate the PSJA ISD’s program. King also spearheads the College, Career and Technology Academy that aims to fit the needs of students who fell short of graduation. King’s list of initiatives to make sure Texas students are educated goes on and on. Meanwhile, the Rio Grande Valley superintendent’s transformative work with Hispanic students has been called a model for the future of education. His ideas

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD Superintendent Daniel King accepts his Key Communicator award at the TASA/TASB Annual Convention in September in Austin.

have become the foundation for federally funded projects to reform low-performing high schools nationwide. He is committed to replacing outdated bilingual education models with dual language or dual immersion programs — with the goal of collegeready biliteracy. The PSJA ISD’s 32,000-member student body is 99 percent Hispanic and about 88 percent economically disadvantaged. King reports the dropout rate in his district was nearly double the state average five years ago. Today, it’s about onethird of the state average. The district has doubled the number of high school graduates from less than 1,000 to nearly 2,000 a year. It also has doubled the number of students who continue on to college. The next goal is to double the number who complete college. “I believe we’re on track to dramatically change the educational attainment level. Enrolling in college is not enough,” King says. “We’re intent on proving that we can impact college completion, not just enrollment. That will take a few more years to bear out.” A tireless advocate for public education, King has testified for both the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress regarding the lack of support for education reform and the negative impact recent budget cuts have made on Texas schoolchildren. Despite the shortfalls, King’s ingenuity is resulting in more PSJA ISD students being college ready, college connected and college complete. “We prioritize funding, we apply for grants, and we work with partners,” King says. “Beyond our partnership with the community college, we just opened a Criminal Justice Academy and a Police Academy in a three-way partnership with the city, our school district and the community college. We blend funding streams to make the most of the resources. “We find ways to get it done.” JENNIFER LECLAIRE is a freelancer who also has written for The New York Times.

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caudill award



rving ISD’s Lady Bird Johnson Middle School and architectural firm Corgan Associates claimed the 2012 Caudill Award at the TASA/TASB Annual Convention in Austin in September. The “best in show” award highlights educational construction and renovation projects in Texas that have occurred in the past five years. Presented in honor of architect William Caudill for his career achievements, the Caudill Award

‘Net zero’ school in Irving earns Caudill Award is a collaborative project of the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Society of Architects. LBJ Middle School was chosen among 95 entries in this year’s competition. Scott Layne, Irving ISD assistant superintendent of school support services, says: “The district is extremely honored and humbled at receiving this most prestigious award. The school was designed

with a specific emphasis on the integration of student learning within a highly sustainable environment. It is considered a ‘net zero’ facility, meaning it produces as much energy on site as what is consumed throughout the course of the year.” LBJ Middle School Principal Angie Gaylord adds: “This building looks and functions differently than any other I’ve ever seen. The school itself is helping to teach lessons and science concepts, and

LBJ Middle School Principal Angie Gaylord says: “This building looks and functions differently than any other I’ve ever seen. The school itself is helping to teach lessons and science concepts, and it motivates our students and teachers to focus on innovation and creativity.” 14

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

‘The movement to conserve energy and get ‘green’ is ever-increasing, and we’ve already begun to take steps in that direction that others are sure to follow.’ — Irving ISD Superintendent Dana T. Bedden it motivates our students and teachers to focus on innovation and creativity.” “Irving ISD has long been considered a pioneering school district for the way we use technology and stay on the forefront of new ideas, concepts and developments,” says Irving ISD Superintendent Dana T. Bedden. “The movement to conserve energy and get ‘green’ is ever-increasing, and we’ve already begun to take steps in that direction that others are sure to follow.” LBJ Middle School, which opened in August 2011, encompasses 150,000 square feet and houses approximately 950 students. Sustainable features include photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, Energy Starrated kitchen equipment and many other sustainable features. Every year, projects are submitted to TASB for consideration. A panel — consisting of two school administrators, two school board members and two architects — scores the projects in six categories: value, process of planning, design, edu-

cational appropriateness, innovation and sustainability. Tim McClure of CMA Architects, who facilitated the panel, says: “To try to compare the submissions apples to apples is very difficult because they involve such different scholastic programs. That challenge has led to citing more honorable mentions this year.” Receiving honorable mentions were: • Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, Dallas ISD, SHW Group; • Sarah Hollenstein Career and Technology Center, Eagle MountainSaginaw ISD, VLK Architects; and • Shadow Oaks Elementary School, Spring Branch ISD, Pfluger Associates LP.

Clockwise from top: Sarah Hollenstein Career and Technology Center, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, VLK Architects. Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, Dallas ISD, SHW Group. Shadow Oaks Elementary School, Spring Branch ISD, Pfluger Associates LP.

November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


Superintendent of the Year


Clear Creek ISD’s Greg Smith encourages love of learning by Bobby Hawthorne

There were plenty of reasons to select Clear Creek ISD’s Greg Smith as the 2012 Superintendent of the Year, but these aren’t among them: • He loves chocolate. If you dipped a pine cone in chocolate, he might eat it. • He loves musical theater, especially “Les Misérables.” • He loves long power walks — like, two to four hours long — when he finds time for them. • He says “at the end of the day” — a lot.

For example, about his career: “At the end of the day, what I’ve learned along the way is the same thing I learned starting out.” About legislators: “Everyone might not agree with me, but I believe that, at the end of the day, legislators are followers, not leaders. So, we need to lead, and they need to follow. And we need to keep knocking on doors until we get the resources we need to education our children.” This is ironic because, at the end of his day, there isn’t much of Smith’s day left. He is, as one admirer noted, a “fearless

leader” who isn’t content to leave well enough alone. And it is tempting in this article to devote 700 or 800 words to the many committees and consortiums he steers (or backseat drives), the awards he has received, his many reorganizations and reinventions — but that would be missing the point. The point is this: Greg Smith wants to get there, regardless of where “there” is, as fast as possible. In fact, he worries he might not get there soon enough because, once he didn’t

Greg Smith of Clear Creek ISD (center) receives the Superintendent of the Year award from Balfour representative Greg Wheeler and Faye Beaulieu of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, who is president-elect and SOTY selection committee chair at the Texas Association of School Boards. 16

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

Superintendent Greg Smith visits students at Ferguson Elementary on the first day of school.

— or so he believes. It was early in his career and he was an assistant principal at Central Middle School in Galveston ISD. One afternoon a boy was stabbed in the stomach. Smith raced the boy — a nice kid, great athlete — to the school clinic and waited for the ambulance, his starched, white shirt soaked in the boy’s blood. “I was hoping and praying that it was a minor cut or wound,” he remembers. It wasn’t. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. “If only I’d arrived two or three minutes earlier,” Smith thought. “If only I’d gotten there sooner.” Two minutes or three — even one, then maybe the boy lives. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, the experience taught him one thing: “Keep your eyes and your ears open at all times, and when someone needs your help, you need to get there as quickly as possible.” And so he vowed that the next time someone needed that kind of help, he would get there sooner. A year later, he had a chance to make good on that promise. A teacher suffered a heart attack. She had lost consciousness and her heart had stopped. Smith arrived, performed CPR and revived her, at least long enough for the EMS crew to arrive. Asked about it now, Smith says, “At the end of the day, life if full of opportunities.”

In the beginning Smith grew up in Oak Park, Mich., a working-class suburb that hugs Detroit so closely that, in the 1970s and ’80s, it heard, smelled and felt most of the Motor City’s profound economic and racial problems of the time. He is one of eight children, and while all of his brothers and sisters have found their particular niche in life, Smith is the only one in his immediate family with a college degree. His dad worked on the assembly line at Chrysler and later as a chief steward whose job was to listen to grievances from employees and union representatives. At lunch each day, he peddled Maxwell House for a quarter a cup and tucked the change and loose bills into an empty coffee can that would become part of Smith’s college fund. Fortunately, Smith was a good enough athlete to attract more than few scholarship offers; he spurned football to pitch four years at Oakland University in nearby Rochester Hills. By his sophomore year, he realized his 90-miles-per-hour fastball might earn a look or two from the pros but not a career. That didn’t matter though. Smith knew he wanted to teach. “It’s always been something I’ve been passionate about,” he says. “I constantly preach to young people, ‘Do what excites you. Do what keeps you awake at night,

trying to figure out. Do something that’s not all financially based. Do what allows you to make a difference.’” After college, Smith began looking for work in his hometown, but there was none to be had. Oak Park’s slogan may be “We have something for everyone,” but Smith learned quickly it meant “except a job.” So, the college graduate packed up and drove a Chrysler (of course) to Houston, where he began teaching sixth grade in Houston ISD. It didn’t take long for Smith to make a difference — at least in one young man’s life. In his first year in the classroom, Smith noticed that one of his students, Mario Valdez, a short kid with a crinkling smile, came to school only one day a week — on Wednesdays — and for one reason only: Wednesday was “pizza day.” “That was his incentive to come to school,” Smith says. “So I bought these little frozen pizzas, and I microwaved one for him each day to make sure he came to school.” It worked. “He knew I liked him as a student, and I knew he liked me as a teacher because I took care of his essential needs, which was food,” Smith says. In time, Mario’s attitude improved, and then his grades improved. Eventually, he graduated and made something of himself. See SOTY on page 18

November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


SOTY continued from page 17

“People don’t care what you know until they know you care.” That’s Smith’s philosophy. “As my job has become more and more complicated, I still lead with the root of that,” he says. He cares about test scores and funding and attrition models and what happens when an employee at NASA loses his or her job. Because he knows that ultimately all these things impact the children of Clear Creek ISD. “When it’s all said and done,” he reasons, “do our students perform well on standardized tests? Yes. The state’s tests? Yes. Do they perform well on the ACT and the SAT? Yes,” as evidenced by the district’s 37 national merit semifinalists. “We have to take care of our business, but at the end of the day, the arts are just as important. Writing is just as important,” the superintendent adds. “The love of learning is what we choose to shine the light on. We’re not trying to raise a generation of good multiple-choice test-takers.” He wants young people to be engaged in their education, to make their own decisions, and to suffer or enjoy the consequences. He encourages and rewards teachers who are willing to take the risks needed to fully engage their students. Last year, Smith had the opportunity to practice what he preaches. A student took a picture of a senior mid-term English exam and, of course, it went viral. Smith could have cracked skulls, but he chose instead to flip the issue from district embarrassment to teachable moment. “I came back to my student advisory committee and I said, ‘I can resolve this. I can put infractions in place. I can put policies in place. But I would rather you work on this. I want you to find a solution to this problem.” The student advisory committee drew up an honor code that every secondary student signs, stating that they understand the honor code and accept what it means. “Our kids put it upon themselves to say that their academic integrity is on the line,” Smith says. “Students who cheat might be taking their seats in the top 10 or in college, and we are saying, ‘That will not be done in this district. The kids we send to college will be young people of high academic integrity.’ “I’m proud of that as a classic example of kids who did something right because something went wrong,” he says. 18

Superintendent Greg Smith grew up near Detroit, Mich., and was one of eight children. He says he always knew he wanted to work in education.

It was another example of Smith’s ability to tackle difficult issues in a manner that builds understanding and unity. At a time when confidence in public education nationwide barely exceeds that of HMOs and Congress, 90 percent of Clear Creek ISD respondents in a May 2009 survey expressed a positive impression of their district. It helps that the district received the U.S. Department of Defense’s Patriot Award for support of the district’s military employees and their families. Moreover, Clear Creek ISD soon will be listed by the Houston Chronicle among the top workplaces in the Houston area. It also was selected as one of 23 districts to work with the TEA and legislators to develop new learning standards, assessments and accountability systems. This is all well and good, Smith insists, but it’s not about him. It’s all about the kids. “My job is to help educate them,” he says. “Every child has a gift, and being able to embrace that is something we’re proud of. At the end of the day, the success of our community is contingent upon the success of our children.” True enough. But at the end of the day, if and how they succeed is about Greg Smith, whether he’s in a hurry to admit it or not.

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

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

FUN FACTS ABOUT GREG SMITH Five guests at my fantasy dinner: Presidents Lincoln, Washington and Reagan; Pope John Paul I; and my faith mentor, Father Emil Furlong. Last book I really enjoyed: “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader” by Mark Sanborn. Bad habit I’d like to break: Eating too much chocolate during times of stress. If I started my career over and couldn’t pursue education, I would be: Working in the church, trying to live my life as God would want it. I think I’m doing that now, but working in the church would be another way of doing what I do best. Advice to new superintendents: Give up your golf game and buy some good walking shoes.

Who’s News Bastrop ISD Melinda Soliz has been named principal of Cedar Creek Elementary School. She joined Bastrop ISD in 2000 as a fifth grade teacher at Cedar Creek Intermediate School. In 2005 she was named the school’s assistant principal, a posiMelinda Soliz tion she held until taking on her new job. She also has served as coach for girls’ middle school basketball and fifth and sixth grade boys’ basketball. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in multidisciplinary studies, she earned her master’s degree in education from the same institution. She began her career as a second grade teacher at Smith Elementary School in Lubbock ISD. Beaumont ISD New Superintendent Timothy Chargois had been serving as the district’s assistant superintendent for research, evaluation, planning and technology. He has been with Beaumont ISD for 14 years, beginning as an assistant principal at Lucas Elementary and going on to serve as principal of that campus. Before coming to Beaumont, Chargois was a secondary school assistant principal in West Orange Cove CISD. He was also an elementary music teacher. Chargois earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Lamar University and his master’s degree in secondary administration from Stephen F. Austin State University. His doctoral degree in education is from Lamar University. Superintendent Carrol Thomas retired in September, having led the district since 1986. He came to Beaumont ISD from Houston’s North Forest ISD, where he was named Superintendent of the Year for ESC Region 4. His bachelor’s degree was awarded from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville) and his doctorate from Texas Southern University. Bonham ISD Marvin Beaty is the district’s new superintendent. He was most recently superintendent of Troup ISD. Boyd ISD Ted West, who is now the district’s superintendent, had been serving as principal of Boyd High School. Comanche ISD Superintendent Marshall Harrison comes to his new job from Reagan County ISD, where he also held the top position. He began his career in 1993 as an agriculture science teacher in Whitney ISD, going on to spend two years with Boys’ Ranch ISD teach-

ing and serving as a house parent. He next joined Lake Worth ISD in Fort Worth as the career and technology department director and as an agriculture science teacher. He joined Klondike ISD in Lamesa, where he was a high school principal, district textbook coordinator and district technologist. Three years later, he moved to Nazareth ISD to take his first superintendent position, where he remained until accepting his most recent job in Reagan County. Harrison attended Howard College in Big Spring, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University. Del Valle ISD Mary Bashara has been named principal of Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School. An educator for 38 years, she was most recently with Bay City ISD, where she was the district’s high school principal. Bashara holds a doctoral degree in Mary Bashara education from The University of Texas. Thomas “T.J.” Dilworth is now principal of Dailey Middle School. While completing his doctorate at The University of Texas, he worked as a lecturer at Concordia University and as an educational consultant for Texas Military Forces, ESC Region Thomas “T.J.” 13 and a superintendent Dilworth search firm. In addition, he was a secondary teacher and coach for nine years, a secondary assistant principal in Round Rock ISD for seven years and principal of that district’s Stony Point High School for five years. The new principal of Del Valle High School is Scott Lipton, who most recently was the principal intern at Crockett High School and interim principal at the Language Arts and Science Academy, both in Austin ISD. Also in that district, he Scott Lipton was administrative supervisor for high school curriculum programs and academy director at Johnston High School. In addition, he was a teacher and associate director at Austin’s Griffin School. He has been an educator for 18 years. Creedmoor Elementary School now has T.J. Moreno T.J. Moreno as principal.

Formerly assistant principal of Ojeda Middle School, he has been an educator for 11 years. He received his master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. The new principal of Baty Elementary School is Mary Patterson. She comes to Del Valle ISD from Round Rock ISD, where she was principal of Berkman Elementary. An educator for 24 years, she holds a master’s degree in eduMary Patterson cational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Scott Wille is now the director of the Child Development Center. Formerly the librarian at Creedmoor Elementary, he earned his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his master’s Scott Wille degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston. Elvis Williams has been chosen to serve as assistant superintendent of finance and operations. He was most recently deputy superintendent of Huntsville ISD. He has been an educator for 12 years, earning his bachelor’s degree Elvis Williams from Mississippi Valley State University and his master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University. He is at work completing his doctorate in educational administration from The University of Texas. Evadale ISD A new superintendent has been named for the district. He is Gary Fairchild, former assistant superintendent of Kirbyville ISD. Fort Bend ISD Phillys Hill has been appointed an assistant superintendent for the district. Previously executive director of elementary schools in Killeen ISD, she also served as Killeen ISD’s instructional leader and assistant superintendent for four years, elemenPhillys Hill tary principal for 13 years and assistant principal for two years. She has been a Texas Elementary Principal of the Year, See WHO’S NEWS on page 23

November / December 2012 • Texas School Business




McAllen ISD trustees named Outstanding School Board by Elizabeth Millard


hen the McAllen ISD Board of Trustees claimed the top prize as 2012 Outstanding School Board at the TASA/TASB Annual Convention in September, no one on the McAllen board held back, according to board President Hilda Garza-DeShazo. “There were high fives and hollers,” she says. “We were just really excited to have been chosen. It felt like our work was recognized, and that meant a lot to all of us and to the district.” Suzanne Marchman, TASA’s director of communications and media relations, notes that the McAllen trustees earned the top honor because they exemplify excellence in board effectiveness. She says the Texas superintendents who served on the selection committee this year appreciated the way the McAllen trustees work so well together, with parents and with the community. “The trustees are unified in their commitment to put students first, and it is evident in the innovative programs they have adopted,” she says.

Major initiatives A large part of the board’s success over the past year centers around TLC3, which stands for “Teaching Learning in the Classroom, Campus and Community.” The initiative involves integrating mobile technology throughout the district in an effort to foster higher levels of student engagement, innovation and creativity. (For more details on that initiative, see the “In the Spotlight” feature on McAllen ISD Superintendent James Ponce in the January 2012 issue.) TLC3 involved issuing iPads to about 5,000 students over the course of a year, with a goal of providing the devices to all of the district’s nearly 25,000 students, as well as teachers, by 2013. The ambitious nature of the initiative created an intense need for regular and open communication with the McAllen community, especially because some residents in the district balked at the proposal. “There was concern about the money and if technology was really the right place to put those funds,” says Garza-DeShazo.

Once the board had a firm plan about what it wanted to accomplish, the trustees went out in the community to hear concerns and lead discussions. Garza-DeShazo went on a local talk radio show and fielded calls for 40 minutes from parents and other residents. The board also held meetings where opinions could be freely expressed. “With all the outreach we did, our major goal was to be transparent about the decision,” she says. “This was an initiative that affects the whole community, and we wanted them to know why we felt that it would be such a positive step for our schools.” Another initiative, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, also required a consistent message from the board to ensure community buy-in. The board put together eight public forums to discuss the program, focusing first on the business community. As a result of that meeting, the district gained a number of advocates at local businesses, who See OUTSTANDING on pge 22

Superintendent James Ponce (third from left) congratulates his Outstanding School Board. Pictured with Ponce are (left to right) Javier Farias; Debbie Crane Aliseda, secretary; Hilda Garza-DeShazo, president; Daniel Vela; and Sam Saldivar Jr. Not pictured are Erica de la Garza, vice president, and Dr. Joseph Caporusso. 20

Texas School Business • November / December 2012



Presenting the 2012 Honor Boards

Cedar Hill ISD (Superintendent Horace Williams): (front row) Sonya Grass, member; Terrel Nemons, president; Wendy Hodges-Kent, member; and Dan Hernandez, member; (back row) Dr. Mike Marshall, secretary; Michael Quildon, vice president; Doug Heyerdahl, member; and Superintendent Horace Williams. Klein ISD (Superintendent James Cain): (front row) Superintendent James Cain; Georgan Reitmeier, member; and Ronnie Anderson, vice president; (back row) Paul Lanham, secretary; Rick Mann, member; Stephen Szymczak, member; Steven Smith, member; and Jim Smith, president. Northwest ISD (Superintendent Karen Rue): Kerry Jones, member; Daryl Laney, member; Devonna Holland, member; Mark Schluter, secretary; Jeannette Leong, former member; Mel Fuller, president; Josh Wright, vice president. Not pictured is member Judy Copp, who replaced Leong.

Longview ISD (Superintendent James Wilcox): TASA President Jeff Turner of Coppell ISD (left) congratulates Longview ISD Trustee Ted Beard, who accepts the award on behalf of the Longview ISD School Board: Sam Satterwhite, John Harrison, Dr. Chris Mack, Jud Murray, John Preston and Dr. Troy Simmons.

November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


The McAllen ISD trustees embrace and highfive one another upon hearing the Outstanding Board announcement at the TASA/TASB Annual Convention in September in Austin. OUTSTANDING continued from pge 20

then did interviews with local media about the importance of the IB. Says Garza-DeShazo: “We were so gratified to see such overwhelming support in the community for that. They saw how it fit into the education plan, and they championed it as a result.” Superintendent Ponce adds that initiatives like the IB program and TLC3 take a great deal of political capital and even a Ask about our facility planning services!

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Texas School Business • November / December 2012

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certain amount of bravery. “The board had to be willing to take a stand on local control and to be a leading voice in the community when it came to school finance issues,” he says. “I’m proud to say that we stepped up and showed that courage. We stayed focused, dedicated and passionate, even during times when we didn’t seem too popular.” Finding cohesion Such unity in the board is impressive too, because three of the seven members joined in the most recent election cycle. GarzaDeShazo, who was one of the new members and came on as board secretary (becoming president in May), credits the framework that previous board members had put in place. “For those of us who were new this year, it was easy to come in because so much work had been done to create an effective board,” she says. Another advantage was the friendliness of departing board members, as well as those who had served in the past. Garza-DeShazo says she never felt awkward or uncomfortable about calling them for advice and asking for their mentorship. “To have such support is a confidence builder,” she admits. When TASA announced McAllen ISD as the winner, Ponce says he was elated, but not completely surprised. He says his board had worked so hard — and also had received a standing ovation — during its presentation at the TASA/TASB covention. Still, he admits that hard work doesn’t always lead to appreciation. “You don’t always get that moment in your career when everyone is cheering for you,” he says. “So, for the board to have its accomplishments recognized like this is just incredible. We’re very proud.” ELIZABETH MILLARD is a freelance writer who also writes for District Administration.

Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 19

a Texas Classroom Teacher Association’s Elementary Administrator of the Year and a National Distinguished Principal. Hill holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Her doctorate is from Nova Southeastern University. Mary Jackson, who was the district’s director of special programs for 22 years, is now chief academic officer. She began as a learning disabilities teacher and also worked as a special educational specialist and supervisor. She has been presiMary Jackson dent of the Reading Recovery Council of North America and served on the board of directors of the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County. She was the recipient of the 2012 Educator of the Year award from the Fort Bend County branch of the American Association of University Women. Jackson earned her bachelor’s degree from Mercer University, her master’s degree in education from Georgia State University and her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Houston. Beth Martinez, formerly the district’s director of staffing, is now chief human resources officer. With the district for 20 years, she has been an elementary teacher, assistant principal, principal and director of organizational development. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Houston Baptist University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston. An interim superintendent has been appointed. He is Michael McKie, who had been serving as an assistant superintendent for the district. He has spent most of his career in Fort Bend ISD, working as an assistant principal, associate Michael McKie principal, principal and assistant superintendent for high schools. Additionally, he serves on the UIL Region 13 music executive committee. McKie earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University and his master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Cynthia Rincon is now chief legal counsel. She began her career as a bilingual teacher in the district, going on to work as an assistant principal in Alief ISD. Returning to Fort Bend ISD, she has been human resources director of employee services, as well as employee services coordinator and compliance coordinator. In addition, she worked in the private sector

for Bashen Consulting and for the National Labor Relations Board and was an adjunct professor at the University of Houston’s Sugar Land campus, teaching educational law. A graduate of Texas A&M Cynthia Rincon University, she earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria. Her law degree is from the University of Michigan Law School. Frisco ISD Rick Reedy, superintendent for the past 16 years, has announced his upcoming retirement. Reedy has been with the district for 37 years, beginning in 1976 as a middle school teacher and coach. During his tenure, he has seen the student populaRick Reedy tion grow from less than 1,000 students to more than 42,000. He began his career as a teacher in Whitewright ISD, going on to teach in Trenton ISD. In Frisco ISD, he also served as assistant principal and principal of Frisco High School. He was named the district’s assistant superintendent in 1992, remaining in that position until taking the top job. Reedy earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University at Commerce). Galena Park ISD Julissa Alcantar-Martinez has been named principal of Woodland Acres Elementary School. She will continue to serve as principal of Woodland Acres Middle School, a position she has held for the past three years. An educator Julissa Alcantar- for 16 years, she has a Martinez bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University and two master’s degrees, one in applied linguistics from the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico, and a second in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University. She is working on her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. Brian Allen of North Shore Senior High School has been named 2012-2013’s ESC Region 4 Assistant Principal by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. An educator for 18 years, he has been a campus administrator for seven of those. The new principal of North Shore Se-

nior High School Ninth Grade Center is Jason Bollich. An educator for 13 years, he was interim principal of North Shore Senior High School. Bollich earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brian Allen the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The new chief financial officer is Vikas Chaphekar, who has 21 years’ experience in education finance. Most recently, he was the district’s assistant superintendent for budget and compliance. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Vikas Chaphekar the University of Bombay and is a certified public accountant. Tice Elementary School began the new academic year with Amy Cole as principal. An 18-year veteran of Texas public education, she was most recently principal of Cimarron Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from State UniverAmy Cole sity of New York at Cortland College and her master’s degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. North Shore Senior High School now has Joe Coleman as principal. The 20-year educator comes to his new job from Missouri, where he was principal of Northeast High School in the Kansas City Public School District. His bachelor’s Joe Coleman degree was awarded from The University of Texas at Tyler and his master’s degree from Baylor University. Judy Elkins is the district’s new coordinator for staff development. She has been an educator for 30 years, most recently serving as assistant principal of Galena Park Middle School. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Judy Elkins Stephen F. Austin State University. A new executive director of budget and compliance has been appointed for the district. She is Sonya George, who has 22 years’ See WHO’S NEWS on page 26

November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


TASA/TASB Annual Convention attracts educators to Austin in September From September 28-30, the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Boards held their annual convention, which offered more than 200 breakout sessions on education trends and innovative programs. Leonard Merrell (center), retired from Katy ISD, with Marvin Fairman and Joe Cammarata of Birdville ISD.

Cynthia Keene of Johnson City ISD and Josie Smith-Wright of Gonzales ISD.

Gayle Culwell and Curtis Culwell of Garland ISD.

David Kaminski and Bryan Lowe of Waller ISD.

Rick Olivares of Skidmore-Tynan ISD and Joe Constante of Pettus ISD.

Levi Garlick, Gregory Trlicek and Gary Drab of La Grange ISD.

Jason Turner, TASB; Bill Savarino, DMI Entegral Solutions; and Eduardo Infante, Lyford CISD. Michael Nelson of Nr2 Archetects, Leigh Ann Glaze of San Saba ISD and Holly Wardell, attorney. Lonny Hooten, Karen Hooten, Jimmy Kemp and Jami Kemp of Lockney ISD. 24

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

Cindy Cotham and Phil Cotham of Lockney ISD.

Walsh Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C. attorneys Jesse Blakley, Melanie Charleston, Karla Schultz, Jenny Wells and Doug Brock.

Susan Kane-Lombardo and Opal Irvin of Dime Box ISD.

Dana Braack and Melinda Street of Pilot Point ISD.

Ben Carson and Mike Drolette of Hutto ISD.

Sherri Harris, Wayne Samford, Rodney Outlaw, Phil Bancale and Lillian Bancale of La Vega ISD.

Karen Ellis of Richardson ISD.

Robert Fowlkes, Walter Padgett and Paddy Magliolo of Schulenburg ISD. November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 23

experience in public education administration. She comes to her new position from ESC Region 4, where she was interim chief financial officer and business and operation solutions director. A certified public accountant, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. A new coordinator for community relations and human resources services has been appointed. She is Paula Henney, an educator for 13 years. Most recently North Shore Senior High’s coordinator for parent/ community involvement, Paula Henney she earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University. Judy Holbrook has been named director of elementary math and science. An educator for 25 years, she comes to her new position from Tice Elementary School, Judy Holbrook where she was principal.

She earned her associate’s degree from Wharton County Junior College, her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and her master’s degree from the University of Houston. Vice Sebo is the new athletics director for the district. He comes from Sheldon ISD, where he served in the same capacity. An educator for 29 years, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his master’s degree from Stephen Vice Sebo F. Austin State University. Cimarron Elementary School now has Gloria Vasquez as principal. She comes to her new school from Woodland Acres Elementary, where she also was principal. An educator for 12 years, she has a bachelor’s deGloria Vasquez gree from the University of Houston and two master’s degrees, one in counseling and one in educational leadership, from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.


Garland ISD Superintendent Curtis Culwell has announced his upcoming retirement, effective in December. He has been an educator for 37 years — 23 of those spent as a superintendent. He began his career as an English teacher and coach at Garland ISD’s Lake View Centennial High School in 1976, going on to serve as an administrator at Brandenburg Middle School and Garland High School. In 1983 he transferred to La Marque ISD to serve as a high school principal. He took his first superintendent position in Pittsburg ISD, followed by service as deputy superintendent and then superintendent of Lubbock ISD. He came to Garland ISD in 1999 to take the top position. Culwell, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University, holds master’s and doctoral degrees in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Joe Harrington has been named principal of Colleyville Heritage High School, moving into his new job from Medlin Middle School in Northwest ISD, where he also served in the top position. He has been an educator for 26 years, working as associate principal for curriculum and instruction in Northwest ISD,

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Who’s News assistant principal of Northwest High School, and assistant principal at Medlin. He also was that district’s summer programs coordinator for two years and secondary summer school principal for two years. He was a teacher and coach at Marcus and Flower Mound high schools, both in Lewisville ISD; at Northwest High School and Covington High School in Covington, Tenn.; and at St. Aloysius School in Buffalo, N.Y. Harrington holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Buffalo State College, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. The new chief financial officer is DaiAnn Mooney. A CPA, she has been a part of the district’s financial services department for 16 years as a staff accountant, director of budget and accounting and, most recently, director of finance. She also DaiAnn Mooney has served twice as the district’s interim chief financial officer. Mooney is a graduate of Texas Tech University. A new director of human resources has been appointed. She is Gema Padgett, who most recently was director of human resources for Duncanville ISD. Prior to that, she was a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Mansfield ISD. She Gema Padgett has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. She is working on her doctorate. Jasper ISD A new superintendent has been named. He is Richard Skuza, formerly deputy superintendent of Ennis ISD. Kenedy County-Wide CSD Randy Hoyer, former principal of Bush Middle School in San Antonio’s North East ISD, is now the district superintendent. Named the 2010 ESC Region 20 Principal of the Year, Hoyer began his career in 1984 in Santa Rosa ISD as a social studies teacher and varsity basketball coach. He then moved to New Mexico, where he spent a year as a special education teacher in Albuquerque public schools. Returning to Texas, he joined North East ISD as a special education teacher at Jackson Middle School. He next was appointed assistant principal at Driscoll Middle School and

then at MacArthur High School. He took his first principal job at Kruger Middle School, where he served for five years before working in the same capacity at Bush Middle School. He is president-elect of the Texas Middle Schools Association. Hoyer earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from St. Cloud University in Minnesota and his master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He is working on his doctoral degree in the cooperative superintendency program at The University of Texas.

Kilgore ISD Dennis Williams is the new interim superintendent. He had been serving as deputy superintendent. A native of Kilgore and graduate of Kilgore ISD schools, he served in his previous position for three years. He began his career as a Dennis Williams coach and history teacher See WHO’S NEWS on page 28

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 27

in West Rusk CISD, moving to Arp ISD to work in the same capacity. He then was named head football coach, remaining in that position until transferring to Marshall ISD to spend 11 years teaching history, sociology, psychology and physical education and coaching football, basketball, powerlifting, and track and field. He was next appointed assistant principal of Young Middle School. He took his first principal job in 2005 at McMichael Middle School in Nacogdoches ISD and the following year be-

came principal of Nacogdoches High School, where he remained until joining Kilgore ISD in 2008 as assistant superintendent of human resources. Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education and sociology from Lamar University and his master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Lasara ISD A new superintendent has been named for the district. She is Sara Alvarado, who comes to her new job from La Joya ISD,



where she was the elementary principal. Leon ISD A new superintendent is in place for the district. He is Mike Baldree, who comes to his new job from Blooming Grove ISD, where he also held the top position. An educator since 1984, he began as a teacher and coach in Corsicana ISD, Mike Baldree going on to serve in the same capacities in Thorndale, Athens and Alto ISDs. He took his first administrative post in 1990 as Whitehouse ISD’s high school assistant principal. He next served as the high school principal in Sealy ISD, then was named coordinator of finance and auxiliary services in Liberty ISD, where he remained until 2002, when he took the superintendent role in Blooming Grove ISD. Baldree earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Lockhart ISD Bluebonnet Elementary School began the new academic year with Barbara Bernal as principal. She has been with Lockhart ISD for 33 years, serving as a principal, district level director, assistant principal and teacher. Her bachelor’s Barbara Bernal and master’s degrees are from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). Anna Buentello has been named principal of Navarro Elementary School. Most recently an assistant principal in Austin and Aldine ISDs, she has been an elementary teacher and principal. She spent eight years as a private school principal. Buentello earned her Anna Buentello bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville) and her master’s degree in administration from Corpus Christi State University (now Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi). TSB

Weatherford Elementary School Plano Independent School District www.perkinswill.com 28

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

(Editor’s note: Due to space constraints, we had to hold some Who’s News items for the January issue. Texas School Business appreciates all your contributions!)




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November / December 2012 • Texas School Business


THE BACK PAGE by Riney Jordan

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Finding the best teachers


t’s always a good thing to pause once in a while and re-evaluate what you’re doing. So many activities, procedures and methods have been around for so long that we no longer give them much thought. We just do them. For example, when was the last time we took a critical look at the subjects we require of students? Are all of them still relevant for all students? I don’t know. I’m just asking. However, there are some life skills and characteristics that I believe always will be required of us as individuals. I shall never forget a portion of a letter I read several years ago that was written by a survivor of the Holocaust. It read: “My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your children become human.” With that thought in mind, I’ve always believed that the best teachers — the best parents, the best coaches, the best ministers — teach best by example. So, what should we be looking for in our educational staff members that will help our students become caring, compassionate, understanding individuals? 1. Effective teachers love to teach. You see it in everything they do. They radiate happiness and joy because they know they are doing something major in another person’s life. They truly enjoy being in the midst of their students. Take good care of these educators! They are priceless in our schools. 2. Effective teachers relate to kids. It’s no different than good parents who make the effort to relate to their children. Think for a moment about your favorite teacher. No doubt, you felt connected to this individual. Why? Because they did whatever it took to get to know you, to take time to listen to you, to leave no doubt in your mind that they genuinely cared about you. 3. Effective teachers are good communicators. They effectively communicate with 30

students, parents, other staff members, administration and the community. And here is the evaluation that proves their effectiveness: Those students, parents, staff members and community members are telling others about this remarkable teacher. Good news travels fast, and everyone — yes, everyone — knows who these effective, caring, positive teachers are in your schools. 4. Effective teachers teach far more than the assigned curriculum. How true! When I think back to my favorite teacher, the first thing that comes to mind is not the information from the textbook, but rather her comments about how to treat other people, her reaction when someone disappointed her, and her smile and encouraging words when we needed it. She impacted the lives of thousands of students in her long career, and a student who had her as a teacher was forever changed. 5. Effective teachers are good role models. Actually, all of the other components of an effective teacher could be rolled into this one, because to be an exemplary role model, you must love your job, relate to your students, be a good communicator and teach life lessons through your actions. If our world ever needed good role models, it is now. When you read the heartbreaking statistics about abused, battered and neglected children, we should be more committed than ever to reach out. When the top news story concerns a child who was molested by a teacher, we should be incensed! If we could only see the deplorable conditions some of our students are living in when they leave our classrooms — oh, how our attitudes would change. Look for these qualities on your campuses. Praise these effective teachers publicly so that others might know their good works. If ineffective teachers cannot change, get rid of them. It’s too important, and our kids deserve only the best and most effective teachers. RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book “All the Difference” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@yahoo.com or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

Texas School Business • November / December 2012

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