The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER
Texas School Business
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR
Mary Ann Whiteker Hudson ISD
Also in this issue: 2015 Outstanding School Board TAGT President Mary Christopher TCASE President Deena Hill
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School Districts in Partnership to Achieve Excellence
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
2015 Outstanding Board Cypress-Fairbanks ISD trustees keep pace with fast-growing district By Raven L. Hill
22 2015 Key Communicator Jimmy Don Aycock earns TSPRA’s highest honor
14 Cover Story
2015 Superintendent of the Year
24 TAGT President Profile Mary Christopher speaks up for gifted children
Hudson ISD’s Mary Ann Whiteker strives for excellence for all children
by Merri Rosenberg
26 TCASE President Profile Fort Bend ISD’s Deena Hill brings passion, focus to improving children’s lives By Elizabeth Millard
4 THSCA convention held in Houston
By Bobby Hawthorne
Departments 6 Who’s News 32 Regional View 36 The Arts 42 Calendar 46 Ad Index
5 From the Editor by Katie Ford 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne 29 Digital Frontier by Alice E. Owen 34 Student Voices by Andrew Walker 46 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
28 TACS gathers in San Antonio 30 Austin hosts 2015 TASA/TASB Convention in October 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. Cover story photo by Brian Hatton. Cover art © kotoffei/Shutterstock.com
THSCA convention held in Houston The Texas High School Coaches Association held its annual Convention and Coaching School, which drew nearly 12,000 coaches and athletic directors to Houston.
Marques Evans of Southside ISD, Anthony Christian of North East ISD and Rosa Evans of Southside ISD.
Shane Dines, Michael Cleland, Steven Turner, Shawn Riley and Kevin Timmons of Pearland ISD.
Jimmy Howard of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Aaron Hunter of New Caney ISD.
Carmalle McGee of Dallas ISD, Eric Mims of Duncanville ISD and JB Wallace of Dallas ISD.
Celeste Stroman, Alicia Pena and Natalie Garza of Jim Hogg County ISD.
Charlie Camp of Houston Baptist University and Jesse Bell of Garland ISD.
Norris Taff of Livingston ISD and Grady Rowe of Bellville ISD.
Rusty Brackett of Rockwall ISD, Brian Ludlow of Garland ISD and Trey Brooks of Rockwell ISD.
From the editor
he November/December issue always feels like a “Who’s Who” in Texas public education. From TASB’s Superintendent of the Year to TASA’s Outstanding School Board to TSPRA’s Key Communicator, these pages are chock full of winning personalities, to include the presidents of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education. These individuals demonstrate an unwavering dedication to ensuring excellence in education for all students, and we are honored to share their stories. Also, in this issue, you’ll find stories of others who are thinking innovatively and making a difference, whether in a classroom (see “The Arts,” page 36) or across an entire region (see “Regional View,” page 32). We hope their stories inspire you to implement similar programs and best practices in your district.
Texas School Business
Keep an eye out for the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights 2015-2016 special issue, which is slated to reach mailboxes on Dec. 1. We had a record number of nominations this time around, and I’m super excited about the stories we have to share in this special issue.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 Volume LXI, Issue 12
At Texas School Business, we make it a practice to seek out and publish the good things happening in Texas public schools, and we never have a shortage of stories. Keep up the good work and don’t be shy about letting us know what’s happening in your district or school. You can send story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Katie Ford DESIGN
Phaedra Strecher COLUMNISTS
Katie Ford Editorial Director
CORRECTIONS We want to correct a few items in the September/October 2015 cover story, “Stress and the brain.” Turnaround for Children is a nonprofit organization. It is in its second year of a partnership with Fairmont Neighborhood School in the Bronx, N.Y. The photo on the WalkerJones Education Campus was taken by Kate Felsen. Sheila Walker is an assistant scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education. Texas School Business regrets the errors.
Bobby Hawthorne Riney Jordan Terry Morawski Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER
Ann M. Halstead
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Johnny L. Veselka
ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVICES AND SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATION
Ann M. Halstead
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS
Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. © Copyright 2015 Texas Association of School Administrators
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Who’s News Abilene ISD Chris Halifax now leads
Reagan Elementary School as principal. She began her career in 1998 after earning a bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University. Her master’s degree in administration was awarded from Texas Woman’s University. Sergio Jimenez, who was
most recently assistant principal of Cooper High School, is now principal of Ortiz Elementary. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sul Ross State University. Cody Salyers, a native of Abilene and graduate of Abilene High School, is the new head baseball coach at Cooper High School. He has spent the past seven years in that position at Greenville High School in Greenville ISD. Salyers is a graduate of Abilene Christian University.
The Woodson Center for Excellence has welcomed Jaime Tindall as principal. A graduate of McMurry University, she began her career in Abilene ISD in 1998 and has been an instructional specialist at Mann Middle School for the past two years. Katheryn Walker has been tapped to serve as principal of Mann Middle School. An educator with Abilene ISD for 21 years, she was principal of the Woodson Center for Excellence since 2012. Walker earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University.
An Abilene native and product of Abilene ISD schools has been named district superintendent. David Young spent the past three years in the top position at Pampa ISD.
Allen ISD The new principal of Boyd Elementary School is Regina Frazier, who returns to Allen ISD from Royse City ISD, where she was principal of Cherry Intermediate School since 2013. She holds degrees from Abilene Christian University, the University of North Texas and Dallas Baptist University.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
Alpine ISD A new superintendent has been hired for the district. Rebecca Watley was most recently director of ESC Region 18’s 588 Special Education Cooperative.
Bangs ISD Bill Foster, superintendent of Bangs ISD
since 2008, has retired. He worked in Texas public education for 33 years, 26 of those as an administrator. Before joining Bangs ISD, he was superintendent of Rising Star ISD.
Beaumont ISD Now leading Ozen High School as principal is Shannon Allen, who was principal of Marshall Middle School since 2007. Brandon Basinger is the principal of Mar-
shall Middle School. He comes to his new position from Dishman Elementary, where he also held the top job.
Odie Harris has retired from his position as principal of Ozen High School.
Birdville ISD Susan Nall has been chosen to lead Snow Heights Elementary School as principal. She has worked as an assistant principal at several Birdville ISD elementaries since 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree from Texas Christian University.
Brazosport ISD Maria Espinoza, who has been with Brazosport ISD for 11 years and was assistant principal of Brannen Elementary since 2014, is now principal of Fleming Elementary School. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and has a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.
The new director of special services is Lorin Furlow, a product of Brazosport ISD schools. Furlow received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. Now serving as principal of Clute Intermediate School is Chris Loftin. He comes to the district from Clear Creek ISD, bringing with him nine years of administrative experience. Loftin has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Long Elementary School began the school year with Margaret Meadows as principal. The 17-year veteran educator has spent the past two years as principal of West Brazos Junior High. She holds a bachelor’s degree in child development and family rela-
tionships from The University of Texas and a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The new principal of Ney Elementary School is Vicky Parr. She returns to the district, where she was assistant principal of Ney from 2003 to 2009, after spending five years with the U.S. Department of Defense as principal of an elementary and a middle school campus on the Marine Corps air station installation in Beaufort, S.C. Tracie Phillips, executive director of administrative services, has been an educator for 30 years, nine of those with Brazosport ISD and the past two as principal of Brazosport High. The Brazosport High School graduate received her associate’s degree from Brazosport College and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston.
Brazoswood High School welcomed Rita Pintavalle as principal when the academic year began. She comes from Kennedale ISD, where she was principal of discipline and grants, as well as a high school principal. The new chief academics officer, Clara Sale-Davis, returns to the district where she previously worked for 25 years after serving Pasadena ISD as executive director of curriculum and instruction. Richard Yoes is now principal of Lanier
Middle School after serving as executive director of curriculum and instruction in Pasadena ISD.
Bryan ISD The district has named a new director of special education. Deborah Akin, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas, has worked in the same capacity in Lexington ISD since 2007.
Burkeville ISD Brant Graham, the new superintendent,
was previously the director of special education services in Beaumont ISD.
Canutillo ISD Jesus Barba has been appointed principal of Damian Elementary School. The El Paso native was most recently an assistant principal at Desert Wind School in Socorro ISD. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from The University of Texas and his master’s degree in education administration from Concordia University.
The new principal of Childress Elementary School is James Steinhauser. He returns to Canutillo ISD, where he previously was executive director of school improvement, and from El Paso ISD, where he served in central administration roles. Steinhauser earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from New Mexico State University.
Clint ISD The district has named Philip Acosta the executive director of technology. He comes to his new job from Socorro ISD, where he was manager of information systems. Acosta holds a master’s degree in information technology from The University of Texas at El Paso. Dawn Davis is now principal of Macias El-
ementary School, where she spent the past four years as assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science education from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree in reading from Sul Ross State University.
Garrett Richey has been named principal of
Clint High School after serving as assistant principal since 2008. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from New Mexico State University.
Now serving as principal of East Montana Middle School is Rita Sotelo. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications and Spanish from Texas State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. Surratt Elementary School now has Melissa Williams as principal. She was assistant principal of Clint Junior High for the past three years. She has a master’s degree in educational administration.
Community ISD The district’s new director of technology is Fernando de Zavala. Roosevelt Nivens, the new superintendent, was the assistant superintendent of Lancaster ISD.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Kimberly Criswell is the new
principal of Jowell Elementary. The former Danish Elementary assistant principal is a graduate of St. Thomas University, where she also received her master’s degree in special education. Former Cypress Falls High Associate Principal Reginal Mitchell has been promoted to principal of Thornton Middle School. Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University and his master’s degree
in education and administration from Concordia University.
and policy studies from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Chad Perry, most recently an
Sandra McCoy-Jackson is now assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She comes to Duncanville from Brazosport ISD, where she was assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. Prior to that she was with Allen ISD.
educational specialist with ESC Region 4, is now director of the Adaptive Behavior Center. Perry received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.
Dallas ISD Stephanie Elizalde, who came to Dallas ISD
in 2011 after 26 years as a teacher, principal and administrator in Texas districts, including San Antonio and Southwest ISDs, has been named deputy chief of school leadership.
New Dallas ISD Chief of Staff Cynthia Wilson has returned to her home state from South Carolina, where she was superintendent in the Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas, her master’s degree from the University of Houston and her doctorate from South Carolina State University.
Denton ISD Three Denton ISD employees — David Hicks, Susannah O’Bara and Vicki Sargent — have been promoted to serve as area superintendents. Additional appointments are: Lyneille Meza, director of data and assess-
Gwen Perkins, executive director of profes-
Robert Stewart, assistant superintendent of human resources; and Jay Weidenbach, director of special educa-
Dew ISD Darrell Evans, who had been serving as
principal of Teague High School in Teague ISD, is now Dew ISD superintendent. An educator for 30 years, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, followed by his master’s degree in education leadership from Texas Woman’s University.
Duncanville ISD Devin Hanes is the district’s new secondary
math coordinator. This marks Hanes’ return to Duncanville ISD from Dallas ISD, where he spent the past three years as an instructional coach and coordinator. The district’s new director of accounting is Tim Hood. Most recently a teacher and coach in Waco ISD, he holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in educational leadership
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Jana Barlett, now an assistant principal at Chisholm Trail High School, comes to her new job from Northwest ISD, bringing with her six years of experience as an educator. Her master’s degree in education was awarded from Lamar University.
Saginaw High School now has Javonna Bass as academic assistant principal. An educator for nine years, she was most recently with Northwest ISD. She received her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at Arlington. Now serving as assistant principal of Lake Pointe Elementary School is Melissa Curtis, who has spent the past three years as a response to intervention specialist at Remington Point Elementary. She holds a master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University. Assistant principal of Bryson Elementary for the past seven years, Melissa Davis now serves as principal of Comanche Springs Elementary School. She has been an educator for 17 years and received her master’s degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Nika Davis, the new Boswell High principal, was the school’s academic assistant principal for the past three years. An educator for 18 years, she earned her master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University.
High Country Elementary School has a new assistant principal. RandiAnn Kula comes to the district from Northwest ISD. She has 10 years of experience and a master’s degree in education from The University of Texas at Arlington. Newly arrived from Crowley ISD, Creekview Middle School Assistant Principal Justin Main received his master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. Mary Mendell, assistant principal of Co-
manche Springs Elementary School, comes to the district from Azle ISD with 21 years of experience. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Jennifer Railsback, new to the district from
Northwest ISD, is coordinator of career and technical education at the Hollenstein Career and Technology Center. Her master’s degree in education was awarded from Concordia University. > See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
El Paso ISD
> Continued from page 7
Sharon Aziz, Logan Elementary School;
Karen Ray has been named director of the
Department of Professional Learning and Advanced Academics, coming to her new job from Saginaw High School, where she was academic assistant principal. She earned her doctorate from Tarleton State University.
Jason Sneed, newly appointed principal of
Wayside Middle School, brings 20 years of classroom and administrative experience from Northwest ISD. He received his master’s degree in music from Texas Woman’s University. New Boswell High School Assistant Principal Chandra Turrentine has been an educator for 13 years. She earned her master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Whitney Wheeler is now an assistant principal at Bryson Elementary School. She joins the district from Keller ISD and holds a master’s degree from Texas Wesleyan University.
Ector County ISD Fourteen new principals and central office administrators have been named. They are: Marlane Burns, executive director of sec-
Lauren Crane, principal, Goliad Elementary
Brandy Ferrer, director of professional
Mark Ferrer, principal, Bonham Middle
Marissa King, principal, Blackshear Elementary School; Tina Lopez, principal, Bush New Tech
Odessa High School;
Lindsey Lumpkin, principal, Falcon Early
College High School;
Mark Lyon, executive director of fine arts; Annette Macias, director of accountability
and student improvement;
Stacey Molyneaux, principal, Blanton Ele-
Becky Phillips, principal, Ross Elementary
Betsabe Salcido, director of bilingual/ESL
Tracey Taylor, executive director of special education; and Amanda Warber, principal, Zavala Elemen-
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
Newly appointed principals for the district are: Mary Broderick-Vargas, Moye Elementary
Pauletta Howard, Newman Elementary
Christian James, Telles Academy; Adan Lopez, College, Career and Technical
Yeni Ontiveros, Dowell Elementary School; Rosa Parga, Lea Elementary School; Sandra Sanchez, Bonham Elementary
Rogelio Segovia, Magoffin Middle School; Sandra Spivey, Polk Elementary School; Rachel Villalobos, Bond Elementary
Ernie Watts, Delta Academy; Teresa Zamarippa, Guillen Middle School.
Fort Bend ISD Eddie Damian, talent man-
agement senior consultant in the district’s Human Resources Department, is the newly elected president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. An educator for 24 years, he has served on the association’s board and on numerous committees for the past 10 years.
Fort Worth ISD A new superintendent has been hired for the district. Kent Paredes Scribner comes to Fort Worth from Phoenix, where he was superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School, Arizona’s largest high school district, since 2008. He also serves as commissioner for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Frenship ISD The new principal of Frenship High School is Greg Hernandez, who was assistant principal of the campus from 2005 to 2011, when he took the reins as principal of Heritage High. Gina Laughlin, an assistant principal at Heritage Middle School since it opened in 2011, is now that school’s principal.
Frisco ISD Former Elliott Elementary School Assistant Principal Mindy Arends has been promoted to professional learning coordinator. She received her bachelor’s
degree from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree from Dallas Baptist and is at work on her doctorate. Victoria Bobo, previously a teacher at Fowler Middle School, has moved to Hunt Middle School as an assistant principal. An educator for 10 years, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The University of Texas at Arlington.
Before becoming assistant principal at Lone Star High School, Jody Brown was a teacher and coach at that campus. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Jacob Duce, former assistant principal of Lone Star High School, is now associate principal of Frisco High. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree from Concordia University.
Before accepting her new position as an assistant principal at Staley Middle School, Toni Estell worked in the same capacity at Richardson North Junior High in Richardson ISD. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Stillman College, she went on to receive two master’s degrees, from The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of Texas at Arlington. New Trent Middle School Assistant Principal Jeff Guelker comes to the district from Gainesville ISD, where he held the same position at Lee Intermediate School. His bachelor’s degree is from Hardin-Simmons University and his master’s degree is from Lamar University. Paige Hoes, who spent the past two years as assistant principal of Staley Middle School, has been promoted to principal of Vandeventer Middle School. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree from the University of North Texas.
Now serving as an assistant principal of Frisco High School is Jason Jetton, who worked in the same capacity at North Garland High School in Garland ISD. He is a graduate of Midwestern State University with a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Duana Kindle comes to her new position as director of elementary personnel from Richardson ISD, where she was executive director of special services management system development. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas, she received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce. > See Who’s News, page 10
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
Downside of moving up by Jim Walsh
o, you got a promotion. Congratulations! Your new job will provide you with professional challenges, a higher salary and a more prestigious listing on your résumé. But there is one downside: Your First Amendment rights just shrank. That’s the lesson derived from Rock v. Levinski. Joyce Rock was principal of Career Prep High School, an alternative school in Shiprock, N.M. In May 2013, the district was planning to close the school due to budget concerns. At a public meeting to discuss this, Rock opposed the plan. Among other things, she expressed concerns that some of the students at Career Prep would not be successful in a more traditional, larger school. The superintendent did not appreciate this. He charged her with being unprofessional. The superintendent held the belief that campus administrators should show support for administrative decisions and should certainly not question the ability of kids to be successful in the school to which they will be assigned. Rock was not the only speaker who opposed the planned school closure during the public meeting. Others spoke out as well. The school board apparently took the concerns to heart. The very next day, the board announced that it had found additional funds and would keep the school open. This must have been a relief to Rock, but what happened next was not. Four days later, her immediate supervisor put her on a growth plan, citing her failure to publicly support the superintendent as one reason.
no doubt, was a nice honor, but she was now out of a job and not happy about it. Rock filed suit against the superintendent and the district, claiming that they had retaliated against her for the exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech. The court ruled in favor of the school district and the superintendent. Critical to the court’s reasoning was the fact that Rock was a high-ranking school official: Rock was not an ordinary employee of the District. She was not a teacher, but a principal, a high-ranking member of the management team. The court cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision for the proposition that “the burden of caution employees bear with respect to the words they speak will vary with the extent of authority and public accountability the employee’s role entails” (Rankin v. McPherson, 483 U.S. 378 at 390, 1987). In support of its decision, the court cited two other circuit court decisions that specifically dealt with principals and came to the same conclusion: Sharp v. Lindsey, 285 F.3d 479 (6th Circuit, 2002) and Vargas-Harrison v. Racine Unified School District, 272 F.3d 964 (7th Circuit, 2001). Summing it up, the court said: A superintendent should be able to expect loyalty and support, at least in public, from a high-ranking employee, like a principal, who is responsible for implementing his policies.
It got worse. Two weeks later, the superintendent put Rock on administrative leave for the remainder of her contract and decided that she would not be given another contract.
Bottom line: The higher up you go, the more cautious you should be. Disagreements with the boss should be expressed with tact and diplomacy. You school administrators make more money than the custodians and bus drivers, but they have greater freedom of speech. It’s a tradeoff.
A couple of weeks after that, the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals named Rock as its Principal of the Year. This,
The case is Rock v. Levinski, decided by the 10th Circuit on June 29. It is cited at 791 F.3d 1215.
JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Who’s News > Continued from page 8
Formerly an instructional coach and administrative intern at Lone Star High School, Albert Leal is now an assistant principal there. He received a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. Anita Lightfoot, who was an
principal of Ashley Elementary School from Irving ISD, where she was principal of Lee Elementary. The University of Oklahoma graduate earned her master’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and is pursuing her doctorate.
recently as principal of the Zotz Education Center. Johnson is a graduate of Sam Houston State University with a degree in speech communications. Her master’s degree in educational administration is from Prairie View A&M University.
John Waldrip, who was an instructional
Terri Moore, the newly appointed executive director of school administration and professional development, is a 24-year employee of the district, whose most recent position was senior director for school administration and leadership development. She received her bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University and her master’s degree from the University of Houston.
coach at Phillips Elementary, has been moved to Isbell Elementary to serve as an assistant principal. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University and his master’s degree from Lamar University.
assistant principal at Hunt Middle School, now leads Staley Middle School as principal. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
Catherine Young, previously an instruction-
Former Lone Star High School Associate Principal Erin Miller is now principal of Frisco High. She is a graduate of Texas Tech University and has a master’s degree from Lamar University.
Former Frisco High English teacher Travis Zambiasi now works as an assistant principal at Fowler Middle School. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Austin College.
Ashley Nelson has transitioned from serving as a digital learning coach at Independence High School to working as a professional learning coordinator. The 13-year education veteran received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Dana Racanelli, who was an English teacher at the Student Opportunity Center, is now an assistant principal there. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Amberton University and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University.
The new assistant principal of Lone Star High School, Mackensie Shirack, was previously a teacher and coach at Trinity High in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University. Lilianna Smith, who was a digital learning
coach, is now coordinator of elementary instructional technology. She has been an educator for 20 years after earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and her master’s degree from The University of Texas at Brownsville.
Keith Tolleson has been promoted from his
job as an assistant principal at Lone Star High School to associate principal of the school. He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce and his master’s degree from Lamar University. Wendi Vaughn comes to her new job as
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
al coach at Sem and Purefoy elementaries, is now an assistant principal at the Early Childhood School. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from The University of Texas at El Paso and her master’s degree from Lamar University.
Galena Park ISD Now serving as director of elementary instructional support is Livia Callahan, who comes to her new position from Humble ISD, where she was coordinator for elementary English language arts and spelling. She has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational administration, both from the University of North Texas. The district’s new Early Head Start program director is Barbara Garrett, whose prior position was as an early intervention specialist for Easter Seals of Greater Houston. She holds a bachelor’s degree in child development from Texas Southern University and a master’s degree in instructional design and technology from Walden University. The new principal of the Zotz Education Center, Julien Guillory, is the former deputy principal of North Shore Senior High School. An educator for 18 years, he received his bachelor’s degree in pre-law from Southern University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University. Sherronda Johnson has been
selected to serve as senior director for school and community relations. She has spent her entire career with Galena Park ISD, most
Robert Seibert, coordinator for advanced academics, has been with the district for seven years as a pre-AP English language arts and sixth grade gifted and talented teacher. He received his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Bowling Green University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.
Godley ISD Jeanne Cobb now serves as
executive director of learning and innovation. An employee of the district for 17 years, she was principal of Godley Intermediate School for the past three years.
Jason Karnes is the new principal of
Godley Intermediate School, where he was assistant principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture development from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University.
Cindy Luce, a former math teacher and math specialist, is the new assistant principal of Godley Elementary School. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Texas State University.
Hale Center ISD Joey Nichols has come out of retirement to accept the position of interim superintendent of Hale Center ISD. He was most recently superintendent of Petersburg ISD.
Hallsville ISD Paula Rogers has retired. An educator for 36 years, she was the district’s deputy superintendent for instruction, accountability and personnel for the past 11 years. She will continue her involvement in education through her work as an independent consultant.
> See Who’s News, page 13
What will history write? by Bobby Hawthorne
n mid-December of 1988, I was wandering the soggy sidelines of The University of Texas’ Memorial Stadium, shooting photos of a state semifinal football game, when I bumped into then-UIL Director Bill Farney. He introduced me to a guy he said was a Philadelphia sportswriter.
ect were shocked when he signed on, and we delighted in his contribution.
“This is Buzz,” Farney said. “He’s working on a book about Odessa Permian.”
“…the soldier-straight lines of the band playing the one song they had practiced over and over and knew perfectly, the little kids in the corner begging for the chinstraps of their high school heroes, the swaying back and forth of thousands like a grand chorus line, drenched in the school color.”
And I thought, “Oh, great. Just what we need. More Permian idolatry,” but I shook his hand and wished him luck and figured I’d never hear from him again.
The imagery is idyllic, simple and pure. It invokes the best of youth, family and community. It’s what we thought high school football was all about.
Two years later, H.C. “Buzz” Bissinger’s book, “Friday Night Lights,” hit the shelves, and it’s now an American classic, almost the equal to “In Cold Blood” and “The Right Stuff ” and Tracy Kidder’s “Among Schoolchildren.” Sports Illustrated ranks it fourth on its Top 100 sports books of all time.
But now, I’m not so sure.
I keep a dog-eared copy of FNL handy and regularly thumb through it just to remind myself how brilliant it is. I love its honesty and courage: the description of the pep squad — the Pepettes — and this quote from a Permian High English teacher: “I don’t mind it’s emphasized,” she said of football. “I just wish our perspective was turned a little bit. I just wish we could emphasize other things. The thing is, I don’t think we should have to go to the booster club to get books. I don’t think we should have to beg everyone in town for materials.” Of course, such comments are heresy to some of the Mojo die-hards who insist Bissinger invented quotes and twisted facts. They’ll never believe otherwise, even though such allegations have been proven false time and again. Frankly, I don’t know Bissinger any better today than I did in 1988, except that he penned the foreword to “Home Field,” a landscape book of photos of Texas high school football stadiums. Those of us involved with the proj-
Today, when I close my eyes and think about high school football, I see two defensive backs, shifting 10 yards or so behind the line of scrimmage, moving into position to plow into a game official. The first rams into the official’s mid-back. The other spears him while he’s writhing on the ground. I can’t shake the image of the referee’s head snapping back, his cap flying backwards as the first boy blindsides him. It torments me because, I fear, it portends a paradigm shift, away from the “simple and pure” game I cherish, toward a street culture I abhor. I want to believe this incident is an aberration, but I refuse to be a calcified fool, so, I’ll wait and see. In the meantime, I’m reading a book, written by an old friend, Charlena Chandler, about her 40-plus years as an Iraan High English and journalism teacher.
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She writes: “These young men exist in a vacuum, outside the realm of reality, living a dream. They are heroes, football heroes who suit up in school colors and transcend ordinary existence for just a short time, for just a few nights of glory.” What scares me is that dreams can turn into nightmares, and a night of glory into a lifetime of regret.
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
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Midwinter Conference 2016
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The TASA Midwinter Conference features a comprehensive selection of concurrent sessions, including examples of successful practices in school districts throughout the state, and many other topics vital to school leadership teams. Log onto our website to learn more about the variety of activities and sessions featured in this innovative conference.
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Sir Ken Robinson is a leading authority on creativity and innovation, whose latest book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, is a New York Times best seller.
George Couros is the Division Principal for Parkland School Division in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. He believes in inspiring kids to follow their passions, while letting them inspire us to do the same.
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“Through the implementation of ideas learned at TEPSA conferences and webinars, our student achievement continues to improve.” -Dianne Timberlake, Hardin-Jefferson ISD
Arm your principals with the knowledge and resources they need to ensure students succeed in your district! Scan QR code or visit www.tepsa.org to learn how TEPSA supports school leaders and PreK-8 students.
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Who’s News > Continued from page 10
Harris County Department of Education A new director of early Head Start education has been announced. She is Carmen Brown, who comes to HCDE from Galena Park ISD, where she served in the same position. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Houston.
Huntsville ISD Greg Rodriguez, deputy superintendent for
student services, brings 20 years of experience to his new position. He was most recently with San Marcos CISD.
A new assistant superintendent for fiscal operations has joined the district. He is Kevin Stanford, who spent the past 10 years with Kerens ISD, most recently as superintendent.
Hurst-Euless-Bedford Aungelique Brading has been
appointed to serve as principal of Viridian Elementary School. She has spent the past four years in the lead position at Stonegate Elementary.
The board of trustees has named Deanne Hullender the district’s public relations and marketing officer. She is a graduate of Baylor University with a degree in communications. She was most recently with Dallas County Schools.
Irving ISD Now serving as principal of Bowie Middle School is Jennifer Anderson. She was most recently associate principal at MacArthur High School. Anderson received her bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University and her master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University, where she is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership.
Jacksonville ISD Former Taft ISD Superintendent Chad Kelly has been named superintendent of Jacksonville ISD.
Keller ISD Athletics Director Bob DeJonge was named the PBK Sports Athletic Director of the Year by the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association during the organiza-
tion’s summer convention in Houston. He has been with Keller ISD since 1991. Now serving as principal of Park Glen Elementary School is Craig Weston. The 11-year education veteran was most recently an assistant principal in the district. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from The University of Texas and his master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.
Kermit ISD Denise Shetter, former superintendent
of Winona ISD, is now superintendent of Kermit ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas Permian Basin, a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University and a doctorate from Texas Tech University.
Kingsville ISD Two new principals have been appointed: Guadalupe Martinez, Gillett Intermediate School, and Alys Williams, Memorial Middle School.
Klein ISD Longtime Klein ISD Superintendent Jim Cain has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of the 2015-2016 school year. He began his career 47 years ago in his home state of Illinois and has been with Klein ISD for 35 years, serving as superintendent since 2004.
La Porte ISD Former La Porte Junior High Principal Cynthia Anderson is now the district’s executive director of special programs. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Candace Pohl has joined La
Porte ISD as principal of La Porte Junior High. She spent the past three years as assistant principal of Pasadena High School in Pasadena ISD. Pohl received her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Angie Viator has moved
from serving as principal of La Porte Elementary School for the past four years to her new position as La Porte ISD’s human resources director. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.
The new principal of La Porte Elementary School is Carol Williams, former assistant principal of La Porte Junior High School. A graduate of La Porte High, she completed her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University and her master’s degree at Lamar University.
Lake Worth ISD The district’s new head football coach and athletic director is Keri Timmerman, former assistant head coach at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. He is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, where he played varsity football and earned his master’s degree in sports administration and management from McMurry University.
Lamar CISD Formerly with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, new George Ranch High School Principal Frederick Black is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. He has two master’s degrees from Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate from Stephen F. Austin State University. The new director of transportation is Bill Conaway, who was assistant director of
transportation for Clear Creek ISD.
Leslie Haack is the newly appointed executive director of secondary education. A graduate of the University of Kansas with a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, she was most recently principal of George Ranch High School, which she opened in 2009. Creighton Jaster has been chosen to lead
Lamar Junior High as principal. The former assistant principal of Lamar Consolidated High School graduated from Texas A&M University and received his master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria.
Jerry Kipping, the new principal of Foster
High School, served in the same capacity at Lamar Junior High since 2010. He graduated from Eastern New Mexico University before earning his master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi.
Levelland ISD Jeff Northern, former superintendent of
Snyder ISD, now serves in the top position at Levelland ISD.
Lewisville ISD A new assistant superintendent of human resources and employee engagement has been named. Buddy Bonner, who has been the district’s central zone leader since 2011, is a graduate of The University of Texas at Tyler with a degree in political science. He earned his master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas and is
> See Who’s News, page 23
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Mary Ann Whiteker (at right) receives the 2015 Superintendent of the Year award from Gloria Casas, first vice president of the Texas Association of School Boards.
2015 Superintendent of the Year
ary Ann Whiteker is nearing the end of her career as a public school educator, and she knows she can’t just retire to nothing more than needlepoint and jigsaw puzzles and endless trips to the shopping malls, so she has taken up golf.
Hudson ISD’s Mary Ann Whiteker strives for excellence for all children By Bobby Hawthorne
After all, the 2015 Texas Superintendent of the Year lives in Crown Colony, one of the state’s elite golf communities. Her backyard looks out on the third fairway. Her husband, a retired Lufkin attorney, took up the sport five years ago, thinking it would be something the two of them could do
together in retirement, and he bought her lessons and a set of Ping clubs. Ever-dutiful, Whiteker used what spare time she could find to practice. And practice she did. For a year and a half, she practiced and practiced, driving buckets of balls in the sweltering summer sun and on icy
2015 Superintendent of the Year winter weekends, certain a switch would flip and she’d improve.
“Every day during conference period, I’d be in her room asking, ‘What do I do now?’”
It didn’t. The lessons were no help either. “Balance yourself as you would if you were playing basketball,” her golf instructor advised her, which meant nothing since she had never played basketball.
Her mom taught her math and reading tricks and showed her how to teach handwriting by having students model her long, elegant strokes.
“Swing smoothly, like in softball,” he added, which was equally cryptic. She had never played softball either. Whiteker plays the piano. In high school, she also played the clarinet, the flute, even the baritone saxophone. She was a cheerleader and a twirler, editor of the Corrigan-Camden High newspaper and yearbook, and valedictorian of the class of 1970. She wasn’t and isn’t and never will be an athlete, and yet, her inability to hit a small white ball with a metal shaft was eating her alive. “How hard can this be?” she asked herself, over and over. Finally, one afternoon, slouched in a golf cart, frustrated to tears, she turned to her husband and blurted, “I’m not stupid. I can cook. I can twirl. I was a great first grade teacher. I think I’m a pretty good superintendent. I’m good at so many things. Why can’t I do this? And why do I continue to do something that makes me feel so bad about myself?” And then, she thought, “Oh. My. God. We do this to children every day. We forget about all the things they do right, and we focus on one, tiny particle of what education is.” And so, Whiteker, the superintendent of Hudson ISD, sent a directive to all teachers: “Don’t mention ‘STAAR’ or ‘end of course’ to any student.” She also ordered all the TEA banners removed, rolled up and stashed away. Asked where those banners might be today, she said no one knows and no one cares. Born to teach Whiteker’s mother taught first grade, and she never doubted for a moment that she would teach too. In fact, as soon as her younger sister was old enough to pick up a pencil, school was in session. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in three years, student taught in Kilgore and then, in 1973, returned to Corrigan-Camden to teach first grade, directly across the hall from her mother.
Her advice was simple yet brilliant: Make sure every child experiences something successful every day, and never, never, never give up on a child. “We don’t know why some apples on a tree turn red before other apples,” her mother told her. “However, sometimes the last red apple on the tree is the sweetest and the juiciest.” This was all pre-House Bill 72, TCAT, essential elements and Ross Perot. But times were changing. As much as Whiteker loved teaching, she particularly enjoyed developing curriculum — so much so that when Hudson ISD posted an opening for a curriculum director, she decided to apply for it. She was recently divorced and a single mom with two daughters, ages 4 and 9. “It was time to start over,” she said. Certainly, Hudson ISD needed her. The district, located west of Lufkin, was under a TEA monitor for governance when she arrived in 1986. Slow and steady Once a typical piney woods sawmill town, Hudson was growing rapidly. Whiteker assumed responsibility not only for curriculum but also for instructional and policy handbooks, as well as state and federal reports. She learned to surround herself with a diverse mix of talented professionals, and she worked to build deep and meaningful relationships with them. She listened and learned and put herself in a position so that, when the superintendent’s job was offered to her in 1995, she was more than prepared to accept it. “It all goes back to relationships,” she said. “It’s about trust.” Without it, teachers quit. Administrators move on. School board members push personal agendas. Good people in the community balk at getting involved because they can’t stomach the idea of getting sucked into endless turf wars.
The solution? “Slow and steady,” she said. “Realize you can’t make systemic changes quickly. You need to get to know people, understand their strengths, get all of them moving in a common direction. My job is to keep everyone focused on students — all students.” The results have been impressive. Within a 10-year time frame, voters overwhelmingly passed a pair of bonds allowing the district to develop two new campuses, re-fit classrooms, build new science labs and expand cafeterias and physical education facilities. Hudson school board President Kent Walker said it would never have happened without her leadership. “It takes years to develop the relationship she has with our taxpayers,” Walker said. “They know she is dedicated to our students and to providing something for all programs without any bias.” This includes at-risk students and dropouts. In 1991, she played a pivotal role in the opening of the Stubblefield Learning Center — the first of its kind in the state. It serves five school districts: Hudson, Lufkin, Central, Diboll and Zavalla. Since its inception, the center has recovered and graduated more than 1,500 kids — one of whom was 55 years old. Was it difficult getting the Hudson ISD board members to allocate time and money toward dropout prevention and recovery? “Not at all,” Whiteker said. “The greatest challenge was convincing other school boards to join because we couldn’t afford it alone. We had to create inter-local agreements and MOUs (memorandums of understanding) and figure out financing and attendance and all of that.” Another success story: the licensed vocational nurse program at Angelina College, which opens a path for high school students to become LVNs two months after their high school graduation. Most recently, Whiteker is leading a unique collaboration of six Angelina County school districts in creating an early college high school that will focus on career and technology certifications, licensures and associate degrees. Students will be free to earn dual credit at no cost. The courses will be accelerated and rigorous, and academic and social support will be available. In the end, students can take college courses and > See SOTY, page 16 Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
2015 Superintendent of the Year > Continued from page 15
gain a two-year associate’s degree or apply 60 course hours toward a bachelor’s degree.
large, affluent districts. She leads a rural, mostly poor district.
This partnership, Whiteker said, is all about expanding educational opportunities for all students.
“It’s not going to apply to me,” she figured.
A redefining moment
“Have you read the document?” they asked. “You have to read it.’”
Frankly, Whiteker is disappointed in herself, baffled why it took her so long to grasp what “all students” means. Her moment of clarity came in the form of a document produced by the Public Education Visioning Institute, the group of 35 Texas superintendents who studied the state’s public education system. Their early assessment: It’s failing. It can’t and won’t prepare students for the profound challenges ahead. Though vaguely familiar with the group’s findings, Whiteker said she was slow to embrace it. The superintendents, she figured, led mostly
Fortunately, several fellow superintendents hounded her.
Finally, she did. “It was like the shackles fell off,” Whiteker said. “I read it, then I read it again, and I started highlighting all these things, and I thought, ‘Oh my, this is about all kids.’” That’s when she decided to ditch the banners and return to the innovative instruction she learned by ambling across the hall and asking her mother, “What do I do now?” “If I could go back and change something, I would have never embraced the testing accountability system the way I did,”
2015 Superintendent Finalists
Kevin Brown serves more than 4,800 students in Alamo Heights ISD and has 20 years of administrative experience. He has led the district for seven years. The committee cited his leadership in the Go Public Campaign, his strong business ties with state and national companies, his redesign of summer school programs and his focus on reengaging students in school. Brown earned a bachelor’s degree at The University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree at Texas State University and a doctorate at Texas A&M University. He is president of the Texas School Coalition, president-elect of TASA, chair of Bexar County Superintendents and an executive committee member of the Texas Academic Decathlon.
Whiteker said. “That was wrong, and I apologize. God forgive me for what I did to children to get a banner on a wall.” As for her golf game: She’s better. Her drives are straighter, her putting smoother. She’ll even par or bogie a hole now and then. It helps that she has a new set of Callaway clubs. And when she retires — whenever that might be — she’ll practice and play and improve. “Jigsaw puzzles are my guilty pleasure,” she said. “Golf is my painful pleasure, and I am not giving up.” After all, in comparison to all she has accomplished as Hudson ISD superintendent, how hard can it be? 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
2015 Superintendent of the Year ◄
At the helm of San Elizario ISD for three years, Sylvia Hopp has 35 years of experience in education administration and serves approximately 3,800 students. Of note to the selection committee were English as second language programs to bring parents into the schools, outreach efforts through home visits and initiatives to build cooperative relationships with city leadership. Hopp earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The University of Texas at El Paso. She serves on the Commissioner’s Superintendents Cabinet and is active in TASA, the Texas Association of Mid-Size Schools, the Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development and the Far West Texas School Boards Association, among others.
Paul Norton, superintendent of Texarkana ISD for four years, serves approximately 7,100 students. He has 16 years of administrative experience. The state selection committee noted the district’s emphasis on college and career readiness, resulting in increases in dual-credit enrollment and ACT participation. Steps to strengthen early childhood and pre-K programs also were cited. Norton earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University and master’s degree at Texas A&M University. He is on the Region 8 ESC Executive Regional Advisory Council and Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He also is a charter member of the Northeast Texas Alliance of Black School Educators and active in other state and national groups.
With 17 years of experience in education administration, Reggy Spencer serves approximately 1,000 students. He has led Colorado ISD for five years. The selection committee noted his out-of-the box approach, such as use of foreign exchange teachers and a cooperative effort with other school districts that brought in additional revenue. Also noted was the accelerated high school with college courses for freshmen. Spencer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Tarleton State University. He is a member of TASA, the Texas Association of Community Schools and the Texas Elementary School Principals and Supervisors Association.
The Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Board accepts the top honor at the 2015 TASA/TASB Convention in October. Pictured are Bob R. Covey; Kevin H. Hoffman; Christine Hartley, secretary; Don Ryan, president; Tom Jackson, vice president; Darcy Mingoia; John Ogletree Jr.; and Mark Henry, superintendent.
2015 Outstanding Board
rowth is always the story in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. And the board of trustees knows it.
As the fastest-growing district in Texas, trustees and Superintendent Mark Henry are charged with approaching needs from
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD trustees keep pace with fast-growing district By Raven L. Hill
an equity standpoint, ensuring that all students and schools have what they need to be successful in the high-achieving Houston area district, commonly known as “CyFair.”
Their efforts are being recognized in a big way: the Cy-Fair Board of Trustees was named this year’s Outstanding School Board by the Texas Association of School Administrators.
2015 Outstanding Board The board was chosen from among five finalists statewide. Since 1971, TASA has annually recognized outstanding school boards for “commitment and service that has made a positive impact on Texas public school students.” Gunter, La Joya, North East and Socorro ISD were the other finalists for Outstanding School Board. The five finalists were interviewed by a committee of superintendents chaired by Marcelo Cavazos from Arlington ISD, whose board of trustees won the award last year. The strong governance structure of the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD board really stood out to judges, Cavazos said. “They continue to govern very well with changes in population in terms of number of students, facilities and their focus on instruction. It’s very dynamic,” he said. “It really stood out in what they’re focused on; in particular their focus on meeting the needs of all students.” As Cy-Fair has navigated growth — and the successful passage of a $1.2 billion bond package in 2014 — the board sums up its vision in four words: learn, empower, achieve, dream – LEAD. Learning through change Since the 1939 merger of the Cypress and Fairbanks school systems, the community’s rural roots have become more suburban, accompanied by explosive growth. In the 1960s, enrollment was about 3,525. By 1975, it had reached 11,758 students, and the district consisted of 13 schools. Cy-Fair is now the third-largest school district in the state, with an enrollment approaching 114,000 students. The district has absorbed 27,200 students over the past decade, with another 9,800 expected in the next five years. Thirty-eight new schools have been built since 2000, bringing the current total to 87. The face of the district also has undergone a significant makeover. In 2000, Cy-Fair’s enrollment was about 60 percent white. Fewer than a quarter of its students were from economically disadvantaged families and approximately 11 percent of students had limited English proficiency. Fifteen years later, the district’s enrollment is nearly 45 percent Hispanic and almost 50 percent from low-income families. The constant growth and fast-changing demographics in the bustling suburb present both challenges and opportunities for success, district officials said.
“We have many limited English learners. We also have a much higher population of lower socioeconomic students,” said Superintendent Henry. “We’ve done very well with those students, but it does present some challenges. We’ve had to create some new programs and institute new ideas to help meet the needs of our changing schoolage population.” Board President Don Ryan noted, however, that Cy-Fair students continue to do well on state achievement tests, even with a steady influx of new students. The district received the highest possible rating last year under the state’s accountability system, the largest Texas district to have all schools receive the “Met Standard” designation. “That’s pretty much, when you’re our size, unheard of,” Ryan said. “Our administration has done a great job of making sure our students are equipped and our teachers are equipped. That’s one of the things the board has done well — to make sure they have all of the resources in place to ensure student success.” The seven-member board is fairly diverse: There are five men, two women and two African Americans. Three board members have children and three others have grandchildren in Cy-Fair schools. There are retirees, entrepreneurs, private sector professionals and board members with ties to education. The board prides itself on operating as a “team of eight” with the superintendent. Elected in 2000, Ryan is the board’s senior member, now serving his fifth term. A native of Cypress, he saw firsthand the district’s “growing pains”: lots of new residents, opening three or four new schools annually, yearly attendance boundary changes. “We’re not a city. We don’t have a mayor. We don’t have city limits. We’re just 186 square miles of Cypress,” Ryan said. “Our community embraces neighborhood schools, which is what we have. When you tell somebody, ‘You have to move,’ it’s difficult.” The board personalities have changed over the years, largely in response to the growth. There’s no tolerance in the community for political agendas on the school board, he said. “The community wants people who support public education, who will do what’s right for all the students,” Ryan said. “It’s a volunteer job. Our reward is just doing what’s right.” Kevin Hoffman, who joined the board in 2012, previously served as a Houston ISD
trustee for eight years. Hoffman said he had long admired Cy-Fair schools and the way the district operated. “It’s really a community-based school district. They operate from a community standpoint — a neighborly, friendly standpoint,” Hoffman said. “All of the schools are comprehensive. There are no real funding issues as it pertains to one school to the next.”
‘The community wants people who support public education, who will do what’s right for all the students. It’s a volunteer job. Our reward is just doing what’s right.’ Board President Don Ryan
Empowering students to achieve Last year, the district adopted the motto, “Every Student, Every Day,” a reflection of its commitment to equity. “We’re going to do the best we can with every student who chooses to come to Cy-Fair ISD,” said Henry, now in his fifth year as superintendent. “We’re not going to just do it four days of the week; we’re going to do it every day of the week.” Toward that end, the district offers more than 30 advanced placement classes and career and technical education (CTE) courses in business/marketing, engineering/architecture, culinary arts, cosmetology, education/training, manufacturing and health sciences. An annual Career Options Fair introduces middle and high school students to post-secondary career programs. Eight > See OUTSTANDING, page 20 Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
2015 Outstanding Board > Continued from page 19
high schools boast college and career centers, and there are plans in the works to expand to all high schools. The district also piloted a full-day prekindergarten program at an elementary school to gather data for future expansion. The district’s various student support programs are designed to target a range of needs, such as the New Arrival Center for immigrant youth, a spring break program for homeless students and Windfern High School of Choice – a nontraditional, personalized high school for students who are graduating early or who are returning to school. In addition, there are several interventions to improve student performance. The district has targeted middle school mathematics, strategic instruction for underachieving students and early literacy programs.
Technology is a major focus area, however. The $1.2 billion bond program — the largest ever passed by a suburban district — included $217 million for instructional technology and technology infrastructure. “We have to be very cognizant of how we can help students use technology and social media in a positive way,” said trustee Christine Hartley, whose great-grandfather served on the school board. “Every job going forward is going to have some aspect of technology.” Dreaming of the next 75 years Having marked Cy-Fair’s 75th anniversary in 2014, officials are looking toward the district’s future.
“We need to make sure that we have board members and candidates who understand those challenges and are willing to work. … As long as the board understands the challenges that (Henry) laid out, then the community will welcome them with open arms,” Ryan said. Hartley said she hopes to continue the current path of taking care of every student who comes through the district’s doors. “Children don’t always have somebody in their life saying they believe in them,” Hartley said. “I want to ensure that our children know they are cared for. If it’s not in their home, then it’s at their school.” ◄ RAVEN L. HILL is the former education reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.
Funding, changing demographics, standardized tests and effective marketing are on the superintendent’s list. Ryan has an eye turned toward upcoming board vacancies.
2015 Honor Boards
Gunter ISD LD Byrd; Dr. Gary Harris; Jeff Banks, vice president; Jill Siler, superintendent; Candy Leonard, secretary; Ron Box; John Jonas; and Steve Smith, president.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
2015 Honor Boards
La Joya ISD Juan José Peña; Oscar Salinas; Joel García, vice president; Johnn Valente Alaniz, president; Juan José Garza, secretary; Esperanza Ochoa; and Jesús Avendaño.
North East ISD Front: Shannon Grona, vice president; Letti Bresnahan, president; and Sandy Hughey, secretary. Back: Jim Wheat; Brigitte Perkins; Brian G. Gottardy, superintendent; Sandi Wolff; and Edd White.
Socorro ISD Front: Antonio Ayub, vice president; José Espinoza, superintendent; and Gary Gandara, secretary. Middle: Cynthia Ann Najera; Angelica Rodriguez, president; and Michael Anthony Najera. Back: Paul Guerra and Hector F. Gonzalez.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
2015 KEY COMMUNICATOR
Texas School Public Relations Association
Jimmy Don Aycock earns TSPRA’s highest honor
he Texas School Public Relations Association named former House Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, the recipient of its 2015 Key Communicator Award. Aycock receives the award in recognition of his decade’s worth of work in the Legislature to improve and defend the Texas public education system. “The Key Communicator Award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by TSPRA,” said TSPRA President Lorette Williams of Corpus Christi ISD. “Representative Aycock’s record as a champion of public education in the Texas House of Representatives makes him a deserving recipient of this award.” Aycock represented District 54 in the Texas House of Representatives from 2006 until his retirement at the end of the 2015 legislative session. During his legislative career, he served on several committees, to include culture, recreation and tourism; agriculture and livestock; defense and veterans’ affairs; higher education; redistricting; and public education. As chair of the public education committee, Aycock shepherded House Bill 5 through the 2013 session, significantly reducing end-ofcourse testing for Texas students and creating more paths to graduation for Texas students. “Chairman Aycock is highly respected by his peers in the Legislature, as well as by those of us who advocate on behalf of Texas public school districts and students,” said Amy T. Beneski, associate executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators. “As a former member of the Killeen ISD Board of Trustees, he understands that to effect good policy for Texas students, one must listen to the professionals who have dedicated their lives to educating those students — teachers, principals, superintendents and other educators.” During the 2015 session, Aycock proposed legislation that would have added $800 million from general revenue to the $2.2 billion in the House’s original budget proposal. Though he ultimately pulled that bill from the floor, his efforts helped kick-start a conversa-
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
tion about repairing the state’s school finance system, which many predicted would never happen before the Texas Supreme Court ruled on the state’s latest school finance case. “His bravery in attempting to address school accountability, school turnaround measures and school finance in one session will not soon be forgotten,” said James B. Crow, executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards. Throughout his tenure in the Legislature, Aycock has been a vocal defender of Texas students and teachers, celebrating good news about public education while highlighting the challenges educators face in keeping standards high. His belief in a system that serves Texas’ 5.2 million students has made him a consistent opponent of lawmakers’ efforts to introduce a private-school voucher system. “His vision of a Texas that is concerned about its citizens, fair in its dealings, and efficient and equitable is laudable. As a visionary leader, Representative Aycock may have no equal in the Capitol,” said Barry Haenisch, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Schools. Aycock’s lengthy record of public service in and around his home in Bell County includes service on the Killeen ISD Board of Trustees, the Central Texas College Board of Trustees, the Comanche Hills Utility District and Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. He received a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University in 1970 before serving as a captain in the U.S. Army until 1972. Since 1981, TSPRA has recognized a key communicator for outstanding contributions to public education. The recipient may be a legislator, educator, a professional in another field who has improved school communications or a TSPRA member who has contributed outstanding service to the profession of school communications. Veronica Castillon of Laredo ISD is chair of TSPRA’s 2015 professional awards committee,
Throughout his tenure in the Legislature, Jimmie Don Aycock has been a vocal defender of Texas students and teachers, celebrating good news about public education while highlighting the challenges educators face in keeping standards high. which includes Tim Carroll, Allen ISD; Steve Valdez, Weslaco ISD; Rachel Frost, Terrell ISD; Erin Kleinecke, Willis ISD; and Marco Alvarado, Lake Travis ISD. ◄
Who’s News > Continued from page 13
at work on a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. Amanda Brim returns to Lewisville ISD as the district’s public information officer. She began her career there, working in the communications office from 2004 to 2006. Since 2006, she has been with Pflugerville ISD, serving as communications officer since 2009. Tony Fontana, who has been assistant
principal of Lewisville High School Harmon Campus since it opened in 2011, is now principal of that school. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran University and his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of North Texas.
The new principal of Hebron Valley Elementary School is Renee Marts. Most recently assistant principal of the campus, she holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and a master’s degree in leadership from Texas Woman’s University. The new central zone leader is Andrew Plunkett. He comes from Lewisville High School Harmon Campus, where he has been principal since 2011. He received both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education administration from Texas Tech University. Now leading Huffines Middle School as principal is Estella Rupard. Since 2010, she has been an assistant principal of Flower Mound High School. Rupard holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University.
Lockhart ISD Newly named Superintendent Susan Bohn has joined Lockhart ISD from Lake Travis ISD in Austin, where she worked as general counsel. She holds three degrees from The University of Texas: a bachelor ‘s degree in Plan II, a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and a juris doctorate. She is at work on a doctorate in educational leadership at Texas Tech University.
Now filling the district’s new position of executive director of technology is Adam Galvan. He has 17 years of experience in the IT industry, coming to his new job from Edgewood ISD in
Faith Pope returns to Lockhart ISD to serve as principal of Plum Creek Elementary. She previously taught at Navarro Elementary School. She spent the past three years as an academic dean and literacy specialist in Waelder ISD.
Josh Greenwood is now an assistant principal at McKinney North High School, where he taught social studies and coached tennis since 2005. He earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Midwestern State University and his master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University.
The new principal of Clear Fork Elementary School is Susanne Scoggins. She has been an educator for 21 years. She is a former assistant principal in Austin ISD.
The new assistant principal of Johnson Elementary School is Jennifer Huff, who joins the district from Allen ISD, where she was a campus intervention specialist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University.
New Bluebonnet Elementary School Principal Glenn Shanks is an educator with 21 years of experience, most recently working as assistant principal of Lockhart Junior High.
Lubbock ISD The new principal of Smith Elementary School, Gail Latimer, was most recently interim principal of the Dunbar College Preparatory Academy. She is a graduate of West Texas A&M University and has a master’s degree in counseling from Sul Ross State University.
McKinney ISD Dowell Middle School has welcomed Jesse Abel as an assistant principal. He returns to McKinney ISD from Wylie ISD, where he has been an assistant principal at Cooper Middle School for the past two years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and his master’s degree in education from Lamar University. Jimmy Bowser is the new principal of
Faubion Middle School, after spending the past three years as associate principal of McKinney High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Northwestern State University in Louisiana and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas. The new assistant principal of McKinney North High School, Keir Burke, has been the district’s elementary science coordinator since 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-med from Notre Dame University and a master’s degree in teaching from Texas Woman’s University. Kristin Ellis, assistant principal of Wilmeth Elementary, is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. She comes to her new position from Press Elementary, where she was an instructional coach since 2012.
McKinney High School’s new associate principal, Jessica Rose, comes from Bowie Middle School in Irving ISD, where she was principal for the past two years. Now serving as an assistant principal of Caldwell Elementary School is Heather Wood. She had been an instructional specialist with the district. The graduate of East Central University in Oklahoma earned her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Marathon ISD John Benham has agreed to serve as Mar-
athon ISD’s interim superintendent. The Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) graduate spent 19 years with Wink-Loving ISD as an elementary principal and 10 years as that district’s superintendent before retiring in 2013.
Marble Falls ISD Marble Falls ISD has a new superintendent. Chris Allen is the former deputy superintendent of Lake Travis ISD. Now serving as director of elementary education is Leslie Baty, who was principal of Spicewood Elementary School. She served as interim superintendent of curriculum last summer. Wesley Cunningham, formerly Frisco ISD’s
area director for secondary education, is Marble Falls ISD’s new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Mathis ISD The new superintendent, Benny Hernandez, most recently served in the same position in La Pryor ISD.
> See Who’s News, page 38 Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented
Mary Christopher speaks up for gifted children by Merri Rosenberg
h Mary Christopher says she is proud of the influence the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented has had at the Texas Capitol. She is pictured here with TAGT Executive Director JJ Colburn.
dvocating for gifted and talented children has been Mary Christopher’s mission for decades, even though she originally intended to be a speech pathologist.
ideas springing around,” the student told her.
“God had a better plan for me,” says Christopher, a pastor’s wife.
Christopher also directs Threshold, a summer enrichment program for gifted children, and organizes the Gifted Institute, an annual teacher workshop focusing on gifted education.
In addition to serving as president of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, Christopher is a professor of educational studies and an associate dean at the Irvin School of Education at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She is the director of the university’s doctor of education in leadership program and the master of education in gifted education program, as well as a certification officer.
A native Texan, Christopher grew up in Lubbock, where her father was a physician and her mother a nurse. She and her husband, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Abilene, have two married adult children — a son who is an accountant in Nashville, Tenn., and a daughter who is an assistant principal for assessment and accountability at Victoria East High School in Victoria ISD.
Christopher says the educational needs of gifted students are just as important as those of other students.
In Christopher’s first job in public education in Ardmore, Okla., she had the opportunity to work with “advanced learners” in elementary school. In that district, instead of dividing students by grade levels in math and language arts, students were evaluated according to their mastery of the material. Christopher taught high-level math and says she became “fascinated with the field” of gifted and talented education.
“These kids are entitled to teachers who are trained to work with them,” she says. “It’s not just about doing math three grades above. It’s how you look at life, how you perceive things, the connections you make. These students question differently, and they perceive differently.” Christopher has never forgotten one student who used the metaphor of a gyroscope to explain how her mind worked. “There are all these
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The district recognized her enthusiasm and offered her professional development opportunities, which further hooked Christopher on the “need to provide something for these kids.”
When she and her husband moved to Louisville, Ky., Christopher worked in self-contained classes for gifted children and earned a master of education in gifted education from the University of Louisville. “I could do so much,” says Christopher of the self-contained classroom format. “I had the most invigorating time in Louisville. The school district valued gifted education, and the district cared about these kids.” When she and her family returned to her native Texas, Christopher says, “I fell into teaching gifted education at the university. It opened doors.” Christopher says working with graduate students is especially rewarding. “It’s been really exciting to have a direct involvement in their careers,” she says. In addition to her responsibilities at Hardin-Simmons University, she finds time to do consultant work with school districts across Texas. She is also active in the National Association for Gifted Children, the Center for Ministry Effectiveness and Educational Leadership, the TEMPO Advisory Board and the Abilene Community Foundation. She also earned a doctorate of philosophy in curriculum and instruction from Texas Tech University. Christopher has a clear philosophy of who gifted and talented children are and what teachers and schools need to do for them. Moving students up a grade or offering them AP classes are two ways to respond to advanced learners, but those aren’t the only options, according to Christopher. She says a regular classroom can work for a child who has been identified as gifted. “Accelerating students is only a piece of the puzzle,” she explains, adding that the most recent research indicates gifted children aren’t necessarily gifted in every subject. “They need appropriate challenges within the classroom, or in a pull out.” For example, when a third grade class is reading a novel, the children in the gifted cluster could read a more advanced novel yet discuss the same literary themes as their classmates.
“TAGT has been a real driving force for these kids since 1978 (the year association was founded),” says Christopher, adding that the current challenge is how to hold districts accountable for providing gifted education and making sure that enforcement is actually happening. Christopher is particularly pleased that TAGT launched the Innovation Award, which bestows two cash prizes of $5,000 to encourage school districts to develop cutting-edge programs for gifted students. Christopher says she is aware that programs for the gifted can be perceived as elitist and overly focused on white, middle-class children. “It’s an issue across the U.S.,” she says, explaining that students identified as gifted and talented should reflect the socio-economic and ethnic composition of a particular community. “We’re finding ways to identify children and keep them in the program.”
Fun facts about Mary Christopher – I earned my first dollar by:
working for a telephone answering service and operating a switchboard in high school.
Early bird or night owl: night owl
My favorite way to unwind is:
reading for fun, instead of for work.
Last book I read that I really enjoyed: “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough
Those strategies can include recruiting translators to work with parents who speak English as a second language. The translators can help explain to the parents the opportunities available to their children. “We’ve made progress in that area, but we’re not where we want to be as a state,” Christopher admits. While interest in and support of gifted and talented children has ebbed and flowed over the years (with a particularly strong ebb after the inception of No Child Left Behind), Christopher says she feels gifted education is on an “upswing,” with more parents becoming advocates for their gifted children. Such advocacy is needed, says Christopher, to ensure these students have “opportunities to pursue a passion and have appropriate challenges.” ◄ MERRI ROSENBERG, a former freelance columnist and reporter for The New York Times Westchester section, is a New York-based writer and editor who focuses on educational issues in her work for national and regional publications.
Christopher says she is proud of what TAGT has accomplished for gifted and talented children, noting that, in 1996 (and revised in 2009), Texas passed a state plan that requires every school district to identify and serve its gifted students. TAGT, along with the Texas Education Agency, helped draft and revise the plan.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education
Fort Bend ISD’s Deena Hill brings passion, focus to improving children’s lives By Elizabeth Millard
h Fort Bend ISD Special Education Executive Director Deena Hill (front and center with white pants) and her department show off their patriotism and team spirit. Hill knew at a very early age that education would be her career path.
henever she’s having a tough day, Deena Hill has a surefire strategy for lifting her spirits: She just visits a few classrooms.
“Seeing the students always reminds me to stay focused on what’s most important, and that’s our children,” she says. As executive director of special education for Fort Bend ISD, Hill brings significant experience and knowledge to her role as an advocate for students, but it’s her passion for each child’s potential that truly fuels her work. Dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities, she’s bringing that engagement into her time as president of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE), and she relishes being able to make a difference, both in her district and across the state. “I strongly believe in early intervention and the impact quality special education services can have on the outcomes of children and their families,” says Hill. “I recognize the importance of working collaboratively with parents to enhance our special education services.”
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Strong start Hill doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an educator. Her grandmother was a second grade teacher, and Hill fondly recalls long afternoons of “playing school” at her house. By the time she was 12 years old, Hill was a teacher’s aide in a children’s program at her church, and the experience cemented her decision to go into teaching. It took a deeply personal experience to make her consider not just public education, but special education, specifically. While attending the University of Houston, she worked at her uncle’s residential treatment facility, which served students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Hill helped to develop intake plans and recreation activities, giving her real-world experience in administration that she would draw on throughout her career. But what affected her most was the direct care and contact with the facility’s students, especially those in the residential program. Many had experienced severe abuse at an early age and had been placed in multiple foster homes or treatment centers. Hill developed a perspective on these children that became like a fire in her belly — she didn’t want change just for those she saw every day, but for the many
who were like them. She knew education could be the route toward change. “They had little reason to trust the adults in their lives; their stories compelled me to make a difference,” she says. “I learned the importance of looking beyond their anger and extreme behavior and to love the child.” Sense of achievement Using the drive and enthusiasm she took from the residential facility experience, Hill transitioned in her career from special education teacher to coordinator to director and then became an executive director of special education at Pasadena ISD in 2007. While she was there, she developed best practices for special education services for more than 5,000 students with disabilities and led a team of about 200 staff members. In one of her most notable achievements, the district obtained grant money to create an after-school program for children with autism and other developmental delays. “We saw the need for such a program because our families had difficulty finding adequate day care for their children and were often unable to work,” she says. “I’m very proud of this program and the teamwork in Pasadena ISD to collectively make this happen.” She adds that it’s difficult for many communities to realize the challenges that families of children with disabilities face in their everyday lives. The program wasn’t one that was mandated, which made it even more notable, she believes.
“This is something that went above and beyond,” she says. “It proved to have a great impact on the children and their families.” Presidential role Just as she has tried to do at the districts she served, Hill strives to broaden special education efforts statewide through her presidency at TCASE. She notes that the organization is an incredible support system, with more than 1,200 members focusing on special education. For this school year, priority goals are to support legislation that enhances the quality of staff members who provide special education services and to develop more training and tools that encourage communication between schools and families to resolve disputes in the most effective manner. To meet those goals, TCASE has increased staff development and conferences for this year, Hill says. “As school districts continue to realize the benefit of an inclusive delivery model for special education services, we are targeting more training to general education teachers and administrators,” Hill says.
‘They had little reason to trust the adults in their lives; their stories compelled me to make a difference. I learned the importance of looking beyond their anger and extreme behavior and to love the child.’ TCASE President Deena Hill
At both TCASE and Fort Bend ISD, Hill looks forward to those moments when she sees the results of all the special education support and efforts being done. She’s excited to keep fueling her passion for the field and working toward improving the outcomes for every student with disabilities. ◄ ELIZABETH MILLARD also writes for District Administration.
Fun Facts About Deena Hill – Favorite movie:
“Dead Poets Society,” because Robin Williams’ character reminds us of the incredible power of teaching.
Something most people don’t know about me:
I’m a proud native Texan. Nothing makes me happier than to be tent camping on the Guadalupe or Blanco river with my family, sitting by the fire and listening to Willie Nelson.
My dream vacation:
If I had four weeks of vacation and an unlimited amount of money, I would load up an SUV with camping equipment and trek across the country, exploring our beautiful national parks and enjoying the wilderness. I’m an adventurer at heart.
A recent moment that made my day:
During the first week of school, I visited several classrooms. I loved the look of excitement and anticipation on the children’s faces as they started the new school year. Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Administrators from small, rural districts gather for TACS annual conference The Texas Association of Community Schools hosted its annual conference in San Antonio in September.
Consultant Doug Karr with Wayne Pierce of the Equity Center and Christy Rome of The Texas Coalition.
Perrin-Whitt CISD Superintendent John Kuhn.
Tommy Hooker of Thrall ISD, Doug Killian of Hutto ISD, Bill Chapman of Jarrell ISD and Mike King of Bridge City ISD.
Angela Bishop and Louanne Shaffer of TCPN.
TACS Executive Director Barry Haenisch and Linda Haenisch.
TACS legislative cochair Jason Marshall of Palestine ISD.
Paul Clore of Gregory-Portland ISD.
Guest speaker Evan Smith, editor-in-chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune.
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Dennis Bennett of Jacksboro ISD and Ann Marie Harbour of A. Bargas & Associates.
Framework of Essential Skills provides needed guidance for school district CTOs By Alice E. Owen
n this increasingly connected world, school leaders need to provide technology that is robust, accessible and safe. The chief technology officer’s role has changed over time, moving from managing infrastructure to providing leadership in making decisions for school district operations. Educational technology leaders must understand the core mission of education and how technology can enhance instruction, as well as be a catalyst in helping districts move forward in this digital environment. Technology has the power to provide upto-date information, connect learners to experts in the field, allow for collaboration across boundaries, and provide a worldwide audience for published work. While technology has permeated every aspect of our daily lives, it has been slow to transform the way we teach and learn in schools. To assist technology leaders with this gap, the Consortium of School Networking (COSN) has developed the Framework of Essential Skills for the K-12 CTO. The framework defines the critical knowledge and skills all technology leaders should know and be able to do in the course of their work. The framework, developed by technology leaders around the nation, contains 10 specific skill areas that comprise the major components of an ed tech leader’s role: Leadership and Vision: Work closely with the executive team and stakeholders to develop a shared vision with long-term, big-picture perspectives on district goals to plan for meaningful and effective uses of technology.
Strategic Planning: Have a high-level view across the school system and work with instructional and technical teams to identify steps needed to transform the technology vision into a long-range plan. Ethics and Policies: Manage the creation, implementation and enforcement of policies and educational programs relating to the social, legal and ethical issues of technology. Instructional Focus and Professional Development: Budget, plan and coordinate ongoing, purposeful professional development for all staff who use technology. Team Building and Staffing: Create and support cross-functional teams for decision-making, technology support, professional development and other aspects of the district’s technology program. Stakeholder Focus: Build relationships with all stakeholders, taking a close look at how the district determines requirements, expectations and preferences. Understand the key factors that lead to stakeholder satisfaction, focusing on how the district seeks knowledge, satisfaction, and loyalty of students and other stakeholders. Information Technology: Direct, coordinate and ensure the successful implementation of all tasks related to infrastructure, standards and integration into every facet of district operations. Communication Systems: Use technology to improve communication, directing and coordinating all forms to facilitate decision-making and to enhance communication with key stakeholders.
Business Management: Manage the budget and serve as a strong business leader who guides purchasing decisions, determines the return on investment for technology implementations and fosters relationships with vendors, potential funders and other groups. Data Management: Manage the establishment and maintenance of systems and tools for gathering, mining, integrating and reporting data in usable, meaningful ways to produce an information culture in which data management is critical to strategic planning. COSN also has developed the Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) program, based on the Framework of Essential Skills. Earning the CETL certification will demonstrate to your superintendent, board and other stakeholders that you have mastered the knowledge and skills needed to design and build the digital environment needed for today’s schools. As the state chapter of COSN, the Texas K-12 CTO Council uses the framework as the basis for all our professional development. We provide study group cohorts each year that assist ed tech leaders in improving their skills in each area of the framework as they network with other colleagues. The study group cohorts help develop an understanding of the content and provide leaders an opportunity to practice and apply their skills. Whether you sit for the CETL exam or not, these cohorts provide a collaborative learning experience for those who desire to improve their craft. For more information about these professional learning experiences or the certification program, visit www.cosn.org/certification or www. texask12ctocouncil.org. ◄
ALICE OWEN is the executive director of the Texas K12 CTO Council. She retired from education after 38 years, specializing in curriculum, evaluation, professional development and project management. Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
More than 6,000 administrators, trustees gather for 2015 TASA/TASB Convention The TASA/TASB Convention featured more than 200 breakout sessions and distinguished speakers, such as child entrepreneur Caine Monroy, filmmaker/writer Nirvan Mullick and “From Homeless to Harvard” author Liz Murray.
Jeff Gravley and Chuck Hansen of Celina ISD.
Antonio Araujo, Ruben Cervantes, Irene Jaquez, Sylvia Hopp and Charles Hopp of San Elizario ISD.
Daniel Presley, Pauline Law and Paul Tisch of Round Rock ISD.
Lori and Benny May of Barbers Hill ISD.
Glen Sansom, Randy Doan, Doug Jones and Trey Guffey of Jim Ned CISD.
Delores Warnell of Bloomington ISD and Jose Macias of Judson ISD. .
Brian Frankum and JR Proctor of Axtell ISD.
Doug Gaul, Todd Robison, Billie Logiudice and Ed Ramos of Hutto ISD.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
Julie Pigg and Jackie Jenkins of Turkey-Quitaque ISD.
Scott Milder, Wanira Magaloni, Raechel Schneider, Terry Hoyle, Scott Klaus and Rayce Boyter of Stantec.
Jonathan Parker, Jesus Amezcua, James Colbert and Kimberly McLeod of Harris County Department of Education.
Jill Paschall, Katy Paschall, Kylie Paschall, Melissa Houchin and Kyndall Houchin, all of McGregor ISD.
Art Nelson, Karen Nelson, Richard Earl Jones and Suzanne Jones, all of Hudson ISD. .
Tammy Salinas and Trixie Henn of Crosbyton CISD.
Darren Gibson of O’Hanion McCollom & Demerath and Derrick Eugene of Powell & Leon LLP.
David Sharp, Larry Lasiter and Roger Sanders of GoodwinLasiter-Strong.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Education service center programs & practices
Elementary school science teachers test out the variety of workspaces at LEx Labs.
Adapting classroom design to fit 21st century learners By Sarah-Jane Menefee
A private-public collaboration with ESC Region 12 explores the next generation of classroom innovations Science classrooms haven’t changed much in several decades. Lab tables with sinks and gas spigots provide an inflexible stage for science instruction in chemistry, biology and physics. Other core subject classrooms are often just as rigid, with standard desks in rows and teachers delivering instruction at the front of the room. With the recent focus on project-based learning and group work, many public school classrooms aren’t designed to support current teaching methodology. A collaborative project among ESC Region 12, Baylor University and planning and design firm Huckabee is taking on the challenge of moving classroom design into a
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more fluid structure and researching its effect on student engagement.
of research and training and direct delivery to students.”
The Learning Experience Laboratories (LEx Labs), located in Waco at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), represents a collaboration among public and private educational organizations and commercial industry to examine the intersection of classroom environments and meaningful learning.
Opened in June, the nearly 6,000-squarefoot space represents more than $1 million in architectural and design innovations, including moveable glass partitions, interlocking and easy-to-change furniture formations and technology integration. The lab space is almost infinitely adjustable to explore how changes in the classroom environment can boost knowledge retainment in students.
“I’m not aware of another partnership of this type in the history of ESCs in Texas,” says ESC Region 12 Executive Director Jerry Maze. “It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity for three very distinct entities to work together to accomplish educational good in the form
The idea for LEx Labs was in the designs since the inception of the BRIC. Opened by Baylor University in 2013, the BRIC is located in a 300,000-square-foot building that represents the cornerstone of Baylor Discovery Park. Though the high-tech space
is an environment where industries and entrepreneurs collaborate with researchers, it is also designed to spark interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among K-12 students and the local community. Truell Hyde, Baylor’s vice provost for research, brought together ESC Region 12’s Maze and CEO Chris Huckabee to start conversations about creating a think-tank environment to improve STEM instruction and attract more students to STEM careers. “There are a lot of very good, high-paying jobs in STEM fields that are going unfilled because there aren’t students pursuing those fields,” Hyde says. “This is an absolute threat to our economy and way of life. So, from the very beginning of the BRIC, STEM educational outreach and research have been a focus.” At ESC Region 12, STEM educational outreach begins with professional development for educators in the region. Maze and his team were exploring options for better spaces for hands-on science and math sessions for educators, so the LEx Labs collaboration came at the perfect time. For Huckabee, the collaboration offers a space for the firm to invest time and money into researching new methods of classroom construction and equipment before taking those methods to clients. Kerri Ranney, Huckabee’s director of learning and strategic development, says the company’s focus is on how to leverage the impact of the physical environment on learning. “Our clients are in the education business, so their top priority is to provide the best education to the students who come into their buildings,” Ranney says. “Naturally, the environment can have a very significant impact on that experience for both students and teachers. The [LEx Labs] partnership allows us to look at the idea of a multipurpose space that can fit different types of instruction and provide the right amount of flexibility and adaptability.” While the labs have an exciting, modern aesthetic, the LEx Labs partners are focusing beyond the “wow” factor of a glossy, new space. Baylor University researchers, Huckabee and ESC Region 12 specialists are examining key questions about classroom layout and structure, instructional design and project-based learning. “We’ve taught the same way for hundreds of years, and it’s becoming more and more apparent it isn’t working for today’s students,” Hyde says. “The architectural infrastructure of classrooms doesn’t fit new styles of instruction, but unbiased research is needed to show whether the new methods are working. That’s where Baylor comes in.” Specific concepts — like teacher mobility in the classroom, innovative writing surfaces, classroom furniture mobility and changes in LED lighting — are targeted topics for study.
Research will take place both in the LEx Labs and in area school districts, the latter of which will serve as a baseline control. Each piece of equipment and furniture at LEx Labs has a small radio frequency identification device (RFID) to track how it is used. Moreover, participants and instructors wear lanyards that are tracked by sensors in a LED lighting grid. This results in hard data about furniture preferences, how teachers are moving around the classroom and more. “We can track people to see if there are patterns and tie that to a lot of different things to see what it is about the learning style of people that drives certain decisions regarding furniture or technology or moveable wall pieces,” Ranney says. “We can also draw connections between a person and a piece of furniture. It’s about understanding human behavior and the impact of spaces like this to increase engagement, which increases information retention and, in turn, increases learning.” As an education specialist at ESC Region 12, Judy York is accustomed to providing research-based professional development for educators in the region’s 12-county area. It is part of the standard criteria for any session. Now, due to the public-private partnership at Baylor, she can use LEx Labs research to support changes in instruction. “Everything we do is research-based, but this is an opportunity for ESC Region 12 to use our own research,” York says. “I think we have a chance to carry out valid research that will drive the future of K-12 education. This is an opportunity to get real data that supports or doesn’t support the way we use our teaching environment.” As the main coordinator at LEx Labs, York sees a difference in the way she teaches sessions with educators, thanks to the flexibility of the lab’s seating. “I now find myself considering the types of seating, desk arrangement and even wall configuration as I plan and prepare instruction for professional development,” York says. “It’s really opened up my thinking as to how the physical space can support and even increase engagement.” ESC Region 12 uses the LEx Labs space for professional development offerings, as well as for driving student interest in STEM fields. “We impact student achievement by impacting teacher effectiveness,” Maze says. “What we’ve done here is create an opportunity for teachers to receive training in a world-class teaching and learning facility. Teachers are able to come here and perfect their art and craft, and students can come and be a part of that learning and training as well.” Matt Rogers, a science teacher in Region 12, has attended several sessions at LEx Labs. He says he has noticed a difference in the way he has been able to learn in the new space.
Five tips for starting a public/private collaboration The sources interviewed for this article offer the following advice:
Be open to the serendipity of collaboration.
Have conversations and share the problems you are trying to solve. A lot of great partnerships start over a cup of coffee or from asking the right people the right questions.
Find commonality of purpose.
Great things can occur when people work on a common goal, even when you have different backgrounds. Remember that you started the partnership for a reason, and your long-term goals are worth the current difficulties.
Allow a lot of time to get the ball rolling.
Public and private organizations move at vastly different paces. Build in time at the beginning of new collaborations for each partner’s business processes. Patience is the key to reaching the goal for your organization, even if that means seemingly unnecessary paperwork.
Be ready to learn.
Spend time letting each partner give the background of where they are coming from. It will pay off in the long run to understand your partner’s motivations and history.
Keep the lines of communication open. Just keep talking until everyone is on the same page. Communication barriers, such as terminology and industry jargon, can muddy the waters at meetings. Sometimes the best policy is to have partners repeat back what they think you’re saying and clarify as needed.
“Like many of my students, I have trouble sitting still during longer periods of instruction,” Rogers says. “With the stations set up at the labs, we’ve gone from a quick instruction time to hands-on work and collaboration and then back together again to discuss our findings. The more movement and interaction with others in the class, the better engaged I stay. I think that will translate to students too.” For more information on the LEx Labs collaboration, visit www.esc12.net/lexlabs. For more on the BRIC, go to www.baylor.edu/bric. ◄ SARAH-JANE MENEFEE is a digital media and publications specialist at ESC Region 12. Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
School trip to China rates among the best experiences of my life so far by Andrew Walker
and received a gold medal. This experience was unlike any I’ve had in my high school career and something I am sure I will remember forever.
While we were there, our GHS team also competed in the China Robotics Challenge International Bracket. We won first place
The most memorable days from China were the days we helped the pre-rookie Chinese teams build and design their robots. These were some of the most challenging days as well, though, as most of the Chinese teams spoke little to no English. The single trans-
he Greenville High School robotics team was invited by the China Urban Youth Robotics Alliance (CUYRA) to help train Chinese teams to facilitate their own robotics events. I, along with 10 of my teammates, traveled to China this past summer to embark on this mission.
lator was often overextended, and it was generally left to us to devise a way of communicating. This quickly led to some funny scenarios, such as when we tried to convey the concept of one-way hinges by trying to use door hinges as an example. We tried to find an actual door hinge to point to, but every door in the building was a sliding door. We left that evening a little disheartened that we couldn’t explain our idea, but we came back the next day to a giant box filled with door hinges. Working with these teams gave us all such an insight into how similar but simultaneously different our cultures are. Most of our time with the teams was spent working, but some of it was us just asking questions about their day-to-day lives. Questions ranged all across the spectrum, from the length of their school year to their traditional Chinese names. For instance, the traditional name for “Bob” could be so lengthy and complicated that it was impossible for us to even understand without beginning to try and pronounce it ourselves. Our hard work and teamwork paid off, because the teams we mentored went on to do very well in the competition. They were extremely nice to us as we competed, letting us borrow tools, watching our pit for us and even giving us free shirts when we left.
Greenville ISD senior Andrew Walker takes in some Chinese culture during a school trip to China for an international robotics competition, which his team ended up winning.
Our friendship continued throughout the competition, because our pit was adjacent to the pits of the teams we helped. This allowed us to continue helping and talking to our new friends. From practice day to the competition finals, we worked with the teams that we previously helped, almost caring more about their robots than our own. All of the work we put in was rewarded when we were able to partner up with
“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 Katie Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing guidelines.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
one of the teams that we volunteered to help and progress to win the entire competition, with them playing a large part in the victory. The experience was so impactful because we were able to bring our veteran experience to a team that had the desire to be great. Together, we went on to win the first-ever China International Robotics Competition. The misty boat ride on the Lee River, the bustling and slightly smelly streets of Hong Kong, and even the world-famed giant Buddha statue number as a few of the many breathtaking stops we made along our two-week journey. Other favorite memories from China came from the people we met and the relationships we forged. Accompanied by a few other U.S. teams, we particularly made great friends with the Las Vegas High Rollers. We bonded undeniably with the team while at the market one day, negotiating low prices on bright laser pointers and later shining them on cliffs a mile away. It wasn’t just the High Rollers we met, though. I met people from a team in New York and learned about their intense schooling and equally intense love for robotics. There were many times we realized just how far from home we were. Moments like these came unexpectedly and frequently. When our team settled into our hotel rooms, we frantically began texting each other, worried that the lights didn’t work. Little did we know that we only had to plug in our hotel card keys to access the power.
However, we also quickly realized that the power was short-lived if we tried to use too many appliances; this caused a breaker to pop in a grand way and left us all sitting in the dark, stunned and laughing so hard we were crying. Our eating philosophy of “try till you die” was short-lived. We quickly transitioned
haggling, savvy shoppers on the last day was interesting, to say the least. The first day, we fumbled and stumbled throughout the subway, terrified of losing people and bags. By the end, we were experts in travel, throwing bags over turnstiles, making sure everyone got on and off of the trains, and just zipping from one end of Hong Kong to the other as well as anyone could have.
‘The first day, we fumbled and stumbled throughout the subway, terrified of losing people and bags. By the end, we were experts in travel, throwing bags over turnstiles, making sure everyone got on and off of the trains, and just zipping from one end of Hong Kong to the other as well as anyone could have.’ to eating meatless, no-dairy, Chinese-style Italian food, because it was the closest thing we could get to American food. Near the end of the trip, our entire team sat on the bus and described, in detail, the first food we would eat when we got back to America. The trip changed our perspectives on more than just food. Watching our group evolve from vulnerable tourists the first day to
China was a completely different experience than anywhere I’ve ever been before. The people I met and the experiences I had were among the best of my life, and I will remember them forever. ◄ ANDREW WALKER is a senior at Greenville High School in Greenville ISD.
Andrew Walker and the Robowranglers team claim first place at the 2015 China Robotics Challenge in Shenzhen.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
News in fine arts education
Inspired by their teacher RJ Christensen who studied Maori art in New Zealand, students at Elsik High School in Alief ISD make artwork that celebrates their culture and heritage.
Accessing higher-level thinking through art By RJ Christensen My vision of teaching changed when I realized the power of art education to broaden students’ perspectives and deepen their understanding of life. In the summer of 2013, I traveled to New Zealand on a Fund for Teachers fellowship grant. My aim was to learn woodcarving from a master Maori woodcarver. However, the trip turned into an enlightening journey of cultural preservation and empowerment. I was patiently mentored by Te Kuiti Stewart on woodcarving techniques and, more
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
importantly, on Maori history, language, symbolism, customs and culture. I witnessed firsthand how the preservation of Maori culture through art empowers the natives of New Zealand. The youth grow up proud of who they are and what their people have accomplished. Inspired by the Maori, I returned with a greater desire to teach my students how to preserve their culture through art. After all, Texas has a growing, diverse population. If our youth are going to be successful, they need a solid foundation of who they are, where they come from and the community they are a part of now. My first semester back, student engagement and performance were at a peak. I taught with energy and passion, sharing all that I had learned from my friends in New Zealand. My students began by creating Maori-style artworks that symbolized their family’s values and heritage. Next, they made pottery that was based on their family’s culture and abstract figure sculptures that told of their experiences with acculturation. Learning about the Maori’s way of
preservating culture taught students to value their culture and to inform their art with greater meaning. The following summer, I was asked to speak on the topic of “multicultural art education in a global society” at the World Congress of the International Society for Education through Art, hosted in Melbourne, Australia. I saw this as an opportunity to not only share, but to expand my understanding of cultural preservation by studying Aboriginal Australian art. This trip unexpectedly taught me more about global awareness, social consciousness and respect for native cultures. When I returned, I pushed students to go further and make better artwork. We explored how to make more meaningful work with powerful messages. We collaborated on projects with dance and fashion design classes. Finally, as a class we made a collaborative hexagon sculpture about interdependence, which travelled to Pennsylvania and won first place in an international art show for Interdependence Day.
I have realized the power in art education to be meaningful, to change perspectives and to make a difference in the student’s world. Each of my class projects now is designed to complete a 3-D design problem and address a conceptual issue or theme. I teach students new art skills while also developing their higher-level thinking.
Just as students experiment with new media and tools, they also discuss and think about new and real issues in the world. Higher-level thinking in students occurs when teachers use higher-level thinking in planning lessons and curriculum. My students sometimes tire of talking about concepts and issues, but I challenge them
because I know they are our future. I want them to be prepared, and I hope they will become a positive influence. ◄ RJ CHRISTENSEN is an art instructor at Elsik High School in Alief ISD.
Students at Elsik High School in Alief ISD work on a collaborative sculpture, which traveled to Pennsylvania for an international art competition and won first place.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Who’s News > Continued from page 23
Mesquite ISD Sherri Guerra has been appointed assistant principal of Price Elementary. The 22-year district employee was an elementary technology facilitator. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce and her master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University.
The board of trustees approved Norma Perez as assistant principal of Henrie Elementary School. Her six years with the district have been spent at Mackey Elementary, where she was a bilingual instructional specialist. She is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico and has a master’s degree from Lamar University. Mesquite High School has a new assistant principal. Keilah Smith, a former Spanish teacher at Kimbrough and Wilkinson Middle Schools, is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. The new school year began with Shelly Wilson as an assistant principal at Rigel Elementary School. She has spent her 11year career at Range Elementary, teaching at the second and fourth grade levels. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Lamar University.
Midland ISD The following educators have been named Midland ISD principals: Jill Arthur, Yarbrough Elementary School; Lina Baiza, Fasken Elementary School; Tanya Bell, Greathouse Elementary School; Sha Burdsal, Bunche Elementary School; Amanda Magallan, Lamar Elementary
Ray Portillo, Henderson Elementary
Jan Rhodes, Carver Center; Gabriel Salgado, Pease Communication
and Technology Academy;
Julie Sims, De Zavala Elementary School;
Stan Van Hoozer, Lee High School.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
Midlothian ISD Former Graham ISD Assistant Superintendent Ashley Stewart is Midlothian ISD’s new assistant superintendent for leadership, planning and innovation. An educator since 1993, she earned her bachelor’s degree from McMurry University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University, where she also received her doctoral degree.
Muleshoe ISD The following administrative appointments have been made for the district: Erin Boatman, principal, Watson Junior
Danie Heathington, assistant superinten-
R.L. Richards, superintendent; Letti Tovar, principal, Dillman Elementary
David Vela, assistant principal, Watson
Munday CISD New Superintendent Troy Parton comes to Munday ISD from Paducah ISD, where he also held the top post.
New Boston ISD Glenn Barfield has moved from serving as a principal in the district to working as the instructional technology coordinator.
Crestview Elementary welcomed Angela Hastings as principal when the new school year began. She had been serving as assistant principal of New Boston High. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from Texas A&M University at Texarkana. Neil Koenig has joined New
Boston ISD as assistant principal of New Boston High School. From Texarkana ISD, he served in the same capacity at Texas High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational leadership from Louisiana Tech University.
New Boston High School Principal Mark Schroeder was most recently with Texarkana ISD, where he worked from 2005 to 2015. He is a graduate of Midwestern State University with a master’s degree in education leadership.
New Braunfels ISD Kimberly Brann, the new
principal of Schurtz Elementary School, comes to the district from Seguin ISD, where she was a principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and a master’s degree in community leadership from Texas State University. Jennifer Huffty, who was the district’s ARD facilitator, is now Klein Road Elementary School’s assistant principal. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a master’s degree in special education from the University of North Texas. Marisela Lopez is now serving as assistant principal of County Line Elementary School after teaching at the school for the past 10 years. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University. Lupita Miles is the new
director of bilingual, dual language, ESL and foreign language services. She comes from Channelview ISD, where she was director of bilingual and ESL programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in education administration from Sam Houston State University.
Northside ISD Adam Bock, former vice
principal of Hatchett Elementary School, is now the campus principal. The University of Northern Iowa graduate holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. New Marshall High School Principal Susan Cleveland comes from Boerne ISD, where she was a principal. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of Northern Iowa and her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. The new principal of Murnin Elementary School is Amber Freeman. She had been serving as vice principal of Burke Elementary. Freeman holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary
studies and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Krista Garcia is now direc-
tor of special education. The former principal of the Holmgreen Center earned her bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of South Florida and her master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. The new principal of Boone Elementary is Manuela Haberer, who was vice principal of Ellison Elementary. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. Shana Hansen, who was principal of Glenoaks Elementary School, is now director of elementary instruction. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The University of Texas and her master’s degree in educational administration from Trinity University. Kathryn Hayes has moved up from her former position of vice principal to principal of Aue Elementary School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington D.C. and a master’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University.
The new principal of Evers Elementary School is Talia Hernandez, former vice principal of Mireles Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Anthony Jarrett, former
Marshall High School principal, has been named executive director of high school instruction. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Now serving as principal of Oak Hills Terrace Elementary School is Kendra Merrell, who was the school’s vice principal. She received
both her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Tawny Wagner, Oak Hills Terrace Elemen-
Paul Moreno has been promoted from vice principal to principal of Northwest Crossing Elementary School. He is a graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Kingsville.
Sonia Almanza, assistant principal, O’Connor High School;
Victor Raga, now principal of Raba Elementary School, was vice principal of Colonies North Elementary. He received his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and his master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Erika Zagala has advanced
from serving as vice principal of Allen Elementary School to leading the campus as principal. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from The University of Texas at San Antonio, she holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University.
Additional administrative appointments are:
Kathleen Cuevas, academic dean, Zachry
Cynthia Tapia, academic dean, Stevens
High School; and
Maria Zavala, assistant principal, Hobby
Northwest ISD The district’s chief financial officer has been promoted to associate superintendent for business operations. Jon Graswich earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental design from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in business administration from The University of Texas.
Overton ISD A new band director has been named for the district. Lynette Hunger is a longtime music educator who is a graduate of Tyler Junior College and Stephen F. Austin State University.
Michelle Alongi, Scobee Elementary School;
A new assistant principal is in place for Justiss Elementary School. Former reading coach Kendra Beshirs received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Paul Brusewitz, Burke Elementary School;
New vice principals are: Maricela Alarcon, Northwest Crossing
Lisa Ellison, Cody Elementary School; Belinda Flores, Mead Elementary School; Danielle Frei, Aue Elementary School; Jamie Gonzalez, Hatchett Elementary
Elizabeth Hernandez, Knowlton Elementa-
Laura Hernandez, Boldt Elementary
Richard Martinez, Martin Elementary
Julie Meneses, Ellison Elementary School; Migdalia Powers, Mireles Elementary
Ryan Purtell, O’Connor High School; Sara Ramirez, Allen Elementary School; Aydee Ruiz, Langley Elementary School; Matthew Scherwitz, Colonies North Elementary School; and
Marsha Jones, former principal of Schnei-
der Middle School, has been promoted to executive director of curriculum and instruction. She graduated from the University of Houston at Clear Lake with a degree in human resources and obtained her master’s degree in counseling from the University of St. Thomas.
When Superintendent Kirk Lewis retires in January, it will bring to a close a 30-year career with Pasadena ISD, where he has held the top position since 2005. Lewis, who also worked in the district’s Communications Department, earned his bachelor’s degree in advertising from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree in education futures from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. His doctorate in educational leadership was conferred by Lamar University. The new director of transportation is Keith Moore, who comes to his new job after > See Who’s News, page 40 Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Who’s News > Continued from page 39
working in the district’s Guidance Center. A graduate of Delta State University with a degree in music education, he earned his master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Melillo Middle School welcomed Adriana Saavedra-Palomares as principal when she joined the school from her previous job as a Spanish and dual language teacher at Pasadena Memorial High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Pasadena ISD trustees have named Kristin Still principal of Schneider Middle School.
She had been serving as an assistant principal at South Houston Intermediate School. Still is a graduate of the University Houston at Clear Lake, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological science. She also holds a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston.
Pflugerville ISD Former Highland Park Elementary Assistant Principal Aracely Suarez is the new principal of River Oaks Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southwestern Adventist University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.
Port Aransas ISD James Garrett is now the associate principal of Brundrett Middle School. Scott McNeely is the new principal of
Port Aransas High School and Brundrett Middle School.
Port Arthur ISD
San Angelo ISD
Rebecca Cline, a product of San Angelo
Now serving as ESC Region 6 president-elect of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) is Splendora Junior High Principal Kent Broussard. The 20-year education veteran has served as a regional officer for seven years and is a former TEPSAN of the Year.
ISD schools, is now an assistant principal of Lincoln Middle School. She has been with the district since 1998 and was most recently lead counselor at Glenn Middle School. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Angelo State University. San Angelo native Zach Ramirez has taken the reins as principal of Goliad Elementary School. Most recently an assistant principal at the district’s Central Freshman Campus, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Angelo State University.
San Benito CISD An interim superintendent is in place for the district. Maria Filomena Leo, a graduate of San Benito High School, previously served in the top position in La Joya ISD. She is a graduate of The University of Texas Pan American, where she also earned her master’s degree in education and her doctorate in educational leadership.
Seguin ISD Nancy Graves-Roane has been hired to fill a
newly created position: executive director of federal programs and school improvement. She was most recently Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
Sheldon ISD Vickey Giles has retired from her position
as superintendent, after working for 17 years in the district.
John Kirchner has agreed to serve as interim superintendent. He was the assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Sherman ISD Lloyd Treadwell, who served as interim
pline for Memorial High School. He comes to his new position from Beaumont ISD, where he was principal of Central High.
superintendent of Alvord ISD this summer, has stepped into the same role at Sherman ISD. The 35-year veteran educator was superintendent of DeSoto ISD from 2007 to 2011.
Sierra Blanca ISD
The new academic year began with Martin Cuellar as superintendent.
Ebby Loeffler is the district’s new super-
Lorenzo Carr has been named dean of disci-
Rice ISD Former Bullard ISD Bullard High School Assistant Principal Mike Richardson has accepted the position of head principal at Rice High School.
Roxton ISD Kelly Pickle is the new superintendent. She comes from Paris ISD, where she was director of elementary education.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
intendent. She returns to her hometown from Marathon ISD, where she also held the lead position.
Sonora ISD Sonora ISD has a new superintendent. Ross Aschenbeck, former superintendent of East Bernard ISD, earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. He is pursuing his master’s degree at Prairie View A&M University.
Spring Branch ISD Kedrick Lookadoo is the newly appointed director of the district’s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program. He comes to Spring Branch from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, where he was employed for 13 years. Lookadoo, a graduate of Southern University, holds a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University.
A new superintendent has been appointed for the district. Scott Muri, former deputy superintendent of academics for Georgia’s Fulton County Schools, graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in intermediate and middle school education. He went on to receive his master’s degree in public school administration from Stetson University and his doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University. The following new principals are in place for the district: Aaron Dominguez, Treasure Forest Elementary School. A graduate of The University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree from the University of Houston, he worked for seven years in Houston ISD as an elementary school principal and dean of students. Danny Gex, Stratford High School. His 24 years as an educator have included 12 with Spring Branch ISD. Gex received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. He is a doctoral candidate in educational administration at Texas A&M University. Sarah Guerrero, Northbrook Middle School. She comes to her new position from Houston ISD, where she spent eight years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics and Spanish from Pacific Azusa College and master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. Karen Liska, Hollibrook Elementary School. She was previously principal of
Spring Woods Middle School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special and general education from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. Rachel Martinez, Spring
Shadows Elementary School. She was the school’s co-leader and principal in residence. A graduate of Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, she holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University. Deborah Silber, Spring Woods Middle School. She was most recently assistant principal of Spring Woods High. A graduate of the University of Houston, she holds an MBA from George Washington University. Steven Speyrer, Landrum
Middle School. A 20-year veteran educator, his bachelor’s degree in education was awarded from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston. Morella Tapia, Wildcat Way School for Early Learning. She has been with the district for 14 years after receiving her bachelor’s degree in education from St. Thomas University and her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston. Chris Winstead, Pine Shad-
ows Elementary School. She spent the past three years as assistant principal of that campus. The graduate of Concordia Teachers College holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University. Jill Wright, Spring Branch Academy of Choice and Cornerstone Academy. An employee of the district for 27 years, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston.
Throckmorton ISD New Superintendent Ken Baugh is the former superintendent of Gustine ISD.
Tomball ISD Todd Abbott, assistant principal of Tomball Junior High School, was an English teacher and head girls’ basketball coach at Tomball Memorial High. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Amie Antignolo has been
named assistant principal of Rosehill Elementary School. She has been an educator for 20 years. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, she went on to receive her master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University. Now serving as an assistant principal of Lakewood Elementary is Brenda Blackmon, who comes to her new job from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, where she worked in the same capacity. She is a graduate of The University of Texas and has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. Canyon Pointe Elementary began the new academic year with Barbara Coleman at the helm as principal. She has been with the district as an administrator for 11 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana State University. Her master’s degree was conferred by Sam Houston State University. Tomball Memorial High School has welcomed Samora Davis as assistant principal. The 14-year veteran educator received her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and her master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. Oakcrest Intermediate School now has Ashley Eddelmon as assistant principal. The Texas A&M University graduate has been with Tomball ISD for eight years. She received her master’s degree in instructional leadership from Sam Houston State University. Mary Endress has been select-
ed to serve as assistant principal of Wildwood Elementary School. She spent the past 12 years with Katy ISD. A graduate of Trinity University, she holds a master’s degree from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and is at work on her doctorate at The University of Texas at Brownsville.
The new assistant principal of Canyon Pointe Elementary School is Neisa Glenewinkel, who had been serving in that role in an interim capacity since 2014. She received a bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M University. Lauren Thompson, principal
of Timber Creek Elementary School, is new to the district, coming from Spring ISD, where she spent the past four years as an elementary principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in administration from Sam Houston State University.
Tyler ISD Orr Elementary School welcomed Tara Brown as principal at the beginning of the school year. She comes to Tyler from Manor ISD, where she was principal of Presidential Meadows Elementary since 2007. 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 Stephen F. Austin State University. Now serving as principal of Griffin Elementary School is Brandon Chandler, who was an employee of the district before working as principal of West Elementary in Arlington ISD. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. New Dogan Middle School Principal Vanessa Henderson-Holmes has been with the district for 12 years, most recently as associate principal of Tyler High School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Le Tourneau University and a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from the University of Phoenix. Ronald Jones, the district’s
new Area 3 chief administrative officer, comes to Tyler ISD from Dallas ISD, where he spent 22 years as a teacher and administrator. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management information systems from Louisiana Tech University and his master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas. > See Who’s News, page 44 Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
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 email@example.com for more details. DEC EM BE R December 2-3 TASA’s Central Office Academy (session 2 of 4) TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,800 for all four sessions. Texas ASCD Conference: Building a Robust Curriculum and Assessment System Around Authentic Performance Tasks Location: Keller ISD Education Center, Keller For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 2-4 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Annual Conference Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: See website for three-day, two-day and one-day options. December 2-5 Texas Association for Health, PE, Recreation and Dance Annual Convention Sheraton Hotel, Dallas For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Early-bird registration: Professionals and associates, $105; student and retired, $35. Preregistration: Professionals and associates, $125; student and retired, $35. Late/on-site registration: Professionals and associates, $145; student and retired, $45.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
December 8-9 Texas ASCD Academy: Building Student Engagement Mesquite ISD Professional Development Center, Mesquite For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
December 3 TASBO Workshop: Funding School Risks (Certified School Risk Managers) Frisco ISD office, Frisco For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Preregistration: Professional/associate, $125; student/retired, $35. Late/onsite registration: Professional/ associate, $145; student/retired, $45.
December 9 TASA Workshop: Digital Learning Design – Transforming Our Schools (session 1 of 3) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $495 for all three sessions; all others, $595 for all three sessions.
December 8 Great Explorations in Math and Science: Ant Homes Under the Ground Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125.
TASPA/Legal Digest Personnel Law Conference for School Administrators Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org
TASBO Workshop: Bullying Prevention Update (Certified School Risk Managers) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD office, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Using Manipulatives to Teach the New TEKS: Grades K-2 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125. Using Manipulatives to Teach the New TEKS: Grades 3-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125.
December 9-11 TASPA/TAEE Winter Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org December 10-11 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 2 of 4) Offices of ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,995 for all four sessions; all others, $2,195 for all four sessions. December 11-12 Texas Association of Mid-Size Schools Annual Legislative Conference Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio For more info, (512) 346-2177.
www.midsizeschools.org Cost: Members from TAMS districts: $100 for first district participant; $90 each for all other participants from the same district. Attendees from all other districts: $135 for first district participant; $125 each for all other participants from the same district. JANUARY January 13-14 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XVI (session 1 of 3) Offices of Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 15-17 Texas Association for Health, PE, Recreation and Dance Leadership Conference Conference Center, Granbury For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org January 19-21 TCASE Great Ideas Convention Marriott Hotel, Austin For more info, (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org January 23-24 Texas Council of Women School Executives Annual Conference Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org Cost: Active TCWE members, $130; students, $85; January 24 only, $95. January 24 Equity Center’s Annual School Finance and Legislative Workshop Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 478-7313. www.equitycenter.org TASA’s Budget Boot Camp Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $125.
January 24-27 TASA’s Midwinter Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: See website for early, regular and on-site registration options. January 27 TASA’s Central Office Academy Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,800 for all four sessions. January 30 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Gifted Plus Conference Chapin High School, El Paso For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: Conference registration only, $115; conference registration and TAGT membership, $175. January 31-February 2 Texas Counseling Association’s Annual School Counselor Conference Hilton Anatole, Dallas For more info, (512) 472-3403. www.txca.org F E BRUARY February 1-2 TASA’s Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 3 of 4) Doubletree North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,995 for all four sessions; others, $2,195 for all four sessions. February 2-3 Texas ASCD Two-Day Academy with Tony Frontier Katy ISD, Katy For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
February 7 Texas ASCD Five-Day Math Workshop (session 3 of 3) Location TBA For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 10 TASA’s Digital Learning Design Academy (session 2 of 3) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $495 for all three sessions; others, $595 for all three sessions. February 11 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $145. February 14-17 TASA’s Texas Assessment Conference Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org February 16 TASB Winter Legal Seminar Holiday Inn, Tyler For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $160. February 18 TASB Winter Legal Seminar ESC Region 19 office, El Paso For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $160. February 18-19 TASA’s Transformational Leadership Academy (session 3 of 4) ESC Region 10 offices, Richardson For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,995 for all four
sessions; others, $2,195 for all four sessions. February 24-25 TASA’s Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 3 of 4) Klein ISD Multipurpose Center, Klein For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,995 for all four sessions; others, $2,195 for all four sessions.
Offices of Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org March 22-23 TASA’s Central Office Academy (session 4 of 4) TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,800 for all four sessions.
February 25-27 TASB Winter Governance and Legal Seminar Omni Hotel, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org February 26-28 Texas PTA Family Engagement Conference Sheraton Hotel, Dallas For more info, (800) 825-5782. www.txpta.org February 29-March 2 TASBO Annual Conference Location TBA, Dallas For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org MARCH March 2-3 TASA’s First-Time Superintendent’s Academy (session 3 of 4) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $695 for all four sessions; $185 per individual session. March 3-5 Texas Mid-Size Schools Association’s Annual Conference on Adolescent Success Sheraton Hotel, Arlington For more info, (512) 468-1168. www.tmsanet.org March 16-17 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XVI (session 2 of 3)
Texas School Business NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
Who’s News > Continued from page 41
Jonathan Kegler, principal
of Peete Elementary School, spent the past 13 years with Nacogdoches ISD, most recently as principal of the Carpenter Academy of Technology and Science. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University. Bobby Markle has been appointed principal of Bonner Elementary School. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
A graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University with a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce, Rawly Sanchez is now an Area 2 chief administrative officer with Tyler ISD. He most recently held the top position at Dallas Can Academy-Ross Avenue and Spruce High School in Dallas ISD. Now leading Jones Elementary School as principal, Lisa Schwartz has been assistant principal of Owens Elementary since 2012. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in business education, she went on to earn a master’s degree in education leadership.
United ISD Sandra Higareda has been promoted from principal of Clark Elementary School to the district’s bilingual coordinator. Gabriela Perez has been named principal of Clark Elementary School. She has spent her career with United ISD, most recently at Alexander High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in public justice from St. Mary’s University and a master’s degree in school counseling from Texas A&M International University.
Weatherford ISD Jerry Blizzard began the new school year
as executive director of facilities. He brings 20 years of experience as a facilities and operations director to his new job.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
Martin Elementary School greeted the new academic year with Amy Crippen as principal, who was most recently an assistant principal of Austin Elementary. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University. Kristi Dowd is the new principal of Weatherford High School, after serving as associate principal of the Weatherford Ninth Grade Center. She is a graduate of Tarleton State University and has a master’s degree from Lamar University.
The new coordinator of Future Ready Learning is Shawna Ford, who was, for the past four years, a teacher and librarian at Curtis Elementary. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University. Jeanette McNeely has been named principal of Hall Middle School. She comes to Weatherford from Midland ISD, where she was principal of Lee High. She received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and her master’s degree from The University of Texas Permian Basin. Lynn Pool, now executive
director of student services, was most recently principal of Weatherford High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from McMurry University and her master’s degree from Tarleton State University. Rachel Rife has been promot-
ed from principal of Curtis Elementary to executive director of elementary education. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University.
Eric Sams, associate principal
of Weatherford Ninth Grade Center, was previously an assistant principal at the district’s Ninth Grade Center. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and completed his master’s degree in education administration at Texas Christian University.
Wichita Falls ISD Michael Kuhrt has been named the district’s superintendent. He came to the district in 2014 to serve as associate superintendent and had been working as interim superintendent since May.
Winfield ISD Former Mt. Vernon ISD teacher and athletic trainer Michael Hammonds has been welcomed as the district’s principal. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in health and sports medicine from Texas A&M University at Commerce, he obtained his master’s degree in education administration from the same institution.
Wylie ISD Brian Alexander is now an assistant prin-
cipal at Wylie High School, where he has been a teacher. He received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and is at work on his master’s degree.
Ryan Bickley, the new assistant principal at Burnett Junior High, joined the district in 2012 as a learning specialist. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University. Creighton Bryan, who comes to Wylie from
Garland ISD, is the new assistant principal of Davis Intermediate School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and his master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Vanessa Hudgins has moved from her
position as the district’s elementary social studies learning specialist to work as dean of students at Harrison Intermediate School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and is completing her master’s degree.
Paulette Jones has been named an assistant principal at Cooper Junior High, coming to her new job from working as a teacher at Wylie East High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Dallas and a master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University. Christa Smyder has transferred from Davis
Intermediate School, where she was assistant principal, to serve in the same capacity at Harrison Intermediate School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University and her master’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University.
Kim Spicer, principal of Frenship High School in Frenship ISD for the past 10 years, is now assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Wylie ISD. Her bachelor’s degree is from Angelo State University
Yantis ISD The following administrative positions have been filled for the district: Jerry Brem, principal, Yantis High School; Steve Hardy, technology director; Tracey Helfferich, principal, Yantis Elemen-
tary School; and
Kathleen Young, business manager.
Yorktown ISD The new superintendent, Carl Krug, most recently held the top position in Hale Center ISD.
Ysleta ISD Veronica Alvidrez, who was assistant principal of Mission Valley Elementary School, is now that school’s principal. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas at El Paso. David Boatright is the principal of East-
wood Middle School, where he has been assistant principal for the past two years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University.
Sandra Calzada is the new principal of Rio
Bravo Middle School. She spent the past five years as assistant principal of Pebble Hills Elementary School. Calzada, who received her doctorate from The University of Texas at El Paso, also received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from that institution.
The new academic year began with Daniel Gurany as principal of Riverside High
School. He had been serving as principal of Clint High School in Clint ISD. Gurany earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The University of Texas at El Paso.
New Parkland High School Principal Darryl Henson comes to his new position from
working in the same capacity with El Paso ISD. He has a master’s degree in education from The University of Texas at Arlington, and his doctorate was awarded by the University of Houston. Miles Hume, principal of Parkland High
School since 2005 and an employee of Ysleta ISD since 1979, has retired. During the course of his 36-year career, he worked in the classroom and in administrative roles at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Former Mesa Vista Elementary assistant principal Heather Karns has been promoted to principal of the school. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and her master’s degree from Sul Ross State University. Now leading the Young Women’s Leadership Academy as principal is former Eastwood Middle School principal Malinda Villalobos. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, she received her master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. ◄
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THE BACK PAGE
Discovering our purpose by Riney Jordan
ore men fail through lack of purpose than through lack of talent.”
Think about that for just a moment.
Those words were penned by Billy Sunday, who started out as a popular outfielder in baseball’s National League back in the 1880s. That career was short-lived, but he would become this country’s most popular evangelist for some 20 years at the turn of the century. As we know, quality of life doesn’t just happen. A fulfilling life begins by determining and clarifying our reason for living. I often wonder how much time we spend helping students determine their “purpose” or their direction in life.
climbed the 58 steps to reach the statue of Lincoln. Only a few people were there as I read each of Lincoln’s quotes engraved in the marble stone. After a brief time, I descended the steps of the memorial where so many historic events had taken place, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Dream” speech. Not knowing where to go next, I turned left and followed the sidewalk around a group of trees. Almost immediately, I was standing at one end of the Vietnam Memorial. I was the only one there as the mist turned into a light rain.
John Noe even went so far as to say: “Purpose is the engine, the power that drives and directs our lives.”
As I read the names of the young men and women who had made the ultimate sacrifice, I couldn’t help but wonder how differently our world might have been had they been able to live and fulfill their dreams. Suddenly I realized that my tears were combining with the rain as I stood there. It was a moment I shall never forget.
You may not be familiar with the name Jan Craig Scruggs, but his life’s purpose is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when we follow a commitment to our purpose.
Jan Scruggs. Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King Jr. They all join the list of those who determined their purpose and put forth the effort to make their dreams become a reality.
Scruggs was a Vietnam veteran who was troubled by the lack of support and recognition given to those who had died during the conflict. After seeing the movie, “The Deer Hunter,” he couldn’t sleep for re-living many of the horrors of war he had endured. At 3 a.m., he began developing a plan for recognizing soldiers who had had been killed in that war. That plan would lead to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the most visited monument in Washington. It contains the names of more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in that conflict.
Today, look at your students. They need encouragement. They need direction. They need individuals in their lives who will give them the desire to make a difference. In doing so, you are fulfilling your purpose. So, make the most of it. Face your challenges with new optimism, with new determination, with new excitement and with new vigor as you take on each day.
The struggles Scruggs endured while raising the necessary funds for the memorial seemed insurmountable at times. However, his purpose was the engine that forged him ahead to completion. I traveled alone to Washington D.C. several years ago, and one morning I decided to walk from my hotel to the National Mall. It was a cold morning, a light fog had fallen on the city. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial and slowly
W. Clement Stone once said: “When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” As public school employees, let us continue to focus on our purpose and make decisions based on what is best to develop students to their maximum capability. If that “burning desire” to make a difference has dwindled, make today the day you determine to rekindle it. You really will be giving your life new meaning, new direction and new energy.
RINEY JORDAN’S “The Second Book” is now available at www.rineyjordan.com, along with his other publications. You can contact him at (254) 386-4769, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter: @RineyRiney.
Texas School Business NOVEMBER\DECEMBER 2015
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