TSB—October 2013

Page 1


October 2013






Great Minds in Texas Public Education Stories of a legislator, a lobbyist and a mom

In the Spotlight Carrie Jackson Keller ISD

TASA President Darrell Floyd Stephenville ISD


JOE PAGE Nacogdoches ISD

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TSB contents news and features

On the cover Great Minds in Public Education by Bobby Hawthorne


photo features TEPSA 14 UT/TASA 25 TASSP 27

departments Who’s News Ad Index


In the Spotlight Keller ISD’s Carrie Jackson, Digital Principal of the Year by Elizabeth Millard

4 31

columns From the Editor


The Law Dawg  —  Unleashed


Tech Toolbox


by Katie Ford by Jim Walsh

by Terry Morawski

Game On!


The Back Page


by Bobby Hawthorne

TASA President Profile Darrell Floyd, Stephenville ISD

by Riney Jordan


by John Egan

Top photo: Lobbyist David Anderson meets with Andrea Sheridan (right), the Speaker’s senior policy advisor for education, and Margaret Frain Wallace, chief of staff for House Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio. Cover image © Shutterstock.com 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. October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News Anderson ISD Former Assistant Superintendent Kammi Green has been named the district’s interim superintendent. Bastrop ISD The district’s new coordinator of athletics is Mark Willoughby. He has been with Bastrop ISD for several years, working as a coach and administrator and, most recently, as the testing coordinator Mark Willoughby and assistant principal of Bastrop High School. Prior to that, he was an English teacher, head baseball coach and assistant football coach at that campus. Willoughby earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Howard Payne University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University in Austin. Bonham ISD The new assistant principal of Evans Intermediate School is Susan Baker, who comes to Bonham ISD from Perryton ISD, where she was principal of Williams Intermediate School for the past three years. Evans Intermediate School opened the academic year with Faith-Ann Cheek as principal. She has been an educator for 19 years, 15 of those as an administrator. She spent nine years as a principal and six years as an assistant principal in public schools of Palm Beach County, Fla., where she was most recently director of charter schools, overseeing 40 schools in that district. Brazosport ISD Denise Babb, now Brazosport ISD’s director of federal programs, comes to her new job from Angleton ISD, where she served in the same capacity for the past eight years. A native of Freeport and a graduate of Brazosport High Denise Babb School, she graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and received her master’s degree in reading and language arts from the University of Houston. She began her career in Angleton ISD as a teacher at Westside and Angleton Middle School East, going on to become as4

Texas School Business • October 2013

sistant principal of Angleton Middle School and principal of Westside Elementary. Eddie Damian, principal of Ogg Elementary, has been elected first vice president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisor Association (TEPSA). He was installed at TEPSA’s annual conference in July. Eddie Damian Damian, who is at work on his doctorate at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, has served on the TEPSA board of directors and on committees for seven years. Griffith Elementary School now has Karen Matt as principal. She comes to Brazosport ISD from Angleton ISD, where she was assistant principal of Westside Elementary. She began her career in 1988 in that district as Karen Matt a teacher at Angleton High School. She then was named assistant principal of Angleton Intermediate School. She also has been principal of Shady Grove Elementary in Burnet CISD and of Brazoria County’s Juvenile Justice Education Program. Matt is a graduate of Brazoswood High School and she earned her associate’s degree from Brazosport College. Her bachelor’s degree is from Midwestern State University and her master’s degree in administration and supervision is from the University of Houston. She is at work on her doctorate in educational leadership and cultural studies. The new principal of Brazoswood High School is Tracie Phillips, who comes to her new job from the Mesa Verde School District in New Mexico, where she was superintendent. A native of Freeport and a graduTracie Phillips ate of Brazosport High School, she began her career with Brazosport ISD at Ogg Elementary and then went on to serve in districts in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico as a teacher and principal. Phillips earned her associate’s degree from See WHO’S NEWS on page 8

From the Editor This issue was really fun to put together. My favorite type of story is the personality profile, and the October issue is chock-full of them. We start with the cover story, which highlights three people who have made a positive difference in Texas public education: legislator Jimmie Don Aycock, advocate Dineen Majcher and lobbyist David Anderson. Each of these individuals have allowed their passion for public education to lead them to do great things on a grand scale. I hope you enjoy reading a little about their respective journeys. We also profile Carrie Jackson, who is no stranger to the spotlight these days. The Keller ISD principal is one of only three people nationwide who earned the title of Digital Principal of the Year, an award bestowed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Lastly, we spoke with Stephenville ISD Superintendent Darrell Floyd, who serves as the president of the Texas Association of School Administrators. Both Jackson and Floyd exude dedication and commitment to their jobs. I also want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate a program for the Seventh Annual Bragging Rights 2013-2014 special issue, due out in December. We have our work cut out for us in selecting the 12 districts that will be featured in this annual publication.

Katie Ford Editorial Director

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) October 2013 Volume LX, Issue 1

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

© Copyright 2013 Texas School Business Magazine LLC October 2013 • Texas School Business


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THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed

The data is in!

by Jim Walsh

Features of the Fifth Edition of the

Texas DocumenTaTion HanDbook Updated discussion of the legal framework within which documentation of all Texas public school employees takes place

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Basic principles of effective documentation of both professional and auxiliary employees Supervisory styles to use with the marginally effective teacher Expanded and revised focused observation instruments for gathering data during classroom observations with sample follow-up memoranda

person get to be in charge of any committee on education? The problem is that Patrick is playing a larger game. For him, it is not about lesson plans or the role of service centers, and it is certainly not about local control of our public schools. It is about gaining higher office.

New chapter on professional communication, working cooperatively with others, and using electronic communication devices Discussion of how to develop improvement plans linking expected changes in teacher behavior to student performance Expanded sample directives to change teaching behavior, organized by PDAS domain. Illustrations throughout of what to do and what not to do in making notes to the file, writing e-mails and memoranda, specifying remediation activities, and writing improvement plans Appendices containing the new Code of Ethics, documentation forms, and templates ready for use CD containing all the documentation forms ready for computer use is included

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‘As Ratliff aptly put it — there is a tug of war going on between people who want to be lieutenant governor, and public education is the rope.’

JIM WALSH, an attorney with Walsh Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C., serves as editor in chief of Texas School Business. He can be reached at jwalsh@ wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg.

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To do that, he must garner the support of the people he thinks can help him. He does not put public school educators in that category. But there are people and institutions with lots of money and influence who would like to see our public school system dismantled. They would prefer private schools, some operated for profit, supported by taxpayerfunded vouchers. Patrick viewed CSCOPE as a handy tool for him to gain the attention and win the support of those who would help him on his quest for a bigger, shinier office. As Ratliff aptly put it — there is a tug of war going on between people who want to be lieutenant governor, and public education is the rope. This type of thing will continue until public school educators develop a more powerful voice in our political system. Are you tired of being the rope? If you are, then get involved. Look into Raise Your Hand Texas. Get involved with Texas Parent PAC. Join the Friends of Texas Public Schools. Register. Donate. VOTE!

Texas DocumenTaTion HanDbook

Texas School Administrators Legal Digest


ow ’bout that debate between State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff and Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston? Now that was free speech at its best. Patrick, in particular, took advantage of his constitutional rights. After all, the Constitution protects the right of politicians to say things that are just flat wrong, and Patrick is wrong about most things when it comes to CSCOPE. Ratliff, on the other hand, had to rely on old-fashioned tools: truth, facts, transparency. Both debaters had a lot of support. Ratliff had the support of teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members who know how to run a school without the helpful assistance of politically ambitious radio talk-show hosts. Patrick had a lot going for him as well. He had the politician’s gift of rhetoric and spin. He had the support of those who seek to dismantle public education by discrediting public educators. He had the fears of those well-intentioned parents who apparently really believe that CSCOPE is part of a sinister plot designed to subvert our common values. Patrick had Glenn Beck on his side, and that alone tells you all you need to know. Now that the debate has occurred and the lessons are in the public domain, let’s hope we can get back to letting local people make the decisions for the teachers and students in their communities. Most districts and many private schools in the state thought enough of CSCOPE to purchase it. Now that it is a hot-button issue, some of them may decide to go another route. So be it. That’s called local control. Let’s also hope that next session’s Legislature has someone chairing the Senate Education Committee who really supports public education. Patrick’s actions speak louder than his rhetoric. He does not trust local school leaders. He does not think teachers can be trusted to provide appropriate lesson plans in the classroom. How does such a

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 4

Brazosport College and her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Houston. Her master’s degree in educational leadership was completed at Tarleton State University. John Ronald “Ron” Redden is now the district’s director of assessment and accountability, coming to his new position from Brazoswood High School, where he was principal. He is a naJohn Ronald tive of Brazosport and a “Ron” Redden graduate of Brazoswood High School. He took his first teaching position in 1992 at the Wesleyan Academy in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and returned to the United States three years later to teach music at Angleton Elementary in Angleton ISD. In 2005, he was made principal of Frontier Elementary in that district. Three years later, he joined Brazosport ISD as an assistant principal at Brazoswood High. Redden attended Brazosport College and earned his bachelor of music education degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). He also attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Brazosport ISD has named Dolores Trevino director of curriculum and instruction. She spent the past eight years as principal of Griffith Elementary School. She is a product of Brazosport ISD graduating Dolores Trevino schools, from Brazoswood High School and going on to earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of St. Thomas and her master’s degree in education from the University of Houston. She began her career with the district as a fourth grade bilingual teacher at Ogg Elementary and then served as assistant principal there. She was the district’s 19992000 Teacher of the Year. Carroll ISD Christina Benhoff is now an assistant principal at Walnut Grove Elementary School. She most recently taught seventh grade math and coached volleyball, baseball and track at Carroll Middle School. 8

Texas School Business • October 2013

She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri. Eubanks Intermediate School began the academic year with Mary Grice as an assistant principal. She was a fourth grade math and science teacher at Old Union Elementary School for the past nine years. Steven Silvia also will be serving as an assistant principal at Eubanks Intermediate. He spent the past three years as a seventh grade history teacher and coach at Dawson Middle School. Channelview ISD Don Beck is now serving as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Most recently principal of Sterling High School in Goose Creek ISD, he also has been a secondary principal in Devine, La Vernia and Don Beck Sabine Pass ISDs. He has worked as a high school math teacher and coach in Silsbee and Woodsboro ISDs. Beck holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and master’s and doctoral degrees from Lamar University. The new principal of McMullan Elementary School is Gina Ervin, who has been assistant principal of Schochler Elementary since 2008. She was also a third grade teacher at that campus and at Cobb Elementary, where she Gina Ervin was named Teacher of the Year in 2003. Ervin received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University and her master’s degree from the University of Houston. Patricia Glaser has been appointed coordinator of school improvements. She was the Texas Title I priority schools grant project manager at Dickinson High School in Dickinson ISD, where she also served as a bilingual/ESL Patricia Glaser summer school administrator and as a teacher

at San Leon Elementary. Glaser earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and her master’s degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The academic year began with Eric Lathan as principal of Aguirre Junior High School. He comes to Channelview ISD from Humble ISD, where he was principal of Atascocita High since 2006. He also has been an assisEric Lathan tant principal at Huffman Middle School in Huffman ISD and at the Barbara Jordan High School for Careers in Houston ISD. Lathan, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, holds a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. A new assistant superintendent for administration has been named for the district. Mike Niemeyer has been with Channelview ISD for 20 years, the past 13 as principal of McMullan Elementary. He began as Mike Niemeyer a sixth grade teacher at De Zavala Elementary, then became assistant principal of Hamblen Elementary. He is a graduate of the University of Houston with a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Veronica Pasternack has been appointed director of federal programs. She has been with the district since 2001, beginning as a teacher at Johnson Junior High and going on to serve for the past Veronica six years as that school’s Pasternack at-risk facilitator. Prior to that she was a language arts and gifted and talented teacher in Houston ISD. Pasternack holds a bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from the University of Houston. Clint ISD (El Paso) A new superintendent is in place for the district. He is Juan Martinez, who was most recently chief human resources officer for El Paso’s Socorro ISD, where he also had See WHO’S NEWS on page 12

Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski

Is the Chromebook right for your school?


ne device that has caught my eye in the past year is the Chromebook. In case you are not familiar, a Chromebook is a laptop that exclusively runs the Google Chrome operating system. Instead of a traditional hard drive and software setup, Chromebooks operate completely in the cloud. Because of this, all work is saved online in Google Drive and all software is replaced by Web-based apps. The devices have been steadily gaining popularity with IT leaders since their introduction in 2011 for their low-cost and low support requirements. Acer and Samsung led the pack with the first round of devices, but buyers now have a wider variety of Chromebooks from which to choose. At press time, there were five companies producing Chromebooks (Acer, Google, HP, Lenovo and Samsung) and eight models on the market. Prices vary based on size of screen, touch-screen options, type of Wi-Fi, amount of Google Drive storage included and more. I test-drove a Chromebook to compile this list of pros and cons. As to whether the device is perfect for your school district, you’ll have to decide. Hopefully this helps you have a better understanding of what amounts to a pretty cool device for teachers and students. Pros Chromebooks are interchangeable between users. Each time the Chromebook powers up, the user logs in to get access to all their personal Google apps and files in the cloud. As a pure cloud device, there is no danger of personal work falling into the wrong hands. This lack of hard-drive storage is also a potential con, however. (See below.) Cost. Chromebooks can range from $199 to significantly more, like the featurepacked Google Pixel at $1,449. One of the initial appeals for school districts is the range of options at a relatively low price point: Acer ($199), Samsung ($249), HP ($329) and Lenovo ($459). Options, baby! There are multiple players in the market. This can drive innovation, as companies compete to be the

best version of the Chromebook. This also requires districts to be savvy shoppers and compare different models. Welcome to the cloud. Because users are required to access the cloud, it’s a short leap to start taking advantage of the online sharing and collaboration that is such a strength of cloud-based programs. Virtually maintenance-free. Chrome’s operating system is self-protected from viruses and performs its own updates. As an added bonus, if your Chromebook does crash for any reason, your work has all been saved to the cloud. According to an IDC whitepaper, a district with traditional PC laptops will spend up to four times as much in IT support and maintenance. This helps the universal school district goal of maximizing teacher time and district dollars. Cons No internal storage. You are dependent on the cloud — and thus a solid Internet connection — to be productive. The cloud has made traditional storage virtually unnecessary, but robust storage can be needed in cases of large files, like videos or high-res documents. Microsoft Office, anyone? Much like iPad users are handcuffed to Apple’s iWork suite (or App Store MS Office knock-offs), Chromebook users are limited to Google Docs and Drive app to knock out their todo list. The good news is the Google suite is pretty slick and Drive is even better. The bad news: Google’s take on Office can feel a little clunky and simple by comparison. Heavy Photoshop users also should steer clear. If you have a story about your district’s experience with Chromebooks or a 1:1 initiative, please share it with me. You never know; it might make a future column. Good luck out there! TERRY MORAWSKI is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. Please send all future column ideas, reading suggestions, questions and comments to terrymorawski@gmail.com or connect with him on Twitter: @terrymorawski.



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Texas School Business • October 2013


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GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne

Playing (and working) by the rules


hen I joined the UIL in 1977, the League was best known for its merciless enforcement of its eligibility rules. Critics called them “arbitrary and capricious,” which was technically incorrect, in a Potemkin village kind of way. Then as now, superintendents representing area schools of similar size with similar concerns and desires gathered once a year in Austin to entertain proposals and hash out the details. To the untrained eye, it appeared progressive enough. But most of us knew the League was run by its executive director, Dr. Bailey Marshall, the first among equals, a former star tailback at Stephen F. Austin State University turned high school coach and principal. His guttural voice sounded like he’d chewed a wad of asphalt. He performed the good ol boy role to suit his purposes, but those who underestimated him came to regret it. Marshall was always the smartest guy in the room and, in the end, what Marshall wanted, Marshall got. For instance, when it came time for the superintendents to vote on a rule change, the room was cleared of guests and pests and the arm-twisting commenced. Even if the language of the new rule wasn’t precisely as Marshall had envisioned, he and his staff would interpret it as they wished. If the League had had a motto back then, it would have been: Wir haben unsere Möglichkeiten. (We had our ways.) Of course, I was a 26-year-old libertine know-it-all and was mortified by all of this. I was hired mostly to smooth relations between the UIL and the media, which was no small task inasmuch as the two parties despised each other. It didn’t help that the League was hopelessly politically incorrect — even for the times. The opening line of the 1977 Constitution and Contest Rules stated that UIL competition was open to all public school students ex-

cept “correctives and defectives.” Once, in defending a rule, Marshall argued, “The few must suffer for the many.” He was right, but it sounded mean. Soon enough, parents, lawyers and the Legislature began chipping away at summer camp, transfer and amateur rules so strict that kids refused to accept one of those free Bibles the size of a calling card from the local preacher for fears of stepping into the UIL’s crosshairs. Today, 35 years later, we have 7-on-7 summer football and AAU basketball and creeping professionalism at every turn. Who knows if this is good or bad. I’m inclined to believe that if it’s not bad, it’s tilting in that direction. I read recently that some coaches want day-today oversight of their players during the summer because they fear their athletes might be exploited by street agents and hucksters. They also worry that, in the absence of local control, all-star teams will pop up here. It’s a legitimate concern, but so is this: When coaches are allowed to oversee their players during the summer, all coaches will be required to do so. The maximum will become the minimum. And when coaches are allowed to coach during the summer, athletes will be required — oh, let us kid ourselves and say “vigorously encouraged” — to attend. So, goodbye, part-time job. Adiós, family vacation. So long, summer as we know it. Bailey Marshall saw it all coming. He knew then what I hope today’s decisionmakers understand now: It’s not as important to know where you’re going as it is to know where you’re headed.

Re-energize your staff! Lift their spirits! Let him make a difference! • More motivational talks to educators than any other current Texas speaker. • Convocations, Conferences, Staff Development Workshops, and Graduation Ceremonies. • 30 years in Texas public education. • Hear him once and you’ll see why thousands have requested him nationally and internationally. • His best-selling book, All the Difference, is now in its sixth printing.

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BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League. October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued fron page 8

served as a principal. He began his career in 1994 as an elementary school teacher in El Paso’s Socorro ISD, taking his first administrative position three years later when Juan Martinez he became an assistant principal in the district. He went on in Clint ISD to work as principal of Montana Vista Elementary and to serve as director of personnel services for six years. He returned to Socorro ISD in 2010 as that district’s chief human resources officer before coming back to Clint ISD. Martinez earned his bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and his master’s degree in school administration from The University of Texas at El Paso. He is at work on his doctorate at the same institution. Comal ISD Several administrative appointments have been made for the district. They are: • Leslie Bonar, principal, Mountain Valley Middle School; • Jarrett Cochran, director of technology services; • Shelly Crofford, gifted and talented coordinator; • Celia Davis, curriculum director; • Mandy Epley, director of fine arts; • Norma Friddle, interim budget director; • Mayra Gutierrez-Ybarra, bilingual coordinator; • Karen Jackson, executive director for student support services; • Jennifer Johnson, early literacy coordinator; • Renee Martinez, career and technology education coordinator; • Michael McCullar, interim director of purchasing; • Rita Molina, director of student information services; • Meredith Pappas, academic coordinator for math; • Josh Recio, advanced academics coordinator; • Shay Lea Strain, principal, Seay Elementary School; • Becky Walker, director of advanced academics and career and technology education; and 12

Texas School Business • October 2013

• Marci Walther, instructional specialist for math. Coppell ISD Superintendent Jeffrey Turner is the recipient of the 2013 Key Communicator Award from the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) in recognition of his “significant contributions to the Jeffrey Turner public’s understanding of public education in Texas through effective communication.” Turner has been a superintendent in Texas since 1991, serving in Burleson, Jacksonville and Van ISDs prior to joining Coppell ISD 12 years ago. He was last year’s president of the Texas Association of School Administrators and worked with members of the Texas Legislature and other groups throughout the 83rd legislative session to present or testify on some of the biggest educational initiatives, including House Bill 5. In 2006, he was chair of the design team of the Visioning Institute, a group of superintendents representing Texas districts and focusing on developing a new model for public education centered on 21st century learning. Crockett County CSD Raul Chavarria, who had been serving as the high school principal of Sonora ISD, is now superintendent. After completing his bachelor’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University in 1988, he began his career as a social studies teacher and athletic coordinator at Alpine Middle School in Alpine ISD. Two years later, he was hired to teach social studies and coach at Alpine High School. From 2000 to 2004, he was principal of Memphis High School and then Memphis Middle School in Memphis ISD. He took his most recent position in 2004. Chavarria holds a master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Three Cy-Fair ISD choir directors were honored by the Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA) at its annual convention in San Antonio in July. Matthew Green, assistant choir director at Hamilton Middle School, received the Young Choir Director of Dis-

tinction Award, which gives recognition to choral directors who have taught for less than five years and have achieved “exceptional success” during that time. Matthew Green Amy Moore, Salyards Middle School head choir director, received a TCDA Professional Scholarship Award at the convention. Moore credited the award with allowing her to pursue her master’s degree. John Morrison, head band director at Hamilton Middle School, was elected to serve on the Texas Bandmasters Association Board of Directors. He has served as the Region 27 band chairman for the Texas Music EduJohn Morrison cators Association for the past eight years. Del Valle ISD The new academic year started with Principal Jeni Bristol at the helm of Hillcrest Elementary School. She has been an educator for 24 years, working in both private and public schools at the elementary and secondary levels. Jeni Bristol Her most recent position was as an elementary principal in Willis ISD. Bristol, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M International University, holds a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. William Clements has been named director of data services. He has been an educator for 18 years, working in Del Valle ISD as an instructional technologist, testing coordinator and instructional administraWilliam Clements tor at Del Valle Middle School. Most recently, he was assistant principal of Hillcrest Elementary. Clements earned his bachelor’s degree while serving in the U.S. Air Force and holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Sul Ross State University.

Who’s News Popham Elementary now has Suzi Gonzales as principal. She has been with the district for 13 years, working as an elementary and response-tointervention teacher and as the instructional adSuzi Gonzales ministrator at Hillcrest Elementary. She has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. The district has named Ruth Vail director of bilingual/ESL. An educator for 17 years, she has worked at both the elementary and secondary levels, most recently as principal of Del Valle Middle School. She Ruth Vail also has been principal of Wilson High School and Milam Elementary in Dallas ISD. Vail earned her bachelor’s degree in history and foreign languages from Southern Methodist University and her master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University. Her doctorate in educational administration is from The University of Texas.

Dell City ISD Fabian Gomez, who was human resources director of Big Spring ISD, is Dell City ISD’s new superintendent. Dripping Springs ISD A new assistant superintendent for business services has been named. She is Elaine Cogburn, former chief financial officer for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. Prior to that, she served as the accounting services manager of Elaine Cogburn Dallas ISD and chief financial officer of Frenship ISD. She began her career as an accountant in Lubbock ISD before joining Frenship ISD as assistant director of finance in 1999. Cogburn earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Texas Tech University. She is a CPA and an active member in the Texas Association of School Business Officers.

Ector County ISD James Ramage is now principal of Permian High School. He has been a high school teacher, the magnet director of Odessa High School and assistant principal of Odessa High. He was principal of Bonham Junior High James Ramage for the past six years. Betsabe Salcido, who was dean of students at New Tech High School for the past two years, now leads that school as principal. An educator for 16 years, she has been a counselor and district administrator Betsabe Salcido as well. David Steele has moved from Dalhart ISD, where he was principal of Dalhart High School, to Ector County ISD to work as principal of Bonham Junior High. He has been a classroom David Steele teacher, coach and campus athletic director, high school principal, and adjunct instructor at Amarillo College and Phillips Community College. Edinburg CISD Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees has been selected as ESC Region 1’s School Board of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). Members of the 2012-2013 ECISD Board are Juan Palacios, president; Martin Castillo, vice president; Jaime Solis, secretary; and members David Torres, Jaime Chavana, Carmen Gonzalez and Robert Pena Jr. As a regional winner, the board is automatically

Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees

nominated for TASA’s Outstanding School Board of the Year program, which recognizes school boards statewide that have “demonstrated outstanding dedication and rendered ethical service to the children of Texas.” Ennis ISD An interim superintendent has been appointed for the district. He is James Sanders, who had been serving as Ennis ISD’s assistant superintendent of human resources and administration. Prior to that, he spent 14 years in MadiJames Sanders sonville CISD as assistant superintendent of student and business services. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Temple University and his master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Sanders is pursuing his doctorate from Texas A&M. Falls City ISD New Superintendent Tylor Chaplin spent 12 years as a teacher and coach in Stephenville ISD before taking his first administrative roles in that district, where he was assistant principal of Henderson Junior High and principal of Gilbert Intermediate School. He most recently worked in Huckabay ISD as principal of the Huckabay School, which serves students in grades pre-K through 12. He has a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports studies and a master’s degree in educational administration, both from Tarleton State University. Fort Bend ISD Mark Foust has been named an associate superintendent for the district. He began his career as an English teacher and coach at Kempner High School and was most recently principal of Dulles High School, where he was initially assistant principal. Prior to that, he was associate principal at Travis High. Foust holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Houston at Victoria. He is at work on his doctorate from the University of Houston. See WHO’S NEWS on page 18 October 2013 • Texas School Business


TEPSA hosts annual summer conference The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association met in June in Austin for its annual summer conference.

Gerald Hudson of Garland ISD and Jarvis Walker of Crowley ISD.

Cliff Mayer, Nakita Brewer and LaTres Cole of Fort Worth ISD with Betty Lewis and Kristina Turner of Crowley ISD.

Jennifer Villines and Sheri Larson of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.

Susan Lumley of Santa Fe ISD and Barbara Skeeters, retired principal and conference speaker.

Heather Patterson and Amber Barbarow of Lamar CISD.

John Cooley Jr. and Charles Lowery of Woodville ISD.

Jamie Otto and Angeline Escamilla of Pasadena ISD.

Becky Vargas and Beverly Bolton of Pasadena ISD.

Tom and Brenda Swartz of Little Elm ISD. 14

Texas School Business • October 2013

VISION What is the future of your Educational Community? How can you create a Strategic Plan to move forward?

The Result‌ Unified Team Engaged Community Identified Priorities Maximized Resources Facilitated Success Recognized as the leading provider of strategic planning for K-12 education.


Dallas, TX Washington, D.C. Detroit, MI Rebecca Kraus, Executive Director rkraus@cambridgestrategicservices.org 1-800-343-4590

October 2013 • Texas School Business


Great minds in Texas public education Many individuals have rallied to support our public schools, but these three have gone above and beyond to ensure excellence for Texas schoolchildren. By Bobby Hawthorne


former small-animal veterinarian who became a smalltown state representative. A housewife and mother who stood and declared, “Enough is enough.” A Zelig-like lobbyist who hounded the Texas Legislature in support of bills that had twice been rejected as regressive, a retreat on academic rigor — even tacitly racist. These three individuals organized, descended upon Austin, testified, and nagged and needled the Legislature, the media and anyone else who would listen. They demanded reform of the state’s standardized testing system — a system that handcuffed teachers and waylaid students, those who wanted to move on to college and those who hoped to graduate and land meaningful, decent-paying jobs. In the end, the Representative, the Advocate and the Lobbyist led and inspired school superintendents and principals, teachers and their students, and many others. They did what many of us more jaded souls thought never possible: They sweet-talked and strong-armed the politicians into doing the right thing. Essentially, they changed the lives of millions of young Texans for the better.

The Representative: Jimmie Don Aycock For a guy who prides himself on being good at reading body language, Texas House Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, was having a tough time figuring out what the guy Jimmie Don Aycock with the crocodile smile sitting across from him was thinking. Aycock knew the guy was none too pleased, but he didn’t know what he was thinking, and that really bugged him. Perhaps better than any other member of the Texas House of Representatives, Aycock appreciates the danger of misreading a nonverbal clue. He has scars on both hands to prove it. For most of the past 30 years, the state rep16

Texas School Business • October 2013

resentative from Killeen who also serves as chairman of the House Education Committee has worked as a veterinarian. And if there’s one thing he has learned from working with skittish patients who have claws and sharp incisors, it is this: Pay close attention to what they say and how they say it, then weigh that information against the context in which they’re saying it. It’s this lesson that brought Aycock to this moment, sitting across from Gov. Rick Perry, searching for a sign, wondering if the rumors were true: that the governor intended to veto HB 5 — the sweeping measure to scale end-of-course testing, even though it had been unanimously passed by the House and the Senate.

‘I believe we need to measure students. I believe we need to evaluate schools and teachers … but I think we reached a point where testing became the end-all and be-all.’ “It was a moment of great anxiety,” Aycock recalls, laughing at his understatement. Few had expected the legislation to come this far; similar efforts two years earlier barely had reached the “whereas this” and “therefore that” stage. But that was then. This past spring, almost everyone who works in public education — people who have experience and not just opinion — saw the same thing: a looming disaster. “It looked like public education was headed over a cliff at about 90 miles an hour,” Aycock says. Teachers knew it. Superintendents and principals knew it. School board members knew it. Most importantly, parents knew it. But key political and business leaders didn’t seem to get it. They claimed any effort to scale back testing would “doom generations of students to a mediocre education.” Aycock disagreed. Strenuously.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Aycock says. “I believe we need to measure students. I believe we need to evaluate schools and teachers. I believe in all of that, but I think we reached a point where testing became the end-all and be-all.” So, Aycock went to work, trying to convince his fellow legislators that a change was essential and inevitable. “Everybody who was looking realized what a disaster was awaiting us if we didn’t do something,” Aycock says. “The political process is pretty emotional. People get worked up. Maybe they have a one-sided view, so you have to weigh that against what you find to be fact. You can’t let emotions carry the day.” Here’s what Aycock found to be a fact: Under existing state law, thousands of kids were not going to graduate, and many others who might graduate would never find a meaningful job. Over the course of the legislative session, the landscape changed, thanks in large part to Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA), also known as “the Moms.” “They provided political persuasive power; let’s put it that way,” Aycock says. “The fact that they were so passionate, so involved and so well-organized was huge.” That said, one of the leaders of the “moms,” Dineen Majcher, insists nothing would have happened without Aycock’s thoughtful statesmanship. “I think he is one of the great heroes of Texas history,” Majcher says. “His actions almost single-handedly helped 5 million kids last year. He is the quintessential statesman. We didn’t always agree on everything, but every step along the way, he was thoughtful and responsive and just amazing.” For example, during a two-hour debate with House Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, Aycock “was the epitome of respectfulness and graciousness,” Majcher claims. “Their debate was a beautiful thing to behold. It was the way the political process is supposed to work.” And that brings us back to the guy sitting across from Aycock. Eventually, Perry asked all the key players involved with HB 5 to join him in his reception room.

“We were all there, waiting on him,” Aycock recalls. “And I still didn’t know whether he’d sign or veto it.” Perry was all crocodile smile as he walked into the reception room. He mentioned “deep reservations” and “rigorous academic standards” and “needs for accountability,” and then he picked up a pen and signed his name to the bill. The chairman of the House Education Committee wasn’t asked to speak. Two people who opposed the bill for most of the session were. Aycock didn’t mind a bit. “I stood there, thinking, ‘Wow. It’s really going to get done. Better days are ahead for Texas public education.’” Since then, Aycock has announced his intention to defend his House seat. He thinks it might be his last session, but he wants to be there to make sure the bill is implemented fully. “I want to be sure that what we’ve done so far doesn’t — for lack of a better term — get all messed up,” he says. He also wants to guard it against the inevitable push-back. He wants to give the legislation time to open its eyes and grow some teeth, to see if it purrs or claws. “Quite honestly, I hope there’s not a whole lot of things to come along to mess with education,” Aycock says. “I’d like to get a little rest. We need time to let the schools adjust, let the leadership of the schools adjust, let the State Board and the TEA adjust. We need a little time to see how all of this works.”

The Mom: Dineen Majcher Dineen Majcher didn’t read Miss Manners’ “How to behave when the governor signs your bill into law,” so as soon as Rick Perry scribbled his signature on HB 5, she and several other activist Dineen Majcher types politely whooped and fist-bumped each other. Not a fan of the bill himself, Perry cast a squinty glance their way and quipped, “I guess that would be the moms,” to which Majcher thought, “Yes, it is. And we’re not going anywhere.” In fact, TAMSA is just getting started. “We made great progress, but it’s an ongoing effort,” said Majcher, an Austin mom and regulatory lawyer who serves as president of TAMSA. “There are some enormous issues on implementation over the next two years. We are working on those with TEA and the

State Board of Education. The next legislative session will be critical because we expect a lot of push-back from the old system.” It’s been quite the journey for the former semi-military brat whose dad didn’t graduate from college but was still intelligent enough to write regulations for the Air Force Reserve Command, located 30 miles south of Macon, Ga. “We were poor, but both my parents understood the importance of education,” Majcher said. “My mother passed away last year,

‘I think we’re back to a reasonable level, but we have to ensure that legislation is implemented properly. That’s critical.’ and I found something that I’ll keep forever — a budget. She made a monthly budget, and she scrimped and saved, and it came down to 37 cents — just enough to cover our Catholic school tuition. We went there because the public schools were so bad.” Her mom earned a few extra bucks by washing the school’s linens. In the sixth grade, the family moved to Houston, and Majcher attended public schools in Clear Lake. The family moved once more — to Round Rock, where she graduated from a public school at mid-term. Then, it was on to The University of Texas, followed by a brief teaching career before enrolling at Texas Tech Law School. Today, she’s the mother of a junior at Anderson High. Her daughter is a busy and bright young lady who is enjoying a high school experience far different from that which her mother experienced. “We’re very fortunate that she goes to an outstanding school,” Majcher says. “There are a lot of opportunities, and I think she’s had a good experience, but I think it will continue to improve because of HB 5.” Majcher concedes that she became involved in TAMSA because of her daughter, but she bristles at the idea that TAMSA is little more than a gaggle of nosey, noisy Republican moms who are worried sick that their precious little darlings might not get into UT or A&M. “Look, I got involved because of my daughter,” she admits. “But I have stayed involved because of all these other kids across the state who are caught in all of this. This is not about our kids getting into Texas. It’s more about those kids who otherwise would not go to college because, under the old plans, they couldn’t get into college.”

Nor is it a Republican versus Democrat issue, Majcher insists. “In fact, one of the biggest compliments I got was when someone from the business community said to me, ‘I can’t tell if you guys are predominantly Republican or Democrat.’ It was critically important that this is a bipartisan effort.” And it’s not a gender, race or tax bracket issue either. “If you look at the demographic that this is going to help the most, it’s not the highereducated, nuclear families,” Majcher says. “It’s the kids who were off track to graduate, who had failed one or more of those tests. They are the ones who have the most to benefit from this. Kids like the Ballinger High junior who testified before the House Education Committee — a brilliant kid who somehow failed the English writing exam. He had become so frustrated with the test that he almost dropped out. “This boy is brilliant,” Majcher says. “But because of one test, he almost quit school. Fortunately, he’s back on track to graduate.” For now, TAMSA is updating its literature and membership lists, expanding its Web presence, meeting with legislators, and testifying before various boards and commissions and ad hoc committees. “Much of our success comes from the fact that this isn’t about any one person,” she says. “Our board had eight very dedicated, strong, hard-working women, all of whom volunteered their time. A child psychiatrist. A mediator. An attorney. Everybody has unique talents and different skill sets, and if someone can’t make a meeting, there is always someone else to step in.” So, now, the battle shifts to implementation. “The past two years, with the 15 tests, teachers had to change the way they taught, and classes were structured to accommodate testing,” Majcher says. “I think we’re back to a reasonable level, but we have to ensure that legislation is implemented properly. That’s critical. So again, let me say that we’re here to stay. You’re going to see a lot of us.”

The Lobbyist: David Anderson David Anderson wasn’t comfortable with the word at first, but he’s now at peace with the fact that he’s a “lobbyist.” “Yes, the word has a negative connotation,” says Anderson, who leads HillCo Partners’ initiatives in public education and whose clients include the Texas School Alliance, the See GREAT MINDS on page 19 October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued fron page 13

Phyllis Hill is the district’s new associate superintendent and will lead the new Department of School Leadership. An educator for 32 years, she comes to Fort Bend ISD from Killeen ISD, where she was executive director of elementary schools. Prior to that, she was that district’s instructional leader and assistant superintendent. She also spent 13 years as an elementary principal and two years as an assistant principal in Killeen ISD. Hill, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, holds a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Christina Hopkins, principal of Parks Elementary School, is now District 4 president-elect of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. Marla McNeal-Sheppard has been appointed as assistant superintendent. She spent the past seven years as principal of Yates High School in Houston ISD and also held the top position at Fleming Middle School in that district. She has been an educator for 18 years, including service as a middle school and high school math and science teacher. McNeal-Sheppard has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston, where she is at work on her doctorate. Long Pham has been named chief information officer. With more than 24 years of experience in information technology management, he spent the past seven years as director of information technology and services for The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Prior to that, he was assistant director of network services at Rice University. Pham earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at The University of Texas and his master’s degree in telecommunications engineering at Southern Methodist University. Laura Ramirez, principal of Jones Elementary School, was installed as third vice president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. Xochitl Rodriguez is now an assistant superintendent. She has been an educator for 16 years, most recently working as a high school improvement officer for Hous-

ton ISD. She also has been a principal at the elementary and secondary levels, a principal mentor and a curriculum leader. Rodriguez earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas Tech University, her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston, and her doctorate in educational administration from The University of Texas. Kermit Spears is the district’s new chief human resources officer. He has worked in that field for more than 18 years, the past seven with Dell, where he most recently was corporate director of human resources for Dell Global Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and business and a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Louisiana Tech University and a second master’s degree, in business administration, from Webster University in Kansas City, Mo. Christi Whitbeck is now deputy superintendent. She has 27 years of experience as an educator and was most recently assistant superintendent of academics in Alvin ISD. The majority of her career has been spent in Katy ISD, where she was principal of Seven Lakes High School, Cinco Ranch Junior High, Alexander Elementary and Winborn Elementary. She was also assistant principal of Cimarron Elementary. She began her career in Alief ISD as a language arts specialist. Whitbeck received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University, her master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston and her doctorate in public school administration from Texas A&M University. Other new administrative appointments are: • Tomeka Boutte, dean of instruction, McAuliffe Middle School; • Ronnie Edwards, principal, Dulles High School; • Latoya Garrett, assistant principal, Sartartia Middle School; • Cozette Church Gaston, principal, Marshall High School; • Tasha Hamilton, assistant principal, Missouri City Middle School; • Tanya Heard, assistant principal, Bowie Middle School; • Lizzie Herring, associate principal, Travis High School;

• Mylana Jackson, associate principal, Willowridge High School; • Jennifer Petru, assistant principal, Fort Settlement Middle School; • Tracey Rich, assistant principal, First Colony Middle School; • Jennifer Roberts, principal, Baines Middle School; • Shirley Rose-Gilliam, principal, McAuliffe Middle School; • Terra Smith, associate principal, Dulles High School; • Jennifer Spears, assistant principal, Parks Elementary School; • Shenique Spears, assistant principal, Quail Valley Elementary School; • David Yaffie, principal, Clements High School; and • Kellie Yoh, assistant principal, Crockett Middle School. Frisco ISD Joyce Jamar has been named assistant principal of Sem Elementary School. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Central University in Oklahoma and has been an educator for 11 years. The new associate principal of Heritage High School is Jennifer Redden. A new principal has been appointed for Heritage High School. Alan Waligura, who was the school’s associate principal, joined the district in 2009 as an assistant principal at Heritage High School. He has been an administrator for 10 years, beginning his career in 1999 as a classroom teacher. He was previously with Plano ISD. Waligura, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), holds a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University. Michelle Zurek is the new assistant principal of Heritage High School. An educator for 11 years, she has a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Concordia University. Galena Park ISD

Bianca Benavides 18

Texas School Business • October 2013

Bianca Benavides is the new principal of Woodland Acres Elementary School, where she served as assistant principal for the past three years. She began

See WHO’S NEWS on page 24

GREAT MINDS continued from page 17

Fast Growth School Coalition and Raise Your Hand Texas. “We’re right up there in the public eye with used-car salesmen, politicians and dentists,” he quips. Well, that’s only David Anderson true if you don’t support public education or if you don’t know Anderson. If you do, then his stock goes way up. He’s passionate about public education, and he loves his work and it shows. “My job,” he says, “is characterized by brevity, variety and fragmentation. I know that from day to day, week to week, month to month, I’m working some on the same issues, but what I do on any given day is typically unique and energizing. “You know, people make jokes about the Legislature, but we have some really, really good elected officials, and the legislative staff is smart and savvy,” he continues. “What kills me is that the staffers get younger and smarter every session.” He should know. Anderson was a key player in the passage of HB 5, and he takes great pride in the fact that it was passed unanimously and signed, albeit reluctantly, by the governor. “Until he signed the bill, I worried that he would let it become law without his signature,” Anderson says. “I thought he could issue a signing statement that outlined his objectives, while noting it was overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature.” Texas deserves better than that, he says. “I love public education. It’s what gives people the opportunity to rise above whatever their circumstances are,” he says. “I don’t want to see us lose it.” Was that ever a possibility? “Absolutely,” he says. “There are people who say, ‘If we ran education more like a business, or if we were to privatize some of these things, we’d be more efficient.’ Well, most school districts are run like businesses, and they are efficient. But what you don’t run like a business is instruction.” Anderson grew up in McGregor, which in the late 1950s was like most small towns except that many of its residents were engineers and research-and-development types who worked at North American Aviation, a local rocket plant. His father, a McGregor native, was an Air Force captain who had flown the Burma Hump during World War II, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross in the process. His mother was a nurse from the north

shore of Boston. They married in 1950 after a whirlwind romance, and David was born in 1951. In 1953, Anderson’s dad was attached to a colonel who was in line to be promoted after a brief overseas stint, which would have taken the Anderson family from Ellington AFB in Houston to the Pentagon. However, during flight training, his father contracted encephalitis, suffered permanent brain damage, and was in and out of hospitals until his death in 1995. Raised by his mother, Anderson began first grade in Massachusetts but returned to Texas when the VA transferred his dad to the

‘I love public education. It’s what gives people the opportunity to rise above whatever their circumstances are. I don’t want to see us lose it.’ hospital in Waco. His mom took a nursing job at the rocket factory, and they moved into staff housing, right outside the city limits but close enough to walk to school, which he loved. His second grade teacher taught him to play chess, and he developed close friendships with similar bright and ambitious boys, including some African-American kids. His class was the first in the district to go through all four years of high school as an integrated class. “From my position, integration was easy, but then I wasn’t the one whose school was closed, and I wasn’t the one who lost almost all of my teachers,” Anderson says. He competed in debate and several other UIL academic contests, but his passion was football. He was the team manager. After being accepted to The University of Texas, he hinted to his high school football coach that he would love to be a student manager for the Longhorns. Fortunately, his coach knew Darrell Royal, pulled a few strings, and a couple of weeks later Anderson received a letter inviting him to join a Texas team in the early stages of a 30game winning streak that netted back-to-back national championships. Along the way, Anderson bumped into football legends like Bear Bryant and a long-haired soon-to-be Lone Star icon, Willie Nelson. “You just never knew who’d you’d run into at practice,” he says. But what impressed Anderson most was Royal’s organization. Practices were conducted with meticulous precision. “Coach Royal and his staff paid close attention to detail while never losing sight of the

big picture,” Anderson says. “All the coaches and all the managers had a script for that specific day. If there’s a lesson I carry with me from those days, it’s the importance of organization.” After graduating, Anderson taught for two years in Austin public schools. He became the district’s youngest administrator at age 24 when he joined the AISD elementary curriculum staff in 1976. When he enrolled in UT’s master’s program in education administration, he learned another lesson: the importance of leadership. “The success of the campus is a reflection of the principal’s strong, decisive leadership,” he says. “You can’t have a high-performing campus without it.” That’s why he so appreciates Raise Your Hand Texas, which each summer sends select principals to Harvard University for leadership training. “David exceeds his reputation as a reputable and credible source of information, forward-thinking ideas, and even career advice,” says David Anthony, chief executive officer of Raise Your Hand Texas. “Despite his many abilities and connections and his vast knowledge, he has mastered the arts of self-deprecating humor and of making everyone feel relevant and at ease. He is a man you can trust.” Prior to launching into lobbying, Anderson worked for a time in education publishing and was active with the Texas Textbook Publishing Association. He then moved on to serve as the managing director of curriculum and professional development at the Texas Education Agency. As a man who has worked for decades and from multiple angles to support public education, Anderson says he believes we’re on the right path again: Financing largely has been restored and HB 5 was passed and signed. Equally as important, public school supporters are flexing their muscles and getting things done. “There’s no question that the unknown variable this session that affected legislation in a positive way was TAMSA,” Anderson says. “Without the mothers’ support, who knows?” Perhaps a more accurate analogy for public education is not a path but a pendulum. While a path changes when circumstances change, a pendulum seeks equilibrium. So, the question is: Do we have the right balance? “The simple answer to that is ‘Yes,’” Anderson says. “I think we got off track early in this century, but we’re back on it now.” BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League. October 2013 • Texas School Business


In the


How one principal turned a wave of backlash into an engaged community by Elizabeth Millard


s student enrollment began climbing in intermediate and middle schools in Keller ISD, Principal Carrie Jackson and local educators put together an ambitious plan: to establish a school for fifth through eighth grades that would be so innovative that it would serve as a model of 21st century learning. Everything about the school would be unique, from classroom layout to classroom technology to collaborative learning.

In designing the campus, students were asked what they would like in an ideal school, and their thoughts were incorporated into the final design. “It was all about connecting with each other and serving our kids by preparing them for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” says Jackson, who became principal of the Timberview Middle School when it opened in 2010. She and her staff were ready to fulfill a promise and to serve as an example of what secondary schools could become. There was just one problem: The community hated it. “The push-back was huge,” recalls Jackson. “I got calls and emails daily from anxious and angry parents. The staff felt on the defensive all the time. It was exhausting.” Because Timberview is a neighborhood school, some parents were upset because they felt their kids were being used as “guinea pigs” to test an unproven school. In particular, the community seemed wary of the school’s focus on classroom technology. After such a challenging first year, Jackson decided it was time to change tactics. Rather than back off of technology, she used technology — specifically, social media —to get the community on board. Timberview Middle School Principal Carrie Jackson chats with Her strategy students in the cafeteria. Jackson recently received national attention worked. Today, there as a Digital Principal of the Year. 20

Texas School Business • October 2013

are parents who hug Jackson when they see her. The community is eager to learn what’s going on with classroom instruction, and parents embrace the school’s innovative model. Here’s how Jackson turned ire into involvement: She used Facebook as an open forum Initially the school had a closed Facebook group for making announcements about the cafeteria menu or a ball game, et cetera. Jackson had a hunch that community relations could be strengthened if there was more online interaction, so the school scrapped the group page and a public Facebook fan page for Timberview was born. The shift allowed parents to comment — good or bad — and start discussions, rather than being subjected to one-way communication from the school. The fan page has grown into an online hub for sharing information, photos, announcements, congratulatory news and more. There are photos of parent volunteers, students at work, special events and classroom activities. Parents feel more involved because they can be part of an online community, Jackson notes. She harnessed the power of Twitter Rather than using Twitter solely to push school announcements, Jackson began connecting with other educators and parents. “It was a game-changer for me as a school administrator,” she says. “I got to know principals from other parts of the country, and I heard about ideas that were working in other places.” In March 2011, Jackson started a Twitter-based live chat called #TMSHawkChat that still continues today. Every Tuesday night, Jackson or another Timberview educator moderates an online discussion around a specific topic, such as best apps for education or how to help kids get more organized. The chats have been extremely

well-received, Jackson says, garnering attention from educators around the country. The popularity of TMSHawkChat inspired Jackson to leverage Twitter even more in the school’s third year. She has created “campus tweet-alongs,” in which administrators and teachers send out photos during a single day, such as the first day of school. “Families get a view of what is going on, so they feel involved,” says Jackson. “Even if they don’t see their own children in the photos, they see that everybody is happy, the kids are safe, and they get to feel like they’re part of that day.” She recruited risk-takers The teachers at Timberview are deeply involved in online media, Jackson says, and tap into Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, online forums and other tech resources to connect with educators nationwide and learn from innovative tactics. They’re eager to try new strategies and to embrace change. “I hire risk-takers intentionally; I want people who love kids and are fearless in trying new things,” she says. “As a result, the energy of our staff is unlike anything I’ve seen in my 18 years in education.” Prior to opening the school, Jackson was a vice principal for a middle school and then a high school in Irving ISD for five years. She began her career as a language arts teacher for Irving ISD middle

schoolers. Even during her teaching days, she stood out for her ability to combine technology and education, which earned her a designation as Distinguished Technology Educator of the Month and Campus Teacher of the Year. Not surprisingly, Jackson was recognized recently for her achievements at Timberview. This year, the National Association of Secondary School Principals selected her as just one of three in the country to earn the title “Digital Principal of the Year.”

Jackson says she is deeply honored by the award and feels that it fuels her drive to create a more tech-ready generation who can take on any challenge. “Kids need to be creators and contributors to learning, not just collectors,” she says. “We’re so happy that we’re able to surge forward from this point. The energy around here — with students, with staff, with the community — is just incredible. I’m really excited about what’s ahead.” ELIZABETH MILLARD also writes for District Administration.

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October 2013 • Texas School Business


TASA PRESIDENT profile Stephenville ISD’s Darrell Floyd leads the way by John Egan


arrell Floyd grew up in the small West Texas town of Andrews, where his mom, Nancy, worked in Andrews ISD’s cafeterias and his dad, Dean, toiled as a roughneck, driller and tool pusher in the oil fields. Dean, who died last year, wanted his son and his

daughter, Teresa, to attend Andrews ISD during their entire K-12 experience in public schools. So the family stayed in Andrews while Dean sometimes drove two hours or more to put in a day’s work at a drilling rig.

Stephenville ISD Superintendent Darrell Floyd holds up the Football State Championship trophy his students won in December 2012 at the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium. 22

Texas School Business • October 2013

As evidenced by his father’s long commutes, the Floyds valued a good education, and it was this core value that spurred a young Darrell Floyd to pursue a career in public education. Floyd has spent 27 years as an educator — the past 14 years as the superintendent of Stephenville ISD. On top of that, he’s the 2013-2014 president of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). That comes on the heels of his 2011-2012 chairmanship of the UIL Athletic Committee. As president of TASA, Floyd is keenly aware of the rapidly shifting landscape of public education across the state. “Those that dig their heels in and refuse to acknowledge change will be left behind,” he says. “We must embrace change and figure out ways to best educate the throngs of digital natives entering our schools each year.” Among Floyd’s goals during his tenure as TASA’s president are focusing on leadership development; developing, retaining and supporting highly qualified leaders in education; and promoting decision-making based on research. He says that if he could correct one prevalent misconception about public education, he would underscore that “schools can’t necessarily be all things to all people all of the time.” “Try as we might, we can’t be both educator and parent all the time. In order to be successful, there needs to be a positive, productive and supportive partnership between the school, parents and community members,” he says. If Floyd finds the need to commiserate with a fellow superintendent about issues in public education, he can turn to his wife, Cheryl. She has been superintendent of Huckabay ISD for 12 years. Floyd says he and his wife, who have two children, compare notes “quite often.” “You would think that by the time we get home, we would not want to talk about education issues — after having done it all day at work — but we do all

the time,” he admits. “Cheryl is a smallschool superintendent, and my district is significantly larger. So we often compare notes about how things are different yet similar. It’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off of — and someone to whine with who truly understands what you are going through when things get difficult in this business.” Floyd entered into “this business” in 1986 as a teacher and coach in Ector County ISD, after earning a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University. Other professional stints on his journey in public education have included positions in Waco ISD, Paul Pewitt CISD, Queen City ISD and Castleberry ISD. Before becoming Stephenville ISD’s superintendent in 2000, Floyd worked for three years as superintendent of Linden-Kildare CISD. Three “outstanding” teachers and coaches in Andrews ISD strongly influenced his desire to be an educator, according to Floyd: first-grade teacher Cleta Garms, middle school teacher and coach Don Evans, and teacher and head baseball coach Joe Ray Halsey. “Each of these educators impacted my life in different, positive ways,” he says. Floyd says his previous experience as a teacher, coach and principal gives him a “good foundation” for leading educators in Stephenville ISD. “Having served in those positions, there is not much that I haven’t seen or experienced,” he says. “I also think it lends credibility with staff members for them to know that I have walked in their shoes at some point and time in my career.” While Floyd never walked in his mother’s shoes as a school cafeteria worker, her more than 25 years of service as an employee of Andrews ISD undoubtedly gave him a deeper appreciation for all of a school district’s employees, not just the teachers and administrators. “My mother worked hard as a school cafeteria worker. She got to work early and often worked late,” Floyd recalls. “She still lives in Andrews and — even though she doesn’t have to — she continues to get up early every school day and makes coffee for the employees in the Andrews ISD administration building. “My mom and dad both instilled in me a great work ethic,” he says. JOHN EGAN is a freelance writer in Austin.

FUN FACTS ABOUT DARRELL FLOYD First music concert I ever attended: George Strait in 1980 A habit I would like to break: chewing my fingernails A skill I would like to learn: golf If I suddenly had $1,000 tax-free, I would: Probably put it in the bank — temporarily — until it would quickly be spent on my two kids’ Texas Tech University expenses.



Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School Dallas Independent School District

www.perkinswill.com October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 18

working in Galena Park ISD in 2003 at Purple Sage Elementary. The new principal of Woodland Acres Middle School is Lee Ramirez, who has been the school’s assistant principal for the past three years. He began his career in the district at the Accelerated Center for Education in 2005. Lee Ramirez Now serving as principal of Pyburn Elementary School is Conrad Rivera, who has been the assistant principal of that campus for the past 12 years. A product of Galena Park Conrad Rivera ISD schools, he began his career in 1997 at Cloverleaf Elementary. Granbury ISD Chelsey Gibson is the new assistant principal of Oak Woods School, taking her promotion after teaching fifth grade there since 2006. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and is completing her master’s Chelsey Gibson degree in education at Lamar University. Ammie Hill is now assistant principal of Crossland Ninth Grade Center. She comes to the district from Keene ISD, where she taught high school social studies since 2006. She also has been a fifth grade teacher in that disAmmie Hill trict. Hill is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University and holds a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. Harlingen CISD A new principal is in place for Treasure Hills Elementary School. He is Roland Ingram, who comes to his new job from Harlingen High School South, where he had been associate principal since 2011. He began his career in 1995 as a teacher in 24

Texas School Business • October 2013

McAllen ISD and Harlingen CISD and as an instructional facilitator at Lamar Elementary and Harlingen High School South in Harlingen CISD. Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Ten new administrators have been announced for the district. They are: • Lorie Gassert, coordinator of special education; • Gena Jackson, assistant principal, Stonegate Elementary School; • Liesl James, assistant principal, Wilshire Elementary School; • Doreen Mengwasser, principal, Meadow Creek Elementary School; • Teresa Moulds, coordinator of K-5 mathematics; • Holly Norgaard, coordinator of 6-12 mathematics; • Mick Sandoval, principal, Bellaire Elementary School; • Katy Thomas, assistant principal, Lakewood Elementary School; • William Westmoreland, coordinator of truancy and AEP; and • Bill Willis, assistant principal, Meadow Creek Elementary School. Jefferson ISD New Superintendent Rob Barnwell comes to Jefferson ISD after spending the past nine years in the top position in Queen City ISD. An educator for 25 years, he began as a teacher in New Boston ISD, going on to work as an administrator, assistant principal and principal in McLeod ISD. Katy ISD David Kendler, the district’s new Area 3 assistant superintendent, comes to Katy ISD from Taylor ISD, where he spent the past six years as principal of Taylor High School. He began his career in 1986 as a basketball coach and went on to serve as principal of Revere and Sharpstown high schools in Houston ISD. Kendler holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and physical education from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of New Mexico. Keller ISD South Keller Intermediate School Principal Patricia McKeel will serve as District 11 president of the Texas Elemen-

tary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). She is new to the district, coming to her current position this fall from spending six years as assistant principal of Eubanks Intermediate School in Carroll ISD. She had been a teacher at Eubanks and at Durham Intermediate, also in Carroll ISD. McKeel holds a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University and earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Tarleton State University. She is a former TEPSA District 11 Assistant Principal of the Year. La Feria ISD Raymundo (Rey) Villareal is now the district superintendent. He comes to La Feria from Laredo ISD, where he was assistant superintendent. Lamar CISD Joel Garrett is now an assistant principal at Terry High School. He was a teacher for seven years in Mansfield ISD and spent a year as an assistant principal in Arlington ISD. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and received his master’s degree from Lamar University. Deana Gonzales now leads Jackson Elementary School as principal. She has been an educator for 11 years, including seven years as a teacher in Lamar and Alief ISDs and four years as an assistant principal. She was Lamar ISD’s 2013 summer school principal and served as an assistant principal at Ray Elementary. Gonzales, who is a graduate of the University of Houston, earned her master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas. Kimberly Johnson is the new assistant principal of George Ranch High School. She has worked in districts in Louisiana and Virginia and has spent seven years combined with Mansfield and Arlington ISDs. She has a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and two master’s degrees from the University of Phoenix. Mark Melendez has been named principal of Hutchison Elementary School. A U.S. Army veteran, he has been an educator for 15 years, including working as a teacher and assistant principal in Georgia. In Lamar CISD, he taught at Campbell Elementary and was assistant principal and then principal of Smith Elementary. See WHO’S NEWS on page 26

UT/TASA summer conference eyes facility design, new laws The University of Texas and Texas Association of School Administrators Summer Conference on Education, held in June in Austin, offered sessions on transformative facility design and a review of how the 83rd legislative session affected public education in Texas.

Julie Steelman of ESC Region 11 with Darrell Floyd of Stephenville ISD and his wife, Cheryl Floyd of Huckabay ISD.

Jo Ann Bludau of Hallettsville ISD (third from left) with Texas Association of School Boards representatives Kathee Lupton, Marian Strauss and Mike Rains.

David Perry of Brooks ISD and Kim Krause of Texas Association of School Boards. Kenneth Estes of Alvarado ISD and Tim Miller of Cleburne ISD.

Adren Pilger of Round TopCarmine ISD and Chad Jones of Lola ISD. Mike Marcus, Kevin Moran and Danny Twardowski, all of Waller ISD.

Jim Revill of Frost ISD, Larry Baer of Rice ISD and Mark Hudson of Paris ISD. October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 24

Eric Nicholie is the new principal of George Junior High School. He spent nine years as a teacher, coach and assistant principal in Fort Bend ISD before opening Hutchison Elementary in Lamar CISD as principal in 2005. He was Lamar CISD’s Elementary Principal of the Year in 2010. Nicholie earned his bachelor’s degree from Hope College in Holland, Mich., and his master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Ray Elementary School Principal Ray Perez has been chosen to serve as District 4 president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). He has been with Lamar CISD for 18 years, nine of those as an administrator and has served on several TEPSA committees. He is the 2013 Lamar CISD Elementary Principal of the Year. Jennifer Roberts is the district’s new director of student support services. She has nine years of experience in education and was most recently a counselor at Foster High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College and her mas-

ter’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Her doctorate was awarded from Texas Southern University. Terri Rodriguez is now the assistant principal of Beasley Elementary School. An educator for 18 years, she was a teacher for 11 of those and an ESL facilitator for seven, all in Fort Bend ISD. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were received from Houston Baptist University. Mansfield ISD A number of administrative appointments have been made for the district. They are: • Leonard Cousins, assistant principal, Legacy High School; • Michele Drake, assistant principal, Harmon Elementary School; • Susan Ebert, director of finance; • Joshua Garcia, director of ELL/bilingual programs; • Mendy Gregory, academic associate/principal, Career Tech Academy/ Frontier High; • Alton Jackson, assistant principal, Worley Middle School; • Darwert Johnson, assistant principal, Timberview High School; • Jaretha Jordan, principal, Shepard Intermediate School; • Imelda Little, principal, Icenhower Intermediate School; • Julia McMains, principal, Worley Middle School; • Brian Merchant, assistant director of transportation;

• Tameka Patton, principal, Neal Elementary School; • Jared Peters, assistant principal, Howard Middle School; • T.J. Planas, assistant principal, Lake Ridge High School; • Kourtney Ragsdale, assistant principal, Wester Middle School; • Lacye Redmond, assistant principal, Jones Elementary School; • Tammy Rountree, area superintendent of elementary instruction; • Darrell Sneed, associate superintendent of curriculum, instruction, accountability; • Natasha Stewart, assistant principal, Lake Ridge High School; • Rene Villegas, assistant principal, Legacy High School; and • Karen Wiesman, associate superintendent of business and finance.

McKinney ISD The new principal of Minshew Elementary School is Al Conley, who returns to the campus where he served as assistant principal from 2007 to 2012. He has spent the past year as assistant principal of Malvern Elementary. Conley began his career in 1999 and joined McKinney ISD in 2003 as a fifth grade teacher at Webb Elementary. He holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. See WHO’S NEWS on page 28

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Texas School Business • October 2013

TASSP gathers for summer workshop in Austin In June, the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals hosted its annual summer workshop at the Austin Convention Center.

Sandy Flowers and Richard Nash II of Pollok ISD.

Robert Loomis and Ginger Robbins of Graham ISD.

Valerie Benitez and Edward Maneikis of Southlake ISD.

Mary Griffith and Holly Brockman of Angleton ISD. Mitchell Curry and Alan Arbabi of McKinney ISD.

Joseph Dominick Manago and Christine Miles of El Paso ISD.

Darla Biddy and Brandi Swenson of Iowa Park ISD. October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 26

Midland ISD The new principal of Crockett Elementary School is Lisa LeClear, a former administrative assistant at Bonham Elementary. Overton ISD The new superintendent is Stephen Dubose. An educator for 30 years, he spent the past five years as principal of Overton High School and, prior to that, was the district’s athletic director and head football coach. Kendall Smith has begun his stint as principal of Overton High School, coming to his new job from Oglesby ISD, where he was athletic director for the past five years. He has been an educator for 25 years, teaching and coaching in numerous Texas districts. He holds a master’s degree from East Texas State University. Plano ISD A number of principal appointments have been made for the district. They are: • Andrea Cockrell, Jackson Elementary School; • George King, Plano East Senior High School; • Joy Lovell, Andrews Elementary School; • Brian Lyons, McMillen High School; • William McLaughlin, Shepton High School; • Sonja Pegram, Renner Middle School; and • Laurie Taylor, Shepard Elementary. In addition, nine schools have new assistant principals. They are: • Jeffrey Banner, Jasper High School; • Ronnie Cantu, Memorial Elementary School; • Matthew Conrad, Shepton High School; • Jill Engelking, Murphy Middle School; • Robert Ford, Carpenter Middle School; • Cynthia Hentges, Hickey Elementary School; • Andrew Jacob, Plano Senior High School; • Tracie Langford, McMillen High School; and • Jana Sandall, Rasor Elementary School.


Texas School Business • October 2013

Rockdale ISD Former Corsicana ISD Superintendent Don Denbow is now interim superintendent of Rockdale ISD. He has been an educator for more than 40 years, serving as a teacher, coach and administrator. Round Rock ISD Purple Sage Elementary School’s new principal is Arnoldo Barrera. He began his career in 1991 as a high school Spanish teacher in Corpus Christi ISD and went on to work as a counselor in an adult learning center, at the middle and high school levels, and in a disciplinary alternative education center. In Corpus Christi, he was also an assistant principal and principal and taught at Del Mar College. Barrera holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Texas A&M International University and a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in educational leadership from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Scott Morgan has been appointed principal of Jollyville Elementary School. He began his career in 1997 as a third grade teacher in Texas City ISD and has been assistant principal of Anderson Mill Elementary and Great Oaks Elementary in Round Rock ISD. Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in education and earned his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The new principal of Ridgeview Middle School is Tiffany Spicer, who began her career in the district as a resource language arts teacher at that campus in 2004. Two years later, she moved to Stony Point Ninth Grade Center to teach reading, then served as the school’s interim assistant principal. In 2010, she helped open Cedar Ridge High School as an assistant principal. Two years later, she was named the school’s associate principal, the position she held until beginning her new job this fall at Ridgeveiw. Spicer, who earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from The University of Texas, holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas State University. She is pursuing her doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University. South San Antonio ISD Mourette Hodge has been named interim superintendent. She began her career in the district in 1979 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas. She taught and coached

at Dwight Middle School and helped to open Kazen Middle School in 1980. She also taught at Athens and Hutchins elementary schools, spent a year as an administrative intern, and took her first administrative position as a vice principal at Shepard Middle School. She spent 14 years at Palo Alto Elementary School, first as vice principal and then as principal, and in 2006 took on the challenge of directing the Early Reading First (ERF) grant, a $4.5 million program that began at five district schools, followed by an additional five districts a year later. Hodge completed her master’s degree at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville). Southwest ISD (San Antonio) The new director of career and technology is Tracy Anderson, who comes to her new job from San Antonio’s North East ISD, where she was assistant principal of Lady Bird Johnson High School. Initially a middle school typing teacher and Tracy Anderson athletics coach at Dickinson ISD’s McAdams Junior High, she holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Houston and a master’s degree from Webster University. The district’s director of transportation is David Boggio. He has been an educator for 17 years, the past five with Southwest ISD, where he most recently was director of career and technology. He has also been a history teacher at David Boggio Southwest High School and an assistant principal at that campus. Boggio holds a bachelor’s degree from Western New England College in Springfield, Mass., and a master’s degree from Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Mass. JoAnn Fey has been promoted from serving as executive director for student and adult leadership development to the position of assistant superintendent for administration and human resources. She has been an educator for JoAnn Fey 18 years, 16 of those with Southwest ISD. She began as a teacher and coach, going on to work as an assistant principal, academic dean and principal of South-

Who’s News west High School. Fey earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University. The academic year began with a new principal for Indian Creek Elementary School. She is Monica Muñoz. She has been with the district for 15 years, serving as a teacher at Big Country Elementary and Scobee Monica Muñoz Middle School, an academic coach and an academic coordinator at McAuliffe Middle School. Her bachelor’s degree was earned from St. Mary’s University and her master’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. Spring ISD Dueitt Middle School welcomed Benjamin Bostic, former assistant principal of Wells Middle School, as principal. Before coming to the district, he was an assistant principal at Stovall Middle School in Aldine ISD. He holds both bachBenjamin Bostic elor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University. Kristi Brown, former interim principal of Northgate Crossing Elementary School, has been named principal of that campus, where she served as assistant principal since its opening in 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kristi Brown Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Spring ISD’s new assistant superintendent of human resources is Lucio Calzada, who was most recently an assistant superintendent over Area 2 schools. Prior to joining Spring ISD, he was principal of Austin High School in Lucio Calzada Austin ISD. He began his career in 1989 as a math teacher at King High School in Kingsville, going on to serve as an assistant principal, mathematics consultant, and principal at the middle school and high school levels in Corpus Christi and Austin. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor at Concordia and St. Edward’s universities in Austin. Calzada, who has a bach-

elor’s degree in secondary education, also holds a master’s degree in school administration. His doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Melissa Dean, former principal of Bammel Elementary School, is director of data quality in the district’s Data Integrity Department. She has spent her career in Spring ISD, teaching at Ponderosa, Bammel, Winship and Hirsch elMelissa Dean ementary schools and serving as assistant principal at Hirsch before her most recent assignment at Bammel. Dean holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Sam Houston State University. Thad Gittens is now serving as Area 2 assistant superintendent, which oversees a high school, two middle schools and nine elementary schools. An educator for 16 years, he most recently opened Roberson Middle School as princiThad Gittens pal. Now serving as grants administrator in the district’s Academics and Administration Division is Deborah Graham, former principal of Ponderosa Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Delta State University in

Mississippi and her master’s degree in education from William Carey College, also in that state. The new principal of Twin Creeks Middle School is Walter Hunt, Deborah Graham former associate principal of Wunsche Senior High. He previously served as an assistant principal in Klein ISD and earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. His master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded from Prairie Walter Hunt View A&M University. Youshawna Hunt began the school year as principal of Bammel Elementary School, coming to her new position from Thompson Elementary, where she had held the top job since 2009. She has spent a combined 11 years in Aldine and Spring Youshawna Hunt ISDs. Hunt received her bachelor’s degree in child development from The University of Texas and her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. She is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. See WHO’S NEWS on page 30

Challenge us to discover the mission of your next project.

October 2013 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 29

H.P. Hyder is now principal of Bammel Middle School, coming to his new job from Sheldon ISD, where he was principal of Carroll Elementary School. He was an administrator in Aldine ISD and also has served as an assistant H.P. Hyder principal at Wells Middle School and Heritage Elementary in Spring ISD. Hyder has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Prairie View A&M University. Now serving as director of human resources is Paul LeBlanc, who most recently was principal of Dueitt Middle School. He has been a special education teacher at Moorhead Junior High and Caney Creek High School in Conroe ISD and Paul LeBlanc at Spring High School. He also has served as assistant principal at Westfield High School and associate principal of Wunsche Senior High. The new principal of Link Elementary School is Monica Lewis, who was most recently principal of Clark Primary School. Before joining the district in 2009, she spent 13 years with Aldine ISD as a pre-K, kindergarten and first grade Monica Lewis teacher, primary/elementary language arts program director and assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from the University of Houston and earned her master’s degree in education administration and supervision from Prairie View A&M University. Rodney Louis is the new principal of Reynolds Elementary School. An educator for 21 years, he began his career as a fifth grade teacher at Rogers Elementary in Houston ISD, going on to serve as that school’s principal. In 2006, he was Rodney Louis named director of elementary curriculum and instruction. He holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary stud


Texas School Business • October 2013

ies and a master’s degree in mid-management from Prairie View A&M University. Clark Primary School and Clark Intermediate School both now have Kwabena Mensah as principal. The district has united the two campuses in an effort to provide teachers the opportunity to share planning, information, and accountability for students. Mensah joined Spring ISD in 2009 after working for Austin, Aldine and Fort Bend ISDs as an assistant principal at all levels. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and was a principalship fellow at the University, where he also received his master’s degree in education. His doctorate in educational administration was awarded from the University of Houston. Ponderosa Elementary School opened the new academic year with Brooke Neal as principal. She was most recently assistant principal of Hirsch Elementary. She previously was an assistant principal at Travis Elementary in San MarBrooke Neal cos CISD. Neale received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in education from Texas State University. Cleo Wadley has taken the reins as principal of Thompson Elementary School. The former principal of Bammel Middle School joined the district in 2009 after serving as an assistant principal in Alief ISD’s secondary schools. He Cleo Wadley earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and his master’s degree in education administration from Prairie View A&M University. Tracy Walker-Daniels has been appointed principal of Roberson Middle School. She came to the district in 2007 from Galena Park ISD. During her time in Galena Park, she has been an assistant principal of Westfield Ninth Tracy WalkerGrade Center and Dueitt Daniels Middle School and, most recently, of Roberson, which she helped open in 2009. She has been an educator for 15 years.

Texas Association of School Business Officials A new executive director has been announced. Tracy Ginsburg, former chief financial officer of Fort Bend ISD, has taken the helm. After earning her bachelor’s degree in accountancy from New Mexico State University in 1983, Tracy Ginsburg she worked in the private sector as a staff auditor with KPMG, Peat Marwick in El Paso. She took her first job in Texas public education a year later as a school auditor and staff accountant in El Paso ISD, moving in 1989 to serve as coordinator of business services in El Paso’s Socorro ISD. From 1995 to 2009, she was Round Rock ISD’s chief financial officer, remaining in that position until taking her most recent assignment in Fort Bend ISD. She also served as TASBO board president in 2007-2008 and was the association’s Commitment to Excellence winner in 2011. Also, it was announced in August that Ginsburg is the recipient of the 2013 Eagle Award from the Association of Business Officials International (ASBO), the organization’s top honor. She will receive her award in October at the ASBO conference in Boston, Mass. Ginsberg holds a master’s degree in business administration from The University of Texas at El Paso and a doctorate in education from the University of Houston. Gwen Santiago has retired as executive director, concluding 46 years in Texas public education. Before taking the top job at TASBO, she spent 23 years as chief financial officer for Round Rock ISD, and seven years in that position in Gwen Santiago San Antonio’s North East ISD. She earned both her bachelor’s degree and MBA from St. Edward’s University in Austin. She also has served as president of TASBO and was 1994’s Outstanding School Business Official. In 2006, she earned the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE), the highest professional credential in association management. TSB CORRECTION In the September issue, we incorrectly stated Brian Herman’s title under the Lockhart ISD announcements in Who’s News. Herman is the head football coach and assistant athletic director. We regret the error.

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Advertiser Index Armko Industries Inc. .................... 26 www.armko.com

The world needs more whistlers


here they were. The secondary students had filled every seat of the small auditorium, and they sat only a few feet from the podium where I stood. These weren’t just any students. They were kids who had been assigned to the alternative education program for truancy, disrespect, alcohol, anger and who knows what else. Now, for the most part, I generally speak to adults. My audiences might be classroom teachers, administrators or parents. The more I thought about talking to these kids, the more I worried. Will they be rebellious? Are they going to like what I have to say? I created the worst imaginable scenario in my mind. As they took their seats, I studied this group of young adults who had been assigned to me for one hour. There was little dialogue taking place among them. Once in their seats, most of them looked down, apparently at nothing in particular. In the next few minutes, I totally changed the remarks I had planned. It was obvious from looking at the group that bad choices had been made. They needed direction. They needed to know that they had worth and value. They needed to believe in themselves. I quickly selected four stories of kids I had known. Four points. Four lessons. “To do your best,” I said, “you need to: (1) believe in yourself; (2) enjoy your work because you are using your gift; (3) stand up for what you know is right; and (4) take life one day at a time.” During the first story, I noticed that every eye was on me. They were listening! It was the story of Jesse, who struggled with so many problems, but he finally learned to read. He believed in himself. Next, I shared the story of our son, who had difficulty in school. However, as a young adult, he has gone on to use his gift of helping others to find a rewarding career as an emergency medical technician. They were still listening! As I talked about standing up for what we know in our hearts is the right thing to

do, you could have heard a pin drop. I shared about a close friend who became involved with drugs following a stint in the military. When he returned home, we watched as his life crumbled before our very eyes, until it ended in suicide at age 24. As my hour began to draw to a close, I shared about a former student who came from one of the most dysfunctional families I had ever known. Alcohol, abuse, neglect, shattered lives and constant turmoil dominated his home. As I shared about this young person’s life, I sensed that many in that room knew exactly how it felt to live in that environment. When I finished and they were dismissed, one young lady rushed to the front with her friends. With sorrow in her voice, she said, “Mr. Jordan, I knew and have experienced every one of those stories!” Here they came, some with tears in their eyes, but many of them telling me how much they appreciated me sharing with them and telling stories to which they could relate. Oh, if we could just walk in their shoes for one day out of our lives, how differently our attitudes and prejudices and disgust would change into patience, softened hearts and compassion. As one of the last young men walked past me, he spoke softly with a slight lisp, “Mr. Jordan, you want to know my gift?” “Sure,” I responded. And with that, he smiled, his eyes widened, and he started whistling! It was a simple, short little measure of music that any child who had just learned to whistle might do. “Whoa! That’s wonderful! The world needs more whistlers!” And as he rounded the corner and out the door, I heard him whistling as he walked back to his classroom. Yes, the world needs more good things to whistle about. RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book “All the Difference” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@yahoo.com or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

Cambridge Strategic Services.........15 www.cambridgestrategicservices.org Davis Demographics.........................6 www.davisdemographics.com First Financial Administrators Inc. ....................23 www.ffga.com HDCE-Choice Facility Partners......21 www.choicefacilitypartners.org HCDE................................................6 www.hcde-texas.org Humana...........................................32 www.humana.com O’Connell Robertson & Associates...............................29 www.oconnellrobertson.com PCAT.................................................2 www.pcatprogram.org Perkins+Will...................................23 www.perkinswill.com Riney Jordan Co. ............................ 11 www.rineyjordan.com Shweiki Media.................................. 9 www.shweiki.com Spectrum Corp. ..........................5, 26 www.spectrumscoreboards.com TASA...............................................10 www.tasanet.org TASB................................................. 4 www.tasb.org TEPSA............................................10 www.tepsa.org Texas Mac Repair.............................9 www.texasmacrepair.com Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest.................................7 www.legaldigest.com WRA Architects................................5 www.wraarchitects.com October 2013 • Texas School Business


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