THE INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS FOR 59 YEARS
A look back at the 83rd session
In the Spotlight Chris Hanson San Marcos CISD
TEPSA President Stacy Bennett Huntsville ISD
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TSB contents news and features
TEPSA President Profile Stacy Bennett makes ‘Heroes for Children’ her leadership theme by Jennifer LeClaire
17 departments Who’s News
On the cover A recap of how the 83rd session treated K-12 public education by Harvey Kronberg
From the Editor
The Law Dawg — Unleashed
by Katie Ford by Jim Walsh
by Terry Morawski
The Back Page
by Bobby Hawthorne by Riney Jordan
In the Spotlight San Marcos CISD’s orchestra director provides soundtrack to learning
by Elizabeth Millard
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. September 2013 • Texas School Business
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From the Editor First, I want to say thank you to all the school districts out there that are great about regularly sending us their personnel announcements for Who’s News. You might have noticed how lengthy the Who’s News section was in our July/August issue. Well, September is no different. We have plenty of announcements to make as we kick off the 20132014 school year. Be sure to check out this edition to see what your peers are up to these days. In our Spotlight, we feature Chris Hanson of San Marcos CISD, who never envisioned that he would be working in public education but has fallen in love with teaching and has made a huge difference as the district’s orchestra director. His efforts have even garnered the attention of the Grammys. We also highlight the new president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisions Association in this issue: Stacy Bennett of Huntsville ISD. She spoke to writer Jennifer LeClaire about how strong relationships are the foundation of a successful school. Lastly, I ask you to please be sure to read Bobby Hawthorne’s column, “Game On,” this month. Whether in humor or heartfelt (or both), I think his writing is a gift, and I’m glad to have him as a regular contributor to Texas School Business. Thank you, Bobby, for always writing from the heart.
Katie Ford Editorial Director
(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) September 2013 Volume LIX, Issue 11
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.
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2013 Back To School Special:
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Texas School Business • September 2013
THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh
That one parent…
wonder what it will take for parents of students with disabilities to get fed up with those few parents of students with disabilities who abuse the system. This came to mind as I read Bethlehem Area School District v. Zhou. After years of conflict, the district sued Mrs. Zhou, claiming that she was deliberately running up the district’s costs in an effort to entice the district into paying for both of her sons to attend Moravian Academy, a ritzy college prep school. Never mind that only one of the boys was eligible for special education. Never mind that Moravian didn’t offer special education. Never mind that both boys were gifted and successful in school. Zhou, by her own words, was attempting to “produce the world’s second Einstein-to-be.” And she wanted the public school to pay for it. Tuition at Moravian was $23,000/year. The federal court ruled for the district: “Mrs. Zhou embarked on a deliberate campaign to drive up the district’s costs in order to convince the district that it would be cheaper for the district to meet her tuition demands than to refuse to do so.” To support its conclusion, the court cited Zhou’s sudden interest in having documents translated. Zhou, a native of China, had been in the United States since the 1980s. She had a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona and had worked in that field for 10 years. Teachers had no difficulty in communicating with her. When Zhou appealed a due process hearing in 2008, she asked that the 600-page transcript be translated into Mandarin Chinese. This cost $50,000, just a bit more than tuition for two boys at Moravian. Some of the evidence came from Zhou’s own words. In August 2008, Zhou told a district representative that “if the district would pay for a private school like Moravian, this would all go away.” At another meeting, Zhou did accept
something from the district: a bagel. But she noted that if this was intended to be a bribe, it was not going to work. “I’m not going to agree to anything,” she said. And she didn’t. Costs escalated. Teachers were pulled from the classroom. Substitutes were hired. Administrators were sidetracked. Lawyers were engaged. By 2009, the district had spent close to $200,000 in its dealings with Zhou. The federal judge got the big picture. He noted that M.Z. was one — “but only one” — of the 2,200 students with special needs in the school system. He noted that the law requires that the district produce an appropriate education — but not the next Einstein. The court noted that “an informed, interested and observant parent” is of great value. But “not so the parent who insists on making unreasonable demands that impact the limited resources available to other needy children in the district.” Fortunately, there are very few parents who push things as hard as Zhou did. But unfortunately, the very structure of IDEA enables such “serial filers” to convince themselves that they are only seeking what is best for their children. Of course, that is exactly what they are doing. But such single-minded zealotry comes at a cost. Cases like this one help us to see the costs borne by the system, the educators who make the system work and the children the system is designed to serve. The case of Bethlehem Area School District v. Zhou was decided by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on April 19. It can be found at 2013 WL 1415843. 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.
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.
RINEY JORDAN A Motivational Humorist 254-386-4769 www.rineyjordan.com September 2013 • Texas School Business
Join education’s most energetic and innovative leaders at SXSWedu to connect, collaborate, create and change how we teach and learn. 2013 Keynote: Bill Gates
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P H O T O S : J W WA LT H A L L
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Texas School Business • September 2013
Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski
Start doubting yourself
was reading Dan Pink’s “The Flip Manifesto: 16 Counterintuitive Ideas about Motivation, Innovation and Leadership” and was struck by his first point. Pink suggests that leaders should doubt themselves. Yes, you heard that correctly. Start doubting yourself. You might say that being a leader is one of the most ego-challenging activities a person can take on. School leaders are critiqued regularly on their performance. But that’s not exactly what Pink is talking about. Pink is talking about a common lack of internal debate, either individually or among a leadership team. How often are existing programs, positions or departmental missions reviewed? In schools, the most common practices fall into two categories: one is a formal audit when a problem is discovered, the other a vetting process prior to a new purchase or position. At SXSWedu 2013, Marguerite Roza spoke of research that says school districts often get themselves in financial binds by adding staff and programs versus trimming the fat. In her opinion, technology was an area where spending often occurred without long-term measurement of the return on investment. She also said that offering employee benefits during the summer months resulted in large expenses for districts. Many in the audience were upset by Roza’s insights, but I raise Roza’s tough questions to illustrate my point: Is your district leadership willing to look at the cold, hard facts? If this realization causes you to wiggle in your chair a bit, don’t worry. You are not alone. In their article, “Can Government Play Moneyball?” for The Atlantic, Peter Orszag from the Barack Obama administration and John Bridgeland from the George W. Bush administration shared insights from their experiences in Washington. They claim that less than one dollar out of every 100 dollars of government spending is backed by evidence that it was spent wisely. They say federal spending is often based on “good intentions, inertia, hunches, partisan politics and personal relationships.”
It may be easy to dismiss this as a Washington problem. But friends, whether fair or unfair, this type of spending is commonly associated with public education too. Pink is asking leaders to challenge their notions of what works. In a previous column, I listed the four “villians” of decision making, according to Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the book “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.” Two of those villians looked at how we often shape our decisionmaking processes to our detriment. The Heath brothers spoke of a confirmation bias that happens when someone is researching their options. This bias causes us to gather information that supports only the option we want to select. After the decision is made, we become overconfident in how the project will turn out, just to pump up the decision we made. Pink and the Heath brothers encourage us to engage in more questioning self-talk. Instead of asking the common questions — “What do we hope to get from this new thing?” and “Can we afford it?” — Pink suggests we begin asking questions like: • Can this be done with existing resources? • Should this replace an existing program? • Why this project? • Will this work five to 10 years from now? The coming years offer many challenges. What questions will you ask when these changes occur? I hope you will consider adding “doubt” to your toolbox. Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree. I’d love to hear from you. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on Twitter: @terrymorawski.
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September 2013 • Texas School Business
JOE PAGE Nacogdoches ISD
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Texas School Business • September 2013
GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne
Seeing Simon Sun in a new light
here’s little chance Simon Sun will try out for football or any other sport inasmuch as he suffers from cerebral palsy. It’s a struggle for him to talk, let alone walk, but he’s determined to live as normal a life as possible, and his efforts to do so are nothing short of heroic. I’m thinking about Simon a lot right now. He was one of the best students in an advanced writing class I taught this summer at Michigan State. I was notified beforehand that he had signed up, and I received a copy of a letter his father wrote, asking that we be patient with him but not coddle him. “He is 16 and will go to college,” his father told us. “He needs to learn how to get around on his own.” So, we helped when Simon needed it and were patient as he struggled to ask a question or explain how he thought an anecdote might be used or how a descriptive phrase might be teased. But it was tough. At first, I couldn’t understand him. His words seemed a jumble of honks and squawks, and I felt guilty being unable to decipher them, of pretending that I could. Several times, I interrupted him with responses to questions he didn’t ask, and I hoped — assumed, actually — he wouldn’t notice the difference. I committed the cardinal sin of teaching: I defined Simon by his disability, not his ability. And then I read his personal opinion column. He cranked it out in about an hour, and I suspect he has wanted to write it for a long, long time. Here are a few excerpts: • I’m trapped in my own mind. At least, that’s how it feels. As one who is physically disabled, it’s constantly a struggle to breathe before I suffocate in my thoughts. Almost no one listens to what I have to say. Or, if they try to listen, many can’t understand me. It’s as if I don’t exist. • What irks me the most are not those who ostracize me. Instead, it’s those who insist on helping me. I fully understand that they’re just being nice, but when I’m treated like a 5-year-old or a sick puppy, that’s what I hate. I don’t need my hand held as I walk through society. I’m 16, and I would like to be treated as such. • While we’re at it, don’t call me “buddy.”
I’m not your buddy. I don’t even know you. It’s as if you’re talking to a dog, or a scruffy little kid. Call me “friend.” “Bro.” Say, “Hey, man” as I pass you in the hall, not “Hey there, little buddy.” I’m not Gilligan. • And so, I’m trapped, trapped in my own mind, suffocating in my own thoughts. But let me tell you something. I exist. And I will be heard. Somehow. Someday. I’m thinking about Simon a lot now because my wife and I recently learned that our 20-month-old granddaughter, Eveyln, is mostly deaf, and the chances are even greater that she’ll lose what little hearing she has. I’ve not had time to process this, and I’m not sure when the reality of it will sink in. Soon enough, I suppose. It’s ironic. A couple of months ago, I wrote a snarky piece about how the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Civil Rights had reminded school districts that they were obliged to provide students with disabilities equal access to extracurricular sports. I contacted the UIL and a couple of athletic directors and coaches and asked if this changed anything, and they assured me it did not. I had no reason to doubt them, so I glibly dismissed it all as another case of government run amok. The piece never saw the light of day though. I shared it with my wife, and she hated it, so I dumped and forgot about it. But now, this. As I begin to imagine all that Evelyn might miss — the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a thunder clap, a kitten’s meow — I hope the chance to play high school sports isn’t among them. I hope she’s defined by her ability, not her disability. I hope too that you think of Simon and his determined heroism when you encounter another young person with a disability. Please be patient with but don’t pander to him or her. I ask this of you because one day, that young person might be my granddaughter.
BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.
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The sense of brotherhood and culture of ambassadorship in our “district has never been stronger. Ambassador training has helped unite our team around our schools and our profession.”
-- Scott Niven, Superintendent, Red Oak ISD
hen my country, into which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir.”
-- Thomas P a i n e
Thomas Paine’s political declaration in Common Sense helped direct the energies of the rebels and point the way to American independence from England. The Ambassador Training Academy staff development program is inspired by Thomas Paine’s work. There are many parallels between educators today, condemned by blinded reformists, and early Americans, condemned by a blinded Crown. Just as Paine “enunciates... the specific right of the people to challenge unjust laws and an unjust government”, we are mobilizing an army of educators to challenge unjust criticism and false accusations of widespread failure.
Class of 2011 Red Oak ISD Ambassadors Academy
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It’s time for every educator to stir Visit www.fotps.org to learn more, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 12
Texas School Business • September 2013
Who’s News Abilene ISD Audra Ude has been appointed associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She has been an educator for 23 years, serving as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction of Flour Bluff ISD in Corpus Christi for Audra Ude the past 10 years. She began her career in Corpus Christi ISD, teaching middle school and serving as an assistant principal. She then was an assistant principal in Aransas County ISD and a principal in Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco CISD before joining Flour Bluff ISD in 1998 as assistant director of instruction. A year later she was named director of instruction. Ude earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from Abilene Christian University. She holds two master’s degrees, one in educational administration and one in curriculum and instruction, from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, where she also completed her doctoral degree. Allen ISD Superintendent Ken Helvey has announced his intention to retire at the end of September. He has been superintendent since 2006 and, prior to that, served for five years as the district’s assistant superintendent for student services. He began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher in Anna ISD, then taught in Celina and Denison ISDs. He was athletic director and head football coach at S & S CISD. In Graham ISD, he was assistant principal at the high school and junior high levels and held the position of director of finance and technology. He also was an assistant superintendent in Nacogdoches ISD. Beth Nicholas, who was the district’s assistant superintendent for learner services since 2010, has been tapped to serve as interim superintendent. Prior to her most recent job, she spent two years as director of curriculum and assessment. She also served as assistant principal and then principal of Ereckson Middle School. The district has created a new department and hired John Palm as director of risk management. He will be in charge of comprehensive safety and security, as well as loss prevention. He has worked in risk management for the city of Mesquite and Mesquite ISD.
Amanda Tabor has been appointed principal of Story Elementary School. She opened Olson Elementary in 2009 as assistant principal. She started her career in Garland ISD’s Lakeview High School and also worked as a kindergarten teacher and student support instructor for Marion Elementary in Marion ISD. Tabor is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce, from which she also received a master’s degree. Amarillo ISD Newly appointed principals were in place for the beginning of the school year. They and their schools are: • David Bishop, Caprock High School; • Pam Camarata, Paramount Terrace Elementary School; • Jermaine Cantu, Sunrise Elementary School; • Nathan Culwell, Fannin Middle School; • Traci Gabel, Woodlands Elementary School; • David Manchee, Travis Middle School; • Alan Nickerson, Austin Middle School; • Kris Schellhamer, Olsen Park Elementary School; • Dalea Tatum, Wolflin Elementary School; and • David Vincent, Bonham Middle School. Arlington ISD Arlington ISD has named five educators as deans of instruction. They are: Jason Davis, Arlington High School; Kirsten Lundin, Seguin High School; Ketura Madison, Bowie High School; Zandra Marshall, Martin High School; and Katrina Semones, Sam Houston High School. Other appointments made were: Teri Conley, principal, Larson Elementary School; Jill Galloway, director of instructional technology; Violet Maxwell, director of elementary personnel; Carlin Thomas, assistant principal, Nichols Junior High; and Dara Williams-Rossi, assistant principal, Nichols Junior High.
Bastrop ISD Allison Hall has been named assistant principal of Cedar Creek Intermediate School. Most recently, she was a math and science specialist with Austin ISD, where she also worked as a fifth grade ESL math and science teacher and summer staffing specialist. She began her career in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD as a first grade teacher. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from Prairie View A&M University. Melissa Schuelke is now assistant principal of Bastrop Intermediate School. She has been with the district for 20 years, most recently serving as an art teacher at Bastrop High. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and her master’s degree from Concordia University in Austin. Cynthia Sneed started the new academic year as principal of Bastrop Intermediate School. Sneed joins Bastrop ISD from Austin ISD, where she worked for 14 years, most recently as academic dean at Mendez Middle School. She also was assistant principal of Kealing Middle School and Harris Elementary, a behavior specialist and reading interventionist at Harris, special education teacher at Jordan and Blackshear elementary schools and a first grade teacher at Barrington Elementary. She spent 2007 to 2010 with Pflugerville ISD as the academic principal of Westview High. Sneed, who received her bachelor’s degree in health from Texas A&M University, holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. Birdville ISD Greg Bicknell has been named principal of Porter Elementary. He comes to his new position from Smithfield Elementary, where he was principal since 2007. The new principal of Smithfield Elementary is Melissa R. Greg Bicknell Minix. She was assistant principal at Francisco, Snow Heights and Hardeman elementary schools and was a kindergarten teacher at Hardeman. Minix earned her bachelor’s degree from OklaMelissa R. Minix
See WHO’s on page 14 September 2013 • Texas School Business
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 13
homa Christian University and her master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University. David Powers has been named the district’s director of transportation. He has been manager of operations in Fort Worth ISD’s Transportation Department since 2010. He served as general manager and opDavid Powers erations supervisor in that district from 2007 to 2010. Michelle Provence is now coordinator of health services. She has 11 years of nursing experience and has been a health services administrator at The University of Texas Medical Branch –Texas Juvenile Justice Michelle Provence Department (UTMB TJJD) Corsicana Residential Treatment Center, director of schoolbased health centers at John Peter Smith Health Network and coordinator of health services for Arlington ISD. Leading Walker Creek Elementary as principal is Shea Schaefer, who had been principal at Smith Elementary in Duncanville ISD since 2009. Before that, she was an assistant principal in Duncanville and Crowley ISDs and a gifted and talented teacher in Mansfield ISD. A graduate of Birdville ISD’s Richland High School, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas at Arlington. The district’s new preschool coordinator is Jaimie Smith. Brazosport ISD Delores A. Treviño has been appointed director of curriculum and instruction for Brazosport ISD. For the past eight years, she has been principal of Griffith Elementary School in the district. She has twice, in 20102011 and 2012-2013, been named Brazosport ISD’s Principal of the Year. She began her career in the district as a bilingual teacher and six years later took her first administrative job as an assistant principal. Treviño holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston.
Texas School Business • September 2013
Brownsboro ISD Chandler Intermediate School began the new academic year with Lisa Brown as principal. An educator for 13 years, she was an assistant principal in Tyler ISD’s Ramey Elementary School for the past four years. She taught first and second grades in Lindale ISD before joining Tyler ISD as a teacher at Bell Elementary, going on to become that school’s assistant principal. Brown received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Brandon Jones has been hired as Brownsboro High School principal. He began his career as a science teacher in Marshall ISD’s Marshall High School and then served as that school’s interim assistant principal before joining Hallsville ISD as a principal. He has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Former Chandler Intermediate School Principal Marianne Jones is now principal of Brownsboro ISD’s Alternative Campus for Educational Success. Rob Shipley is principal of Brownsboro Junior High School. He has been a U.S. history teacher, head track coach and football offensive coordinator at Lindale High School in Lindale ISD since 2009. He also has taught in Wills Point, Rockwall and Sulphur Springs ISDs. Shipley holds a master’s degree in education. Bryan ISD Patti Moore, former principal of Austin Middle School, has retired after 38 years as an educator. Burleson ISD Bret Jimerson is the district’s new superintendent. He began his career not in education but as an attorney in Fort Worth in 2000, taking his first Texas public education job in White Settlement ISD as executive director of human resources and technology and general counsel. He next was chief of staff and legal counsel for Grand Prairie ISD before becoming that district’s deputy superintendent of educational operations. In 2011, he took the position of superintendent of Willis ISD. Jimerson earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas, his master’s degree in public policy from Regent University in Virginia, his juris doctor from Regent University School of Law and his master’s degree in business administration from Texas Christian University, from which he was also awarded his doctorate in educational leadership.
Chapel Hill ISD (Region 8) Former boys’ athletic coordinator and head baseball coach Brian Grissom is now the district’s athletic director. Jay Terry, former assistant coach, is now head softball coach for the Lady Red Devils. Clear Creek ISD Three assistant principals have been appointed for the district. They and their schools are: • Dominic Barone, Bay Elementary School; • Brent Kirkpatrick, Space Center Intermediate School; and • Tony Nastasi, Hyde Elementary School. Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Jerry Gibson is now district superintendent. During his career he has been a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, principal, and campus chaplain in Texas public and private schools. Prior to joining Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD, he was Waco ISD’s executive director of secondary education. Gibson, who is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University, earned his master’s degree in education from Lamar University. College Station ISD Molley Perry has been named director of special services. She was an educational diagnostician for the district from 2005 to 2011 and was most recently director of special services in Bryan ISD. Perry holds a Molley Perry bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in special education from Texas Tech University. Commerce ISD The district has a new curriculum director. Charles Alderman comes to the position from Sulphur Springs ISD, where he was a principal. David Welch is the new principal of Commerce High School. Conroe ISD Leonard Brown has been chosen to lead Hauke Academic Alternative High School as principal. He began his education career
Who’s News in 1991 and has spent the past three years as assistant principal of Conroe High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, his master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University and his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Houston. Jeff Eldridge will start the new academic year as principal of the district’s Discipline Alternative Education Program/Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program/ Juvenile Detention Center. He has been an educator for 29 years, the past 15 as an assistant principal of Oak Ridge High School in Conroe ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas. Kimberly Lanham has been selected to serve as principal of Wilkerson Intermediate School, where she had been assistant principal. She has spent four of her 17 years as an educator in Conroe ISD. Lanham holds a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University and her master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University. Galatas Elementary now has Denae Wilker as principal. She was a fourth grade teacher at the school and has been assistant principal for the past four years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University and a master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University. Three longtime educators retired at the end of this school year. They are: • Jo Ann Beken, retiring after 38 years in the district; • Ronnie “Ike” Eikenberg, retiring after 18 years in the district; and • Marlene Lindsay, retiring after 37 years as an educator. Cypress Fairbanks ISD Keith Elementary School opened its doors for the new academic year with Joni Conn as principal. She has been the school’s assistant principal since 2007. Before that, she was an instructional specialist at Tipps Elementary and taught fourth and fifth grades at Emmott Elementary. Conn, who graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, received her master’s degree in special education from Fort Hays State University. A new principal has been appointed for Fiest Elementary School. She is Jeanette Gerault, formerly the assistant principal of
Birkes Elementary. She has spent all of her 19 years as an educator with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, beginning as a fourth and fifth grade language arts and social studies teacher Jeanette Gerault at Jowell Elementary. She then was an administrative intern at the Instructional Support Center before taking her first assistant principal job, at Hancock Elementary. She began her most recent position, at Birkes, in 2003. Gerault, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University, completed her doctorate in educational leadership in May at the University of Houston. Keri Hough has been promoted from assistant principal of Postma Elementary School to principal of Tipps Elementary. She has been an educator for 39 years, 25 of those with the district. She joined the district as a third grade teacher at Keri Hough Holbrook Elementary and then was a second grade and reading enrichment teacher at Metcalf Elementary for five years. She went on to teach second and third grades at Hancock Elementary, before spending a year as a mid-management intern. She then worked as an instructional specialist and assistant principal at Lieder Elementary. Hough earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston. Frankie Johnson has been named chief technology officer. She comes to the district with 29 years of technology experience, beginning as a software engineer with McDonnell Douglass and continuing with work as a program manager with Unisys. She also served as vice president of performance management systems for EPIC Interactive Technologies. She has been chief technology officer for Goose Creek ISD for the past 19 years. Johnson holds an associate degree in data processing from Lee College and a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and a master’s degree in instructional technology, both from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. An associate superintendent for facili-
ties, construction and support services has been named. He is Roy Sprague, former assistant superintendent of facilities and construction. He has 32 years of experience in the field, having begun his career in the private sector. Roy Sprague In 1991, he joined Spring ISD and then moved on to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in 1997 to become director of facilities and planning. In 2001, he was promoted to senior director of that area and took his most recent position in 2006. Sprague’s bachelor’s degree in architecture was earned from Louisiana State University. Ector County ISD The former principal of Permian High School, Roy Garcia has been promoted to assistant superintendent of secondary operations. A 21-year employee of Ector County ISD, he has been a teacher; coach; assistant principal of the Roy Garcia Alternative Center, Hood Junior High and Permian High School; and principal of Ector Junior High and Permian High. Flour Bluff ISD Superintendent Joe Kelley comes to Flour Bluff ISD from Katy ISD, where he served as Area 3 assistant superintendent. An educator since 1976, he began as a social studies teacher at Port Aransas High School in Port Aransas ISD, after Joe Kelley earning his bachelor’s degree in secondary education at The University of Texas. He took a break from public education to work in the private sector for three years before returning to Aransas Pass ISD as a teacher and director of student services. He went on in that district to serve as assistant principal of Blunt Middle School and principal of Kieberger Elementary School, before moving to Calallen ISD as assistant principal of Calallen High. He then was principal of Calallen Middle School, before joining Flour Bluff ISD in 2001 as principal of Flour Bluff See WHO’S NEWS on page 22 September 2013 • Texas School Business
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Texas School Business • September 2013
TEPSA PRESIDENT profile Stacy Bennett makes ‘Heroes for Children’ her leadership theme by Jennifer LeClaire
ecognizing her inclination toward education at an early age, Stacy Bennett’s parents bought a young Bennett a blackboard for Christmas, which she expertly used to teach classes to stuffed animals, dolls — and her little brother. “In the fifth grade, I had a math teacher who became my hero,” recalls Bennett, who today serves as principal of Samuel W. Houston Elementary in Huntsville ISD. “She reinforced my call to become a teacher because she did ev-
erything I thought teachers should do: She was helpful, encouraging, and she loved us. She built a relationship with her students. I knew for sure that I wanted to be a teacher.” Bennett just celebrated her 22nd year in education. Having taught school for seven years and then served as an assistant principal for four years, she has been in her current position for 11 years. She says she transitioned into administration because she wanted to influence more kids. Now, Bennett is taking on a new role. She is the 2013-2014 president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), a group, formed in 1917, with 5,800 members committed to improving quality education for Texas elementary and middle school students. “I’m a perfectionist. So I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far, but I have more work to do,” says the wife and mother of two boys. “I’ll never be satisfied until everything that I touch is nearly perfect.” For Bennett, though, the hunt for perfection doesn’t start with plans and programs. It starts with relationships. She says she believes investing time to build relationStacy Bennett, principal of Samuel W. Houston Elementary in Huntsville ISD, says that success in education starts with building ships with teachers, relationships with staff, students and parents.
‘Educators can never be complacent, because the world is changing so quickly and we need to learn new ways to reach children.’ students and parents is the biggest key to success. Bennett ticked off her list of success factors to relationship-building: “You have to be an effective communicator. You’ve got to keep everyone informed. You’ve got to be a good listener. You’ve got to know when to ask the right questions. You’ve got to know when to take a step back and say, ‘Wow, I need to go about this in a different way.’ You have to be a learner. Educators can never be complacent, because the world is changing so quickly and we need to learn new ways to reach children.” On the way to near-perfection, of course, Bennett faces many of the same challenges that trip up other educators and administrators. One example she offered is the mandates placed on educators from those outside the profession who don’t understand what she calls the “teachinglearning process” or what motivates students and teachers. “I’ve learned to look at each teacher and each child with a knowing that we’ve got to grow them. Kids may not get to the finish line the first time you work with them, but every time you work with them they make progress toward that goal,” she says. “Then you celebrate the successes you see along the way. That’s what keeps me motivated.” See TEPSA on page 18 September 2013 • Texas School Business
TEPSA continued from page 17
Speaking of goals, Bennett’s overarching objective at her campus is to drive a high-performance educational institution where all kids are making tremendous gains. Although she acknowledges and appreciates how hard her teachers work, she’s not going to be satisfied until everyone succeeds. “One of my goals is to continue pushing myself, my staff and my students to reach our full potential. Another goal is to educate people about the benefits of public education. With the high-stake accountability system, public schools are often looked down upon,” she says. “It seems I always need more hours in the day to get the job done. I’m constantly working, constantly learning, and I guess because I’m that perfectionist I could always use another minute or two.” Bennett is bringing her educational philosophies to TEPSA this year. Remembering the impact her fifth grade teacher had on her life, Bennett’s theme is “Heroes for Children.” She hopes TEPSA members will wake up every day looking for opportunities to be heroes to their students.
FUN FACTS ABOUT STACY BENNETT Something most people don’t know about me is: I was a twirler in high school and college. A twirling scholarship helped pay for my education. I love Donny and Marie. A perfect weekend would include: Spending quality time with my family. A skill I would like to master: Motivating people to reach their full potential. A habit I would like to break: Second-guessing myself. I’m much too hard on myself, because I am a perfectionist.
“I want to keep that message at the forefront of what we do at TEPSA,” Bennett says. “I want us to continue to grow the membership. We have a very strong voice at the state level, and I want us to be involved in legislation and meetings with other education organizations.” When she’s not being a hero to kids and trying to improve education, Bennett is the proverbial family woman. She loves spending time with her husband, Scott, their boys, her mother, brothers, sister-in-law, nephews, aunt, uncle and
cousins. Her sons, Brayden and Britton, are involved in sports, and she’s their official cheerleader. Her passion for family and education seem to collide. “I love being a principal. I love working with the kids,” Bennett says. “I love working with my teachers and my parents. I have the best of all worlds.” JENNIFER LECLAIRE has written for The New York Times and Christian Science-Monitor.
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Eye on the Capitol A recap of how the 83rd session treated K-12 public education by Harvey Kronberg
very few years a surprise issue no one expected bubbles to the surface and begins dominating polls, town hall meetings and coffee shop talk. In 2006, the issue of illegal immigration came out of nowhere and dominated Republican primaries and general elections for years. What some argued was over-testing of students hit that critical mass in the last interim and suddenly had as much traction between lawmakers and constituents as almost any other issue. Without any assistance, it was destined to be central in the mix this year. The departure of two veteran chairmen, Sen. Florence Shapiro and Rep. Rob Eissler, all but guaranteed a fresh look at the subject.
‘That moment marked the first time any could recall of a governor proposing policy by suggestion box.’ Add to that a decidedly unsympathetic Judge John Dietz signaling that Texas funding of public education was once again approaching an unconstitutional precipice, and it was obvious that preempting a probable court-induced special session was clearly on the mind of the political leadership.
Texas School Business • September 2013
Resolution of these issues did not emerge out of a vacuum but rather out of a dramatic reordering of the political landscape inside the pink dome that even experienced observers might have missed. Every legislative session represents a tension, competition and collaboration between the big three – the governor, the lieutenant governor and the house speaker. But this was the first legislative session in memory in which two of the big three had just lost their most recent elections – Gov. Rick Perry’s unmitigated flop as a contender for GOP presidential nomination Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s squandering the advantages of deep pockets and the power of incumbency in an upset loss to Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate. In their traditional Lt. Gov. David pre-session press conDewhurst ference, the big three normally swear undying commitment to cooperation and collegiality. Granted, the promises are usually hollow but traditional nonetheless. Not surprisingly, both Perry and Dewhurst seemed shell-shocked and a little timid at the conference. Neither offered up any grand ideas. In fact, noting that the state coffers seemed unusually stuffed this biennium, Perry proposed 1.6 billion in tax cuts.
The suggestion in itself was not surprising. What startled folks in the room was that Perry had no particular idea what taxes should be cut and even said he would put a suggestion box on his campaign Website so citizens could make suggestions. That moment marked the first time any could recall of a governor proposing policy by suggestion box. While amusing, Perry’s suggestion proved to be an interesting “tell” about the session to come. With the exception of Legislative Director Ken Armbrister, Perry’s senior staff largely had moved on, and an office that once hummed based on experience and vision spent the first 100 days disengaged and largely rudderless. Similarly, Dewhurst was stung by the double
whammy of rejection by voters and alleged theft of campaign funds by one of his closest and oldest friends. He appointed strong committee chairmen — including Tommy Williams for finance and, yes, Dan Patrick for public education — to bolster his conservative bona fides who had been so seriously rejected by GOP primary voters in the matchup with Cruz. Like Perry, Dewhurst generally left the stage for the first 100 days as he began the politician’s version of rehab. That left Speaker Joe Straus as the strongest and most engaged of the three. He, more than Perry or Dewhurst, set the agenda for the regular session, looking to solve big problems like water, Joe Straus legitimate transparency, and testing and accountability in public schools. The partial power vacuum at the top was a fortuitous synergy. It meant that, for at least one brief moment, no one was holding the Legislature hostage to some future political campaign. Left to their own devices and absent the lightning rod issues of redistricting, voter ID, sanctuary cities and the like, lawmakers took serious bites at serious problems. Yes, the poison of heavily partisan issues was introduced in the special sessions, but by then, the heavy lifting of the regular session had been finished. Some argue that Dewhurst’s choice of Patrick, the self-appointed Tea Party Caucus chair, to lead the newly formed public education committee was payback for the senator’s vocal defense of the institution and endorsement of his presiding officer in the face of withering criticism
from Cruz during the campaign. Others say it was a play to keep the debate on public education staunchly conservative. Both are probably true. Patrick only commands the predictable loyalty of maybe a half dozen or so senators, but he has demonstrated that he’s
‘The partial power vacuum at the top was a fortuitous synergy. It meant that, for at least one brief moment, no one was holding the Legislature hostage to some future political campaign.’ a competent legislative mechanic when he wants to be. His first effort out of the chute was SB 2, expanding and regulating charter schools. The first eight pages seemed to confirm everyone’s worst fears. The original language could have been written by a real estate investor. It mandated underutilized public school property be leased or sold to charter schools, which then would have complete property rights over formerly publicly owned real estate. Needless to say, the original language quickly changed and, by most accounts, Patrick wove together legislation that had broad, often bi-partisan support. Over in the House, Straus made two key appointments that clearly defined the scope of what was going to be possible this session. The first was promoting Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, a former school board member, to chair public education. As a member of that committee, Aycock had been dedicated to simplifying Rep. Jimmie Don funding formulas and Aycock reviewing the testing regime. But perhaps most importantly, Straus appointed a committee strongly supportive of public schools and clearly opposed to vouchers, thus taking that never-ending battle off the table for the session.
Less well-noted was Straus’ appointment of Bill Callegari to chair the House pensions committee. Prior to the session, there had been much talk by some outside groups of shifting teacher and state employee pensions Bill Callegari from the defined benefit to defined contribution model. However, unlike other state and municipal jurisdictions, there is no looming crisis in Texas from underfunded liabilities, and the advocates for the shift were seen largely as those who would profit from a shift to a 401k model. In an interview in Quorum Report early in the session, Callegari quickly dismissed the idea of abandoning the defined benefit model. The outside advocates took their marbles to come back and play another session. Finally, this session was marked by a dramatic loss of influence in Michael Quinn Sullivan and his subsidiaries, Empower Texans, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and the blog AgendaWise. In the 2011 session, Sullivan could move dramatic numbers of votes with a simple Tweet. But a funny thing happened in the last election. Despite all of the perceived influence among Republican primary voters, Sullivan had very few scalps to show for his efforts. He did contribute to taking out a couple of Straus’ chairmen and scored a couple of other victories, but his winloss record was not enough to intimidate members — especially those with whom he had gone to war. Most tellingly, his aggressive twosession effort to take out Straus as speaker completely withered this time. Sullivan has played heavily in education politics in previous years, taking special shots at the number of non-instructional employees in school districts. Yet, it would be wrong to say that Sullivan was without influence this past session. At least in 2013, he was diminished from the advocate to just another voice that played in primary races. The next election will determine his influence in 2015. HARVEY KRONBERG is the editor of Quorum Report.
September 2013 • Texas School Business
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 15
High. He left the Corpus area in 2005 to serve as principal of Katy High School and then as an area assistant superintendent in Katy ISD. Kelley received his master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Fort Bend ISD The new principal of Sugar Land Middle School is Leonard Brogan, who began his career 18 years ago as a middle school teacher in Spring Branch ISD. He came to Fort Bend ISD 15 years ago, serving as an associate principal, assistant principal, social studies department chair, and basketball, volleyball, golf and track coach. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University and his master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston. Ellie Garza has been named principal of Barrington Place Elementary School. An administrator since 2006, she most recently was an assistant principal at Berry Elementary in Houston ISD. She has also worked as a Title I coordinator and as a bilingual and gifted and
Texas School Business • September 2013
talented teacher. Garza holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Houston Baptist University. Ridgemont Elementary School began the new school year with Robert Long as principal. An educator for 15 years, he has taught at both the elementary and secondary levels. In addition, he has been an associate principal, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction, curriculum coach and behavior specialist. Long earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Stephen F. Austin State University, his master’s degree in education administration and supervision from Sam Houston State University and his doctorate in education from Texas A&M University. Now leading Garcia Middle School as principal is Rizvan Quadri, who comes to Fort Bend ISD from Port Arthur ISD, where he was principal of Lee Elementary School. He also has been an assistant principal and middle school teacher. He is a graduate of Lamar University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, master’s degrees in administration and secondary education, and a doctorate in education. Six new assistant principals have been
appointed. They and their schools are: • Stacy Brown, Lexington Creek Elementary; • Ashley Causey, Bush High; • Troy Hodge, Lake Olympia Middle School; • Kathleen Jeremiassen, Scanlan Oaks Elementary; • Marilyn Parker, Dulles Middle School; and • Cindy Snyder, Commonwealth Elementary. Granbury ISD Kati Burke has joined Granbury ISD as an accounting manager. She spent the past two years as business manager of Brownwood ISD and was that district’s accounting assistant for seven years prior to that. Kati Burke Burke has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Howard Payne University and holds the designation of registered Texas school business manager from the Texas As-
Who’s News sociation of School Business Officials. Athletic Director Dwight Butler has received master certification from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Association. He has overseen the district’s Athletics/Community Education Department since 2005. He previously served as athletic director and head football coach in Big Spring ISD. He began his career in 1978 and has worked in districts in New Mexico and in Texas (Monahans, Abilene and Levelland ISDs). Tammy Clark is now an assistant principal at Granbury High School. She will continue in her position as head coach of the Lady Pirates volleyball team. She has been with the district since 2002, teaching integrated physics and chemistry, health, physical education and French, including several courses at the advanced placement level. She began her career in Sinton ISD, teaching science and coaching volleyball, basketball, and track at the middle and high school levels. Clark, who earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the Universite de Bordeaux in France, holds a master’s degree in second-
ary education from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Diane Fullerton has been tapped to serve as director of special education. Most recently principal of Crossland Ninth Grade Center, she led that campus since 2011. She began as a teacher and coach in Pleasanton ISD, going on to teach and coach in Denton ISD, where she also was coordinator for an after-school program sponsored by Texas Woman’s University. She came to Granbury ISD in 1992 and was a counselor at Meadows and Acton middle schools. She was named an assistant principal at Granbury Middle School in 2004 and was appointed that school’s principal in 2007. Fullerton earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana College and her master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas. Ron Holmgreen, former lead assistant principal at Vista Ridge High School in Leander ISD, has been chosen to serve as principal of Crossland Ninth Grade Center. He began his career in 1996 as a teen leadership teacher and junior varsity baseball and
freshman football coach at Duncanville ISD’s Ninth Grade Center. He went on to teach government and coach at Leander High School in Leander ISD for five years, moving to Vista Ron Holmgreen Ridge in 2003 as head baseball coach and social studies teacher. He took his most recent position in 2008. Holmgreen, who earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Stephen F. Austin State University, holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Brenda Mabery retired this summer from her position as special programs coordinator after 33 years as an educator, 28 of those with the district. She began as a language arts, reading and math teacher at Glen Rose Junior High in Glen Rose ISD and then taught for a year at Bowie Junior High in Amarillo ISD. She came to Granbury ISD in 1985 as a sixth grade teacher at Granbury Middle School, going on to teach at Granbury intermediate. She See WHO’S NEWS on page 25
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speakers and Topics include: personal liability of school district personnel Jim Walsh Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Austin a legal update on terminations & nonrenewals Kevin lungwitz The Lungwitz Law Firm, Austin effective strategies to help you tackle employee grievances Marquette Maresh Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Austin avoiding liability under the fair labor standards act lisa Brown Thompson & Horton, Houston retaliation claims & the role of documentation Joe tanguma Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Houston employee use of social media: legal issues & practical strategies Cristina Ruiz Blanton Texas Association of School Boards, Austin
Texas School Business • September 2013
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 23
opened Mambrino School in 1997, where she taught sixth grade language arts for four years and then served as an instructional specialist for two years. She became the district’s special programs coordinator in 2003. Another new assistant principal at Granbury High School is Victor Sauceda. He was most recently the school’s at-risk facilitator. He began his career in Granbury ISD in 2004 as a Spanish teacher at Acton Middle School, going on to work in the Curriculum Department as post-secondary programs coordinator for two years. He next spent a year in the school’s campus administration and another as a Spanish teacher at Crossland Ninth Grade Center. Sauceda earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports studies and his master’s degree in secondary education, both from Tarleton State University. Former Baccus Elementary School Principal Trisha Suitt is now the district’s coordinator of federal programs and elementary education. An educator for 18 years, she began as a pre-K teacher at Baccus and became that school’s principal in 2011. A graduate of Granbury High School, she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University. The new principal of Baccus Elementary School is Leslie Tewell, who most recently was assistant principal of Crossland Ninth Grade Center. Prior to that assignment, she held the same position at Oak Woods School beginning in 2008, having served previously as an instructional specialist there. She began her career in 2001 as a third grade teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, arriving in Granbury ISD in 2004 as a seventh grade reading teacher and cheerleading sponsor at Acton Middle School. Tewell received her bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Wesleyan University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Tarleton State University. Hays CISD Cynthia Vasquez has been chosen to serve as interim principal of Tom Green Elementary School. She has been assistant principal there since 2009. An educator for 17 years, she has spent her career in Hays CISD. She began as a bilingual teacher at Kyle Elementary, going on to serve in the same capac-
ity at Tom Green, Hemphill and Camino Real elementary schools. She was the district’s summer school principal in 2012. Vasquez earned her bachelor’s degree in bilingual education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University in Austin. Highland Park ISD (Region 10) Becky Thweatt has been named Highland Park High School counselor. She was most recently a counselor at Plano East Senior High School in Plano ISD. She began her career in 1998 as a special education teacher and counselor in that district’s Clark High and then served for two years as a counselor at Berkner High in Richardson ISD. Thweatt earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas Christian University and her master’s degree in counseling and student services from the University of North Texas. Humble ISD Robin Perez has left his most recent position as superintendent of Buna ISD to join Humble ISD as assistant superintendent for learning. Iola ISD Chad Jones, a 22-year educator who was most recently superintendent of West Hardin CISD, has been chosen to serve as district superintendent. He began his career in Oklahoma, where he spent 13 years as a coach and biology teacher, before joining College Station ISD in 2004 as an assistant principal at A&M Consolidated High School. Two years later, he was named principal at Southwood Valley Elementary in that district. He next took the position of principal at Rockdale High School in Rockdale ISD and started his first superintendent job two years later at West Hardin CISD. A native of Oklahoma, he earned his degree in education from the University of Oklahoma. Irving ISD Weldon Hafley is the district’s interim superintendent. He retired in 2006 as superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and then went on to serve as interim superintendent in Azle, Eagle MountainSaginaw and Lake Worth Weldon Hafley
ISDs. He spent 28 years in Eagle MountainSaginaw ISD, beginning as a teacher and coach and serving subsequently as assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent for human resources. Prior to his time in that district, Hafley worked as a teacher and basketball coach in Denison and Azle ISDs. Jayton-Girard ISD A new superintendent is in place for the district. He is Trig Overbo, who was most recently a principal in Snyder ISD. Kaufman ISD Kell Clopton has been named assistant superintendent. With 13 years of experience in school administration, he was most recently a high school principal in Quinlan ISD. After completing his bachelor’s degree in education at Southern Arkansas University, he joined Lake Jackson Middle School in Brazoswood ISD, where he coached and completed his student teaching internship. While working on his master’s degree in education at Southern Arkansas, he was a graduate assistant and coach. He then accepted a position as a health and P.E. teacher and coach in Sulphur Springs ISD. Three years later, he began working as a teacher and coach in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. He took his first administrative position in Quinlan ISD as assistant principal of Thompson Middle School. A year later, he moved to the district’s alternative learning center as principal. He next was principal of Ford High School in that district, where he remained until accepting his new position in Kaufman. Keene ISD Superintendent Wanda Smith retired in June after serving in that position for almost 30 years. The Texas Legislature officially recognized her as the longest-serving female superintendent in the state. She initially retired in 2008 but continued to assist school districts in Grand Prairie, Itasca and Cleburne. When Smith’s replacement in Keene resigned in 2011, she accepted a call from the school board to return to her old job. A graduate of Union College in Lincoln, Neb., she earned her master’s degree from Texas Christian University and completed all work, except her dissertation, toward her doctorate from Texas Woman’s University. In addition to her accomplishments in education, Keene was a See WHO’S NEWS on page 26 September 2013 • Texas School Business
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founder of the Keene Chamber of Commerce, was the first female president of the Texas Association of Community Schools, served on the executive committee of the Texas Association of School Administrators and was a member of the advisory board of Texas School Business magazine. Keller ISD Patricia McKeel has assumed the role of principal of Keller Intermediate School. She comes to the district after spending six years as assistant principal of Eubanks Intermediate School in Carroll ISD. In addition, she was a teacher for eight years at Eubanks and at Durham Intermediate, also in Carroll ISD. McKeel, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University, completed her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at Stephen F. Austin State University. Casey Stone has been named director of career and technical education (CTE), innovation and virtual learning. He was most recently executive director of secondary education and CTE in Cedar Hill ISD. Prior to that, he was an instructional technology specialist in
Texas School Business • September 2013
Fort Worth ISD. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas. Freedom Elementary School started the new academic year with Heather Varon as principal. A member of the Keller ISD team for nine years, she spent the past three years as assistant principal of Park Glen Elementary. She taught in Bastrop and Birdville ISDs and was a third grade teacher at Hidden Lakes Elementary in Keller ISD. Krum ISD Nancy Shipley is now Krum ISD’s assistant superintendent. She most recently was the district’s director of federal programs and curriculum. She also has been a teacher. Shipley, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, earned her master’s degree from Lamar University. Lake Travis ISD The district’s new band director is Richard Hicks, who began his career in 2000 in Tomball ISD as associate band director at Tomball High School. In 2005, he joined the faculty of the University of Houston as a graduate assistant for university bands while
working on his master’s degree in applied music from that institution. Since 2006, he has been head band director at Dobie High School in Pasadena ISD. Hicks earned his bachelor’s degree in music from The University of Texas at Arlington. Carl McLendon has been named Lake Travis ISD’s educational technology coordinator. After earning his bachelor’s degree in government and history from The University of Texas, he took a position teaching social studies and coaching in Banquete ISD. A year later, he joined Fredericksburg ISD in the same capacity. After two years out of state and a stint in the private sector, he returned to Texas as director of instructional technology/distance learning at Central Texas College in Killeen. He then transferred to Colorado as a technology specialist for the Aspen school district. In 2004, he joined Lake Travis ISD as the campus technology specialist at Lake Travis High. His master’s degree in technology management and engineering was awarded from Regis University in Denver, Colo. The new assistant superintendent for human resource services is Holly MorrisKuentz. She began her career in San Antonio’s Alamo Heights ISD as a high school English
Who’s News teacher and technology coordinator and then spent four years as director of instructional and research technology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. She returned to Texas in 2009, joining Lake Travis ISD as the district’s instructional technology coordinator. She then spent a year as director of educational support services and most recently was executive director for administrative and human resource services. Morris-Kuentz earned her bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Houston Baptist University. Suzanne Stone has been appointed to serve as director of development and corporate relations. She began her career in the private sector as an associate producer with Phillips Productions in Dallas after earning her bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from Texas Christian University. In 1997, she moved to Naperville, Ill., where she worked as an adjunct professor of television production at North Central College. She also was operations manager for Naperville Community Tele-
vision during that time. Next, she was head coach of the women’s basketball program at Schenectady County Community College in New York, coming back to Texas in 2006 as an outreach and education specialist for Child Advocates in Wichita Falls. Most recently, she was the Children’s Miracle Network specialist at United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls. Lake Worth ISD David Fitts has been named the district’s superintendent, coming to his new position from Pewitt ISD, where he held the top job since 2004. He has been a teacher, assistant high school/junior high principal and high school principal. He was ESC Region 8’s Superintendent of the Year. Fitts earned his doctoral degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Lamar CISD The new assistant principal of Navarro Middle School is Bertha Alvarez. A graduate of Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisc., she taught in Milwaukee and then
in Texas in Alief ISD. In Lamar CISD, she taught kindergarten. She also has been the lead bilingual teacher at Long Elementary since 2009. She holds a master’s degree from Bertha Alvarez Lamar University. Long Elementary now has Risa Crosby as assistant principal. She has been a teacher for eight years, all in Lamar CISD, and most recently was the math facilitator at Velasquez Elementary. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has a Risa Crosby master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Isaac Davila is the new transportation director. A graduate of Oklahoma State UniversiIsaac Davila
See WHO’S NEWS on page 28
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ty, he spent six years in the transportation and payroll departments of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Public Schools. Robin Sheehan has been hired as the district’s purchasing/materials manager. She has been a buyer for Lamar CISD since 2010. A graduate of Lamar CISD’s Terry High School, she holds both bachelor’s and master’s Robin Sheehan degrees in business administration from Houston Baptist University. Keith Williams is now assistant principal of Briscoe Junior High. He began his career in the district at George Junior High as a coach and science teacher in 1998 and has worked as a coach and teacher at Foster Keith Williams High School and as Lamar CISD’s high school summer school principal. Lockhart ISD Sheila Henderson is now the district’s executive director of athletics and University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities. She most recently was Lockhart ISD’s director of athletics. She also has been a camSheila Henderson pus administrator in San Antonio’s Judson ISD, an assistant director of athletics for the UIL, and a teacher and coach in Austin and Taylor ISDs. Henderson earned her bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas and her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University in Austin. Brian Herman has joined Lockhart ISD as head football coach/ athletic coordinator. He has worked in Liberty Hill and Lampasas ISDs and, most recently, in Eustace ISD as head football coach and athletic coordinator. Brian Herman Prior to that, he was Liberty Hill High School’s football offensive coordinator. He also coached at the college level at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. Herman earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from The University of Texas. 28
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The district’s new director of secondary curriculum and instructional technology is Pamela Johnson. She comes to Lockhart from Austin ISD, where she was an administrative supervisor for leadership Pamela Johnson development in the Office of Educator Quality. Prior to that, she was an instructional specialist and a secondary mathematics specialist in that district. In addition, she was the K-12 math and science coordinator for Hays CISD and a district math coordinator and strategist in Lockhart ISD. She also taught in Bloomington ISD and Aransas County ISD and was an instructor for undergraduate and graduate math education at the University of Houston at Victoria. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston at Victoria and a doctorate in school improvement from Texas State University. Denisha Presley has been named principal of the Lockhart High School Freshman Cisneros Campus. She was most recently academy administrator and lead assistant principal of San Marcos High Denisha Presley School in San Marcos ISD. She also has been a high school English teacher at that school and at the Lockhart ISD Freshman Campus. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and sociology and a master’s degree in education administration, both from Texas State University, where she also serves on the educational leadership advisory board.
Longview ISD Bramlette Elementary School now has Dale Bohannon as principal. The 39-year education veteran has been a teacher, principal and superintendent, most recently in New Waverly ISD. McKinney ISD Traci Hall has been named the district’s assessment coordinator. An educator for 20 years, she comes to McKinney ISD from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, where she was assessment coordinator for the past four years. She began her career as a math teacher
in Sharyland ISD and also taught in Kopperl and Cedar Hill ISDs. While in Cedar Hill, she took her first administrative job, serving as an assistant principal at both the elementary and secondary levels. She then became the district’s coordinator of PEIMS, working in that capacity for 12 years before taking her most recent position. Hall earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University. Paige Hanks, who spent the past four years as principal of Lawson Early Childhood School, is now principal of Press Elementary. She has been an educator for 20 years, beginning as a fifth grade teacher in Greensboro, N.C., after earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from High Point University in that state. A year later, she moved to Florida and taught third and fourth grades in Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville Beach. She subsequently served as academic dean of Beaches Episcopal School in Jacksonville Beach. Hanks came to McKinney in 2001 as an assistant principal at Wolford Elementary, then was named principal of Bennett Elementary, where she served until opening Lawson in 2009. She received her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of North Florida. Memphis ISD Kent Lemons, Memphis ISD’s new superintendent, comes to the district from Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, where he was assistant superintendent. New Braunfels ISD The new principal of New Braunfels High School is Kara Bock. She was most recently principal of Klein Road Elementary, serving in that position since 2008. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree from Texas State University. Stephanie Ferguson has been appointed to serve as director of career and technology education. She spent eight years working in the newspaper industry before coming to New Braunfels ISD in 1993 to teach English and journalism at New Braunfels High School. She was named the district’s public information officer in 1999. In 2011, she became the director of communications with an emphasis on career and technology education. Ferguson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in See WHO’S NEWS continued on 31
San Marcos CISD’s orchestra director provides soundtrack to learning by Elizabeth Millard
an Marcos CISD Orchestra Director Christopher Hanson garnered significant recognition recently when he was named as a quarter-finalist for the Music Education Award, which is bestowed by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. More than 30,000 nominations across the nation were reviewed, but only 217 music teachers reached the quarter-final level. Hanson’s nomination is particularly remarkable because it was never his intention to work in public education. “When I came to San Marcos CISD, it was because they hadn’t had an orchestra program since 1957 and I wanted to change that. I figured I would help build it and then leave,” he admits. “I’d sworn that I would never go into public education as a career; I just didn’t think that’s what I wanted.” But after walking around the school during the first week of his new role, Hanson glanced into a math class and saw students working diligently as a teacher spoke to them. He began crying, as his whole mindset changed in an instant. “I was so overwhelmed by the beauty and reality of the responsibility we’ve been given,” he recalls. “Parents, students and the community are all trusting us to make those kids a vital part of the community. It sounds sappy, but when I felt that on my shoulders, I fell in love with being a teacher.” Although Hanson didn’t expect to become an educator, he’s seen himself as a life-long musician ever since his mother convinced him to pick up the violin in the sixth grade. “It was just a piece of scrap wood in terms of being an instrument,” Hanson says. “But it changed everything.” He still has the violin hanging in his office at home, as a reminder of one of his life’s huge turning points. He remembers being “the biggest orch dork ever,” rushing through his schoolwork so he could
zip back down to the orchestra room. That passion continued through to college, and beyond. He earned a degree in composition from Texas Southern University, where he took every music class available. For graduate school, his interests were so wide-ranging that he ended up with three music-focused master’s degrees from Texas State University. While in college, he became interested in community music groups. He thought that after graduation he might take a position conducting a small orchestra. It would have fit well with his love for music and his extensive history of community service. In high school, he and his mother volunteered frequently, and he
‘I was so overwhelmed by the beauty and reality of the responsibility we’ve been given. Parents, students and the community are all trusting us to make those kids a vital part of the community. It sounds sappy, but when I felt that on my shoulders, I fell in love with being a teacher.’ See SPOTLIGHT on page 30
San Marcos CISD Orchestra Director Chris Hanson leads a class at Goodnight Middle School. Photo by Kathy Fitzgibbons
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recalls going to retirement centers or the Red Cross almost every summer day. However, when he heard that San Marcos CISD didn’t have an orchestra director or even a program, Hanson saw an opportunity to make a quick “pitstop” and hone his community orchestra skills for the future. It only took a week before he realized that teaching was his path. “I was hooked,” he says. “Just like coming to music, I saw the possibilities and got excited about the potential. This is the only place where I feel like I’m required to use every aspect of my education and experience. It’s been a huge blessing.” When he first arrived in 2011, 18 students signed up for orchestra. This year, there are nearly 100. Hanson conducts two orchestras and teaches music theory in the high school. He’s especially fond of working with fellow teachers in other subjects to integrate their lessons into his classes. He talks about vocabulary words and math concepts and the way that rhythms relate to fractions.
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FUN FACTS ABOUT CHRIS HANSON First live concert I attended: Houston Symphony — my grandfather saved up money so that he could bring me every Sunday while I was in high school. A bad habit I would like to break: taking my work home with me A band or solo artist I’m currently listening to a lot: Black Eyed Peas If I had to start my career over in a different field, it would be: some kind of community outreach or politics.
“Music is an expression of our soul; it’s the soundtrack to our lives,” says Hanson. “It’s not a subject that’s in a box on a shelf, unrelated to other subjects. It can be integral to understanding so many concepts. That’s what I’m excited about here — the knowledge that I have something unique to contribute, that I can share my love for music with these students.” Getting recognition through the Grammys just proves he is on the right path. The winner of the Grammy Music Educator Award will be flown to Los Angeles, Calif., in January to receive the award and attend the Grammys. Hanson is already stunned at being selected as a
quarter-finalist and says he is humbled to be on the same list as some incredible educators. It may sound cliché, but honestly, he says he is simply happy to be nominated. “This recognition already has brought such positive attention to the district,” he says. “The goal is not to get awards; the goal is to show that these programs are important and that music enriches students’ lives. That’s my mission, every day.” ELIZABETH MILLARD also writes for District Administration.
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journalism from Sam Houston State University, received her master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas. Now leading Klein Road Elementary School as principal is Christopher Russell, who had been serving as the school’s assistant principal. He has been with New Braunfels ISD since 2006, when he took the job of assistant principal of New Braunfels Middle School. Kenneth Vise is now director of bands at New Braunfels High School. Formerly the band director at Lake Travis ISD’s Lake Travis High School for 15 years, he has more than 27 years of experience in music education and performance. Vise holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and a master’s degree from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. Northwest ISD Sandy Conklin is the new principal of Beck Elementary School. He comes to his new post from serving in the top position at Prairie View Elementary. He has been an educator for 15 years, the past five Sandy Conklin at Prairie View. Prior to joining Northwest ISD, he was an assistant principal and principal in Crowley ISD and a teacher and coach in Grand Prairie, Grapevine-Colleyville and Pearsall ISDs. Conklin has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at Arlington. He is working on his doctorate in educational leadership. Stephanie Espinosa, principal of Seven Hills Elementary School for the past five years, is now principal of Lakeview Elementary. She has been with the district since 2007, beginning as a teacher at Stephanie Lakeview. Prior to that, Espinosa she was an assessment specialist and assistant principal in Fort Worth and Crowley ISDs. Deborah McCune opened Northwest
ISD’s 17th elementary campus when she took the reins as principal of Cox Elementary School at the beginning of the school year. She has been with the district since 2000, serving as principal of Beck Elementary.
Pflugerville ISD Copperfield Elementary School now has Georgie Arenaz as principal. She comes to Pflugerville from Manor ISD, where she was principal of Bluebonnet Trail Elementary. She was previously assistant principal Georgie Arenaz of that campus and taught at Manor High School. She also has taught at Kirby Middle School in Judson ISD. Arenaz earned her bachelor’s degree in English education and her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. The school year began with Jeff Black as principal of the Provan Opportunity Center. Most recently the director of Austin ISD’s Alternative Learning Center, he also has been an administrator at Hendrickson High School and the Provan Center in Pflugerville ISD, and at Deerpark Middle School in Round Rock ISD. In addition, he has served as a classroom teacher and coach. Black’s bachelor’s degree in secondary education was awarded from Oklahoma City University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas State University. Troy Pitsch, most recently assistant principal of Park Crest Middle School, is now principal of Spring Hill Elementary. He joined the district in 2000, teaching social studies at Pflugerville Middle School for seven Troy Pitsch years before being appointed assistant principal of Copperfield Elementary. Pitsch is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and social studies. He holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas State University and is at work on his doctorate in educational policy and planning from The University of Texas.
A new principal began the school year at River Oaks Elementary. Tere Ralston, who has been with the district since 1991, now holds the top position. She began as a teacher at Northwest Elementary, going on to Tere Ralston become the district’s lead math teacher, assistant principal at Murchison Elementary and, most recently, principal of Spring Elementary. Ralston has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). Kelly Lane Middle School now has Dina Schaefer as principal. She comes to her new job from Round Rock ISD, where she was an assistant principal of Round Rock High School since 2007. Prior to that assignment, she taught at McNeil High School and Canyon Vista Middle School, both in Round Rock. Schaefer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in rhetorical communications and political science from the University of Pittsburgh, holds a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas. Robert Stell is the new principal of Pflugerville Middle School, where he has been assistant principal since 2008. He was also the school’s summer school principal for three years. Before joining Pflugerville Robert Stell ISD, he was an assistant principal at Fulkes Middle School in Round Rock ISD. Stell holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.
Pine Tree ISD A new assistant principal has been named for Pine Tree Primary School. She is Brandy Holland, who comes to the district from Hawkins ISD, where she was a classroom teacher for kindergarten, third grade and fourth grade. Richardson ISD Now serving as principal of Dartmouth Elementary School is Jennifer Balch. She was assistant principal of Forestridge ElSee WHO’S NEWS on page 32 September 2013 • Texas School Business
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ementary for the past year. She began her career in Richardson ISD as a teacher at Arapaho Elementary and also worked as an assistant principal at Richardson Terrace Elementary. An educator for 12 years, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Shannon Bennett, who spent the past seven years as assistant principal of Berkner High School, is now principal of Forest Meadow Junior High. He also served as a teacher at West Junior High and as an assistant principal at North Junior High. Glenda Howell began the new academic year as principal of O. Henry Elementary School. Previously, she served as principal of Northlake Elementary for eight years. She started as a teacher at Richland Elementary. She also has been an assistant principal at Hamilton Park Elementary and Math Science Technology Magnet. She has been an educator for 17 years. Northlake Elementary School now has Mary Kellagher as principal. She has made the move from Skyview Elementary, where she spent the past year as assistant principal. She
taught at Stults Road Elementary and worked as an assistant principal at Marshall Elementary. An educator for 17 years, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Katie Kirkpatrick is the new principal of Merriman Park Elementary, coming to her new position from Dartmouth Elementary, where she has been principal for the past two years. She taught at Lake Highlands Elementary and was an assistant principal at Big Springs Elementary and at Arapaho Classical Magnet School. She has been with the district for 12 years, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University. The district has a new assistant superintendent of human resources. He is Fernando Medina, who has been with Richardson ISD for 18 years, the past four as executive director of human resources for the elementary level. He also worked as principal of Dover Elementary and as assistant principal of Classical Magnet School and Dobie Primary School. He began his time with the district as assistant director of bands at Forest Meadow Junior High. Medina earned his bachelor’s degree in music
education from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree in education from The University of Texas at Arlington. His doctorate in education was awarded from the University of North Texas. Now leading Canyon Creek Elementary School as principal is Carol Mixon. She comes to her new job from O. Henry Elementary, where she was principal for eight years. She began her career in Richardson ISD as a teacher at Big Springs Elementary, going on to work as an assistant principal at O. Henry before taking on the top job there. An educator with 25 years of experience, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and her master’s degree from Northeastern State University. Rio Hondo ISD Newly hired Superintendent Ismael Garcia comes to Rio Hondo from Brownsville ISD, where he was chief financial officer. Round Rock ISD District trustees named Jiae Kim principal of Spicewood Elementary School. She comes to Round Rock from Pflugerville ISD,
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Texas School Business • September 2013
Who’s News where she was an assistant principal at Connally High School. After earning her bachelor’s degree in applied learning and development from The University of Texas, she began her career as a fourth grade science and technology teacher at Parmer Lane Elementary School in Pflugerville ISD. She went on to serve as assistant principal of that campus and as middle and high school summer school head principal at Connally. Kim holds a master’s degree in educational development, also from The University of Texas. San Marcos CISD Nicole Dray now serves the district as director of elementary curriculum and federal programs. She began her career as communications manager of an educational materials publishing company in Dallas, teaching Nicole Dray music and art privately. She moved to New Mexico as a fourth and sixth grade teacher at Edgewood Elementary School in the Mo-
riarty-Edgewood School District. Since 2009, she has been principal of that campus. In addition, she has been an adjunct professor for online undergraduate education coursework with Ashford University. Dray, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, has a master’s degree in education from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. The new academic year began with Adam Garza in place as assistant principal at San Marcos High School. A graduate of that school, he has been with the district since 2008, working as a coach and Spanish teacher. Adam Garza He holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in Spanish and one in business marketing, from Texas State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. Before returning to San Marcos, he taught and coached in Freer ISD. Debra Smith returns to San Marcos as assistant principal of San Marcos High School, having previously taught fifth grade
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science at Hernandez Elementary when it was an intermediate school. She then taught fourth and fifth grades and was a Title I math and gifted and talented teacher at Debra Smith Fuentes Elementary in Hays CISD. While with San Marcos ISD’s intermediate campus, she was a team leader for math and served on the campus leadership team. She held leadership roles in Hays CISD as well and served as that district’s gifted and talented coordinator/specialist until 2010. She then spent two years as director of advanced academics and gifted education for the Texas Education Agency. She returned to public education as assistant principal of Lockhart Junior High in Lockhart ISD, where she remained until taking her newest position at San Marcos CISD. Howell Wright has been appointed assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and accountability. He was superintendent of Rockdale ISD since 2009 and, See WHO’S NEWS on page 34
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September 2013 • Texas School Business
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prior to that, served as superintendent of RosebudLott ISD. Additionally, he has been a varsity athletic coach, secondary school teacher, high school assistant principal, elemenHowell Wright tary principal, and middle school and high school principal. Wright earned both his bachelor’s degree in education and his master’s degree in kinesiology from Stephen F. Austin State University and his doctorate in education from Lamar University. Seguin ISD John Burks, former principal of New Braunfels High School in New Braunfels ISD, is now assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Seguin ISD. Socorro ISD Veronica Candelaria will now lead Drugan School as principal. An educator for 17 years, she joined Socorro ISD in 2002, beginning at Loma Verde Elementary and moving to Shook and Antwine elementary schools as a math and science curriculum coach. She became Veronica Candelaria assistant principal of the middle school portion of Drugan in 2010.
Nadia de la Rosa is the new principal of Campestre Elementary School. She has been an educator for 17 years and a member of the Socorro ISD team since 2005. A graduate of Socorro High School, she has provided district-wide staff development in evNadia de la Rosa ery content area for grades pre-K through 12 and was one of the district’s first mentors for novice teachers in the Teacher Induction Program (TIPS). Greg Hatch has been named principal of Martinez Elementary School. He has spent his 17 years as an educator in Socorro ISD, beginning at Socorro High School as a pre-calculus, calculus, anatomy, and physiology Greg Hatch teacher for the Cosmos and Health Professions Academy. He then joined the Math Science Partnership Department, where he spent four years working with Montwood and Socorro high schools and Ensor, Sun Ridge and Clark middle schools. He went on to serve as assistant principal of Sanchez Middle School for two years before taking his most recent position as assistant principal of the Serna School. Now leading Desert Wind School as principal is Analia Jansen. She has been an educator for 16 years and has worked as a middle school and high school teacher in El
State retirement plans are a moving target Horace Mann tracks the system for changes. Our agents also offer educator workshops to explain the plan and answer questions. Give us 20 minutes. We’ll make your job easier. To learn more, find your local agent at horacemann.com.
Texas School Business • September 2013
Paso and Clint ISDs. She came to Socorro ISD in 2007 as an instructional specialist for high school science. For the past three years, she has been assistant principal of LuAnalia Jansen jan-Chavez Elementary School. Rojas Elementary School now has Jessica Macias as principal. A graduate of Socorro High School, she has been with the district for 10 years, beginning as a second Jessica Macias grade teacher at Escontrias Elementary. In 2008, she became an instructional specialist in math and science. In 2010, she was named assistant principal at Ball Elementary. She has spent the past two years at Hueco Elementary. Spring Hill ISD Mark Sartain is the new head football coach and athletic director at Spring Hill High School. An educator and coach for 22 years, he has worked at the junior high, high school and university levels. He was offensive coordinator at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth from 1991 to 1995, going on to work as head coach and athletic director of White Oak High School in White Oak ISD until 2002, when he became head coach at Trinity Valley Community College. He then coached at East Texas Baptist University and Union Grove ISD. Joseph Vincent has been hired to serve as Spring Hill Junior High School assistant principal. He has taught high school chemistry in Lindale ISD for the past three years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health education and a master’s degree in school administration from Lamar University. Former Spring Hill Junior High Assistant Principal Tony White is now the district’s instructional technologist. Teague ISD New Superintendent Nate Carman was most recently assistant superintendent of Pine Tree ISD in Longview. He has taught and coached at the junior high and high school levels and has been a campus administrator in Grand Prairie, Wilmer-Hutchins and Lewisville ISDs.
Who’s News Terrell ISD A new superintendent is in place. He is Micheal French, superintendent of Quinlan ISD since 2008. He began his career in Mesquite ISD as a special education teacher and third grade teacher, going on to work as an English resource and inclusion teacher in Garland ISD and as a vocational adjustment coordinator for the Lake Ray Hubbard Shared Service Agreement. He next was dean of students and assistant principal in Scurry-Rosser ISD, before becoming the district’s middle school principal, assistant superintendent and, ultimately, superintendent. French, who has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from The University of Texas at Tyler, earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Texas Classroom Teachers Association Grace Mueller, an eighth grade language arts teacher at San Marcos CISD’s Miller Middle School, is now the association’s president. A TCTA member for 28 years, she has served on the executive board as communications/public relations committee chair and curriculum and instruction committee chair. She also has served as District 13 director. Mueller also is active within the San Marcos TCTA chapter, where she has served as president, vice president/treasurer and faculty representative. Tomball ISD Jim Baker has been named the district’s human resources director. An educator for 19 years, he began his career as a fifth grade teacher in Iowa after earning his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Teikyo Marycrest UniJim Baker versity in that state. Four years later, he came to Texas as a middle school special education teacher in CypressFairbanks ISD, where he went on to serve as a math teacher, academic achievement specialist, assistant principal and assistant director in the Human Resources Department. Baker received his master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Bob Frost is the new principal of Willow Wood Junior High School. He has been an educator for two decades, working in
Splendora ISD as a K-6 grade campus principal, intermediate school principal, and high school assistant and associate principal. He came to Tomball ISD in 2010 as principal of Tomball Intermediate Bob Frost School. Frost received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University. Huey Kinchen, most recently the district’s deputy superintendent, is now superintendent. He has been with Tomball ISD for 13 years, including five years as principal of Tomball High School, five years as asHuey Kinchen sistant superintendent of administrative services, and the past three in his most recent position. Before coming to Tomball ISD, he held positions in Humble and Spring ISDs. Kinchen earned his bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and his master’s degree in education from Southeastern Louisiana University. Valerie Petrzelka has been named executive director of elementary and intermediate schools. She started as a third grade teacher in Spring Branch ISD in 1977 and came to Tomball ISD in 1985 to teach fifth
grade, later becoming an instructional specialist and assistant principal. She spent 12 years as principal of Lakewood Elementary, then opened Canyon Pointe Elementary in Valerie Petrzelka 2008. Petrzelka received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her doctorate was conferred from Lamar University. The new principal of Tomball Intermediate School is Crystal Romero-Mueller, an 18year education veteran. She began as an orientation and mobility specialist in Conroe ISD and later worked for Deer Park ISD Crystal Romero- and at ESC Region 4. She joined Cypress-Fairbanks Mueller ISD in 1998 as a mobility instructor and teacher of students with visual impairments. She also has been a special education instructor, instructional specialist, assistant principal and elementary school principal. Romero-Mueller’s bachelor’s degree is from Stephen F. Austin State University, and her master’s degree in educational leadership is from Sam Houston State University. See WHO’S NEWS on page 36
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September 2013 • Texas School Business
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 35
Tyler ISD Kenneth Gay has been named principal of Tyler High School, coming to his new job from Aldine ISD, where he was an assistant principal. Three new elementary school principals have been appointed: • Laurie Greathouse, Orr Elementary; • Michelle Jarnagin, Ramey Elementary; and • Alajandra Lara, Orr Elementary. United ISD David Canales is now the district’s executive director of high school instruction. He comes to his new role from United South High School, where he spent the past four years as principal. He began his career as a science teacher at Christen Middle School in Laredo ISD. He also has served as a principal at United Middle School and as magnet dean of the United High School engineering and technology program. He joined United South High when it opened in 1990, teaching science and serving as that department’s chair. Canales earned both his bachelor’s degree in secondary education and master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University. He is at work on his doctoral degree in educational administration. Moving to the position of executive director of school improvement is Melissa Cruz. She comes to her new job from Juarez-Lincoln Elementary School, where
she was principal. She has been an assistant principal at Garcia Middle School and a counselor at Roosevelt and Perez elementary schools. She began her career as a language arts teacher at Lamar Middle School. Cruz, who earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education, holds two master’s degrees, one in counseling psychology and one in educational administration, both from Texas A&M International University. The new executive director of middle school instruction is David Gonzalez, who spent the past eight years as principal of Washington Middle School. He began as an English teacher and football coach in Laredo ISD, coming to United ISD to serve as assistant principal at Johnson and Alexander high schools. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Texas A&M International University. The new principal of Gonzalez Middle School is Patricia Perez, who had been serving as the campus’s assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in school counseling. Jessica Salazar has been named principal of Los Obispos Middle School, returning to the school where she taught earlier in her career. Most recently assistant principal of United High School, Salazar earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s degree in school administration from Texas A&M International University.
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Texas School Business • September 2013
Uvalde CISD Jeanette Ball is the new superintendent. Victoria ISD Lisa Cortez and Armando Villarreal Jr. will work in partnership in the job of human resources professional services director. Cortez was most recently principal of Stroman Middle School, serving there since 2010, after workLisa Cortez ing as an assistant principal at the primary and secondary levels. She earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston Armando at Victoria. Villarreal has Villarreal Jr. been the principal of Shields Elementary School since 2004. Prior to that, he held the top position at Dudley Elementary. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville). Trey Edwards began the new school year as executive director of administration, coming to that position from his job as principal of the Mitchell Guidance Center. Prior to that, he was an assistant Trey Edwards principal at Crain Middle School and the district’s director of student services. He is a graduate of the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision. Mima Gonzalez has been appointed assistant superintendent for human resources. She has been with the district since 2005 and previously worked in San Angelo and Giddings ISDs. Mima Gonzalez She also has worked for the Texas Association of School Administrators. Gonzales holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree
Who’s News in educational administration from Angelo State University. Sherri Hathaway is now associate director of curriculum, instruction and accountability for secondary education. She has been principal of Liberty and Profit academies and was also associate and Sherri Hathaway assistant principal at the middle and high school levels in the district. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria. The new director of fine arts is Kenneth Peach, who served in the same capacity in Cedar Hill ISD since 2008. He also held administrative positions in Arlington, Mansfield and DeSoto ISDs and at Texas A&M University Kenneth Peach at Commerce. His bachelor’s degree in music education was awarded from The University of Texas at Arlington, and his master’s degree in education is from the University of North Texas. Carol Tippins has moved from her job as principal of Smith Elementary School, where she served since 1998, to the position of associate director of curriculum, instruction and accountability for elementary education. She Carol Tippins spent three years as principal of Mission Valley Elementary before leading Smith. Prior to joining the district, she taught and worked as an assistant principal in Yoakum ISD. She is a graduate of the University of Houston at Victoria, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Several principals have been appointed. They are: • Lisa Blundell, Victoria East High School; • Melissa Correll, Career and Technology Institute;
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Sylvia Davila, Shields Elementary School; Andreia Foster, Rowland Elementary School; Tammy Garza, Mission Valley Elementary School; Michelle Graves, Smith Elementary School; Leandra Hill, Hopkins Elementary School; Jill Lau, Cade Middle School; Laura Longoria, Guadalupe and Wood Elementary schools; Dawn Maroney, Stroman Middle School; Sheila O’Briant, Liberty Academy and the Victoria Area Center for Advanced Learning; James Taylor, Crain Elementary School; Tedrick Valentine, Mitchell Guidance Center; and Landon Zamykal, O’Connor Elementary School.
Longtime Waco High School football coach Johnny Tusa returns to Waco ISD as interim athletic director, after retiring in 2009. At that time, the Waco native had accumulated 31 seasons as a head football coach, all of them spent coaching in Waco. He began his career in 1977 at Reicher Catholic High School before moving to Waco ISD’s Jefferson-Moore High two years later. Jefferson-Moore, Waco and Richfield high schools were consolidated into a single Waco High in 1986. Tusa continued there as a head coach until his retirement. He has spent the past four years on staff with the American Football Coaches Association. Warren ISD Brad McEachern has been promoted from Warren Junior High principal to district superintendent. TSB
Waco ISD Joseph Alexander, who had been serving as assistant principal of University High School, is now principal of the Wiley Opportunity Center. The new principal of Brook Avenue Elementary School is Dara Delony, former assistant principal of South Waco Elementary. Tra Hall, former principal of Munday High School in Munday CISD, is now principal of Hines Elementary School. Assuming the role of principal of South Waco Elementary School is Twana Lee, who had been serving as assistant principal of Hillcrest PDS Elementary Magnet School. Former Waco High School Principal Alfredo Loredo is now the district’s director of technology, while pursuing his doctorate in curriculum and instruction. Before leading Waco High, he spent nine years as principal of Chavez Middle School. Sam Sexton, a graduate of Waco ISD’s University High School, has been chosen to lead Waco High School as principal. An educator for 36 years, he most recently was principal of La Vega High School in La Vega ISD.
September 2013 • Texas School Business
THE BACK PAGE by Riney Jordan
On becoming an inspirational leader, Part 5
or the past several months, I’ve been sharing not only my thoughts, but the ideas of others, regarding leadership. Not just any style of leadership but particularly that which we refer to as “inspirational.” This is the kind of leadership that energizes, encourages, improves morale and makes for a better work environment. This is the kind of leadership that people want to be around. They want to hear what the leader has to say. They want to watch him or her and think, “Now that’s the kind of person I would like to become.” I’m talking charisma, which happens because of the caring, compassionate and considerate nature of the leader. Let’s focus on perhaps one of the most important and necessary reasons an individual is successful. Perhaps Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” Think about it. How many leaders have you known who were good in so many aspects of the job – organization, knowledgeable, responsible – yet they lacked that ability to get along with others? I don’t want that to be you! I remember one such individual in my past. Oh, my goodness, this guy was brilliant. He was so organized that his todo list had to be in alphabetical order. He was devoted to the job. He came early. He stayed late. His reports were impeccable. He followed the rule book to the letter. There was just one small flaw — one small element — that began to grow and grow and eventually ended his career. He simply could not get along with people. Several years ago, I spoke in the school district where he had been appointed as superintendent. I could sense the tension from the minute I walked into the auditorium. It was filled with teachers and other staff members who were laughing and visiting and having a good time prior 38
Texas School Business • September 2013
to the program. And then he walked into the room. A hush began to fall over the crowd. As more and more people spotted him, the more the silence grew, until you could have heard a pin drop. Their expressions had changed. The joy of the morning was gone. The “leader” had arrived. I had known this individual from years ago, and he had not changed one iota over those years. He had held jobs in more districts than you could imagine, and I knew that he was not going to last here either. Surely enough, I received word a few months later that he had been terminated. And, although I am not privy to the reasons the board gave for his dismissal, I am relatively certain that his inability to get along with people was at the top of the list. So sad. How do you “get along” with people? Well, there are several things, most of which you should have learned at an early age. 1. Become a good listener. 2. Treat everyone as an equal. 3. Smile more. 4. Put yourself in their shoes. 5. Praise often in public. Give constructive criticism in private. 6. Care about people. 7. Be flexible. 8. Be accessible. 9. Trust more. 10. Be a positive, cheerful person. I know. There’s not one “original” idea in this entire article. Which brings me to my final statement. Of course you know how you should act and treat others. Now do it! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.
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