The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER
Texas School Business
NEUROSCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM Schools address how stress affects student learning
New in this issue: The Arts Regional View Calendar
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
TCEA President Profile Lamar CISD’s David Jacobson blends passion for mathematics, technology by Elizabeth Millard
20 In the Spotlight It’s a new day in El Paso ISD with Superintendent Juan Cabrera
by Leila Kalmbach
TASA President Profile Northwest ISD superintendent brings transformational leadership to state role
Guest Viewpoint What I learned from attending 228 school board meetings
by John Egan
Stress and the brain – Educators apply the latest neuroscience to foster healthy development in students dealing with poverty-related stress
by Anette Carlisle, retired Amarillo ISD trustee
8 TEPSA members gather in the capital city 27 Secondary school principals attend TASSP Summer Workshop 30 Administrators head to Austin for UT/TASA summer conference
23 Take Four with Garland ISD by Discovery Education
by Merri Rosenberg
Departments 6 Who’s News 33 Regional View 36 The Arts 41 Calendar 45 In Memoriam 46 Ad Index
5 From the Editor by Katie Ford 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski 13 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne 35 Student Voices by Heather Wolle 46 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication. Cover story photo by Brian Hatton. Cover art © kotoffei/Shutterstock.com
From the editor Notice anything different? How do you like our new look? I know, I know. We don’t look a day over 60, right?
Texas School Business is so excited to debut a fresh, modern design as we step into a new era with a bimonthly frequency. The new-and-improved Texas School Business also boasts expanded coverage: ► Not one, but TWO association president profiles in every issue; ► The Arts covers K-12 fine arts programs to more fully recognize the spectrum of educational initiatives in our public schools. ► Regional View highlights the programs and initiatives happening at a select education service center. Our inaugural installment comes from ESC Region 13!
Texas School Business
► Calendar: We’re bringing it back! In one place, you can browse all the professional development events happening statewide over the next four months. Do you have an event you’d like to include? It’s free! Simply send the pertinent details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 Volume LXI, Issue 11
Also, with the November/December issue, we’ll debut a new technology columnist. You’ll have to wait until November for the big reveal. In the meantime, I want to take this opportunity to thank Terry Morawski of Comal ISD for his years of service as our Tech Toolbox columnist. It’s been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you the best, Terry! One last thing: A huge thank you to all who submitted nominations for our Ninth Annual Bragging Rights issue, which comes out in December. What an impressive showing this year! You’ve made our job to narrow it down to 12 school districts worth bragging about extremely difficult! But it’s a challenge we’re willing to take on. Thanks for sharing all the phenomenal work happening in our public schools. You rock!
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406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
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Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. © Copyright 2015 Texas Association of School Administrators
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Who’s News Abernathy ISD Kelly Priest, former Abernathy Elementary
School principal, is now principal of Abernathy Middle School.
Lela Taubert is the new Abernathy Ele-
mentary School principal. She has been an educator for 15 years, working in Hale Center ISD and at ESC Region 17 and Wharton College.
Glen Teal has been selected to serve as district superintendent. He was most recently assistant superintendent of Andrews ISD.
Alvord ISD Lloyd Treadwell is the interim superinten-
dent. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and his master’s degree in education from Southwest Texas State University. He completed doctoral work at East Texas State University.
Arp ISD Former Assistant Superintendent Dwight Thomas has been promoted to superintendent.Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Tyler and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas A&M University at Commerce, where he also did two years of doctoral studies in education administration.
Austin ISD Kenisha Coburn is the new principal of
Kealing Middle School. She was academy director of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. Coburn has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and policy studies from Rice University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas State University.
Birdville ISD Bridgette Cornelius is prin-
cipal of Cedar Creek High School, which she helped to open as associate principal. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Huston-Tillotson University and her master’s degree in education from Walden University. Christopher Julian will lead
Bastrop Middle School as principal. He comes from Carrollton ISD, where he was an assistant and associate principal of Turner High School since 2008. He earned his master’s degree in teaching from Austin College and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Texas. Former Hutto ISD public information officer Emily Parks is now the communications director. Named one of the Top 35 Under 35 school public relations professionals by the National School Public Relations Association, she was the Texas School Public Relations Association’s 2011 Rookie of the Year.
Beaumont ISD Dwaine Augustine has moved from
assistant superintendent for secondary administration to assistant superintendent for human resources.
Shirley Bonton, previously assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, is now deputy superintendent for academics/administration. Robert Calvert, former chief information
officer in Fort Bend ISD and interim chief technology officer in Humble ISD, is now chief operations officer.
The district’s new police chief is Rob Flores, a longtime employee of the Beaumont Police Department.
Pillow Elementary’s new principal is Brian Hill, former administrative supervisor for Area 2 elementary schools. Hill has a bachelor’s degree in theology from East Texas Baptist University and a master’s degree in education administration from The University of Texas.
Cheryl Hernandez is the new chief financial officer. Formerly the district’s accounting manager, she also has been a business manager in Port Neches-Groves ISD.
Edmund Oropez is now chief
Matilda Orozco has been tapped to serve as assistant superintendent for elementary administration. Previously, she was an area superintendent for Houston ISD.
officer of teaching and learning. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Texas Pan-American.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Karen Newton is director of title programs.
She formerly was the executive director of Community in Schools of Southeast Texas.
Jared Parnell has been appointed director
of information services technology. He most recently had that job as an interim assignment.
Kaynee Coreoso has been named principal of Walker Creek Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and her master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University. Kerri Sands is now principal of Richland Elementary School. She was assistant principal of Hardeman Elementary from 2012 until accepting her new position. Sands earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.
Now leading Holiday Heights Elementary School as principal is Michael Wamsley, who was assistant principal there since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University. New Richland Middle School Principal James Whitfield was an assistant principal at that campus since 2012. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwestern Adventist University.
Brookesmith ISD New Superintendent Gary Birdwell comes from Loop ISD, where he was a principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University.
Brownsville ISD New Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas has served as interim superintendent since February. She also was the district’s superintendent from 1992 to 1995. Zendejas earned her master’s degree from the University of San Diego and her doctorate in administration and policy analysis from Stanford University.
Bryan ISD Hugo Ibarra has moved from Navarro Elementary School, where he served the past four years as principal, to lead Milam Elementary as principal. He has been an educator for 11 years.
Bryan High School has hired Jason Noyes as director of bands. He comes to his new appointment from Tyler ISD’s Lee High. Noyes has a music degree from Texas Tech University.
Sara Rueda has been promoted to principal of Navarro Elementary School. Rueda has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M University, where she also earned her master’s degree in educational administration.
College Station ISD Former Pebble Creek Elementary School Assistant Principal Josh Symank has been promoted to principal of Oakwood Intermediate School.
Corsicana ISD Stephanie Howell is principal of Carroll Ele-
mentary. She has spent the past two years as principal of Houston Elementary.
Crowley ISD Pat Panek has been promoted to the position of director of safety and security. He had been serving as the district’s coordinator of that department.
Dallas ISD Michael Hinojosa, who served as super-
intendent from 2005 to 2011, has agreed to return to the district as interim superintendent. His most recent position was superintendent of the Cobb County School District in suburban Atlanta, from which he retired in 2014.
Denton ISD Former Rockwall ISD’s Rockwall High School offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Cody Moore is now Braswell High School’s athletic coordinator and head football coach.
Eanes ISD Westlake High School softball coach Haley Gaddis has been named assistant girls’ athletics director. Gaddis holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and a master’s degree in education, both from Texas State University. Now serving as assistant principal of Eanes Elementary School is Amanda O’Daniel. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwest Texas State University.
Culberson County-Allamoore ISD New Superintendent Dalia Benavides comes from Lamesa ISD, where she was principal of North Elementary School.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Lee Elementary School welcomes Susan Epperson as principal. She has spent 14 of her 17 years as an educator with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, most recently as assistant principal of Lieder Elementary. She has a bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Tonya Goree, former princi-
pal of Lee Elementary, is now principal of Francone Elementary School. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Lamar University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Houston. Former Thornton Middle School Principal Laura Perry has transferred to Campbell Middle School to serve as principal. She has been with the district for 25 years. Perry holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her doctorate in professional leadership was awarded from the University of Houston.
Lesley Ryan is principal of
Eanes Elementary School, where she had been serving as assistant principal. Ryan earned her bachelor’s degree in applied learning and development and her master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas.
El Campo ISD Dolores Trevino comes to her new job as
assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction from Brazosport ISD, where she was director of professional learning and curriculum and instruction.
El Paso ISD The new principal of Lincoln Middle School is Haidi Appel, who has been serving as principal at Bond Elementary since 2002. The former PTA District 19 Elementary Principal of the Year is a graduate of The University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration. Former Lockhart ISD elementary Principal Darryl Henson is now principal of Bassett Middle School. Henson’s bachelor’s degree in elementary education
was awarded from The University of Texas and his master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at Arlington. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Houston.
Florence ISD Paul Michalewicz is the new superintendent.
He has been an educator for 25 years and was most recently assistant superintendent for special populations programs in Grape Creek ISD. A graduate of Angelo State University with a bachelor’s degree in history and physical education, he earned his master’s degree in school administration.
Fort Bend ISD Trustee Jim Rice is the director of the Gulf Coast Area Association of School Boards. Currently serving his second term on the Fort Bend ISD board, he is also on the board of directors for TASB, serving as the organization’s legislative committee chair.
Frisco ISD Heather Albuquerque has been hired as an assistant principal of the district’s new Reedy High School. She comes from Garland ISD, where she was an assistant principal at North Garland High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree from Concordia University.
The new assistant principal of Christie Elementary School is Melissa Bahnmiller, who was most recently the district’s coordinator of elementary English and language arts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Amy Baker has been promoted from
assistant principal of Smith Elementary to principal of Sparks Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Michelle Coleman has joined Pearson
Middle School as an assistant principal. A graduate of DePauw University, she has a master’s degree from the University of San Diego.
Leanne Crane, the former dyslexia facilitator
and teacher at Scott Elementary, has been named assistant principal of that campus. She earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University and her master’s degree from Lamar University.
The district’s new coordinator of testing and 504 is Jason Ellis. He was most recently a math teacher and team leader at Wakeland High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology. > See Who’s News, page 10 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
TEPSA members gather in the capital city The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association hosted its annual conference in Austin in June. This yearâ€™s general session speakers included authors Simon Bailey, Angela Maiers and Steve Gilliland.
Cindi Jacob, John Purcell and Carol Pierce, all of North East ISD.
Henva Medlow, Belynda Billings, Jennifer Zebold and Courtney Muceus, all of Lamar CISD.
Denise Stewart and Michelle Elliot of Frenship ISD.
Jennifer SteinKolinek and Tammie Hewitt of Smithville ISD and Kimmie Etheridge of Northwest ISD.
Roxy Carter-Bean and Cathy Bradshaw of Millsap ISD.
Cherie Spencer and Katie Sutton of Galveston ISD.
Terri Rimer and Crysten Hopkins of Midland ISD.
Natalie Hoskins and Rosemary Reed of Alvin ISD.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Brian McLain and Kelli Shipp of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
So, they asked you to do a presentation by Jim Walsh
hat do you do in the midst of your presentation when you discover The Dreaded Typo on the PowerPoint slide? Over the course of the past many years, I’ve had this problem, along with just about all the other glitches, distractions and problems that can occur. I’ve had a loud mariachi band in the room next door, the power go out, a person pass out in the middle of the aisle and slides unwilling to advance. I spilled coffee on my pants — right in the crotch — just before I got up to speak and had no lectern to hide behind. All of this and more has gone wrong. My mantra in these cases is “offer no resistance.” Don’t act like nothing just happened. In fact, the better thing to do is to call attention to it. Everyone else is noticing; you might as well do so as well. Deal with the distraction openly, directly and quickly — and then you can get back on track. This was one of the suggestions I made in a webinar I recently conducted for the National Council of School Attorneys on “how to do a presentation.” Presenting does not come naturally to lawyers. After all, it’s not what we are trained to do. So, one of the main points I emphasized in the webinar is that the lawyer who is presenting is not lawyering. The lawyer is teaching. The lawyer is wise to do what good teachers do: They study. They master the content. They prepare. They organize. They simplify. Presenting at a conference is not lawyering, but there are similarities. In both lawyering and teaching, you have to follow Stephen Covey’s suggestion to begin with the end in mind. The litigator starts her preparation by preparing the specific questions that will go to the jury. The presenter begins with the “takeaways” and then figures out how to make them clear and easily understood. Another similarity is that first impressions are critical. Research shows that jurors make
their minds up early in the trial and then look for evidence to support their position. Likewise, the presenter has about 60 seconds to persuade the audience that he is worth listening to. I like to walk around the room before I speak, glancing at what people are doing. I used to see people with crossword puzzles or shopping catalogs at the ready. Now, of course, it is cell phones and laptops. Everybody is prepared to entertain themselves if the speaker is a bore. So, be ready: You have about one minute to make a good first impression.
Don’t act like nothing just happened. In fact, the better thing to do is to call attention to it. Public speaking is a time to play off your strengths. Do you tell a good story? Great, then work that into your talk. But if you are not gifted at storytelling, this is not a good time to experiment. Are you funny? Wonderful, but don’t think you have to be. You can be just as impactful in other ways. Play to your strengths; don’t shore up your weaknesses. Trying to be someone you are not is a recipe for failure.
WE SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE EMPLOYMENT FACILITIES& BUSINESS GOVERNANCE LITIGATION SPECIAL EDUCATION EDUC STUDENTS
I almost look forward to those Dreaded Typos these days. That’s because I have a reliably funny story to tell when I discover the typo. It’s one that many of you have heard, about the time that the diagnostician asked if I really meant to be talking about our legal duty to provide a “Free Appropriate Pubic Education.” Lawyering. Presenting. Teaching. It’s all about the preparation that enables you to respond to the unexpected.
JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
> Continued from page 7
Jane Pribanic, formerly an assistant principal in Lewisville ISD, is the new assistant principal of Mooneyham Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and her master’s degree from George Mason University.
Nancy Fiori has been appointed an area
director for curriculum and instruction. She comes to her new job from Melissa ISD, where she was executive director of curriculum and instruction and federal programs. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Former Wester Middle School Assistant Principal Mitzi Garner is now assistant principal at Trent Middle School. Now serving as an assistant principal of Liberty High School is Jason Harris, who had worked in the same capacity at Coronado High in El Paso ISD. Harris received his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and his master’s degree from the University of Phoenix. Gunstream Elementary School hired Melissa Hay as assistant principal. She comes to her new job from Elliott Elementary, where she was an instructional coach. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake and her master’s degree from Concordia University. Michelle Kim has moved from Hosp Elementary, where she was an instructional coach, to serve as assistant principal of Ogle Elementary School. She has a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and a master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Jennifer King, former animation and mul-
timedia teacher and yearbook coordinator at Wester Middle School, is an assistant principal at the school. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree from Lamar University.
Ryan Knickerbocker has been hired as an assistant principal at Pearson Middle School. He was most recently a sixth grade social studies teacher and team leader at Griffin Middle School.
Maus Middle School now has Karen McNeil as an assistant principal. She was formerly the science instructional coach at Roach Middle School. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from The University of Texas at Dallas. Frisco ISD welcomes Ronny Mullins back to the district as athletic coordinator and head football coach at Centennial High School. He was the district’s assistant athletic director from 2005 to 2010, when he left to serve as athletic director of Prosper ISD. Former Mooneyham Elementary Assistant Principal Jamie Peden is now principal of Bledsoe Elementary School. Peden received
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Pink Elementary School now has Danielle Record as principal. She joined Frisco ISD last year as assistant principal of Gunstream Elementary. The Texas Woman’s University graduate holds a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix. Other newly appointed administrators are: Reed Bond, assistant principal, Vandeventer Middle School; Andrea Sibley, assistant principal, Smith Elementary School; Melissa Snyder, assistant principal, Norris Elementary School; Kendall Still, assistant principal, Reedy High School; Jamie Wisneski, principal, Pearson Middle School. The following educators retired at the end of the 2014-2015 school year: Nancy Lawson, after 31 years as an educator and 11 with the district, most recently as an area curriculum and instruction director; Marliee McMichael, after 37 years as an educator and 13 with the district, most recently as principal of Sparks Elementary; Beverly Woodson, after 31 years as an educator and 16 with the district, most recently as principal of Bledsoe Elementary.
Galena Park ISD Now serving as the district’s coordinator of college readiness is Kareen Brown, former associate principal of student services. An educator for 18 years, Brown is a graduate of Texas Southern University with a master’s degree in instructional technology and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Now serving as deputy superintendent for operational support is Sonya George. She was an assistant superintendent and director at ESC Region 4 before coming to Galena Park ISD three years ago as chief financial officer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lamar University and a master’s degree in management from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Jeff Hutchinson began the academic year as
principal of the new Career Technical Education Early College High School. He comes from New Caney ISD, where he was an associate principal. Hutchinson received his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Stephen F. Austin State University and his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Scranton. His doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from Liberty University. Gerardo Ramirez, who was assistant principal of Cobb Sixth Grade Campus, is now the district’s coordinator for testing and accountability. Ramirez earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston Downtown and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Helen Tiller, the district’s
former coordinator for advanced placement, is now program director for secondary English language arts. She has been an educator for 21 years. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Clear Lake, with a bachelor’s degree in literature and a master’s degree in school library science. The new deputy superintendent for educational support and school administration is Ken Wallace, who was most recently associate superintendent for educational support and school administration. He was also the district’s assistant superintendent for educational support and school administration. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University.
Garland ISD The following new principals have been appointed for the 2015-2016 school year: Lisa Alexander, Walnut Glenn Academy for
Bonnie Barrett, Daugherty Elementary
Jennifer Benavides, Hudson Middle
Coleman Bruman, Armstrong Elementary
Shae Creel, Club Hill Elementary School; Quinton Darden, Southgate Elementary
Chris Grey, Watson Technology Center for Math and Science; Janee Haynes, Stephens Elementary > See Who’s News, page 12
Necessary endings by Terry Morawski
t’s time to move on, time to get goin’. What lies ahead, I have no way of knowin’. But under my feet baby, grass is growin’. Time to move on, yeah, it’s time to get goin’.” — Tom Petty, “Time to Move On” The quote above is from a song, “Time to Move On,” from one of my favorite Tom Petty albums, “Wildflowers.” After a little more than five years of writing the Tech Toolbox column for Texas School Business, I’ve decided it’s time, as Petty said, to get goin’. It has been a great few years writing the column. Working with Editorial Director Katie Ford and the TASA team has been a wonderful experience. I thought there was no better time than this occasion to talk about endings. Richard Valenta, deputy superintendent of Denton ISD, recommended the book, “Necessary Endings,” by Dr. Henry Cloud, to our doctorate class at Dallas Baptist University about a year ago. The book and the phrase “necessary endings” have become one of my go-to concepts. What exactly comes to mind when you think of a “necessary ending”? You can probably think of a sports star who held on a little too long. Or perhaps those aging rockers (are you listening, David Lee Roth?) who can’t quite belt out the hits like they used to. A little self-reflection goes a long way when thinking about necessary endings in our lives. Actually, our business is full of endings. School years begin and end. Sports seasons begin and end. Students join us as little ones and end their district careers as graduates. Great employees retire at the end of long, impactful careers. I’ve always thought graduations were bittersweet events. Although a celebration, many of the teachers and administrators are truly sad to see students leave their schools. The events I describe above all have built-in endings. It is not an option to stay past graduation or to throw in a second basketball season. In Cloud’s book, he reminds us to think about the natural rhythms of life that are full
of beginnings and endings. Days. Seasons. And, yes, our physical lives have a pretty clear beginning and ending. It’s not particularly groundbreaking to acknowledge there are endings in life. The challenge of Cloud’s book is to reflect upon the not-so-obvious endings. When is it time to drop a program that is not seeing results?
Having the courage to bring about these endings at the right time can be truly transformative for your district, school and the people who are involved. How do you counsel a good employee who needs to look at a different job to stay fresh? When is it time to shut down the line of communication with a vocal critic of your district? The magic words here are necessary endings, like the book’s title. Having the courage to bring about these endings at the right time can be truly transformative for your district, school and the people who are involved. Almost always, these decisions will involve difficult conversations. Almost always, people are going to be upset and challenge the decision. You may be surprised at the resistance to an ending that you thought was pretty cut and dried. Good luck to Texas School Business, TASA and everyone involved with the magazine. And so, here we are, as I end my time writing this column. Why now? It’s just the right time. It’s a necessary ending. And as Petty says, “It’s time to get goin’.”
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TERRY MORAWSKI is the deputy superintendent of Comal ISD. He is also a doctoral student at Dallas Baptist University. Look him up on Twitter @terrymorawski or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Who’s News > Continued from page 10
School; Deborah Henson, Shorehaven Elementary
Jessica Hicks, Herfurth Elementary School; Spencer Hughes, Keeley Elementary
Kim Marsh, Sewell Elementary School; Beatris Martinez, Classical Center at Vial Elementary School; Amie Pennington, Centerville Elementary School; Shannon Trimble, Bullock Elementary School; Kathy Tunnell, Rowlett Elementary School. Twenty-six new assistant principals have also been named. They and their schools are: Victor Acevedo, South Garland High School; Kristen Babovec, Stephens Elementary School; Mark Booker Jr., Hudson Middle School; Denise Campbell, Dorsey Elementary School; Magda Carrero-Diaz, Beaver Technology Center for Math and Science; Bobbie Carter, Herfurth Elementary School; Jocelyn Charbonneau, Houston Middle School; Eddrick Haskins, Austin Academy for Excellence; Adrian Hernandez, Jackson Technology Center for Math and Science; Jade Hobbs, Spring Creek Elementary School; William Knuckles IV, O’Banion Middle School; Devonia Maddox, Webb Middle School; Angela Nolan, South Garland High School; Terri Osborne, Jackson Technology Center for Math and Science; Kenneth Pearce, Schrade Middle School; Robert Quach, North Garland High School; Pacquepsi Ramirez, Heather Glen Elementary School; Brent Reid, Coyle Middle School; Sonya Roberts, Rowlett High School; Claudia Saenz, Roach Elementary School; Natasha Shaw, North Garland High School; Zuri Tafciu, Northlake Elementary School;
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
LaBotta Taylor, Caldwell Elementary
Sheri Taylor, Keeley Elementary School; Jeffrey Waller, Steadham Elementary
Cherelle Wilson, Coyle Middle School.
Gilmer ISD Coming to his new position as Gilmer High School principal from Longview ISD is Brian Bowman. He was principal of Forest Park Middle School in that district since 2010. The new principal of Bruce Junior High School is Bill Bradshaw, who is also a former Longview ISD employee, having served as assistant principal of Forest Park Middle School.
Granbury ISD A new assistant superintendent for administrative services has been named for the district. Ron Holmgreen was most recently principal of Crossland Ninth Grade Center. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in criminal justice, Holmgreen received his master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Now leading STARS Accelerated High School and the Behavior Transition Center as principal is Jinna Marks, who comes to her new position from Bandera High School in Bandera ISD, where she was principal. Marks has a bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Tarleton State University. Jincy Ross, former assistant
principal of Granbury Middle School, is now principal of Brawner Intermediate School. Ross received her bachelor’s degree in music education from McMurry University and her master’s degree in school guidance and counseling from Angelo State University.
Hardin ISD Superintendent Bob Parker’s retirement has brought an end to a career that has spanned almost half a century, most of it in Hardin ISD. He began in 1969 as a teacher and assistant coach. During his long tenure, he was the district’s most successful girls’ basketball coach.
Harris County Department of Education Kimberly McLeod has been
named assistant superintendent for education and enrichment. She is the former director of academic instruction and dean of Texas Southern University’s Northwest Campus. McLeod has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and two master’s degrees, in guidance and counseling and educational administration, from Texas Southern. She received her doctorate in counselor education from the University of Houston. HCDE’s new assistant superintendent, overseeing Head Start, therapy services and special schools, is Jonathan Parker, who has worked with Dallas ISD since 1994 as a teacher and administrator. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.
Hays CISD Karen Lucita has been promoted from
assistant principal to principal of Kyle Elementary School. She has spent her 20 years as an educator with Hays CISD. She has a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University and master’s degree from Texas State University.
Jose Arturo Puga is principal of Simon Middle School. He has been an educator for 25 years. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction and bilingual education. Tracie Robinson now leads Hemphill Ele-
mentary School as principal, coming to her new job from Spring ISD, where she was a principal and program administrator. Robinson received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston and her doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Sandra Valdez is the new principal of Blanco Vista Elementary School. After completing her master’s degree in education administration from The University of Texas at El Paso, Valdez joined Canutillo ISD as an elementary and middle school principal. Most recently, she was principal of Damian Elementary.
Highland Park ISD (Dallas) John Dahlander, a 20-year employee of
Dallas ISD who most recently served as that district’s executive director of communication services, is now Highland Park ISD’s director of communications. Dahlander received his bachelor’s degree in communications from Trinity University.
> See Who’s News, page 17
Female directors far and few — for now by Bobby Hawthorne
magine you’re a woman. A smart, young woman with leadership popping out of every pore. You’re also a varsity head coach, and you’re good. District titles. Maybe even a state title or two. All sorts of awards and honors.
Imagine you’d like to be athletic director, and not just an athletic director. The athletic director. Well, dream on. Despite your success and training and personal attributes, the chances are about 51-to-1 you won’t be. Let’s call it the pigskin ceiling.
hammered one point: “It’s all about getting the job done.” Every female AD I interviewed emphasized fairness. “Treat everyone fairly, consistently and with respect, regardless of their position,” Gina Farmer, Cedar Hill ISD athletic director, said. I also asked each for her advice to a smart, young, successful female coach who thinks she might one day aspire to be the AD.
I’m sure there are explanations for this and possibly even good reasons, but 51-to-1 suggests there’s more here than, “We hired the best person available.”
“Be strong-minded. Put in the time,” Self-Morgan said. “There are a lot of sacrifices you have to make.”
I also doubt it’s because women express no interest in athletic administration, or are reluctant to surrender their coaching duties, or are unwilling to put in the time and work. I mean, of the 1,030 or so independent school districts in Texas, fewer than 20 employ a female as the athletic director.
“If you get home by 9:30, that’s a good day,” she added.
How’s that possible? We have more female superintendents. More female principals. And yet, fewer than 20 female athletic directors. One of those female ADs is Duncanville’s Kathy Self-Morgan. She landed the job in 2004, right after her girls won the 2003 state basketball championship. “Were there any female athletic directors when you were a young coach?” I asked. “Ummm…no,” she answered. So, how did she beat the odds? She worked hard. She paid attention. She got lucky. The job was originally offered to a man, who decided to settle elsewhere. Even then, she was hired on an interim basis. Pflugerville ISD’s Johanna Denson told me it was always in the back of her mind to seek a leadership role in athletics, but when she was a young basketball and track coach, opportunities were virtually nil. There were, at most, two female ADs in the entire state then. That she became athletic director in football-crazy Tyler ISD is something of a miracle. She said she got along with the male coaches — especially the football coaches — because she
Denson agreed. It’s not an 8-to-5 job.
Perhaps that’s true generally, but to ignore the special challenges facing young women is absurd. Mansfield ISD’s Debbie Weems said she landed her job only because she was the right person, at the right place, at the right time. In other words, the stars had to align perfectly for her to even be considered. Mostly, it required the intervention of a progressive superintendent, the late Vernon Newsom, who, when asked why he hired a “wimmen” athletic director, replied, “It was the right thing to do.” There are plenty of qualified females out there. Where are the Vernon Newsoms? What are they afraid of? “Some people think they know what an athletic director is supposed to look like,” Weems said, and I needed no explanation. The AD is supposed to look like he needs a shave. That’s it. “You think we’ve come a long way,” she said, “but then, you sometimes wonder if we’ve made any progress at all.” Weems thinks we have, and I agree. Recently, the UIL appointed Susan Elza, formerly of Northwest ISD, as its new athletic director — the first female AD in the league’s history. I’ll echo what I’m certain a lot of women coaches out there thought upon hearing the news: Imagine that.
BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” published by UT Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Instructional coach Sharon Chapman trains teachers and administrators at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the Bronx, N.Y. The school worked with Turnaround for Children to address the effects of poverty-related stress on its student population. Photo by Brian Hatton.
Stress and the brain
Educators apply the latest neuroscience to foster healthy development in students dealing with povertyrelated stress by Merri Rosenberg
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
hen a classroom isn’t working, the signs are obvious. There are children fidgeting, not able to focus on the work in front of them. Others may act out, unable to control their impulses to shout an answer or hit a classmate. Most educators understand that students carry more baggage to school than the stuff in their backpacks.
a professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU.
cans living in the South and Southwest, according to the foundation’s report.
It’s true that positive stress can motivate people to meet a deadline or perform well in an athletic event. Yet, chronic exposure to negative stress can result in the ongoing release of hormones that hinder brain development and tax the body’s immune system.
Yet, it’s not just personal circumstances that put children at risk of poverty-related stress. The report states that even if children come from stable homes, if they live in an area that has a lot of poverty, they still can be affected because they are subject to a general state of anxiety within the community and school that can impact their ability to learn.
Sheila O. Walker is a fellow at the Center on Early Life Origins of Disease at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She explains that chronic stress causes the body to produce high levels of cortisol. A persistent flooding of cortisol to the brain has an inflammatory effect, which damages neurons.
The latest neuroscience is showing that what often looks like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a behavioral issue on the surface may instead reflect a classroom besieged by students living under the chronic stress of poverty. According to experts, an unstable, stressful home environment — namely, impoverished living conditions — can influence the neurological “wiring” of a developing brain in adverse ways.
Walker says the “traffic flow” in the brain changes because of the neuronal damage. Wiring to structures such as the prefrontal cortex — important for executive function, attention and self-regulation — becomes more like a road, while wiring to the amygdala — important for telling us when to feel fear and how to react — becomes more like a highway. The more-efficient pathways to the amygdala result in hyper-reactivity to stress, and the less-efficient pathways to the prefrontal cortex weakens its ability to act as a regulator and gatekeeper.
Bryan Kolb of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in Child and Brain Development explains that a brain’s development “reflects more than the simple unfolding of a genetic blueprint.” He says factors such as parental-child relationships, peer relationships and early stress directly affect brain development. C. Cybele Raver is a co-leader in New York University’s Neuroscience and Education Lab. According to Raver, children facing adversity because of high levels of poverty have difficulties with executive function, focus of attention and working memory.
Nearly a quarter (22 percent) of American children live in poverty, according to a 2013 report released this summer by the Anne E. Casey Foundation. Texas educators may be interested to know that the children who are especially hit hard by chronic poverty-related stress are African Americans and Native Ameri-
“There’s more psych-social wear-andtear on them; it’s not a deficit-oriented model,” says Raver, who is also vice provost for Research and Faculty Affairs and
“In high-poverty schools, you see the neurodevelopmental impact of adversity,” says Dr. Pamela Cantor, a child psychiatrist and the founder, president and CEO of Turnaround for Children, a New York-based organization. “When you walk in the door, you see these children are unready for academic achievement. These kids are two to four years below grade level. The adults feel unprepared for what they’re seeing, and the whole school comes under stress.” “A fundamental principle for educators to understand is that all functioning of the brain is ‘state dependent,’” or subject to a person’s emotional state at the time, adds Dr. Bruce Perry, a senior fellow at the ChildTrauma Academy, a nonprofit organization based in Houston. “That’s particularly important within an educational setting, where you want to get content into the cortex of the child.” Perry explains that the problem occurs when teachers introduce new material to children whose nervous systems are flooded with cortisol and perpetually > See Brain, page 16
School leadership consultant Amy Nicholson works with third graders at Walker-Jones Education Campus in Washington D.C. Students work together in small groups, which fosters a sense of community. Experts say that supportive peer-to-peer relationships are vital to healthy brain development. Photo by Brian Hatton. Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
> Continued from page 15
on high alert. He says the challenge of taking in new material can trigger a stress response in the child, which only exacerbates the situation. New information can be “an overwhelming dose” for a child coming from poverty, stress or trauma. “Any child feeling fear won’t be able to learn,” he says. The challenge of learning new material isn’t the only trigger. Some children who are traumatized or chronically stressed may react strongly to a raised voice or a hint of frustration in a teacher’s tone. Moreover, a male teacher — no matter how sensitive or compassionate — may elicit a fear response in a child who is being abused by a male at home.
“Children facing adversity because of high levels of poverty have difficulties with executive function, focus of attention and working memory. There’s more psychsocial wear and tear on them; it’s not a deficit-oriented model.” — C. Cybele Raver, New York University While some children shut down in response to stress, others may behave in ways that escalate stress in the classroom. And traditional behavioral intervention models only make things worse, Perry says. A model that rewards points to children for positive behavior and takes away points for negative behavior isn’t going to work for children who suffer chronic stress, he says, because their brains may not be able to process those cognitive or behavioral expectations, no matter how hard they try, which results in further frustration and stress. NYU’s Raver agrees that when children act out, it could indicate that “they’re bearing the brunt of exposure to trauma.” “It’s not a matter of ‘problem kids,’” she says. “You need to assess children’s abilities in the
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
social-emotional domain, as well as in the cognitive.”
To that point, Walker at Johns Hopkins says that children affected by poverty-related stress will do better when they have strong relationships with a caring adult in their lives, like a teacher.
“Relationships are incredibly important. They create new pathways in how the brain is wired,” Walker says. “This happens when the child has a nurturing, trusting, supportive adult who believes in them. Instead of looking at the child as ‘what’s wrong with you?’ the idea is to look at ‘what happened to you?’” Indeed, studies in neuroplasticity in the past two decades have shown that the brain is incredibly malleable and resilient. Those errant neural pathways caused by adversity and stress can be reorganized and rerouted. Raver suggests a change in focus in how educators address behavioral issues and learning deficits in children. “It’s not just about focusing on reading scores,” she says. “We need to unpack why students are having trouble focusing. There needs to be a more trauma-informed perspective toward disciplinary problems.” There are evidence-based interventions geared toward children affected by trauma and stress, and many academic centers are partnering with schools to develop what’s known as “trauma-sensitive schools.” “Turnaround (for Children) is about translating the science of what we understand and applying that in really challenging school districts,” Cantor says. The process starts with an assessment of the children who are at highest risk, which can range from 10 percent to 15 percent of the school, “because if we don’t get real help to them, we can’t get much else accomplished.” The individual assessments of the highest-risk students look at academic, behavioral, home-context and family issues, according to Cantor. Turnaround supervises and trains an on-site social worker who collaborates with mental health services in the area to provide additional support for the children who are most at risk or who are the main contributors to the stress level at the school. The company also offers teacher training and individualized coaching in the classroom. The idea is to establish cooperative learning strategies in the classroom, where students work in groups of four on projects and assignments, and teachers are able to move around and give differentiated support to students. With the right support, a child’s brain can reorganize and develop in a positive way, but it isn’t an overnight process, Cantor admits. “You can’t easily go after neurodevelopment,” says Cantor, who adds that the
http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/ihdsc/ neuroscience_lab http://childtrauma.org http://traumasensitiveschools.org focus of a turnaround is on developing “a student-supported system” that is multi-disciplinary and engages all teachers, guidance counselors and support staff. The cost to work with Turnaround is between $300,000-$320,000 per year, and the company brainstorms with districts to identify different funding methods, including public-private partnerships. Houston’s ChildTrauma Academy equips educators with tools to help children better regulate their emotions and impulses, relate to supportive adults and develop reasoning skills. The academy offers training through phone consultations, teacher in-service programs, and online courses with self-paced and self-timed material. As part of their stress-reduction strategy, Perry and his team recommend that teachers incorporate rhythmic activities into their lesson plans, such as delivering content in poetry form — or even as a hip-hop rap. They also suggest taking regular breaks to allow students to walk about, stretch and give their bodies the natural movement they need. When these strategies are used, the cognitive content gets to the cortex “almost without trying,” Perry says. He explains that introducing rhythm counteracts stress because, as humans, we are patterned in utero and from a very early age to associate rhythm (a maternal heartbeat, a rocking cradle) as a soothing, calming experience. Even children who aren’t affected by chronic stress can benefit from two-minute active breaks every 15 minutes or so. Ultimately, Walker says, it’s imperative to create safe environments for these children. “There needs to be a recognition that our most vulnerable children need additional support to be able to meet the academic benchmarks we expect,” she says. “It’s a matter of reaching them and making them feel valuable — and not because they aced a math quiz. “Public education is public health,” she says.◄ MERRI ROSENBERG, a former freelance columnist and reporter for The New York Times Westchester section, is a New Yorkbased writer and editor who focuses on educational issues in her work for national and regional publications.
Who’s News > Continued from page 12
New Superintendent Tom Trigg is the former superintendent of Blue Valley Schools in suburban Kansas City, Mo., where he spent the past 11 years. Trigg, who received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical education from Ottawa University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Emporia State University, earned his doctorate from the University of Kansas.
Irving ISD Jennifer Dickson has been
named principal of Pierce Early Childhood School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Oklahoma Baptist University and her master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas. The new principal of Barton Elementary School is Kelly Giddens, who returns to the district from Keller ISD, where she was assistant principal of Bluebonnet Elementary. Giddens holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from The University of Texas at Arlington. The district’s new director of human resources for elementary staffing and auxiliary is Jackie Gorena, who has served as principal of several Irving ISD schools for 12 years, most recently Barton Elementary. Gorena holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from East Central Oklahoma University and a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. Ed Henderson is now principal of Hanes Elementary School. He was an assistant principal at Haley Elementary. Henderson earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. Lisa Hill, who was principal
of Pierce Early Childhood School since 2013, has been named principal of Farine Elementary. She is a gradu-
ate of the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration. Robin Latiolais, most recent-
ly an assistant principal of Barton Elementary School, is now principal of Schulze Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Gary Micinski has been
appointed chief financial officer. He formerly was a deputy superintendent in Decatur ISD. He is a CPA with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Central Michigan University and two master’s degrees, one in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma and one in accounting from the University of Houston. Now serving as principal of Johnston Elementary School is Stephen Pollard, who was the school’s assistant principal. Pollard received his bachelor’s degree in marketing and his master’s degree in Spanish culture and civilization from the University of North Texas. Angel Rico is principal of Lee Elementary
School. He was most recently an assistant principal at Britain Elementary. Rico holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from New Mexico State University. Andre Smith has been
appointed principal of the Singley Academy. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas Woman’s University. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership and development from Texas Christian University.
Keller ISD Eagle Ridge Elementary School now has Stacy Blevins as principal. She spent the past six years leading Bluebonnet Elementary as principal. Edward Fellows has accepted the position of
principal of Bluebonnet Elementary School. He joins the district from Bryan ISD, where he was an elementary principal for the past 10 years.
Gary Mantz has been welcomed as the new principal of Freedom Elementary School. He has served as an elementary and intermediate school principal for the district, and was most recently director of human resources.
Killeen ISD David Manley is executive director for sec-
ondary schools. He has been an educator for 28 years, most recently serving as the district’s executive director of athletics. Manley has a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University and a master’s degree from Tarleton State University.
Lake Travis ISD Paula Contreras, new principal of Lake Pointe Elementary School, is an educator with more than 16 years of experience and a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education. Janis Jordan is superinten-
dent for curriculum and instruction. She came from Corpus Christi ISD, where she has been the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction since 2007. Jordan has a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of South Carolina, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston. The district’s new deputy superintendent is
Mary Patin. For the past two years, she has
been director of professional services for Amplify Education. Patin has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from McNeese State University and a master’s degree in gifted education from Columbia University.
Lamar CISD Sonya Sanzo, who was an assistant principal at Reading Junior High since it opened in 2010, is now principal of Wessendorff Middle School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University. Danny Ward will be the first principal of Fulshear High School when the new campus opens for the 2016-2017 school year. He has spent the past six years as principal of Taylor High School in Taylor ISD. Ward earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University.
Lewisville ISD New Assistant Superintendent of Finance Michael Ball brings 33 years of experience in Texas public school finance to his position. He was assistant superintendent for finance and human resources for Rockwall ISD since 2012. Ball received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from > See Who’s News, page 38 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Texas Computer Education Association
Lamar CISD’s David Jacobson blends passion for mathematics, technology by Elizabeth Millard
h TCEA President David Jacobson (in all black) speaks with TCEA board members who volunteered to judge the annual TCEA State Robotics Contest.
academic achievement. Now, as president of the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), he is taking his passion for education to new heights.
The thought came out of the blue, specific and strong.
Challenges and opportunities Jacobson moved from the Midwest, where the job market was stagnant for teachers, to Texas in the late 1980s. His wife, a nurse, was experiencing the same issues, so they focused on Houston for a fresh start. They discovered a wealth of opportunities there.
avid Jacobson, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, remembers the single moment that his professional career jumped its tracks.
While attending Northern Illinois University and majoring in accounting, Jacobson was home for a visit during his sophomore year, lounging in his parents’ living room. Away from the campus, he suddenly thought to himself: What am I doing? I’m supposed to be a teacher!
Upon returning to school, Jacobson wasted no time. He changed his major to mathematics with an education emphasis. “Some people grow up knowing they want to be in education, but for me, it didn’t hit me until college — and it hit me pretty hard,” he adds with a laugh. Over the past three decades, his commitment to education has only grown stronger. Jacobson has been able to blend his interest in technology and mathematics with a dedication to curriculum and
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
“How do we improve learning and teaching?” he says. “How do we help students to use technology as tools that allow them to think in different ways? We set audacious goals. Then, we meet them.”
After putting down roots in Sugar Land in 1990, Jacobson earned his master’s degree in education administration and supervision from the University of Houston and became an instructional technology specialist at Fort Bend ISD. After four years there, he became an educational specialist for the Region 4 Education Service Center. He eventually took on the role of executive director of technology in Friendswood ISD. In 2012, he moved into his current role, as chief technology information officer in Lamar CISD.
Although he was firm about his shift into education, the field still held some surprises. The most prominent is that he thought his career path would involve becoming a high school principal after a certain amount of time as a teacher. But the booming technology field was too compelling to resist.
Presidency role As president of TCEA, Jacobson also maintains that go-between role, on a much larger scale. He is hopeful that during his year-long term, he can help the organization build around its goal of sustainability and growth.
“The technology changes we’ve seen even in the past few years have been amazing, much less since I started in education,” he says. “It all still comes down to the classroom teacher, though. I feel that my role is to support educators who are using technology to improve access to education and to make a positive impact in the classroom.”
“I believe our professional development is better than anybody else’s and that our convention is better than anybody’s,” he says, then laughs. “Is that a bold thing to say? It’s the truth, though.”
Jacobson also sees the challenges of today’s educational climate. For example, he says too few districts are making technology planning a priority. He reasons that this is most likely because some funding categories don’t require a plan, but he still insists that planning and assessment lead to more accountability. “Ultimately, the business of any district is the education of our students and showing that technology is positively impacting what’s going on in the classroom,” he says. “My job is to understand technology and understand education and blend the two together. I’m the go-between for those two worlds.”
With about 16,000 members, the association just celebrated its 35th anniversary, and Jacobson was impressed by the staff ’s dedication to marking the occasion — including a 35-hour “lock in,” where prizes were given away every hour to members who chatted online with the lock-in participants.
Fun Facts About David Jacobson – Favorite smartphone app:
IMDB, because I’m a trivia junkie.
If I had to start a new career, I’d pursue: Travel planning.
If I had a superpower, it would be:
Teleportation, because I’m too impatient in traffic.
If I won a million dollars (tax-free), I would:
Save some, buy a new car and take a really great trip.
“That’s a great example of the relationship building that happens at TCEA, and that’s what I want to keep growing for the organization,” he says. “The association has audacious goals to become the dominant force in technology and education. With my year as president, I think we’re taking steps toward new strategies that will move us in that direction.”◄ ELIZABETH MILLARD also writes for American City Business Journals.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Thought leaders and innovators in education
It’s a new day in El Paso ISD with Superintendent Juan Cabrera by Leila Kalmbach
h El Paso ISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera greets students and staff at Chapin High School on the first day of school. Cabrera was a teacher, school law attorney and software executive prior to taking on the superintendent role at El Paso ISD.
t a time when schools across the nation are trimming nonacademic requirements, Juan Cabrera is doing just the opposite: He’s requiring students in El Paso ISD, where he serves as superintendent, to complete 20 hours of community service per semester in high school. It’s a radically different approach to education than many school districts are taking, but it’s a crucial part of Cabrera’s mission to provide an education that focuses on the whole child. His goal is to prepare El Paso ISD students to be well-rounded and civic-minded citizens, in addition to being academically prepared for their future careers. Like many superintendents, Cabrera started his career in education as a teacher — a bilingual elementary school teacher, to be exact. But his route to superintendent was anything but typical. After three years of teaching, he went on to enroll in law school at The University of Texas at Austin and then worked as a software lawyer and software executive for 20 years. Yet, education was in his blood. After all, his parents, wife and a variety of his tías are or were Texas teachers. “At the age of 42, I decided I wanted to get back into education. I missed it. I missed the classroom. I missed working with educators,” he admits.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Cabrera opened a school law firm and served as general counsel to more than 20 Texas school districts. Then, in 2013, El Paso ISD posted a job opening for superintendent. “I applied and here I am,” Cabrera says. He admits that stepping into a school district entrenched in public scandal when he arrived has presented its fair share of challenges, but he remains undeterred. “What I have told people from the very beginning is that we were going to start from scratch and create a workplace that we all wanted to be a part of,” he says. That meant hiring ethical employees who know how to communicate and collaborate when times get tough. Despite being a relative newcomer to the superintendent game, Cabrera has proven his ability to lead a district successfully. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education chose him to be one of 100 superintendents across the country to attend the National ConnectED Superintendents Summit at the White House. In addition to completing the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents’ Leadership Academy, Cabrera serves on the boards of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Minority Males Consortium and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. He is also an executive
committee member for the Council of Great City Schools. Cabrera has made significant changes in his two years with El Paso ISD, and he’s excited about what’s still to come. For one, he is making big strides in incorporating technology into the classrooms. Through the PowerUp initiative, students are using digital textbooks, and every high school student will get a laptop computer for both school and home use. He also is committed to providing top-notch teacher professional development that focuses on active learning and student-centered instruction — namely, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning and collaboration among students. Yet, the biggest change going on in El Paso ISD is the expansion of the dual-language program. At all 57 elementary schools and nine middle schools in El Paso, students can get an education in both English and Spanish. The initiative expanded this year to three high schools, and the district hopes to start offering Mandarin instruction in the near future. Under Cabrera’s leadership, El Paso ISD is also investing more in its community partnerships, most notably with The University of Texas at El Paso. “We have a very innovative dual-language partnership with them at one of our elementary schools,” says Cabrera. UT El Paso also plans to work with the district on program evaluation and how to use research and evalu-
ation to improve teacher education. On a governance level, Cabrera is excited to have an elected school board back in place, rather than the appointed board that served in the past. “We are very excited about … working with them to have them set a vision, their core beliefs and the commitments they want to make to the community, which will help drive our tactical strategic plans at the district,” he says. Providing excellent public education in El Paso is a personal matter for Cabrera as well. He and his wife of 21 years, Claudia, have three children, ages 17, 15 and 10. Cabrera says regular communication with his staff and all stakeholders in El Paso ISD is paramount to his leadership approach. “We talk all the time about trying to create a place that supports and makes schools better,” he says. “What keeps me going on the most stressful days is knowing that our work is having an impact and our schools are constantly getting better because of the work we are doing.” It’s not a goal that will ever be reached, he says — schools are constantly facing new challenges. But that’s OK. It’s enough to know that he’s trying to improve the district for families and students, every single day. ◄ LEILA KALMBACH is a freelance writer in Austin.
Fun Facts About Juan Cabrera – A habit I’d like to break:
I think about work every waking hour — and often wake myself up thinking about work. I am consumed with trying to make our district a great place for students and families.
One thing most people don’t know about me:
I am fascinated by and constantly watch educational documentaries. I love to learn about struggle and people’s stories from around the world.
Three guests at my fantasy dinner party would be:
César Chávez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Vince Lombardi.
Advice I’d give to a brand-new superintendent:
Go as slow as possible if your district’s situation allows it. School districts are communities that have their own cultures. Change is often slow.
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Texas School Business Special Section
Take four with Garland ISD:
Significant enhancements coming to preK-12 curriculum by Discovery Education
Garland ISD is the 12th largest school district in Texas, serving more than 58,000 students on 71 campuses. We spoke to Dr. Jovan Wells, associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, about the future of education in their schoolÂ district.
Texas School Business Special Section
Garland will roll out some significant enhancements to its preK-12 curriculum this school year. Why were changes made? During our strategic planning process, stakeholders said they wanted collaborative classrooms where our students are engaged in critical thinking skills and real-world learning environments. We are striving to prepare students who are globally competitive. Though we may not know the specific jobs of the future, we do know that students will need strong critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and decision-making skills for whatever paths they choose. This focus reflects a commitment to student-centered learning that empowers students with the skills they need to be successful problem solvers.
How will this affect teaching and learning? We are moving toward inquiry-based instruction using the 5E lesson cycle. Students will be able to take greater ownership of their own learning. They will not only be more engaged, but we believe that they will be able to achieve at higher levels. Teachers will need to be more interdisciplinary in their approach and take on the role of facilitator, guiding students as they explore and learn new concepts and skills. This is just as important in math classrooms as it is in English, science, or social studies classrooms.
What has been the reaction of teachers to these changes? We’ve involved our teachers from the very beginning. Before the curriculum rewrite began,
a link was embedded in the old curriculum for teachers to provide feedback. Teachers were thrilled to have this opportunity. Throughout the rewrite process, we have given teachers opportunities to preview the documents and we continue to incorporate their suggestions. As we prepare students to be globally competitive citizens, we are strengthening not just our curriculum, but instruction, assessment, and professional development, as well. We’ve been providing our teachers with a variety of training opportunities on pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching, and technology as we work on the curriculum. We are also providing training for teachers on the new math TEKS.
How are you preparing teachers for today’s digital environments? We made a deliberate decision to give our teachers time to learn and be comfortable with technology and digital learning as we work toward implementing a 1:1 initiative in the future. All of our nearly 3,500 teachers have an iPad, and they have been receiving intensive professional development for the past two years. We’ve also provided job-embedded coaching for teachers to implement specific digital resources. Teachers provide peer support, as well. Our second iCon, an “unconference,” is a summer training opportunity for teachers to learn strategies, tips, apps, and ideas from each other for integrating iPads and digital resources in their classrooms. It’s a full day of collaboration and reflection for the teachers who are literally counting down the days until it starts! You can see their tweets on #gisdicon. In the next two years, we will begin giving devices to our high school students, and our teachers will be ready with the confidence and skills to make a meaningful impact using digital content in the classroom. Paid Advertisement
About Jovan Wells, Ph.D Jovan Wells, Ph.D., is the Associate Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in Garland ISD. She is a collaborative and results-oriented educational executive with over 14 years of experience developing strategies for student and staff development, student and staff performance, and the overall pursuit of academic excellence. A transformational leader with both urban and suburban experience, Dr. Wells understands the long-term value of a rigorous education and its impact on the lives of students.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Brett Felten, Director, TX Partnerships 312-739-5366 Brett_Felten@discovery.com DiscoveryEducation.com © 2015 Discovery Education, Inc.
Texas School Business Special Section
Problems Worth Solving DiscoveryEducation.com/MathTechbook
U.S. MATH EDUCATION IS AT A TIPPING POINT
39% 34% 23%
MATHEMATICS HAD TWO TIMES AS MANY
F’s & D’s
OF 4TH GRADERS
AS COMPARED TO OTHER SUBJECTS4
is implementing a flipped learning model using videos that they have created or sourced online11
40+% OF HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPALS are now offering online classes for students in math11
OF 8TH GRADERS
of the 13 million 2-year college students in the U.S. take remedial math courses;
OF 12TH GRADERS
of them fail or drop the courses and leave college with no degree9
SCORE AT OR ABOVE THE “PROFICIENT” LEVEL IN MATHEMATICS1
1 IN 6 MATH TEACHERS
of high school seniors are proficient in mathemathics and interested in a STEM career2
of high school seniors scored below the grade-appropriate level in math3
of Black and Hispanic graduates take Algebra II and/or some trigonometry5
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Brett Felten, Director, TX Partnerships 312-739-5366 Brett_Felten@discovery.com © 2015 Discovery Education, Inc.
FEWER THAN 8%
of American 15-year-olds have sophisticated math skills they can apply to solve real-world problems7
of the doctorates in mathematics and statistics in 20112012, only 5% up from two decades earlier10
will comprise 27%, and
comprise 23% of projected math careers from 2012-2212
of White graduates
NATION’S REPORT CARD SHOWS STAGNANT SCORES FOR MATH6 THE U.S. IS FALLING BEHIND INTERNATIONALLY, RANKING:
of Asian graduates
Americans rank in the bottom five in numeracy8
1 http://hechingreport.org/content/u-s-math-education-is-broken_2356/ 2 http://www.ed.gov/stem 3 http://changetheequation.org/press/new-survey-americans-say-%2E2%80%9Cwe%E2%80%99re-not-good-math%E2%80%9D 4 http://hechingered.org/content/americas-math-problem-should-we-get-rid-of-algebra_5418/ 5 http://www.achieve.org/files/MathWorkds-Equity.pdf 6 http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/06/310181788/nations-report-card-shows-stagnant-scores-for-reading-math
Median salary for mathematicians12
STEM occupations were the highest paying occupations in 20125
1 OUT OF EVERY 10 JOBS
STEM fields make up more than 1 out of every 10 jobs in the U.S. and pay nearly double the national average12
7 http://www.achieve.org/files/Achieve-MathWorks-Fact%20Sheet%20International.pdf 8 http://nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/why-do-americans-stink-at-math 9 http://theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/the-stereotypes-that-distort-how-americans-teach-and-learn-math/281303/ 10 http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-08-14/first-female-winner-of-fields-medal-dreamed-of-writing 11 Project Tomorrow, Speak Up 2013 National Research Project Findings 12 http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2014/spring/art01.pdf
Texas School Business Special Section
Six Ways to Optimize Professional Development for Secondary Math Teachers By Dr. Lynnell Matthews I have the privilege of working with dedicated mathematics educators from districts across the United States who are serious about deepening their knowledge and developing classroom practices that will lead to improved student achievement. Here are some tips that I’ve honed to optimize the professional growth opportunities educators are provided by their districts’ administrators.
Think tomorrow. The most valuable gift you can give teachers during professional development is a strategy, lesson or resource they can use in class the next day. Give teachers the opportunity to dive into the training as students and reflect as teachers as you model instructional strategies. They will be better able to anticipate what their own students will require.
Keep it real. Math teachers spend a lot of time looking for relevant math applications for their students so come prepared with good examples they can use in their classrooms. Provide problems that will help their students make connections to math in the real world now, not just prepare them for the next math course.
Use power tools. Half of the battle is getting students excited enough about math that they will be ready to learn and willing to persevere. Use every available medium to engage students immediately so
they understand the context for a math concept. Video is a powerful medium to bring the real world into the classroom and to show students things they may not be able to understand abstractly.
Practice flexible fidelity. Quality professional development begins with a quality roadmap. However, it may be necessary to veer from the roadmap in order to meet the needs of your audience. You may have to make overall changes in the plan or slight adjustments for certain segments of the audience. Continuous check-ins during the training will dictate when you have to go off script.
Dare to be ambiguous. Approach professional development the way math should be approached in the classroom. That means you don’t have to be quick to answer participants’ questions. Instead, give others in the session a voice and tap their expertise. Demonstrate that real-life problems are often ambiguous and that there isn’t just one way to solve a problem.
Demystify digital. Math teachers may not be teaching with devices so it’s important to reinforce that while sound instructional pedagogy is still paramount, the digital transition is a reality. In addition to the ins and outs of using digital content for instruction, provide practical classroom management ideas. For example, share verbal and visual cues for when students should close their laptops and direct their attention to the teacher.
About the Author Lynnell S. Matthews, Ph.D., is a seasoned mathematics educator, with more than 20 years’ experience in all facets of undergraduate mathematics education. In her role at Discovery Education, Dr. Matthews develops and delivers mathematics and digital integration strategies with K-12 teachers and administrators across the country. She received her B.S. from Towson State University, and both her M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Brett Felten, Director, TX Partnerships 312-739-5366 Brett_Felten@discovery.com DiscoveryEducation.com © 2015 Discovery Education, Inc.
IN FOCUS offers a platform for industry experts to highlight research, trends, case studies and innovative solutions in K-12 education. To learn more about submission requirements and pricing for this special section, contact Ann Halstead at email@example.com or 800-725-TASA.
Secondary school principals attend TASSP summer workshop “Tell Your Story” was the theme at the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals’ Summer Workshop in Austin in June.
Antonio Martinez, Alice Buckley, James Garcia and Benjamin Leos, all of Fort Worth ISD.
Vanessa Pawelek and Deanna Waitrek of Karnes City ISD.
Tommy Johnson, Lisa Martin, Nancy Hawkins, Melanie Lewis and Bryan Gorka, all of Conroe ISD.
Charlotte Stovall of Coahoma ISD, Erin White of Muleshoe ISD and Trey Gardner of Coahoma ISD.
Dee Palmore and Tiada Radtke of Wichita Falls ISD.
Mekasha Brown and Lisa Schaub of Burleson ISD.
Kimberly Jans-Stutz, Amy Reed Rogers and Deborah Dipprey, all of Wichita Falls ISD.
Natalie Gray, Vallentine Flores and Christina Sanchez, all of San Antonio ISD.
Alane Ocnowski, Hector Martinez and Richard Sweaney, all of Taylor ISD. Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Texas Association of School Administrators
Northwest ISD superintendent brings transformational leadership to state role By John Egan
h “I think education is a mission-driven world, a mission of contributing to a greater good and perpetuating a way of life in our country,” says TASA President Karen Rue.
hen Karen Rue sees swaths of undeveloped land in the Fort Worth area, she sees opportunity. Since Rue came aboard as superintendent of Northwest ISD in 2005, the 234-squaremile district has grown by 13 campuses and nearly 13,000 students. Rather than growing pains, though, Rue feels joy. Building a school means much more than bricks and mortar, she says. It means helping build a foundation for a neighborhood or community, and for thousands of students and parents. “We have the really true honor and unique opportunity to grow communities together, to be the umbrella that brings people together around a really common bond,” Rue says. In all, the common bond of Northwest ISD ties together 14 communities in parts of three counties. The district operates two comprehensive high schools, an accelerated high school, five middle schools, 17 elementary schools, a special programs center and a communitybased youth residential program. As superintendent of Northwest ISD and president of the Texas Association of School Administrators, Rue has concentrated on developing “future ready” schools. Just one example of that concept is the seven academies embedded within Northwest ISD’s schools. Those
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
academies drill down into biomedical sciences, business management and entrepreneurship, collegiate, STEM, culinary arts and hospitality, cosmetology, and media arts and technology. In the media arts academy, for instance, students produce public service videos for real-world clients. The future-focused collaborative work that the students are doing in what essentially are learning labs “is second to none,” Rue says. “It’s an experiential world. It’s relevant and meaningful.” That approach is reshaping what learning looks like as students gear up for whatever lies ahead. “I doubt sincerely that whoever was teaching English I to Bill Gates in high school knew what he was being prepared to do; heck if I know what our kids are going to ultimately do,” says Rue. “But I want to be sure that we’ve given them everything we can think they might need so that they’ve got the tools to grow.” That’s a philosophy Rue, a founding member of the TASA-facilitated Public Education Visioning Institute, finds herself imparting to others. She recalls walking around one of Northwest ISD’s campuses a few years back with a group of community members. One of the visitors remarked that all of the education technology showcased on
the tour wasn’t around back when the visitor was in school, but the visitor had turned out just fine without it. Rue turned to the visitor and replied: “You are absolutely right. Your community cared enough about you when you were a child to give you the very best that they had, to give you what was good enough for you. It’s now our turn to do the same thing today for our kids for their future.” Before bringing her future-focused thinking to Northwest ISD, Rue was superintendent of Tuloso-Midway ISD and executive director of Katy ISD. She has spent her entire career in education, first as a teacher and then as a principal. In her 10-year tenure at Northwest ISD, Rue has garnered a reputation for what her official bio calls transformational leadership. In 2014, Rue was named Region 11 Superintendent of the Year in recognition of her dedication to transforming education, as well as her strong leadership skills, ability to build effective employee relations and her commitment to public involvement in education. Northwest ISD’s school board nominated her for the award, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards.
career path for her, as it would enable her to bring meaning and purpose to her life. “I think education is a mission-driven world, a mission of contributing to a greater good and perpetuating a way of life in our country,” she says. To send herself down that career path, Rue earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. She subsequently received a master’s degree in education from Lamar University and a doctoral degree in education from Texas A&M University. Each rung of the education ladder has further elevated Rue’s belief that collaborating broadly with teachers, principals, parents, community leaders and others greatly influences the value of learning. “I just love knowing that the things we do make a difference in the lives of kids,” she says. At Northwest ISD, that translates into preparing every student for the future and fostering schools that support that mission. This includes equipping students with the technology and digital know-how that will help them thrive in the workplace.
“I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a hardworking school board, dedicated staff members and talented students,” she said upon receiving her regional superintendent accolade. “I share this recognition with the students and staff in Northwest ISD — a district that believes in putting kids first.”
“It’s all geared around giving kids an education — a real education — and redefining for ourselves what an education is. It’s not focused on passing tests,” Rue says. “An education is focused on preparing to be a successful person and knowing that you’ve got the confidence and the ability to do whatever it takes, which includes reinventing yourself a couple of times in your adulthood.” ◄
In high school, before Rue probably could have imagined receiving an award like that, she figured out that education was the right
JOHN EGAN is an Austin-based writer and the former editor of the Austin Business Journal.
Rue describes Northwest ISD’s school board as a “visionary team.”
Fun Facts About Karen Rue – Something most people don’t know about me is:
My parents believed my brothers and I should be prepared and self-sufficient. Before I was allowed to get a driver’s permit, I learned to change a flat, jumpstart a battery and, since I learned to drive in the early 1970s, set the spark plugs.
The most difficult thing about being a superintendent is:
Staying ahead of the curve, anticipating the programs and courses kids will need to have experienced five years from now, and dealing with loss of revenue.
What I love most about my job is:
Being with the kids, talking with them, seeing them present and watching how very impressive they are when given the chance to lead. They are simply awesome!
If I could trade places with someone for one day, it would be with:
I don’t think I would. I get to work with the finest educators, parents and community leaders anywhere.
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Administrators head to Austin for UT/TASA summer conference “A Multidimensional Approach to Leading Change” was the theme for the 67th Annual Summer Conference on Education, held in June and sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators and The University of Texas. General session speakers included author Gary Marx, who discussed 21 trends for the 21st century, and UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven.
Christina Winters Gears of Creating & Managing Wealth LLC and Dalane Bouillion of VLK Architects
ESC Region 16 Executive Director John Bass with superintendents Mike Wartes of Canyon ISD and Rod Schroder of Amarillo ISD.
Veronica Fuentes and Eve Myers of Achieve 3000.
Shawn Crow of Creating & Managing Wealth LLC and Superintendent Jerry Gibson and wife, Tammy Gibson, of Coldspring-Oakhurst ISD.
Texas Association of Community Schools Executive Director Barry Haenisch with Kyle Wargo, executive director of ESC Region 17.
Herman Smith, retired superintendent, with Carla Pope-Osborne of Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott law firm.
Arnoldo Rodriguez (center) of Achieve 3000 with George McShan and Ruben Olivarez of The University of Texas.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Jeff Turner, executive director of the Texas Association of Suburban/Mid-Urban Schools, with Cathy Bryce of ESC Region 11 and Ramiro Canales of TASA.
Ryan Franklin and Sally Partridge of the Texas Education Agency.
What I learned from attending 228 school board meetings by Anette Carlisle, retired Amarillo ISD trustee
TSB: How many meetings do you estimate you attended in your 19 years of service with Amarillo ISD? In 19 years of service, I would have attended approximately 228 regular board meetings, plus all the extra special meetings, workshops, trainings and budget workshops. I served as board president five of those years and vice president several more, so that would have been around 100 officers’ meetings with the superintendent. And then there were chamber committee meetings, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board meetings, at least 400 school visits and approximately 80 graduations. If you think that’s a lot of meetings, my fellow retiring board member, Jack Thompson, with 35 years of service, would have attended about 400 regular meetings and 175 graduations. Jack never missed meetings or graduations! TSB: What do you believe a board needs to function effectively? Open, honest and respectful communication. It’s OK to disagree on issues, but once the vote is taken, support the majority. Get to know all of your fellow board members, as well as district leadership. It will pay off in so many ways. Also, the superintendent needs to find a way to regularly meet with the board members who aren’t officers to keep them in the know. No surprises. Not for the board, not for the superintendent. No one wants to hear about a major concern from the news or social media. (And don’t get involved in debates online. Ever!) Perspective. Step back and look at the big picture. There are always at least two sides to every story. Vision and commitment. The very future of our state is determined by our public education system. If you aren’t willing to go to battle for the kids and communities you represent, you shouldn’t try to serve. You are there for the kids and to establish
policies and practices that serve others long after you are gone. As one of my fellow board members pointed out, we are the gatekeepers to the future success of these students and —woe, be it to us — if we don’t do it right. It’s a heavy burden, so take it seriously. Training and continuing education. Leadership, governance roles, school finance, advocacy, education issues — all of these things take time and effort to learn. Take advantage of, but don’t limit yourself to, learning from great resources like the Texas Association of School Boards and the Center for Reform of School Systems. Time to serve. Don’t run if you can’t lose, and don’t run if you can’t serve. It’s a time-consuming effort, but well worth it! Time to think and talk about big issues and trends. Since my first year as president, we held two all-day data-training workshops every year to really go over numbers. Those served us well. Be a team player. Build influence and change by building consensus. Divisiveness hurts everyone. Know that you aren’t there to please everyone. You can’t fix every issue. I am as passionate about public education as you can get, but I know we make mistakes and we don’t do everything right. Not every complaint can be fixed to everyone’s satisfaction, including yours. Passion and patience. School systems are big, bulky bureaucracies, whether we like to admit that or not. It takes time to create real change. Little by little, you can make a big difference. TSB: In your experience, what constitutes a successful board meeting? It’s all in the planning. Our officers routinely meet with the superintendent to plan the agenda ahead of time, taking into account any input from other board members. Encourage all board members to read
the materials ahead of time and ask the staff for clarification prior to the meeting, if necessary. Tie your agenda items to your goals or core values, so you see where they fit in the larger scheme of things. At the meetings, remember why you are there, and conduct yourselves in a civil manner, always. Knowledge of “Robert’s Rules of Order” (newly revised, 11th edition) helps to run a smooth meeting. A board president can make a big difference in running efficient and effective meetings — or not. TSB: Garnering community support for important bonds and initiatives often boils down to solid communication. What strategies did you find most effective in educating parents, teachers, administrators and the media about the business at hand? Public schools need to be telling the public about all the great work that is going on inside, rather than expecting them to “just know” or “just trust us.” When 70 percent of your voters don’t have kids in schools and the constant rhetoric from too many is that schools are failing, citizens need to know the real successes — and the real challenges — in public schools. Schools have to be on social media (yes, it poses its own challenges) to be able to dispel inaccurate rumors and, preferably, be proactive in telling what’s happening. Our district has a great magazine with positive stories in it. We also began a yearly advocacy class, where we teach community members about the district in four meetings throughout the year. Everyone has enjoyed the learning, even about school finance! Also, when board members and superintendents get involved in community groups and give talks, they provide additional opportunities to educate the public. Also, use citizen committees to study the needs, work on the bond election and monitor the process during implementa> See Guest, page 32 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
> Continued from page 31
tion. Once you’ve had a successful bond election, keep the public informed during construction and then show off your campuses! This helps build public support and keeps transparency for everyone. TSB: In your opinion, what is most challenging about board service? I love public schools and I have loved serving, but I still have a hard time understanding folks who deliberately want to hurt public education. I realize some of it is political posturing — or profit-motivated for some — but the future of our state and of our children depends on quality public schools for all children. It was eye-opening to realize not everyone feels this way. TSB: How can superintendents best support their trustees and ensure a strong working relationship? Communicate, communicate, communicate! Get information out to them in time to read it. Establish agreed-upon board-operating procedures and practices. Listen to board members’ ideas and concerns and don’t pretend that everything is
perfect. It’s not, and it never will be. Also, educate your trustees and make them a part of your community and state-level advocacy work. Get them in the schools on a regular but appropriate level. Amarillo ISD has more than 50 schools, so every trustee was assigned one campus to visit each month during the school year. (We skipped December and April.) We then gave brief reports on those visits at our board meetings. These weren’t the only times we were in the schools, but it was a good way to build connections between trustees and school staff. TSB: Describe a best practice that you adhered to personally to ensure your effectiveness as a trustee. As a parent of three boys in our public schools, it was sometimes tough to juggle the hats — parent or trustee? I tried to teach my kids, once they were old enough, to work through their issues at school. However, if it was an issue that impacted other kids, I put on my trustee hat and spoke to the superintendent about it. TSB: What advice would you give to a newly elected trustee? Learn where the line is between governance and management. You are on the governance side. Period. And always
remember: You are there for the kids. All kids. I believe school board trustees have the unique opportunity and potential to be great community leaders — though, not all districts or trustees see this or agree with it. Trustees run for office because they care about their kids and their communities. In other words, they are there for “the right reasons.” Also, for whatever reason, the Legislature views trustees differently than they do educators, so school board members need to use that to the advantage of public education. School board members also know more than the average citizen about the realities of their communities. They need to educate the community about that. ANETTE CARLISLE serves on the Amarillo College Board of Regents, where she was sworn in the day after she stepped down from 19 years of service on the Amarillo ISD School Board. She is the founder and former director of Panhandle Twenty/20, an organization that builds coalitions to address poverty and access to quality education. Carlisle and her friend Brian Mayes are launching Carlisle Mayes, a public relations and public affairs consulting firm that will focus on helping districts promote their successes.
Connected, Knowledgeable Principals Lead Successful Schools Encourage your principals to join the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) for easy access to the latest resources, tools and professional development for Texas PreK-8 school leaders: • Free online learning on timely topics such as rigor, accountability, discipline and much more! • Discounted rates on professional development featuring state and national education experts. • News and resources to stay current on best practices and train staff.
Learn more at www.tepsa.org
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
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Data Analysis Guidance
Education service center programs & practices
A closer look at statewide programs of fered through ESC Region 13
(Editor’s note: Regional View is a new department that highlights the programs and initiatives happening at a select education service center (ESC). The inaugural installment of Regional View takes a closer look Data Analysis at statewide efforts born out of ESC Region 13. Thanks, Cody Huie, for being our first Regional View contributing writer.)
By Cody Huie
In an era marked by the demand for schools to stretch their funds further, it is imperative that educators have access to free and affordable resources. This is especially true for schools that serve a large number of economically disadvantaged students. For these students, access to a high-quality education is often their only hope for a promising, prosperous future. Unfortunately, schools serving a large economically disadvantaged population sometimes are forced to hire inexperienced teachers and then train them. These schools typically cannot afford to hire instructional coaches, pay for private consultants or send their staff to conferences. Therefore, it is critical that school districts have a system of support, especially those serving our most vulnerable students. In Texas, that system of support is the 20 regional education service centers (ESCs), which are responsible for assisting districts within each region in meeting student performance standards, enhancing teacher
and leader effectiveness and promoting operational efficiency. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) periodically relies on ESCs to assist with developing statewide resources and support. ESC Region 13, located in Austin, has developed a number of free resources that are available online. The Teacher Toolkit (www. theteachertoolkit.com), for example, offers video illustrations of easy, effective teaching strategies. The Parent Companion (www. parentcompanion.org) is a guide for Texas parents and caregivers of children with diagnosed or suspected disabilities from birth to age 5. The Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS), housed at ESC Region 13, serves as the TEA’s central coordinating point and technical assistance provider for statewide school improvement and school turnaround efforts. TCDSS also facilitates collaboration among the 20 ESCs through the Texas Turnaround Center (TTC). Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
The mission of TCDSS is to deliver high-quality resources and support to all schools at little or no cost. TCDSS provides a number of free, online resources at www. taisresources.net, www.centerstagelive. com and www.tcdss.net. To establish a shared language within its statewide support system, TEA developed the TAIS framework. The TAIS framework is designed to establish the foundational systems, processes and actions that produce accelerated achievement, system transformation and sustainability. This framework provides clearly articulated district commitments, supports systems and Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and represents a synthesis of decades of research. TAISresources.net offers access to videos from education experts, such as Michael Fullan, Mike Schmoker and Victoria Bernhardt. These videos are accompanied by extended learning guides that can be used to facilitate dialogue for continued professional development. Centerstagelive.com contains an archive of live presentations and interviews from field experts, such as Phil Schlechty, Andy Hargreaves and Joyce Epstein. TCDSS.net, which launched a new design in September, boasts an archive of free videos and downloadable resources that cover just-in-time TEA updates, as well as offer guidance on effective continuous-improvement planning.
TCDSS training is designed to assist districts and schools identified as: • Improvement Required (IR) under the state accountability system;
Online resources Free access to past TCDSS trainings can be found at www.tcdss.net/tcdss/training.html and www.tcdss.net/ttips/.
• Priority under the federal accountability system; and • Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS) grant recipients.
ability Intervention System (TAIS) framework and examine how emerging state initiatives impact their district’s systems.
Participants who have taken advantage of TCDSS training admit that it has been key to their improvement efforts. North Dallas High School Principal Dinnah Escanilla, in her testimony to the Texas House of Representatives’ committee on school turnaround, stated: “Our leadership team attended yearly TTIPS summer trainings, conducted by the TCDSS. The trainings were very helpful in solidifying our leadership team’s vision and transformation initiatives.”
One of the most critical roles TCDSS plays is managing the quarterly Texas Turnaround Center (TTC) trainings. The goal of TTC, originally funded under Rider 93, is to build statewide capacity to provide consistent, high-quality services and support to districts and campuses. The TTC was maintained under Rider 57, which led to the development of the ESC Resource Center. The ESC Resource Center houses 14 products, accessible to all 20 ESCs, that are aligned to the TAIS CSFs.
Although designed for low-performing campuses, these trainings focus on strategies that are beneficial to all campuses. TCDSS conducts two annual statewide conferences — the Advancing Improvement in Education Conference (AIE) and the District Institute — which are open to all campuses and districts. The AIE conference is held in the fall and attracts more than 2,000 educators from across the nation. The District Institute provides district-level teams the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Texas Account-
For more information on accessing the services and support provided within your region, contact your local ESC. For information on the services provided by ESC Region 13 and TCDSS, visit www.esc13. net or www.tcdss.net. ◄ CODY HUIE is a coordinator at the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS).
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Definition of a perfect school by Heather Wolle
f I had the opportunity to create the perfect school, it would consist of many different elements. To start, you would need a nice, new, big building, with room for many classrooms, a giant library filled with tons of books, lots of space outdoors for a big track and field, some beautiful landscaping and a garden, and even an area for an outdoor classroom. A big part of making a wonderful school rests on the environment that it creates, so having all these things would be crucial. Another thing that goes into making a perfect school is all the programs and extra-curricular activities offered. The school should offer something for everyone to enjoy. Some of the programs included should be a variety of sports, theater, band/orchestra, art, foreign languages, dance team, cheerleading, fashion/design and film. Also, groups of students could come up with their own clubs if they could get a teacher sponsor/supporter. If the school is going to be perfect, this is another thing needed, because it helps every student fit in with people who share common interests. This also gives everyone activities to participate in.
also give students all the help they need and be a good mentor to anyone. A good cleaning crew is also another big part of a perfect school. They need to be reliable and diligent, so the school stays clean and healthy. The principal needs to be prepared and willing to put everything into the well-being of the school, the students and staff. The principal also needs to contribute to making the school a better place and being a good enforcer of the rules while not being too strict. The remainder of the staff — such as the cafeteria crew, front office and librarian — should be committed to the job and make sure the students get everything they need. Without a great staff, how will the school succeed? One big thing I would also include in this school would be technology. Technology has been a big, important part of our lives today, and it can be used as a learning tool. There would be one computer lab for every grade level, with plenty of computers (around 30) in each room. Classes could go in there all together and work on class projects. Or, during free time or anytime the teacher permits, a
‘All teachers should love what they do, so they can help students reach their full potential.’
A very important element of this school is the staff; they should all be helpful, friendly and experienced. All teachers should love what they do, so they can help students reach their full potential. They should put effort into their work and lesson plans, so students learn material while still having fun. Teachers should
student could go individually and work on something. There would also be color printers in the computer labs for convenience of printing out work for students who don’t have access to that otherwise. The library would also have some computers, for a more quiet research environment.
“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Katie Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing guidelines.
I also really like the idea of having tons of iPads that students can borrow during the school year and use them like their own for school work and online projects. I know some schools already do this. I think it’s a great resource for kids who could use a convenient tool to work on — like the iPad, in particular — and get to use it like it’s theirs until the year is over. I think the school would benefit greatly and become more perfect from having these technology resources, because not all students would have access to these things otherwise. One big thing that comes to mind when I think about making the perfect school is the food. The way school lunches are now, you hear many kids complaining about the menu and the quality of the meals. To start, the school must have an affordable option for everyone. Next comes the quality. School food right now isn’t the healthiest, and for kids who don’t bring lunches, they should have access to a lunch that’s delicious, while also being of good nutritional value. Something else this school would have that other schools might not be getting is a variety of meals. If there were more food options, the students wouldn’t get bored of the same old thing. I would also make Fridays be days when food trucks come to the campus, or the cafeteria serves food catered from a restaurant. The key to a perfect school is keeping students happy, and improved dining options is something everyone would love! I feel that by combining all these elements, great things could happen. Students would get the help they needed and have a great learning experience, which is exactly what would make the perfect school.◄ HEATHER WOLLE is a freshman at Bowie High School in Austin ISD.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
News in fine arts education
Artist: David S., kindergarten, Katy ISD.
Getting down to the art of the matter By Chris Cooper Imagine your world without innovative design. Today, everywhere you look, you see the results of original, creative thought processes, from the coffeemaker in your kitchen to the dashboard of your car. With each glance at your phone, computer, television, magazine or newspaper, you have come to expect quality visual imagery to communicate messages. We live in a visual age. Fine arts experience in school has never been more crucial to student development than now. Quality visual arts education provides today’s students with vital 21st century skills. Through instruction in the arts, students become confident, self-aware individuals who can navigate and interpret today’s media. They learn to see their world as a whole and experience cross-content learning that enables them to recognize
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
connections between disciplines often isolated in school. Workforce leaders are demanding that new employees possess these vital skills in an age of visual literacy and learning. Quality visual art programs help develop the whole child. Recognition of student success in Texas has been driven by high-stakes testing for many years, and, in many school districts, attempts to achieve this measurement of success has meant sacrificing arts programs — especially in smaller districts. The art room is where original, creative problem-solving is nurtured. Thankfully, Washington seems to get this. Both the House and Senate have passed versions of legislation that re-authorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Once finalized, this will encourage states to support the continuing development of quality arts education programs that complete the education of the whole child. At the state level, the new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Fine Arts, which went into effect this year, emphasizes original,
Artist: Loren F., senior, Klein ISD.
creative thought development, collaboration, and the incorporation of technology and other areas that help students connect cross-content learning. Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) provides in-service training for Texas visual arts teachers and opportunities for both teachers and students to showcase their creativity. For example, Youth Art Month in Texas is a year-round TAEA program that collects and exhibits some of the best K-12 artwork from public and private schools across our state. This exceptional student artwork highlights individual creativity and shows evidence of connections between the arts and areas like science, language arts, technology and mathematics. TAEA Youth Art Month programs provide equal opportunity for student artists learning in a wide variety of settings; those in small districts with one art teacher are recognized and celebrated alongside those who learn in large districts with welldeveloped K-12 programs. Each student whose work is selected for the 100-piece Texas State Capital Youth Art Month Exhibit, showcased in both the State Capitol
Building and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, is celebrated as an allstate artist. An even larger selection of student art is highlighted at the annual TASA/TASB Convention. Administrators and school board members should stop by to view art from their districts and visit with TAEA representatives about the benefits of TAEA membership for their art teachers.
The art room is where original, creative problemsolving is nurtured.
Top artwork selected from State Capital Youth Art Month and the TASA/TASB exhibit is featured in separate shows at the Texas Education Agency in Austin. TAEA believes that art is an integral part of a strong core curriculum to nurture the whole child, whether that child is enrolled in a tiny one-school district or a strong, urban program. The future of Texas depends on it. Art keeps kids in school! ◄ CHRIS COOPER is TAEA vice president for Youth Art Month and a visual arts content leader at San Marcos High School in San Marcos CISD.
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Who’s News > Continued from page 17
Texas A&M University at Commerce and his master’s degree in finance from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified public accountant. New Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Employee Engagement Buddy Bonner has been with Lewisville ISD since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Tyler and a master’s degree from the University of North Texas.
Lindale ISD Joey King is the new chief of police. He has been with the district since 2010 as a school resource officer. He attended Tarrant County Police Academy and is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism.
Little Elm ISD Virginia Gwyn has been appointed assistant principal of Brent Elementary School. She most recently was a strategic design coach at Castle Hills Elementary in Lewisville ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in early childhood education and a master’s degree from Concordia University in educational leadership.
Now leading Lakeside Middle School as principal is Clint Miller. He most recently was assistant principal of Little Elm High. Miller has a bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University and a master’s degree in education from Lamar University.
Louise ISD Lane Jackson has been named the district’s interim superintendent.
Lubbock-Cooper ISD Sasha Bennett is principal of West Elementary School. She previously spent five years as assistant principal of Willow Bend Elementary in Frenship ISD. She is a graduate of Lubbock Christian University.
Lufkin ISD Anthony Sorola has been named the district’s assistant superintendent of administrative services. The Rice University graduate worked in Dallas ISD while earning his master’s degree through Dallas’ Urban Collaborative for Educational Leadership. He has spent the past six years as the director of the Teacher Incentive Fund Project in Round Rock ISD. He completed his doctorate in educational administration at The University of Texas.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Kurt Stephens is principal
of Lufkin High School, his alma mater. He has been with the school for 15 years, most recently as associate principal. Stephens has a bachelor’s degree in education and kinesiology and a master’s degree in counseling from Stephen F. Austin State University.
McAllen ISD Longtime Memorial High School swimming and diving coach Roxanne Balducci has retired after 37 years. She was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and, this June, was honored with the Robert Vela Lifetime Achievement Award.
McKinney ISD A new principal is in place for Johnson Elementary School. Michelle Baumann had served as assistant principal of the campus since 2011. Baumann, who earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in early childhood education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Stephen F. Austin State University. Geoff Sanderson is the
district’s new chief program evaluation officer. Most recently, he was associate superintendent of shared accountability with Maryland’s Montgomery County Schools. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas Christian University, a master’s degree in school psychology from Trinity University and a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from the University of Rochester in New York. Suzy Woodard is assistant
superintendent for learner support. She has spent the past eight years as principal of Johnson Elementary. Woodard’s bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction was received from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in education administration is from the University of North Texas.
Marlin ISD Michael Seabolt, most recently superin-
tendent of Louise ISD, is now Marlin ISD’s superintendent.
Marshall ISD The new assistant superintendent for business and financial services is Matt Calvert, who had been serving as the district’s executive director of financial services since 2011. He has a bachelor’s degree from East Texas Baptist University and a master’s degree from
Stephen F. Austin State University. Now serving as assistant superintendent for leadership and learning is Rebecca Cooper. She comes to her new job from Longview ISD, where she was also an assistant superintendent. A graduate of Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, she received her master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her doctorate from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Hutcherson Hill is now assistant superinten-
dent for administrative services. Previously San Antonio ISD’s human resources director, he graduated from Jarvis Christian College and earned his master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. In addition, three new principals are in place:
Loyed Jones, Carver Elementary School; Linda Lister, Marshall Junior High; Melanie McCormick, Crockett Elementary
Mesquite ISD Matthew Besherse, assistant principal of New Middle School, has spent the past three years of his eight years as an educator with McKinney ISD. Besherse, a graduate of West McKinney High School, earned his bachelor’s degree from Amberton University.
McWhorter Elementary School welcomed Nakisha Cluff as its assistant principal when the new school year began. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a master’s degree from Lamar University. Ashly Cochran has been named an assistant
principal at Horn High School, where she spent the past three years as an English teacher and instructional coach. She has a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University and a master’s degree from Oklahoma University.
One of the two new assistant principals at Horn High School, Shane Jensen, has spent his 11-year career with McKinney ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree from Lamar University. Jennifer Keltner, the new assistant principal of Moss Elementary School, has been an educator for 11 years, 10 of those with McKinney ISD. She has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Suzanne Langston has been approved as assistant principal of McKenzie Elementary School. She was most recently a fourth grade teacher at Price Elementary. Langston received her bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
The new assistant principal of Shaw Elementary School is Gabriel Luna. He has spent the past four years as a fourth grade and acceleration teacher at Floyd Elementary. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. West Mesquite High School’s new assistant principal, John McCutcheon, served the past nine years at North Mesquite High, where he was a history teacher and AVID instructor. He received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and his master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. Now working as assistant principal of Terry Middle School is Kelley Prewitt. The West Mesquite High School graduate has spent 19 of her 22 years in education with McKinney ISD. Prewitt earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Terry Riley, now assistant principal of Berry Middle School, has been an educator for five years — all of that time as an English teacher at New Middle School. He obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Midland ISD Lee High School welcomed Stan VanHoozer as principal. Most recently Dallas ISD’s auditor, he returns to Midland ISD, where he taught at Lee Freshman High from 1994 to 1996 and at Lee High from 1996 to 2000.
Nacogdoches ISD The former Carpenter Elementary School has been divided into two campuses, each to be served by a new principal. James Adams now leads Carpenter Intermediate School. The Stephen F. Austin State University graduate has 11 years of experience as an educator. Carpenter Elementary School’s Roxanne Lathan is a graduate of Nacogdoches High School who went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Dallas and her master’s degree from Phoenix University.
New Braunfels ISD Mandy Beaird, who is now
an assistant principal at New Braunfels High School, has been a teacher at that campus since joining the district in 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from The University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas State University. Greg Hughes is principal of New Braunfels Middle School. He transferred from New Braunfels High School, where he was assistant
principal. Hughes is a graduate of Mary Hardin-Baylor University, with a degree in exercise science. He received his master’s degree in education supervision from the University of Phoenix. Tim Richter, now an assistant principal at New Braunfels High School, comes from Kenedy ISD, where he was principal of Kenedy Middle School. Richter has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education administration from Southwest Texas State University. Jessica White has been named principal of Oak Run Middle School, where she served as an assistant principal since April. She earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.
Paris ISD Kimberly Donnan, most recently assistant
principal of Aikin Elementary, has been promoted to principal. Her bachelor’s degree is from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree is from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Now serving as principal of Paris Junior High School is Stephen Long, who was assistant principal of Paris High School since 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree from East Texas State University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
Pasadena ISD Trevor Parker, a math teacher and basketball
coach at Dobie High School since 2006, has been named assistant principal of South Houston Intermediate School. He is a graduate of the University of Houston at Clear Lake, with a degree in finance. He holds a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University. The new assistant principal of Park View Intermediate School has been with the campus for 11 years, teaching health and special education life skills. Jaclyn Sweet has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.
Previously a fifth grade teacher at Beverly Hills Intermediate School, Travis Teichelman is now an assistant principal of Thompson Intermediate School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.
Christine Veltman has been a teacher for
the past nine years at Bondy Intermediate School and is now an assistant principal at Thompson Intermediate School. A graduate of the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, she received her master’s degree in education administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Former Queens Intermediate School dyslexia intervention teacher Kimberlee Villarreal is now assistant principal of Teague Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas.
Pearland ISD Pam Wilson is executive director of special
programs, having serving in the interim position for that job since January. Also during her time with the district, she has been a teacher, campus instructional technology specialist, assistant principal and principal.
Plainview ISD Debra Flournoy-Buford has left her position as director of choral music at Wayland Baptist University to become choir director of Plainview High School.
Rising Star ISD The district’s new superintendent, Mary Jane Atkins, has come out of retirement to accept the top job. Her most recent assignment was superintendent of De Leon ISD.
Robinson ISD Beau Sanchez is assistant principal of Robinson Intermediate School. He was most recently employed with Waco ISD. Sanchez received his bachelor’s degree from Mary Hardin-Baylor University and his master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University.
Round Rock ISD Michael Wakefield, former assistant prin-
cipal of Forest Creek Elementary, is now principal of Teravista Elementary School. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and Texas State University.
Sabinal ISD Patrick Peabody Jr., who was
assistant principal of Elgin Middle School in Elgin ISD, is now principal of Sabinal Elementary School. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University, with a master’s degree in educational administration from Sam Houston State University.
> See Who’s News, page 40 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Most recently, he held the same position at Central High School in San Angelo ISD.
> Continued from page 39
San Angelo ISD
Superintendent Al Hambrick has an-
of Del Valle High School. He comes from Rio Bravo Middle School, wherehe was principal. He has a bachelor’sdegree in mathematics education and amaster’s degree in educational administrationfrom The University of Texas at ElP aso.
Rikke Black is the new
principal of Lee Middle School. She was principal of McGill Elementary. She has a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University. Former Central Freshman Campus science teacher Lindsay Carr has been promoted to assistant principal of Austin Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Angelo State University. Dave Danner, former principal of Holiman
Elementary, is now principal of Fannin Elementary School. He has a bachelor’s degree in occupational education and a master’s degree in school administration.
The new assistant principal of Glenn Middle School is Darius Flowers, who joined the staff of Lincoln Middle School in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree from Angelo State University. Farrah Gomez is the new ex-
ecutive director of schools. She has a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. Former Assistant Principal
Michael Kalnbach is now
principal at Glenn Middle School. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Angelo State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. Matthew Kimball is the
assistant superintendent ofhuman resources and professional development. Most recently executive directorof schools and instructional technology, he h as abachelor’s degree from Abilene ChristianUniversity and amaster’s degree from Texas Woman’s University. Jason Skelton is principal of Holiman
Elementary School. He was principal of Crosbyton Elementary inCrosbyton ISD. Skelton has abachelor’sdegree from Angelo State University,amaster’s degree from The Universityof Texas Permian Basin and a doctoratefrom Texas Tech University.
San Antonio ISD Jefferson High School now has Greg McWilliams as head girls’ basketball coach.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
nounced his retirement, bringing to a close a 36-year career in public education — 35 of those with Sherman ISD. He was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for three years before taking on the district’s top job in 2006.
Terrell ISD The principal of Terrell ISD’s new alternative campus, the Phoenix Center, is Charles Neal. He has a master’s degree in psychology from Louisiana State University and was most recently an employee of Lancaster ISD. Raquel Villarreal is princi-
pal of Burnett Elementary School. For the past six years, she was an assistant principal in Grand Prairie ISD. She holds a master’s degree in bilingual/ cross-cultural education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville.
Antonio Acuna is principal
Ruben Cadena is now principal of Chacon International School. He has been principal of Mission Valley Elementary since 2007. Cadena, a graduate of The University of Texas, holds a master’s degree from the College of Santa Fe.
The new principal of Tierra del Sol Elementary School is Juan Guzman. He is a graduateo f The University of Texas at El Paso, with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinarystudies and a master’s degree in educationadministration.
Union Hill ISD A new superintendent has been appointed for the district. Troy Batts most recently held the top position in Throckmorton ISD.
United ISD ormer Assistant PrinciF pal M artha Alvarez is now principal of UnitedSouth Middle School. A graduate of Texas A&MInternational University with a degree in criminal justice, she earned two master’sdegrees from that institution, in criminaljustice and in educational administration.
Weatherford ISD Former Midland ISD Lee High School Principal Jeanette McNeely has left her alma mater to accept the job of principal of Hall Middle School.
West ISD The new West High School principal is Don Snook, who wasprincipal of Waxahachie ISD’s GlobalHigh School. Hehas a bachelor’s degreefrom Texas A&M University at CorpusChristi and a master’s degree in educationfrom Texas A&M University.
Former Dolphin Terrace Elementary School Assistant Principal Lorraine Martinez has been promoted to principal. She has a bachelor’s andm aster’s degrees from The University ofTexas at Michael Martinez, former
principal of Riverside High School since 2007, is now principal of the Plato Academy. Martinez earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University. Now serving as principal of Eastwood Knolls Elementary School is Robert Martinez, who was principal of Pebble Hills Elementary since 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University. Homero Silva is principal of
Ysleta Middle School. He was principal of Eastwood Knolls International School for the past four years.
Stacy Vasquez is principal
at Pebble Hills Elementary School. She was an assistant principal at Del Valle Elementary since 2012. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas at El Paso and a second master’s degree, in administration, from Lamar University. ◄
Calendar Professional development & events
S TA N D O U T F R O M T H E C R OW D ! Get premium placement and get noticed! For a nominal fee, you can showcase your conference, workshop or seminar on the opening page as a Featured Event. Contact Ann Halstead at email@example.com for more details. SEPTE M BE R September 29 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $155. September 30-October 1 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session one of four) Multipurpose Center, Klein For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,195 for all four sessions; all others, $2,195 for all four sessions.
O C TO BE R October 1 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop Hyatt Regency, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $155. October 1-2 Building a Comprehensive, School-Wide Discipline Management Plan That Really Works Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $145. October 2-4 TASA/TASB Convention Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Pre-registration (through Sept. 18): TASA and TASB
members, $325; nonmembers, $425. On-site registration: TASA and TASB members, $395; nonmembers, $495. October 4 TEPSA Assistant Principals Conference Omni Southpark Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Members, $267; nonmembers, $327. October 4-5 TASPA Fall Support Staff Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Regular registration (through Sept. 27): Members, $195; nonmembers, $215; retired, $115. Late registration (Sept. 28-Oct. 4): Members, $210; nonmembers, $230; retired, $130. October 6 Evaluating the Rigor of Instruction and Assessment in Elementary Science Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125. Finding Grants Using Web Resources and Social Media Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1393. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: Harris County teachers, $25; others, $45.
Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $155. October 7 Evaluating the Rigor of Instruction and Assessment in Middle School Science Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125. Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $155. Managing Student Misbehavior Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. TASBO Workshop: Financial Accounting for Texas Schools Lubbock ISD offices, Lubbock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $160; nonmembers, $210. TASBO Workshop: Intro to Relational Databases Lubbock ISD offices, Lubbock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $160; nonmembers, $210. TASBO Workshop: Approaches to Leadership and Management Lubbock ISD offices, Lubbock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $160; nonmembers, $210. TASBO Workshop: The Foundation for Accountability Lubbock ISD offices, Lubbock. For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org
October 7-8 Texas ASCD Five Day Math (session one of three) Collin College, Frisco For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 8 Evaluating the Rigor of Instruction and Assessment in High School Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125. October 9 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com Cost: $155. October 12 Lead4ward: Figuring out Figure 19 - Volume I, K-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $165. October 12-13 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session one of four) Doubletree North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $2,395 for all four sessions; all others, $2,595 for all four sessions. October 13 Lead4ward: Figuring out Volume 19 – Volume II, K-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $165.
> See Calendar, page 42 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
> Continued from page 41
Mechanically Inclined: Teaching Grammar and Editing in Context, Grades 4-10 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. Cost: $235. TEPSA K-2 Learning Conference San Antonio Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: $195. October 14 Lead4ward: Figuring out Figure 19 – Volume I, 6-EOC Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $165. October 15 Lead4ward: Figuring out Figure 19 – Volume II, 6-EOC Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $165. Science Fiction: Teaching Weather with Children’s Literature Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $150. TASBO Workshop: Measuring School Risks (Certified School Risk Managers) Irving ISD offices, Irving For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org October 16 TASBO Workshop: Functions and Duties of a School Business Manager Northside ISD Activity Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $160; nonmembers, $210. October 19 Focus Standards: Cooling the Curriculum Hot Spots in English, Language Arts and Reading,
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
Grades K-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $165. October 20 Focus Standards: Cooling the Curriculum Hot Spots in English, Language Arts and Reading, Grades 6-EOC Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $165. October 20-21 Texas ASCD’s Curriculum Leadership Academy XII (session three of three) Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 21 TSPRA East Texas Regional Meeting CTE Center, Tyler For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org October 22-23 TASB Administrative Professionals Conference TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org October 25-27 Texas ASCD Annual Conference: Transformative Momentum Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 26 New Math TEKS: Grades 5-6 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $250. Legal Digest Fall Conference on Special Education Law Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com
October 27 Great Explorations in Math and Science: Elephants and Young Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $250. Modifying Instruction Methods and Materials for Struggling Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. October 28 It Takes Planning to Save the World Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1393. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: Harris County districts, $25; others, $45. October 29-30 TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $290; nonmembers, $340.
NOVEMBER November 2 Math Institute: Aligning Pre-K Guidelines to New TEKS Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $250. November 4 Legal Digest Fall Conference on Special Education Convention Center, Arlington For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigestevents.com November 4-5 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session two of four) Klein ISD Instructional Center, Klein For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from
districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,195 for all four sessions; all others, $2,195 for all four sessions. TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session two of four) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $695 for all four sessions; $185 for each individual session. November 9-10 New Math TEKS, Grades 3-4 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $250. TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session one of four) Offices of ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For persons from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,995 for all four sessions; all others, $2,195 for all four sessions. TASB/TASPA HR Administrators Academy Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Early registration (by Oct. 19), $385; regular registration, $450. TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Courtyard Marriott, Allen For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $290; nonmembers, $340. November 10 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Location TBA, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
November 10-11 Texas ASCD Academy: Building Student Engagement ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org November 12 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Location TBA, Amarillo For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org November 16-17 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session two of four) Doubletree North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $2,395 for all four sessions; all others, $2,595 for all four sessions. Texas ASCD Five Day Math (session two of three) Location TBA
For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
November 18 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Location TBA, Commerce For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
November 18-20 TASA Workshop: Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level 2 TASA headquarters, Austin For more info (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $650; nonmembers, $750. November 19 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Location TBA, Nacogdoches For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org November 21 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Location TBA, South Padre Island
December 2-3 Texas ASCD Academy: Building a Robust Curriculum and Assessment System Keller ISD Education Center, Keller For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 2-4 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Annual Conference Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: See website for three-day, two-day and one-day options. December 2-5 TAHPERD Annual Convention Sheraton Hotel, Dallas For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Early-bird registration: Professionals and associates,
$105; student and retired, $35. Pre-registration: Professionals and associates, $125; student and retired, $35. Late and on-site registration: Professionals and associates, $145; student and retired, $45. December 3 TASBO Workshop: Funding School Risks (Certified School Risk Managers) Frisco ISD office, Frisco For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Pre-registration: Professional and associate, $125; student and retired, $35. Late and on-site registration: Professional and associate, $145; student and retired, $45. December 8 Great Explorations in Math and Science: Ant Homes Under the Ground Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125.
> See Calendar, page 44
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
> Continued from page 43
TASBO Workshop: Bullying Prevention Update (Certified School Risk Managers) Cypress Fairbanks ISD office, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Using Manipulatives to Teach the New TEKS: Grades K-2 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125. Using Manipulatives to Teach the New TEKS: Grades 3-5 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $125. December 8-9 Texas ASCD Academy: Building Student Engagement Mesquite ISD Professional Development Center, Mesquite For more info, (512) 477-8200 or
(800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org
For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org
December 9 TASA Workshop: Digital Learning Design – Transforming Our Schools (session one of three) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $495 for all three sessions; for all others, $595 for all three sessions.
December 10-11 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session two of four) Offices of ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: For individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network, $1,995 for all four sessions; all others, $2,195 for all four sessions.
TASPA-Legal Digest Personnel Law Conference for School Administrators Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org December 9-11 TASPA/TAEE Winter Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin
December 11-12 Texas Association of Mid-Size Schools Annual Legislative Conference Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio For more info, (512) 346-2177. www.midsizeschools.org
JANUARY January 15-17 TAHPERD Leadership Conference Conference Center, Granbury For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org January 23-24 Texas Council of Women School Executives Annual Conference Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org January 24 Equity Center’s Annual School Finance and Legislative Workshop Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 478-7313. www.equitycenter.org January 30 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Gifted Plus Conference Chapin High School, El Paso For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org ◄
REAL WORLD READINESS INTEGRATION OF REAL WORLD ACTIVITIES Design for external community participation and project-based learning allows students to evaluate real-world situations and develop cross-curriculum skills as they collaborate in groups. School design should consider spaces for the student to self-learn (me spaces), learn in small groups (we spaces), and in large groups (us spaces) much the way lifelong learners do.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
ell-known Texas educator Thomas Joe Parks — known as Thomas Joe, Tucker, Joe and Dr. Parks to the various family, friends and associates throughout his 87 years — passed away peacefully on June 12. A longtime Austin resident, he succumbed to complications from Parkinson’s disease. In the mid-1960s, Parks became the founding executive director of ESC Region 13 in Austin. From 1967 to 1992, he built and led the center from a staff of three to more than 150. He sought the best and brightest to join the organization, nurturing and mentoring them toward the shared objective of doing their best for Texas children. The center celebrated his vision and service by naming the administration building in his honor in 2012. Parks was born on the family farm, outside Barry, on March 14, 1928, to Katie Mae and James Bedford Parks. The fourth of six children, he cherished his siblings and remained close to them throughout his life. After graduating from Barry High School in 1945, Parks joined the Army and, upon discharge, enrolled in Sam Houston State Teachers College, where he graduated in 1952. He later earned his master’s degree and, in the 1970s, his doctorate. Parks began his career in public education as a junior high school teacher in Corsicana ISD in 1952. He moved quickly from classroom teacher to principal and into administration. While serving as principal of Bowie Elementary, he was summoned to interview a first grade teaching candidate. Upon seeing her walk down the hall, he commented to his colleague, “I think she got the job.” Clearly taken by
Bettye Grace Cammack of Kilgore, he later proposed, and the two were wed on June 27, 1958. As Corsicana ISD assistant superintendent, Parks developed a statewide reputation as an innovative and successful curriculum leader. In 1963, he moved his family to Corpus Christi, where he served as assistant superintendent with legendary Superintendent Dana Williams. Parks was an early and consistent advocate for kindergarten in Texas and a leader in the efforts to establish half-day and fullday kindergarten. His leadership improved educational offerings for all children and, particularly, for children of limited English abilities. ESC Region 13 nurtured many statewide programs and projects during his tenure as executive director. His close relationship with The University of Texas Department of Educational Administration faculty helped him direct countless budding educators to those programs and on to careers in school leadership.
Thomas Joe Parks Educator
Following his retirement, Parks donned a pair of overalls and continued his love of gardening by launching a seasonal vegetable business. He is survived by his wife, Bettye, Austin; son, Scott Parks, Dallas; daughter, Holly Jones, Katy; granddaughter, Allison Parks, and grandson, Reed Parks, both of Dallas; sister, Judy Holloway, Corsicana; brothers Don Parks of Waco and Lyndon Parks, Longview; son-in-law, Ben Jones, Katy; and daughter-in-law, Leigh Parks, Dallas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Katie Parks; brother, James Harris Parks; and sister, Leona Janes.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
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Let’s focus on the heart of matter by Riney Jordan
here are always scores of things to do when you work with children.
Just think of the countless hours that are spent in meetings, for example. There are meetings for everything you can imagine — curriculum, discipline, policy issues, athletics, special needs, transportation, food service and board agendas. The list is seemingly endless. These items typically have to do with the head. We think through these matters. We ponder. We consult. We question. We develop them. Granted, all of this preparation is necessary for our schools and our classrooms to run effectively. However, we rarely seem to emphasize or develop one aspect of working with children that may be the most important of all. I believe that missing ingredient is doing as much as possible to prepare the hearts of teachers, administrators and support staff. For so many of our students, an understanding, compassionate and caring heart of a school employee can make all the difference in their learning, their attitude and their desire to improve. Let me illustrate with the story of a young girl who was born in Mexico and spent much of her childhood there before coming to the United States. Her ability to communicate effectively in English was difficult. During her senior year, her mother became extremely ill, and she was forced to stay home and care for her and the younger siblings. She was the sole caregiver for her family. As a result, she was not able to complete many of her school assignments. When she asked about how she could do the makeup work, she was told that it had to be done on school computers during the school day. Of course, this wasn’t possible, so her grades
suffered. Yet, she continued to study her textbooks from home. When it came time for finals, she was once again told that to graduate, she would be required to use the school computers during the school day. Graduation came and went, and her hopes for earning a high school diploma were dashed. When the assistant principal learned of her dilemma, she knew that an exception had to be made for this bright, young girl who had exhibited a strong desire to learn and achieve. So, on several warm summer afternoons, the administrator drove to the young girl’s home and brought a laptop computer so she could access the final exams. The eager student beamed as she began this final activity to graduate during a summer commencement. And, yes, the story has a happy ending. She proudly walked across the stage in midsummer and received her diploma, as a caring assistant principal watched and her heart grew even stronger. In this case, it took an individual with a caring heart to see that the rewards of learning took place. More than likely, this girl never would have succeeded if someone had not gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to show she cared. Without the inclusion of the heart in school matters, many opportunities for the students we serve will be missed. When educators gather, share the stories that made a difference in the lives of kids. Encourage each other. Share articles and books that emphasize the importance of truly caring for another individual. Was there a teacher who went the extra mile for you? Tell your story to others. In my humble opinion, an educator can have all the knowledge in the world, but unless they have a caring heart, they are no more valuable than a computer with no power.
RINEY JORDAN’S “The Second Book” is now available at www.rineyjordan.com, along with his other
publications. You can contact him at (254) 386-4769, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter: @RineyRiney.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015
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