The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER
Texas School Business
Results of the 85th regular and special sessions A look at some of the bills that will have the biggest impact on Texas public schools
Also in this issue: TASA President Buck Gilcrease TCEA President Dwight Goodwin Spotlight on Darlene Breaux
More Than 200 Years of Combined Public Finance Experience
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DAVID WEBB, Senior Vice President 26 Years of K-12 School Finance Experience BARTON WITHROW, Senior Vice President 30 Years of Public Finance Experience
LEON JOHNSON, Senior Vice President 43 Years of Public Finance Experience
BRADLEY C.F. ANGST, First Vice President 7 Years of Public Finance Experience
DANIEL MAHONEY, Associate 2 Years of Public Finance Experience
JACK LOGAN, Senior Vice President 41 Years of Public Finance Experience
BOB POSWALK, First Vice President 30 Years of Public Finance Experience
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THIIRI KIMATHI, Assistant Vice President 5 Years of Public Finance Experience
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
TASA President Profile Buck Gilcrease brings collaboration, appreciation to his roles as president and superintendent
In the Spotlight Darlene Breaux draws on her personal history to help teachers reach special needs students
TCEA President Profile Dwight Goodwin focuses on classroom tech with a purpose
Cover Story Two legislative sessions yield little progress for school finance reform
Departments 6 Who’s News 16 Student Voices 31 Calendar 34 Ad Index
5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Digital Frontier by David Jacobson 13 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne 34 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
10 TEPSA celebrates 100th anniversary at Summer Conference
18 UT and TASA team up for 69th Annual Summer Conference
12 Texas ASCD hosts summer Technology Conference
20 TASSP members meet up at Summer Workshop in Austin
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 photo: Png Studio Photography / Shutterstock.com; above cover story photo: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com
Spaces that Connect. Creating learning environments
that inspire young minds, foster innovation and enrich the human experience.
From the editor
he Texas Legislature’s special session ended Aug. 15, not with a bang, but with a whisper. Flip to page 14 to get an overview of just what went down under the dome and what it means for your schools and the future of Texas public education as a whole. After that, if you need a pick-me-up, check out our always inspiring Student Voices column on page 16 to read a piece penned by a Carrollton middle schooler who just happens to be a published novelist. You won’t want to miss this issue’s Spotlight on Darlene Breaux, a Houston administrator who’s making leaps and bounds with special needs students in the Bayou City. Read all about Breaux and her courageous personal journey from a student left behind to an administrator leading the charge for students at-risk. As always, if you know a stellar student who’d like to be published in Texas School Business or an outstanding friend to public schools who deserves to be In The Spotlight, drop me a line at email@example.com.
Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620)
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017 Volume LXIV, Issue 5 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Dacia Rivers Editorial Director
Dacia Rivers DESIGN
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Bobby Hawthorne David Jacobson Riney Jordan Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER
Ann M. Halstead
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Johnny L. Veselka
ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVICES AND SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATION
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS
Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. © Copyright 2017 Texas Association of School Administrators
Ann M. Halstead
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Who’s News Abbott ISD Eric Pustejovsky has been promoted from
district principal to superintendent. A graduate of Abbott High School, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree in education administration from Tarleton State University.
Beaumont ISD The district has chosen a new athletic director. Former Central High School principal Ronald Jackson has also served as the district’s assistant athletic director and as interim principal of Ozen High.
Belton ISD Pirtle Elementary School is now led by Becky Vaughn. The new principal came to the district last year from Leander ISD. An educator for 17 years, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a master’s degree from Lamar University.
Birdville ISD The new principal of the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning, Carol Adcock, has been the district’s coordinator of online learning and advanced studies since 2016. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. North Ridge Middle School began the new school year with John Davis as principal. He was the school’s assistant principal since 2013. His bachelor’s degree was awarded from Jackson State University and his master’s degree from Lamar University. The Birdville ISD school board announces the appointment of Mark McCanlies as principal of Richland Middle School. A graduate of Angelo State University with a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, he has been an employee of the district since 1988, most recently as associate principal of Richland High School. Allison Vinson has been
appointed director of career and technology education, a promotion from her most recent position as a coordinator at the Birdville Center of Technology and Ad-
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
vanced Learning, where she worked since 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree from Dallas Baptist University.
Boerne ISD Champion High School has a new principal. Eddie Ashley, who previously was the school’s academic dean and served as its assistant principal. He also taught and coached at O’Connor and Clark high schools in San Antonio’s Northside ISD. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. After serving as deputy superintendent of Humble ISD since 2012, Thomas Price has agreed to lead Boerne ISD as superintendent. An educator for more than two decades, he also was an administrator in Splendora, Sealy, Port Arthur, and Beaumont ISDs and Anderson-Shiro, West Orange-Cove and Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISDs. Price received his undergraduate education at the University of Houston and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Lamar University. Jodi Spoor, former principal
of Champion High School, is now the district’s assistant superintendent. She helped to open Champion in 2008 as the school’s academic dean and assistant principal. Spoor received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, where she also received a master’s degree. She earned a second master’s from Trinity University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Lori Ruiz-Wamble, from Fort Bend ISD, where she was a district English language learner facilitator, is now Brenham ISD’s director of special programs and advanced academics. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a master’s degree from the University of Houston. Mark Strauss, newly hired director of accountability, assessment and professional development, has 27 years of experience in public education, having served as a teacher, coach, counselor and testing coordinator in several Texas districts. He received his bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and his master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University.
Bridgeport ISD Newly hired superintendent Brandon Peavy comes to his new position from
Hardin ISD, where he also served as superintendent.
Brownsboro ISD Rick Dailey has been named principal of
Chandler Elementary School.
Brownsville ISD Lorenzo Sanchez has been named chief financial officer after having served in that position in an interim capacity since January, 2016.
In addition, the following principal assignments have been made for the district: Chester Arizmendi, Lucio Middle School; Teresa de Saro, Brownsville Learning Academy High School; Patricia Garza, Ortiz Elementary School; Aimee Garza-Limon, Brownsville Early College High School;
The Boyd ISD board of trustees has named Daniel Bourgeois principal of Boyd Intermediate School. He has been with the district for 10 years, working as a teacher and coach and most recently serving as assistant principal of Boyd High School.
The district’s new director of maintenance operations and energy management is Philip Derkowski, a graduate of Brenham High School who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, where he most recently was a general manager of SSC Services for Education.
Dawn Hall, Lincoln Park High School; Hector Hernandez, Brownsville Academic Kathleen Jimenez, Garcia Middle School; Blanca Lambarri, Hanna Early College Obed Leal, Stell Middle School; Teresa Nuñez, Besteiro Middle School; Mary Rodriguez, Skinner Elementary
Mary Solis, Porter Early College High
Richard Torres, Champion Elementary
Bryan ISD Ginger Carrabine has been tapped to fill a new position, chief of staff. Formerly the executive director of strategic planning for Fort Bend ISD, she also worked as a middle school and elementary principal in that district. An educator for 26 years, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and her master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Houston.
District restructuring has resulted in another new position, director of data, statistics, testing and assessment. Jill Morris has been with Bryan ISD since 1998 as a mathematics specialist and working as the district’s evaluation and research analyst since 2014. Christina Richardson has been chosen to take on a third new position, director of advanced academics. She helped open Bryan Collegiate High School in 2006, serving as its principal since that time. She has been an educator since 2000 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado State University. She also holds master’s degrees from Texas A&M University, in education administration and curriculum and instruction.
High, is now principal of Arden Road Elementary School. CISD’s chief technology officer, Michael Keough, comes to his new position from Dumas ISD, where he worked in a similar capacity. Former Arden Road Elementary principal Chris Norton is now the district’s director of digital and academic innovation. Cameron Rosser
has been promoted to assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
new principal of Randall High School, is a 12-year educator and former assistant principal of Canyon High.
Steve Williams is the district’s
new director of athletics, taking on a new set of responsibilities after serving as principal of Randall High School for 21 years.
Heather Wilson has been
named assistant superintendent of business and finance.
Bullard ISD The following administrative assignments have been made for the 2017-18 school year: Joanie Albritton, principal, Bullard Inter-
Lori Anderson, associate principal, Bullard
Amy Bickerstaff, director of teaching and
Helene Cortinas, assistant principal, Bullard
John Dixon, assistant principal, Bullard
Kenley Dover, principal, Bullard Middle
Chico ISD Monte Sewell has been appointed principal
of Chico Middle School. He was previously an assistant principal and coach in Bowie ISD.
Cleburne ISD Cleburne ISD has announced the appointment of Bill Allen as curriculum coordinator for social studies, health and physical education. This is his first central office administrative role, having served as principal of Smith Middle School since 2009.
Cheryl Hendrix, director of human resourc-
es and special programs.
Clyde Junior High School principal to district superintendent.
John Forbis, who spent the
past two years as assistant principal of Canyon Junior
Corpus Christi ISD Former Dawson Elementary School principal Jamie Copeland has transferred to serve in the top position at Kaffie Middle School. She has been an educator since 2000, working in Floresville, Gregory-Portland and Tuloso-Midway ISDs before joining Dawson in 2014. Jennifer Hammond, who led Webb Ele-
mentary School, is now principal of Zavala Elementary. She was an elementary teacher for 12 years and a math coach for two years before serving as assistant principal and mentor coach at Shaw and Mireles elementary schools.
The new principal of Webb Elementary School, Kristi Kahlil, comes to Corpus Christi from Comal ISD, where she was an elementary principal. She also taught and worked as a principal in San Antonio’s North East ISD. Kelsie Morris has been promoted from assistant principal to principal of Kostoryz Elementary School. Prior to her three years at that campus, she was a fifth grade teacher at Travis Elementary.
Galvan Elementary School now has former Oak Park assistant principal Diana Ybarra as principal. A product of Corpus Christi ISD schools, she also taught at Dawson and Kostoryz elementaries.
Scott Franks, assistant principal, Bullard Intermediate School;
Now serving as assistant superintendent of support services is Robyn Cranmer.
School, which will open for the 2017-18 academic year. He is a 20-year employee of the district.
Kenneth Berry has been promoted from
Greg Bower, former Quitman superinten-
dent, now holds the top position in CPISD.
Conroe ISD Chris Povich, former York Junior High principal, now leads Grand Oaks High
New Carroll Elementary principal Cheryl Murdock has been an educator for 18 years, the past three as assistant principal of Johns Elementary in Arlington ISD. A former member of the U.S. Air Force, she also she also taught in Duncanville and Mansfield ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University and her master’s degree in education from Texas Wesleyan University.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Vivian Bennett, former director of instruction at Cypress Ranch High School, now serves as principal of Anthony Middle School. Bennett received her bachelor’s degree in biology education from Southeastern Louisiana State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University. Her doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from the University of Houston. > See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 7 Jonathan Mayer, former head
swim coach at Cypress Falls High School, has been chosen to fill the district’s new director of aquatics position. Prior to joining CFISD three years ago, he was head of aquatics at the YMCA of Greenwich, Conn.
Decatur ISD A new superintendent is in place for the district. Judi Whitis, superintendent of Valley Mills ISD since 2014, previously held the top position in Fort Davis ISD and was assistant superintendent of Burnet and Lampasas ISDs. She received her undergraduate education at Angelo State University and her master’s degree in education from Texas State University. Her doctorate was conferred by Texas Tech University.
Dripping Springs ISD The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees has approved the appointment of Nicole Poenitzsch as assistant superintendent for learning and innovation. She brings 12 years of experience to her new position, having served most recently as an assistant superintendent for Sealy ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, her master’s degree in education administration from the University of Houston at Victoria, and her doctorate in education from Texas A&M University. Sycamore Springs Elementary School now has Kristen Ray as principal. She previously worked in Roosevelt and North East ISDs, and most recently was a senior consultant for The Leader in Me. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Wayland Baptist University.
Farwell ISD Former Hedley ISD superintendent Colby Waldrop now leads Farwell ISD as superintendent.
Frenship ISD The district’s new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction is Cindi Cobb, who was the department’s executive director for the past two years. She has spent 11 of her 17 career years with FISD, serving as a teacher, coach, instructional specialist and assessment coordinator. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University.
Friendswood ISD The Friendswood ISD board of trustees has approved the promotion of Thad Roher from deputy superintendent to superintendent.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
The Friendswood High School graduate went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Barclay College and a master’s degree in education administration from Hays State University. Now in his 26th year as an educator and 20th year as an administrator, he has been with FISD for 18 years.
Frisco ISD Stephanie Cook comes to her
new position of director of guidance and counseling from Irving ISD, where she was director of guidance, counseling and college readiness. Her bachelor’s degree is from Dallas Christian College and her two master’s degrees and doctorate are from Dallas Baptist University. Andrew Groover, former dis-
trict director of internal audit at Collin College, is now Frisco ISD’s director of internal audit. A CPA, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. Now serving as director of special education is Garrett Jackson, previously the district’s special education coordinator. He received his bachelor’s degree from Union University and his master’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. The new director of elementary student services, Monica Jackson, has 20 years of experience as an educator, most recently as principal of Anderson Elementary School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Lisa Jenkins has been promot-
ed from child nutrition technology coordinator to director of child nutrition. She has 15 years of experience in the field after earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas and her master’s degree nutritional sciences from Oklahoma University Health and Sciences Center. Katherine Maas, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston, has transferred from serving as principal of Smith Elementary School to assistant director of special education.
The new director of payroll is Sandra Petrick, who was previously coordinator of payroll and benefits at Arlington Classics Academy in Arlington. The Angelo State University graduate has also worked for ESC Region 11 and Argyle ISD. The new principal of Liberty High School is Ashley Rainwater, who had been serving as the school’s assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree from Lamar University. Formerly a purchasing supervisor in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Kristopher Robinson is now FISD’s director of purchasing. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas. Melanie Schroeder has been
promoted from director of payroll to director of internal controls and compliance. She has 25 years of experience in government finance and a degree in business management.
Now serving as Frisco ISD’s director of professional learning is Sherri Wakeland, former principal of Newman Elementary, who joined the district in 1997 from Coppell ISD. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and holds a master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Former Liberty High School principal Scott Warstler is now director of planning and business operations. He previously worked in Amarillo, Coppell and Canyon ISDs. A graduate of Indiana University, he has a master’s degree from West Texas A&M University. The district’s new superintendent, Mike Waldrip, returns to Frisco from Coppell ISD, where he also held the top position. He previously spent 12 years in Frisco ISD as a middle school principal and director of secondary instruction before opening Liberty High School in 2006, then serving as assistant and deputy superintendent. Waldrip earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University. His doctorate in the same field was awarded from the University of North Texas. > See Who’s News, page 17
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
On the side of the good guys
One source for all learners.
by Jim Walsh
received an extraordinary honor the last weekend of July. The School Law Section of the State Bar awarded the Kelly Frels Lifetime Achievement Award to me, along with Janet Horton.
a tremendous honor. I am grateful for the support of my friends and colleagues in the firm of Walsh, Gallegos, Treviño, Russo & Kyle, without whom this simply would not have happened.
Let me provide a bit of background. The School Law Section holds an annual summer retreat, a gathering of lawyers and their families when we receive our required Continuing Legal Education, play golf, swim, eat, drink and socialize with our colleagues and opposing counsel. A few years ago, the section decided to create a program of recognition, a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” The award was named after its first recipient—Kelly Frels.
But I want to set the record straight on one thing. Just because you have been given a “lifetime achievement” award does not mean you are done. I’m not. Neither is Janet. Neither is Kelly. After all, be honest. When you hear the term “lifetime achievement,” what visual image comes to mind? I picture a creaky old Hollywood has-been, shuffling up to the microphone during the Oscars, leaning on a walker, trying to conceal the colostomy bag, and sweating under three pounds of pancake makeup. Lifetime achievement awards go to people who used to be somebody.
Kelly has spent his career with the firm of Bracewell and Patterson, which later became Bracewell and Giuliani. Kelly is an icon in the school law field. He is a recognized leader, both in Texas and across the country. Kelly Frels is the role model for so many of us in the practice of school law—a civicminded, zealous advocate for public education. Despite his noteworthy professional success, Kelly is a person who approaches every encounter with every person with authenticity and humility. I was delighted to receive this award with my friend and colleague, Janet Horton. Janet began practicing with Kelly’s firm, and later became the Horton of Thompson & Horton when a group of school lawyers broke away from the Bracewell firm. I have known Janet for decades, and always admired her professionalism. Much of Janet’s practice has been in the area of special education, where she has represented clients in some of the major cases that have established the parameters of the law. It was very obvious at this year’s retreat how much those who know her the best, her co-workers, think of her as a lawyer, a mentor and a person. And I got this award, too, which is way cool. To have an award that bears Kelly’s name and represents peer recognition is
Obviously an award of this nature is intended to recognize longevity, among other attributes. I certainly qualify on that standard. I was introduced to school law by working on a federally funded research project in 1975. I went to work on a part time basis at Region 13 in 1979. Our law firm opened its doors in 1983. I’ve been at this a long time. I’ve had the experience of people telling me, “My grandfather told me to introduce myself to you….” That longevity is due to the fact that representing school administrators and board members is so rewarding. The lawyers who help the people who help the kids feel good about doing so. We like being on the side of the good guys. We like working along with you to improve our public education system. We value the personal relationships we get to develop with the good people who make our system work. So I know I can speak for Kelly Frels, Janet Horton and all of the lawyers who commit to this area of law practice—we honor and thank you for what you do. Another year is upon us. Keep it up!
JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
TEPSA CELEBRATES 100TH ANNIVERSARY AT SUMMER CONFERENCE The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association held its annual summer conference in Austin this June, celebrating the group’s 100th anniversary with guest speakers including George Couros and Ruby Payne.
▲ Annette Dailey of Crenshaw Elementary/Middle School in Galveston ISD received the 2017 Texas National Distinguished Principal Award.
▲ Chera Bessire of Frenship ISD received the Texas National Assistant Principal Award.
▲ TEPSA Executive Director Harley Eckhart poses with the association’s 100th anniversary resolutions. 10
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
▲ Tiffany Linwood of Garland Classical Academy and Ericka Johnson-Allen of Responsive Education Solutions.
▲ Former TEPSA directors and presidents gathered at the summer conference.
▲ TEPSA Past President Nancy Tovar passes the gavel to incoming president Manuel Gonzalez. ▲ Members of the TEPSA Executive Committee.
▲ Conference attendees wait to have books signed by author Ruby Payne.
▲ Attendees raise their phones during the third general session.
Communicators and change agents: the evolving role of the CTO by David Jacobson
he role of the chief technology administrator in school districts has changed considerably in recent years. Many articles have been written on this topic, but it remains a common subject of conversation with my peers, who have titles varying from executive director of technology to chief technology officer (CTO) or, in my case, chief technology information officer. From helping my colleagues prepare for the step up to CTO, I noticed one of their chief concerns was that they had strong educational and instructional technology backgrounds but not strong technical skills. These concerns demonstrate the changing demands of the CTO position.
complete the program are prepared to step into the CTO role in any school system. Programs like TCEA’s address that the modern CTO must understand both education and technology and be able to bridge the gap between the two. A strong CTO accomplishes this by:
As technology found its way into schools in the 1980s and 1990s, the first technology directors were either technically or instructionally focused. It may have been difficult, and not necessary, to build the missing half of their skill set. However today, the role of the CTO has shifted from a technical boxesand-wires approach to a more educational focus—improving teaching, learning and business practices through the use of integrated technologies. In other words, today’s CTO must be well-versed in both areas.
Providing leadership and communication to district staff and community members in support of district and department goals and needs.
Building relationships and communicating vision, plans and operations.
Leading and supporting a technology team—both instructional and technical—through visioning, planning and implementation.
Serving on the superintendent’s cabinet, with responsibilities beyond technology.
Implementing the policies of the district.
Planning, budgeting, collaborating and participating at local, state and federal levels.
Providing the professional development, technology tools, infrastructure, data, support and other resources
When I first made the shift from classroom teacher to campus instructional technology specialist in 1996 and to educational technology consultant at Region 4 ESC in 2000, there were few training grounds for CTOs. I was fortunate my job at Region 4 prepared me to be a technology director. Now, programs such as TCEA’s Technology/ IT Director Certification provide training for those who wish to become, or already are, district technology directors. Those who
Fostering a culture that recognizes that technology has a direct, positive impact on teaching and learning and school district management.
Recognizing the power of technology in all aspects of education and creating possibilities that would otherwise be impossible without technology.
necessary to teach, learn and manage in a 21st century school district. In today’s technological landscape, instruction must drive technology, not the other way around. More important than ever before, innovation cannot occur in isolation. It used to be that technology was a domain unto itself and network administrators were heard saying things like “not on my network,” or, “I’m not opening up Twitter and Facebook.” The goal of every district, and therefore technology, is to do what is best to educate, nurture and protect students. CTOs must build collaborative relationships with all campuses and departments, especially curriculum and instruction. Whether instructional technology falls under the CTO or not, it’s important to define roles. Ask questions such as who is responsible or who is accountable. Share personnel freely with other departments. And meet regularly with curriculum and instruction to review progress, develop new plans, schedule joint coaching sessions, and plan professional development. So what is the future role of the chief technology officer? Will the title evolve to chief innovation officer or chief transformation officer? By any name, the CTO will have to be a leader, an innovator, a communicator, and most important, a change agent who understands the disruptive power of technology and its potential to engage students.
DAVID JACOBSON is the chief technology information office at Lamar CISD. He is a past president of TCEA and currently serves on the board as convention chair elect. Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
TEXAS ASCD HOSTS SUMMER TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE The Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s ignite17 was a three-day event full of networking opportunities and hands-on sessions dedicated to curriculum and technology integration.
▲ Tina Sillavan, Edgenuity; ignite17 Monday keynote speaker Thomas C. Murray; and Chris Cole, Edgenuity. ▲ Attendees become artists, engineers, scientists and journalists at Makerspace Monday.
▲ Texas ASCD Board President Bill Bechtol, Eanes ISD, welcomes ignite17 attendees.
▲ Innovative Highlight presenters Tammy McLain, Dimmitt ISD, and Krista Dyer and Jeff Dyer, Woodsboro ISD.
▲Texas ASCD ignite17 award winners Sally Walker, River Oaks Baptist, Teacher Trailblazer Award; Frank Murray, Wichita Falls ISD, Digital Leadership Award; and Bradley Kaplan and Allison Messenger, Creation Station Award. 12
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
▲Michael Matera taught attendees how to “Explore Like a Pirate.”
▲ Todd Nesloney delivered his keynote speech, “Kids Deserve It.”
▲ Innovative Highlight presenters Leah Lowry and Julie Murray, Katy ISD.
The busiest woman in the UIL by Bobby Hawthorne
t’s the first game of the last day of the UIL state baseball tournament, and Abbott and Fayetteville are going at it for the Conference A crown. Everything appears well in hand, so Dr. Susan Elza and I duck into an unoccupied media booth at Dell Diamond for the interview I’ve been trying to get for a year or so.
need a little help understanding the rules, from administrators who are trying to make sure their coaches are implementing the rules in the right way.”
“How many hours you work this week?” I ask.
“We have a lot of material out there, and every bit of it is important, but we need to make it a little more accessible,” she says. “Of course, there is a burden on coaches to acquaint themselves with the materials that are available, but you have to remember, they’re teaching full loads, and they’re trying to coach, and they’re trying to raise their own kids and live a normal life themselves. If they’re calling us, they need help.”
“Ohhh, gosh, I haven’t put pen to paper on that one,” she replies. That’s OK, I have a decent idea: 90, maybe 100. Today is the last day of six straight state championship weeks, so do the math. And somehow, Dr. Elza is full of energy, excited, happy. “You never think about the hours,” she says. “You think about the quality of the work.” The answer seems not one bit rehearsed. Nor does her lilting Texas twang. “It’s the thing people always ask me: ‘Where are you from?’ One day, I called a school, and the person said, ‘Ma’am. Has anyone ever told that you you sound just like Reba McEntire?’” She does. She’s Texas, through and through. Next, I ask her if she could have imagined, 20 years ago, that she’d be the UIL’s first female AD? “I always wanted to work for the UIL, but I can’t say I thought I’d ever be the athletic director,” she replies. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. It’s not one I take lightly. There’s a lot of purpose in this job, and the purpose is to serve schools and coaches and kids. And, it’s a blast.” She says, “It’s a blast,” like a 16-year-old describing some Six Flags roller coaster. What’s been the biggest surprise? “Probably the fact that I’m doing the same job that campus athletic directors do every day, just on a larger scale,” she says. “You get phone calls from parents, from coaches who
She says she thinks she’s brought a fresh perspective to the league because she well remembers the challenges coaches face with rules compliance and information overload.
I ask her what does she know now that she wishes she knew 20 months ago, and she says she didn’t fully appreciate how properly prep sports are organized and administered in Texas. “What I mean by that is coaches are fulltime school district employees,” she explains. “The great majority of them are teachers. We have a strong compliance program. We do it right.” I don’t ask her about hot-button topics like transgender bathrooms that I know she’ll dodge. We do discuss street agents, select teams and elite academies. Will they force coaches to work with kids year-round? Is that what coaches want? Is it what kids need? We’ll see, she says. “This is a topic that’s not going away anytime soon.” Oh, one final question: Are you taking a vacation any time soon? “I am. Going to Maui, a week from yesterday,” she says, again, sounding like a 16-year-old. “Pure vacation. Sure, I’ll check my email and probably talk on the phone, because you can’t ever totally get away from it. This is a service job, after all.”
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 2017
85TH REGULAR AND SPECIAL SESSIONS
Two legislative sessions yield little progress for school finance reform
he special session ended a day early Aug. 15, after the Texas House agreed, with a split vote of 94 to 46, to the Senate’s version of HB 21—the only bill passed during the special session affecting Texas public schools. “To say I am disappointed is an understatement,” said Texas House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, who filed HB 21. The original bill would have provided $1.8 billion in additional funds to public schools, increasing the basic allotment to benefit most Texas students, and taken first steps toward simplifying the state’s complex school finance system. House Speaker Joe Straus issued a statement that the decision to concur with the Senate changes, which reduced the new funding for schools to $351 million that is earmarked rather than put toward an increase in the basic allotment, was made after multiple discussions with the Senate made it clear it was the best option to avoid losing critical provisions such as funding to help retired educators with the rising costs of TRS-Care health insurance. “In its final form, this bill does not do nearly enough to help public education, but it does take some steps in the right direction,” Straus said. “It will help retired teachers struggling with surging health insurance costs, provide needed resources for some school districts facings severe challenges, and help schools educate students with certain disabilities.”
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
provided for small districts encompassing 300 or more square miles ($41 million allocated for this purpose)
What the final version of HB 21 does Signed by the governor Aug. 16 and funded by transferring from the Health and Human Services Commission a total of $563 million in general revenue appropriations for the 2018-19 biennium to TEA ($351 million) and TRS ($212 million) for implementation, HB 21: •
creates a $150 million grant program for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to provide transition aid for school district financial hardship (ASATR) with grants provided according to a specified formula to districts
provides, beginning in the 2018-19 school year, $60 million in facilities funding for charter schools with acceptable performance ratings and those located at a day treatment facility, residential treatment facility, psychiatric hospital or medical hospital
increases, beginning in fiscal year 2019, the guaranteed yield for the FSP Existing Debt Allotment for school districts each year to the lesser of $40 or the amount that would result in a $60 million increase in state aid from the level of state aid provided by a yield of $35
annually increases, beginning in fiscal year 2019 and ending in 2024, the small district adjustment for districts with boundaries encompassing less than 300 square miles until the adjustment is equal to the level currently
creates two $20 million grant programs for special needs students: one to provide innovative services to students with autism and a second to provide innovative services to students with dyslexia
creates the Texas Commission on Public School Finance to develop and make recommendations for improvements to the current public school finance system or for new methods of financing public schools. The commission is to be composed of 13 members, consisting of: four members appointed by the governor; four members appointed by the lieutenant governor; four members appointed by the speaker; and a member of the SBOE, as designated by the chair of that board. The members appointed by the governor must have an interest in public education and include at least: one person who is a current or retired classroom teacher with at least 10 years of teaching experience; one person who is a member of the business community; and one person who is a member of the civic community. The appointments made by the lieutenant governor and the speaker must each consist of: three members of the applicable legislative chamber; and an administrator in the public school system or an elected member of the board of trustees of a school district.
provides $212 million for TRS-Care participants to: reduce costs, including premiums, deductibles and prescription drugs, during the 2018 and 2019 plan years; and reduce the premium and maximum out-of-pocket cost for an enrolled adult child with a mental disability or a physical incapacity during the 2018 and 2019 plan years
Major bills resulting from the regular session HB 22—alters the state’s A-F school accountability system. It delays A-F ratings for campuses until 2019 (but not for districts; their first official ratings are scheduled to be released in August 2018); requires an overall rating as well as a rating for each domain; reduces the system from five to three domains (Student Achievement, School Progress and Closing the Gaps); differentiates between D (needs improvement) and F (unacceptable) ratings; requires that the method used to evaluate performance for purposes of assigning school districts and campuses an overall and a domain performance rating allows for the mathematical possibility that all districts and campuses receive an A rating; and requires the commissioner to adopt rules for a local accountability system regarding the assignment of campus performance ratings by school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. In August, TEA released information on the implementation timeline HB 22. Find it online at https://goo.gl/eY9CzG. SB—expands the prohibition on improper employee/student relationships to any school employee serving in a capacity that requires a license, regardless of whether the employee holds that license; expands the offense to include any employee engaging in an improper relationship with a student who the employee knows is enrolled in any public or private primary or secondary school, or with any student participant in an educational activity sponsored by a school district or public or private primary or secondary school; maintains the “knew” standard for superintendents regarding an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct or an employee’s criminal record; creates a state jail felony for a super-
intendent, director or principal who fails to file a report with the intent to conceal an educator’s criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct; requires the principal of a school district, district of innovation, or open-enrollment charter school to notify the superintendent or director not later than the seventh business day after the date of an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct or the seventh business day after the date the principal knew about an educator’s criminal record; and more. Read a more detailed explanation of the bill here: https://goo.gl/jxkwU8. SB 179 — or “David’s Law,” amends Education Code provisions on bullying to include cyberbullying and applies to bullying that occurs on or is delivered to school property or to the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity, on or off school property; bullying that occurs on a publicly or privately owned school bus or vehicle being used for transportation of students to or from school or a school-related activity; and cyberbullying that occurs off school property or outside of school-related activities if it interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-related activity. The bill requires a school district board of trustees to adopt policy that establishes procedure for providing notice of an incident of bullying to a parent or guardian of an alleged victim on or before the third business day after the date the incident is reported as well as notice to the parent/ guardian of the alleged bully within a reasonable time. It specifies the placement or expulsion of certain students for certain bullying behavior and reports that school principals may make to local law enforcement. It amends the Civil Practice and Remedies Code to specify relief for cyberbullying of a child, and to require that the Texas Supreme Court promulgate forms for use as an application for injunctive relief in suits relating to cyberbullying. It also amends the Penal Code to include certain actions within the offense of harassment. It includes other provisions as well. Read the full bill online at https://goo.gl/HVoZ4L.
students graduating based on IGC review process to Sept. 1, 2019. SB 826 — returns flexibility with high school math and English course sequencing by removing a requirement that students may take an advanced English course only after having successfully completing English I, English II and English III. It also removes the requirement that students may take an advanced mathematics course only after having successfully completing Algebra I and geometry. The new law corrects a problem caused by HB 5 (passed in 2013), which inadvertently removed flexibility that counselors and other district/campus staff previously had in decisions on the sequencing of high school-level math and English courses. It prevented students who wanted to accelerate and graduate early, as well as students who were behind and trying to graduate on time, from taking English III and English IV concurrently.
This is not a complete list of the legislation affecting Texas public schools that passed during the 2017 regular session. Watch for TEA to post its Briefing Book on Texas Public Education Legislation, which the agency has traditionally compiled post-session to summarize the education-related bills passed by the Texas Legislature and provide analysis of how each bill changes current law, any action required for the upcoming school year, and any outstanding issues (the need for rules or procedures to be developed for implementation, etc.). The Texas Association of School Administrators also provides detailed bill summaries in the organization’s Final Bill Report, available at tasanet.org.
SB 463 — extends the Individual Graduation Committees put in place in 2015 by SB 149 and the reporting requirements for
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
STEM: the bridge to the future by Arnav Koppala
have always had a passion for science ever since I was young. Science was the most intriguing subject throughout my school year. When the Destination Discovery STEM summer camp was announced at my school, it was only natural for me to quickly enroll. Little did I know that I was in for a real treat. Destination Discovery is an intensive STEM program offered during the summer to middle school students. Carrollton-Farmers Branch Education Foundation (CFB Giving) and Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFBISD) established this program. Summer 2017 was the first year for a program like this to be at CFBISD. This year, the STEM program introduced us to three companies: Essilor, LBJ Express and DART. As a particle physicist aspirant, I loved the concepts in this program. Among all the companies introduced to us, LBJ Express was one of my favorite organizations to meet. The reason I liked LBJ Express the most was because of the intensity of the bridge building activity that they had planned. In fact, it involved a competition. It was amazingly fun to compete against other groups as we built bridges, especially because some of the students were my friends. In addition, the engineers and volunteers from LBJ Express were extremely patient and kind throughout the activity. During the bridge building process, I gained knowledge on construction concepts, engineering designs and science. I learned specifically about how bridges are constructed, how a triangle is the most structurally stable shape, and what condi-
tions help a bridge’s stability. Usually, I find most STEM-related concepts and TEKS concepts are very difficult to comprehend. Sometimes, they don’t even capture a student’s attention. For me, this program was different because it was hands-on and fun at the same time. LBJ Express made learning fun, proactive and above all, creative. In general, team competition is always good since it challenges the mind. This competition was dependent on time, collaboration amongst teams and the knowledge taken from the engineering presentation. We had to quickly understand, comprehend and apply the concepts for bridge building with our team. This was interesting from the boring, routine competitions that I have experienced in the past. I named this part of the activity the “impromptu bridge building competition,” but to everyone else, it was known as the LBJ Express Bridge Design Challenge. The bridge building activity helped me and the other students develop some individual qualities such as ethical morals, teamwork, cooperation, communication and focus. The activity had a time limit, and we had to work as a team to build a bridge that could withstand at least one ream of paper. However, the overall goal was to have the bridge hold as many reams of paper as possible. By team collaboration, my team built a bridge that could withstand the weight of four reams of paper. This bridge building competition completely changed my mindset on engineering. At first, I thought engineering was simple, but after the bridge building competition, it became apparent that there are a lot more
'This bridge building competition completely changed my mindset on engineering.' skills involved in engineering, such as planning, designing, team work, communication, and above all, the science behind the actual building process. The bridge building activity also taught me how to improvise with extreme spontaneity. In some cases, my team did not have the right material to build a certain part of the bridge, so I had to replace it with something else to ensure that the bridge was stable. The LBJ Express team helped us understand what it can feel like to be an engineer and showed us some of the different job opportunities and programs that they have as professionals in this type of field. The most valuable lesson I learned that day is the possibilities that exist if I end up choosing a fascinating field such as engineering. I also learned the importance of collaboration with students and other teams. It also taught me about structur> See Student Voices, page 30
“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 Dacia Rivers at email@example.com for publishing guidelines.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Liliana Orellana, assistant principal, Boals
> Continued from page 8
Kristina Pospick, assistant principal, Lebanon Trail High School;
Amanda Ziaer now serves
as principal of Hunt Middle School, coming to her new position from Coppell ISD, where she was principal of Coppell Middle School North since 2012. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she holds a master’s degree from Concordia University. Additionally, the following assignments have been made for the 2017-18 school year: Heather Greenhaw Alburquerque, associate
principal, Reedy High School;
Richard Balling, assistant principal, Wakeland
Danny Barrentine, associate principal, Frisco
Lauryn Tobey, principal, Norris Elementary
TEXAS COMPUTER COOPERATIVE
Travis Volk, assistant principal, CTE Center;
Tabitha Richardson, assistant principal, Spears Elementary School;
Chelsea Winbush, assistant principal, Clark
Kandra Wooten, principal, Isbell Elementary
Catherine Young, principal, Smith Elementa-
Jon-Eric Ziaer, associate principal, Liberty
Galena Park ISD
Jennifer Beck, assistant principal, Hosp Ele-
Now serving as director of student support services, Seretha Augustine has been an educator for 22 years, most recently as associate principal of Galena Park High School. She is a graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown and holds two master’s degrees, from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and Prairie View A&M University.
Allison Claunch, assistant principal, Ogle Elementary School; Sarah Claunch, assistant principal, Newman
Larry Croy, assistant principal, Reedy High
Laura del Hierro, principal, Anderson Elementary School; Serita Dodson, principal, Bright Elementary
Jacob Duce, principal, Lebanon Trail High
Fern Edwards-Ferguson, assistant principal,
Liberty High School;
DuVaughn Flagler, assistant principal, Allen
Kimberly Frankson, assistant principal, Phil-
lips Elementary School;
Kristie Garrett, assistant principal, Comstock Elementary School; Natalie Gasmire, assistant principal, Bright Elementary School; Rachel Gilbert, principal, Newman Elementa-
Laura Higgins, assistant principal, Pearson Middle School; Haley Hudnall, assistant principal, Robertson
Jennifer McGowan, principal, Rogers Elemen-
Chris Miller, assistant principal, Nelson Mid-
Natalie Miller, principal, Elliott Elementary
Kelli Morse, assistant principal, Miller Ele-
Jason Bollich has been named senior director for secondary curriculum and instruction. He has been with the district for 18 years, most recently serving as principal of North Shore Ninth Grade Center. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Anna Gonzalez has joined
the district from Runge ISD, where she was principal of Runge High School, to serve as principal of Woodland Acres Middle School. The 24year educator holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston at Victoria. The new principal of Cobb Sixth Grade Center is Adrian Hurtado, who had been serving as the school’s assistant principal. The former GPISD student earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and his master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Wendy McGee, new principal of Purple Sage Elementary School, was previously assistant principal of Cimarron Elementary. The 20-year educator received her bachelor’s > See Who’s News, page 23
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iTCCS TxEIS tx Suite CareerPortal Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
UT AND TASA TEAM UP FOR 69TH ANNUAL SUMMER CONFERENCE TASA and The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education held a joint summer conference focused on “Grassroots Advocacy: Engaging your Community for Public Education.”
y TASA Past President Kevin Brown greets members of a panel of education advocates, including Rev. Charles Foster Johnson of Pastors for Texas Children and Northside ISD Superintendent Brian Woods.
y Summer Conference attendees jot down the topics they wish to discuss in EdCamp sessions.
y Conference participants get ready for the TASA Governmental Relations briefing session.
y TASA's Eric Simpson helps attendees identify the topics they would like to discuss in EdCamp sessions conducted during the conference. 18
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
y Ruben Olivarez, executive director of UT’s Cooperative Superintendency Program, meets with school leaders attending the conference.
y Conference attendees listen in to a panel discussion conducted by TEA staff.
► Conference attendees collaborate in a systems-thinking exercise to solve a real problem in public ed: getting out the vote.
TASSP MEMBERS MEET UP AT SUMMER WORKSHOP IN AUSTIN The Texas Association of Secondary School Principals held its annual summer workshop in June with a record-breaking attendance of almost 3,000 attendees, speakers and exhibitors!
<Carrie Jackson, TASSP 2017-18 president and principal at Timberview Middle School, Keller ISD.
yTASSP honors the Texas All State Academic Team & Teens Serving
Texas student award winners.
>TASSP keynote pre-
senter Dr. Eric Mazur talks about “Peer Learning, One Student at a Time.”
yDr. Devin Padavil, TASSP 2016-17 president; Stephan Rudolph, Texas sales manager for Mentoring Minds; Steve Williams, Texas Principal of the Year; and Archie E. McAfee, TASSP executive director. yTASSP honors past presidents at the Jostens Night of the Stars Texas Heroes Dinner. 20
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 17
degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Tammy Pankratz comes to
GPISD as executive director for school leadership from Nacogdoches ISD. The 25-year educator received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Sandra Rodriguez is the new
principal of Woodland Acres Elementary School after serving as the school’s assistant principal. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were received from the University of Houston.
The district’s new program director for secondary ESL and foreign languages is Michelle Smith, a 14-year employee of the district who most recently was assistant principal of Cobb Sixth Grade Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Helen Tiller has accepted
the position of director for secondary English language arts after serving as that area’s program director. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Kermit Walker has been
named the district’s assistant athletic director. He was previously assistant principal of North Shore Senior High and has been with the district for 18 years. His bachelor’s degree is from Lamar University and his master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Gladewater ISD Sedric Clark, the district’s newly hired super-
intendent, comes to Texas from Louisiana, where he was principal of DeSoto Parish School Systems’ Mansfield High School since 2010. He began his career as a teacher in that district, going on to work in schools in Shreveport and Baton Rouge before coming to Texas to serve as principal of Foster Middle School in Longview ISD. Clark, a graduate of Louisiana State University, holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Midwestern State University. He is at work on his doctorate from Louisiana Tech University.
Hereford ISD Hereford ISD announces the appointment of Sherri Blankenship as superintendent. She joined the district in 1996 and has been a teacher, assistant principal, director of curriculum, personnel and federal programs and, most recently, assistant superintendent of professional services. She received her associate’s degree from Clarendon College, her bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University, and her master’s degree from West Texas A&M University. Additionally, the following administrative appointments have been made for the district: Bob Bartels, assistant business manager; Bryan Hedrick, director of special services; Joe Mendez, chief operations officer.
Hidalgo ISD The district’s new superintendent is Xavier Salinas, former assistant superintendent for support services in Weslaco ISD.
Highland Park ISD (Dallas) Bradfield Elementary School has welcomed Regina Dumar as its new principal. She comes to HPISD from Allen ISD, where she was principal of Boyd Elementary since 2015. Dumar holds a bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and her master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas. Brent Ringo has been named assistant superintendent for business and finance. He joins the district from Allen ISD, where he was executive director of finance. He received his undergraduate education at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the University of Texas. His master’s degree is from Texas State University and his doctorate in educational administration was awarded from Texas A&M University at Commerce.
The new assistant superintendent for education services, Lisa Wilson, has been a teacher and administrator for 27 years. Her most recent assignment was director of assessment and research in the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kan., where she also worked as an associate principal and lead coordinating teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and a master’s degree in education from Mid-America Nazarene University.
Humble ISD Nolan Correa has been promoted from principal of Summer Creek High School to associate superintendent for support services. He has 30 years of experience as an administrator, serving as a high school and middle school principal in districts in Texas and as a superintendent in New Mexico.
Irving ISD Tierney Tinnin has joined
Irving ISD as director of communications, bringing with her eight years of experience in the Oklahoma City Public Schools. She began her communications career as a television news reporter and anchor, and spent the past year as deputy director of communications and policy for the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. She received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Langston University.
Katy ISD Dawn Carlson-Scruggs has been appointed assistant superintendent for school leadership and support. She has been an educator for 25 years in Lubbock, Austin and Round Rock ISDs and in Fort Bend ISD, where she most recently served as director of student affairs. She received her bachelor’s degree from Peru State University, a master’s degree in special education from Texas Tech University and a second master’s in educational administration from the University of Texas, where she also earned her doctorate in the same field.
Keller The Keller ISD board of trustees has approved Rick Westfall as superintendent. He returns to KISD, where he was principal of Keller High School from 2008 to 2011, after spending the past six years as deputy superintendent of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. A 24-year veteran educator, his bachelor’s degree was awarded from Miami University, his master’s degree from Texas Christian University, and his doctorate from Tarleton State University.
Lake Travis ISD Jennifer Andjelic now serves as principal of Bee Cave Elementary School, returning to the district where she previously served as director of elementary academic services. She was most recently executive director of instruction and professional learning in Leander ISD. Andjelic received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Lake Travis ISD has announced the appointment of Thomas Payne as principal of Hudson Bend Middle School. Payne returns to the school, where he taught from 2006 to 2009, from > See Who’s News, page 22 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Who’s News > Continued from page 21
his most recent job as principal of Rooster Springs Elementary in Dripping Springs ISD. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, followed by a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas State University. He is at work on a doctorate in the same field from Lamar University.
Lampasas ISD Robert White has accepted the position of
principal of Lampasas High School. He comes to the district from McGregor ISD, where he led McGregor High School for five years after serving as campus assistant principal for three years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Laredo ISD The district’s new superintendent is Sylvia Rios, who has been promoted from her prior position as chief academic officer.
Leander ISD Susan Cole is the district’s new executive director of instruction and professional learning. She served as principal of Stiles Middle School since the campus opened in 2012, and prior to that led Giddens Elementary. Cole has a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University.
The new principal of Wiley Middle School, Brandon Evans, has been with the district since 2005 as a teacher and assistant principal and, most recently, senior director of student support services. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from American Intercontinental University. Now serving as senior director of elementary staffing is Lisa Gibbs, who has been a Leander ISD principal since 2003, working at Knowles and, most recently, Reed elementary schools. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Tina Pasak has accepted the
role of principal of River Place Elementary School. She joined the district in 2014, most recently serving as dean of instruction at Glenn High School. Pasak received her bachelor’s degree from the University of
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Houston at Victoria and her master’s degree from Lamar University. The district’s new chief communications officer is Corey Ryan, who was previously Round Rock ISD’s executive director of communications and community relations. Prior to that, he worked in public relations and marketing in Texas public schools and as a reporter in Ohio and Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas Pan-American. Chris Simpson, who had been
leading Wiley Middle School as principal, is now principal of Leander High School.
The district’s new senior executive director for information technology services, Laurie Vondersaar, comes to her new position from Garland ISD, where she was the executive technology officer and technology bond manager. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.
Lewisville ISD Tami Braun, Wellington
Elementary School’s new principal, has been promoted from her position as assistant principal of Bluebonnet Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and her master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Now serving as principal of Rockbrook Elementary School, Dawn Jordan spent the past three years as principal of Gautier Elementary in Gautier, Miss. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Incarnate Word College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. Southridge Elementary School now has Wyvona Ulman as principal. The 20-year educator was most recently assistant principal of Lewisville Elementary. Her bachelor’s degree in business marketing was awarded from Northeastern State University and her master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Texas at Tyler. Wendi Vaughn, new principal of Prairie Trail
Elementary School, previously was principal of Ashley Elementary in Frisco ISD. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in education and
received her master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Little Elm ISD Now serving as assistant principal of Brent Elementary School is Michael Bruno, who began his career in LEISD in 2005. He has spent the past four years as Oak Point Elementary’s math and science specialist. Bruno graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and earned his master’s degree in education administration from Concordia University. Lowell Strike, superintendent
since 2015, has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of December. He joined the district from Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, where he was deputy superintendent.
New Hackberry Elementary School assistant principal Jill Whitehead has been with the district since 2015 after spending 14 years with Quinlan ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas A&M University at Commerce, where she also earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
Longview ISD Former LeTourneau University assistant coach Molly Mackey has been named the district’s softball coach. She also coached at Galveston College and played collegiate softball at the University of Louisiana, Kilgore College and Angelina College. Monty Pepper has signed on to serve as
assistant principal of Longview High School in Longview ISD. He joins the district from Martinsville ISD, where he was secondary principal.
A new principal has been named for Forest Park Middle School. Cynthia Wise has been with the district for 10 years, most recently as principal of Williams Elementary. She holds degrees from St. Paul’s College, Ohio State University, and Southeastern Oklahoma College.
Lubbock ISD Charlotte Sessom is the new director of counseling and college and career readiness. An educator since 1986, she came to Lubbock ISD in 1998 and most recently was coordinator for the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M University.
Lubbock-Cooper ISD Now serving as director of special programs and data management is Darla Heinrich, former director of human resources. She has
been an educator for 17 years, the past four with the district. Max Kattwinkel,
former head football coach at Lubbock-Cooper High School and assistant athletic director, is now the district’s athletic director. He has spent 10 of his 13 years as an educator with the district. Former coordinator of health services Kristy Rose is now the district’s director of health services. She has spent the past 14 years in the nursing field, and has been with LCISD since 2009. Britt Spears, now serving as director of human resources, was previously an assistant principal at Lubbock-Cooper High School.
The district’s new director of literacy, Shay Troutman, has been promoted from serving as literacy coordinator. Jeremy Wagner,
former secondary math and science coordinator, is now LCISD’s director of STEM and advanced academics.
The new director of student services is Jay Whitefield, who spent the past year as assistant principal of North Elementary School. Now serving as director of special projects and events is John Windham, former athletic director. He has spent 21 of his 27 years as an educator with the district. Additionally, the following campus administrators have been named for the district: Meg Kattwinkel, assistant principal, North Elementary School; Courtney Pesterfield, assistant principal,
Lubbock-Cooper High School;
Philip Saffel, principal, New Hope Academy; Erin White, assistant principal, Lub-
bock-Cooper Middle School;
Landon Winton, assistant principal, Lubbock-Cooper High School.
McMullen County ISD Now serving as superintendent is Jason Jones, former superintendent of Oglesby ISD.
Maud ISD Chris Bradshaw, former high school principal in Como-Pickton ISD, is now district superintendent.
Mexia ISD The district has welcomed its new superintendent, Lyle DeBus, who arrived from Harts Bluff ISD, where he also held the top position. Prior to that, he was with Grand Prairie ISD for 14 years as a teacher, executive director, assistant superintendent, and chief operations officer.
Midland ISD The 2017-18 school year began with a new superintendent in place for Midland ISD. Orlando Riddick, who was superintendent of Cedar Hill ISD since 2014, was previously Houston ISD’s chief of schools. Prior to that, he was director of high schools for Austin ISD and served also in Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio ISDs. He holds degrees in journalism and English literature from the University of Texas at El Paso. His master’s degree in educational administration was awarded from Texas Woman’s University and he is nearing completion of his doctorate from the University of Texas.
Northwest ISD (Fort Worth) Medlin Middle School began the 2017-18 school year with Paige Cantrell as principal. She was the school’s assistant principal since 2015. With 19 years of teaching experience and 17 years as a coach, she holds a bachelor’s degree from West Texas State University and a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University. Emily Conklin, director of communications
since 2011, is now executive director of communications. She came to NISD in 2009 as the district’s multimedia specialist, having previously worked in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and for KXII-TV in Sherman. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Texas State University.
Jon Graswich has transitioned from serving
Bobby Morris has been approved to serve as NISD’s director of college and career readiness. He has spent the past 16 years at Northwest High School, eight of those in campus administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and a master’s degree in education administration from Grand Canyon University.
The new principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School, Matrice Raven, previously worked as an assistant principal and gifted and talented specialist at Dawson Middle School in Carroll ISD and as an English language arts teacher in Fort Worth ISD. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University. Jim Sadler, who led the
district’s maintenance department since 2001, is now executive director of maintenance. Prior to joining NISD, he spent 18 years in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD’s facilities support department. Now serving as the district’s deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction is Rob Thornell, who was assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. He joined NISD in 2007 as principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School, moving into central administration in 2011 as executive director of curriculum and staff development. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree from the University of North Texas. His doctorate in education administration was awarded from Baylor University. Mark Vechione, executive
as associate superintendent of business and operations to deputy superintendent of the same area. He has been with the district for 20 years, having begun his career in Austin ISD, where he worked as a budget director. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas.
director of purchasing and contract management, was director of this area for the district since 2014. Prior to that, he was director of purchasing for El Paso’s Socorro ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at El Paso and his master’s degree in the same field from the University of Phoenix.
Melissa Hutson is the district’s new director
promoted from assistant principal of Justin Elementary School to principal of Haslet Elementary. She has been with the district since 1998 as a classroom, intervention and curriculum instructional teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Monmouth College and her
of elementary recruitment and retention. She takes her first central office administrative position after serving as assistant principal of Peterson Elementary School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in education from Lamar University.
Melissa Webber has been
> See Who’s News, page 30 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Texas Association of School Administrators
Buck Gilcrease brings collaboration, appreciation to his roles as president and superintendent
uck Gilcrease always knew he wanted to be a teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of North Texas and worked in business for eight years after college, during which he owned his own construction company and worked on everything from building new homes to installing air conditioning units. Then in the spring of 1992, he decided to make the switch to where he knew he belonged. “My mom worked at the school I went to and I just knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Gilcrease says. “So I just decided that spring that I was going to be a teacher.” Ready to make a change, Gilcrease went back to his own high school in White Settlement ISD (Fort Worth) and asked his former high school principal for a job. “He hired me on the spot,” Gilcrease says. Not having a teaching certificate, he briefly filled the role of paraprofessional while receiving his certification, then went on to teach and coach for several years before moving into administration. He held positions as assistant principal and principal before moving into the superintendent positions in Haskell, Hillsboro and then Alvin, where he’s been serving as superintendent since 2014. Along the way, Gilcrease picked up a master’s and a doctorate in education from
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Tarleton State University and Texas A&M University-Commerce, respectively. In his 25 years in education, Gilcrease has seen large changes in the state of public education in Texas. His biggest lament is witnessing changing attitudes toward teachers. “The world has been turned upside down,” Gilcrease says. “When I started in the education business, teachers were revered and trusted. And now for some reason it’s upside down and teachers are the bad guys.” Gilcrease says that this anti-teacher attitude, which often comes from people outside of the education field, only hurts students in the long run, as teachers are more difficult to recruit into unappreciated and underpaid positions. “You still have incredibly talented people in the teaching profession, but they just feel beat down and not appreciated,” Gilcrease says. In Alvin, Gilcrease has combated the side effects of this attitude by building up the teachers whom he serves. The district feeds its teachers with a special meal prepared just for them every day in an effort to show appreciation and take one more item off of teachers’ massive to-do lists.
“We make sure teachers know they’re the most important people employed by the district because they serve our most important people—our students and their parents,” Gilcrease says. “Teachers really are the people who shape and craft the future of the state, and they do things most people wouldn’t dream of doing on a day-to-day basis just because they love kids and want them to be successful.” Having worked in small and large districts (Haskell ISD has an enrollment of 620, while Alvin ISD serves more than 24,000 students), Gilcrease understands the way different communities interact with their local schools. “People love their schools,” Gilcrease says. “It’s good to have conversations with them and help everybody understand how we need to grow together.” While local involvement in schools can present a challenge in districts of all sizes, Gilcrease believes that communities are always trying to help their local schools and do what they think is right for students. “These are scary times in our state, when our governor wants to run cities and counties and wants to run the schools,” Gilcrease says. “The local community knows best what their kids need, and they should be the ones who are able to say that.”
Gilcrease says his efforts in Alvin have been successful, where teachers, administrators, auxiliary employees and the community all work toward a common goal. This year he’s taken on another post, serving as president of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), an organization of which he’s a proud member. “People I’ve met through TASA have had profound effects on my life,” Gilcrease says. “But the most important thing has been the professional learning opportunities—they have taken me and stretched my mind with the possibilities of having kids ready for their futures in ways I wouldn’t have had without them.” He cites TASA’s three most important missions as engaging members, offering professional learning opportunities and advocating for public schools in any way possible. To Gilcrease, TASA’s work to bring teachers and administrators together to discuss student learning in a collaborative way is one of the association’s greatest achievements. TASA turns 100 in 2025, and a large part of Gilcrease’s work as president is participating in a task force working to hone the association’s goals and consider exactly where the group wants to be in its 100th anniversary year.
‘We make sure teachers know they’re the most important people employed by the district because they serve our most important people— our students and their parents.’
“Before I joined, I knew TASA was the best professional organization offering the deepest professional learning as well as a great network of educators to learn from,” Gilcrease says. “At TASA, we engage our members and try to build a collaborative that champions our students.”
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Thought leaders and innovators in education
Darlene Breaux draws on her personal history to help teachers reach special needs students by Dacia Rivers
he International Dyslexia Association estimates about 15 to 20 percent of the general population suffers from dyslexia or a similar learning disability, but schools didn’t widely recognize or address dyslexia until the 1980s. The result is a slew of adults who grew up struggling in school with no special help or understanding of their unique challenges. Darlene Breaux is one of these adults, and she has dedicated her career to making sure students who wrestle with learning disabilities don’t have to wrangle them alone. In high school, Breaux was intentionally left out of college prep talks and counseling sessions. Due to her dyslexia, her teachers and counselors didn’t think she had a shot at attending a university. Devastated and embarrassed, Breaux came home from school one day and cried to her father about how badly she wanted to go to college. One of nine children, Breaux lived in a small town in West Virginia. Her father’s parents pulled him out of school in the third grade so he could help work the family farm, and he had always regretted not going to school. He made a decision he wouldn’t let the same fate befall his daughter. Breaux’s father took her straight to a local bank, where he walked in and announced, “My baby wants to go to college, and I need somebody to tell me how to get her there.” One bank employee
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
volunteered and helped with the paperwork that got Breaux into school. Breaux received a bachelor’s in psychology at Texas Southern University, followed by a master’s in educational leadership from The University of Houston-Clear Lake. She’s currently attending a doctoral program at Abilene Christian University, truly a success story to the students she serves. After college, Breaux worked in the adolescent ward at a psychiatric hospital and in a residential treatment facility. Seeing the way visiting teachers interacted with and cared about the children she worked with spurred her to go back to school for her teaching certification. “I would ask the kids who has made the biggest impact on their lives and between 85 and 90 percent would list their teachers in the top three,” Breaux says. “When you think about it, they spend more time in school during their waking day than they spend with their parents most times.” With an up-close view of how a good teacher/student relationship can change the trajectory of a student’s life, Breaux entered the education field in an attempt to reach special needs students before they ended up in the facilities where she had worked. She served as an elementary school teacher, then as a reading specialist for her school
district for a few years before becoming a principal. Last year, Breaux became the director of special populations for the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE). In this position, she has worked with area school districts to help them better serve special needs students through teacher training and other programs. “The programs help schools and teachers develop relationships with one another and their students,” Breaux says. “We found that, frankly, unless you have a very strong, appropriate relationship with your students, it doesn’t matter how great a teacher you are— if they don’t know how much you care about them, they don’t care how much you know.” Breaux’s own background growing up dealing with dyslexia makes her especially attuned to students in a similar position and has given her insight into how teachers can best reach out to special needs and at-risk students. “I get the social and emotional pieces that come along with being a struggling student. I understand how they may wake up in the mornings and not want to go to school because people make fun of them, or they don’t want others to know they struggle, so they’ll either shut down or act out so they can be put out of class,” Breaux says. “I have empathy and I can understand that perspective, but I am also an educator and I can see the situation from both sides of the coin.” Besides training teachers, part of Breaux’s job with HCDE involves training individuals from community organizations who work with special needs students, such the YMCA and local martial arts schools. HCDE hosts conferences that are open not only to educators, but anyone from the community who wants to gain a better understanding of the social and behavioral challenges that face these students.
“It’s incredibly rewarding work, because I believe teachers want to know what to do,” Breaux says. “Seeing a teacher or campus grow from not knowing much about dyslexia to actually being champions and making sure they identify dyslexic students and provide the appropriate intervention and support is very rewarding for me.” This year, Breaux’s role at HCDE is expanding, as she recently was named director of the organization’s Research and Development Institute. While still continuing her previous work, Breaux will be focusing on best practices, programs and accountability for all types of learners, based on research and data that shows where the greatest need lies. For example, research shows a disparity of African-American and Latino males being expelled at higher rates than other students. Breaux feels figuring out the cause and the solution to issues such as these will help not only students in Harris County, but can impact the educational research community as well. Adding to her professional responsibilities is just a drop in the bucket for Breaux, who has three children of her own—all of whom are currently college students, just like their mother. It’ll be a busy year for Breaux, but she welcomes the new challenges and sees the research angle as one way to make a bigger difference. “When you can back up what you say with research, it adds more credibility,” she says. “I just want to encourage more people to reach out and seek help.”
‘Frankly, unless you have a very strong, appropriate relationship with your students, it doesn’t matter how great a teacher you are—if they don’t know how much you care about them, they don’t care how much you know.’
Breaux urges educators looking for more information on better addressing students with special needs to contact her or find resources on the HCDE website at hcde-texas.org. DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
Texas Computer Education Association
Dwight Goodwin focuses on classroom tech with a purpose
any professional educators chose the teaching profession as a result of being inspired in childhood by their own outstanding teachers, and Dwight Goodwin, director of instructional technology for Denton ISD, is no exception. “As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a teacher,” he says. “Great teachers inspired me and I wanted to pass that along.” Goodwin got his bachelor’s from Abilene Christian University and his master’s from The University of North Texas. He taught seventh-grade Texas history for 14 years before serving as an instructional technology specialist in Birdville ISD and moving into his current position in Denton in 2013. Originally, Goodwin had plans to transfer from teaching to administration, but while teaching history he began incorporating technology into his classroom and became hooked. “We had several field trips down to the computer lab where we made movies or photo stories, and when this job came up in Birdville, I was like, ‘That is really cool,’” Goodwin says. “After I started getting into technology I loved it and I’ve never looked back.” With 25 years in education under his belt, Goodwin now facilitates technology and training in Denton schools, from selecting devices and rolling them out to training teachers on how to integrate new
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
tech into their classrooms. In that time, Goodwin has seen huge changes in what technology in the classroom looks like. “It used to be, in your evaluation, if you used an overhead projector, that was a big deal,” Goodwin says. “Then it transitioned to technology as a field trip, ‘Hey kids, let’s line up to go to the computer lab,’ and now I think we’re finally at the point where technology is truly integrated into the lesson.” Since moving into the area of instructional technology, Goodwin has spent a lot of time seeking out new technology and finding the tools that will be most efficient in a classroom setting. The speed with which new tech is released means it’s a constant juggling act just to stay up to date. For Goodwin, the most challenging part of his job is properly integrating new technology into classrooms—something he feels is also the most important part of the job. “You have to ask, ‘This is a great tool, but has the teacher been trained to make this a part of the lesson, or have they just been trained on a tool?’” Goodwin says. “That’s why it’s so important, not only to have the technology, but how C&I (curriculum and instruction) and technology come together.” In the past, Goodwin says technology was introduced into classrooms, and then it was up to teachers to figure out how to incorporate
it—something a lot of teachers don’t have the time, or the training, to do. This can cause instructional technologists to scratch their heads, wondering just why teachers aren’t using the new tech tools they’ve been given. “C&I and technology have to come together before the technology can be used in the classroom,” Goodwin says. “You have to have a really good plan of how to use the technology for instruction, not just, ‘Hey, let’s buy a whole bunch of iPads; here they are, use them.’” Working to bridge C&I and technology and break down existing silos between the two is Goodwin’s top goal not only in his work in Denton ISD, but also for his time serving as president of the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), a post he recently acquired. “TCEA has been doing this a lot longer than anyone else,” Goodwin says. “It sounds like it’s a technology organization, but really it’s a ‘How do you use technology in your math, history, science or ELA class?’” It makes sense that technology without training isn’t going to be helpful to many teachers, and Goodwin says that’s where TCEA sets its sights. The association holds an annual
conference where professional development focuses largely on how best to mold tech into the classroom in a way that makes sense. Goodwin was drawn to get involved with TCEA when he attended a local conference and met Past President Dr. Karla Burkholder, who was then serving as instructional technology director in Northwest ISD. The conference was so eye-opening for Goodwin, he walked right up to Burkholder afterward and asked how he could get involved in TCEA. Volunteering with TCEA became a passion for Goodwin, who served on several committees and the association’s board before holding officer positions. During his time as TCEA president, Goodwin plans to send surveys to school technology directors and C&I professionals asking how technology is working for them in their districts. The goal is to compile this data and provide it to TCEA members so they can see what forms of technology are working in similar school districts across the state. This will also allow for networking and connections between school tech administrators statewide. Another one of Goodwin’s pet projects as TCEA president is recognizing and remem-
‘C&I and technology have to come together before the technology can be used in the classroom.’
bering board members and officers who have served the association in the past and remain dedicated to the group’s cause as he is. “I always tell people to go to TCEA, and I’m biased, but I’m biased with a purpose because I’ve seen what it’s done in my life,” Goodwin says. “I’ve seen what it’s done in other people’s lives and it just inspires you to become a better teacher.”
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> STUDENT VOICES continued from page 16
al engineering concepts specifically with hands-on projects. From my perspective, the lessons I learned from the bridge building competition are essential to daily life because the way we tested our bridges is very similar to the actual science we use every day. For example, when you don’t know the meaning of a word, and you review the dictionary just to find two definitions of the same word. What do you do? Well, the first reaction would be to test both definitions in the sentence or its usage to see which word is appropriate. This is exactly what reasoning is all about. Everyone follows some scientific analysis whether they know it or not, especially if they are trying to understand something new. The bridge building competition was no different. Overall, this project helped me to understand STEM processes and how to apply the knowledge I learned from the engineers to the actual bridge building activity and competition. Can you believe we learned all these concepts in just four hours? To be honest, I was shocked that we learned so much, but that is the power of STEM education. Destination Discovery indeed paved the way for me to seriously consider other possible career op-
tions and to rediscover my love for science. Just like any education, STEM education does not have boundaries. I believe it is up to the students to challenge and test those limits so that they can learn and grow. It is also important that schools provide STEM education opportunities to students so that they are exposed to interactive and professional programs such as these. ARNAV KOPPALA is a LEAP (Leading Exceptional
Academic Producers) student at Perry Middle School in Carrollton. Arnav was a published author when he was still in fifth grade. He is the youngest author of a sci-fi, school-based novel series. His first book, “Pentagon Springs,” was inspired by his love for magic and science. After its success, he went on to write the sequel, “Breaking Boundaries.” In addition to writing books, Arnav is a humanitarian and vivid speaker. To contact him, visit www.arnavkoppala.com or www.facebook. com/arnavkoppala.
which he led from 1999 to 2004.
where she completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
> Continued from page 23
Red Oak ISD
Now serving as executive director of secondary curriculum and instruction is Amy Ellis, who joins the district from Castleberry ISD, where she was principal of Castleberry High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University-Commerce at Rockwall.
master’s degree in school administration from Lamar University.
Pine Tree ISD Aaron Turner, who has been
Pine Tree ISD’s assistant director of bands since 2014, is now director of bands. He previously taught at Kingwood High School in Humble ISD and has more than 20 years of experience with church choral and orchestral programs. Now serving as the district’s theatre director is Lisa Wright, who comes from Cleburne ISD and has spent the past 16 years teaching theatre, English, speech and finance in schools in Hawaii and California as well as Texas. She has 34 years of experience as a performer in and director of musical theatre programs and competitions throughout North America.
Port Neches-Groves ISD Jimmy Creel has agreed to serve as interim
superintendent, returning to the district
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
The new principal of Red Oak High School, Miller Beaird, comes to the district from Burleson ISD, where he spent the past five years as principal of Kerr Middle School. He previously worked in Mansfield and Hamilton ISDs.
Rockwall ISD Todd Bradford has been
named principal of Rockwall-Heath High School. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce, he has been the school’s assistant principal for the past four years. In addition, he led Utley Middle School and the Quest Academy and has a total of 16 years of experience as a teacher and administrator. Rochell Elementary School now has Kelli Crossland as principal. She was most recently assistant principal of Springer Elementary and previously was the intervention and testing coordinator at Williams Middle School. She is a graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University,
Brian Nickel, new principal of the Quest Academy, has been an educator for 12 years, most recently serving as principal of Plainview High School in Ardmore, Okla. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and his master’s degree in education from Dallas Baptist University. Amanda Payne is now principal of Reinhardt Elementary School. She previously served as assistant principal of Parks-Heath Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce at Rockwall and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. <
Calendar Professional development & events
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Cost: TASPA members, $100; nonmembers, $125.
October 1-2 TASSP/LYS Fundamental Five Summit Airport Hilton, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Through Sept. 16, $239; after Sept. 16, $289.
October 5 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175.
October 3 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Regular registration (10 days before conference), $165; on-site registration, $175. TRTA District 7 Fall Convention First Baptist Church, Nacogdoches For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 9 Fall Convention ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 3-4 TASBO Internal Audit Academy Hyatt Regency North Dallas, Richardson For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. October 3-5 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds Round Rock ISD, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 4 TASPA Workshop: Personnel Skills for Supervisors of NonExempt Staff Little Elm ISD, Little Elm For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org
TASPA Workshop: HR 311 for Administrators Little Elm ISD, Little Elm For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: TASPA members, $100; nonmembers, $125. TRTA District 5 Fall Convention St. Markâ€™s Episcopal Church, Beaumont For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 17 Fall Convention ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 6-8 TASA/TASB Convention Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Pre-registration (through Sept. 22): TASA/TASB members, $375; nonmembers, $475. Onsite registration (after Sept. 22): TASA/TASB members, $475; nonmembers, $575. October 9 TRTA District 11 Fall Convention Civic Center, Decatur For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 10 TASBO Investment Training Workshop
ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $205; nonmembers, $255. TEPSA Lean Leadership Institute (session 1 of 3) Rockwall ISD, Rockwall For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org TRTA District 19 Fall Convention Wyndham Airport, El Paso For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 11 Learning Forward Texas Training: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning I Rockwall ISD, Rockwall For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org Learning Forward Texas Training: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning II Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org TRTA District 4 Fall Convention Bethany United Methodist Church, Houston For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Alamo Heights ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org October 11-12 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 1 of 4) TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members from districts that are members of the School Transformation Network: $1,995; others, $2,095-$2,295. October 12 TRTA District 6 Fall Convention ESC Region 6, Huntsville For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 8 Fall Convention ESC Region 8, Pittsburg
For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 15 Fall Convention ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 12-13 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXI (session 1 of 3) Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 13 TASPA Documentation Workshop Lubbock ISD, Lubbock For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Round Rock ISD, Round Rock For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org October 15-17 TEPSA Assistant Principals Conference Omni Southpark, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Members: By Sept. 15, $227; after Sept. 15, $277. Nonmembers: By Sept. 15, $287; after Sept. 15, $337. October 16 TRTA District 10 Fall Convention Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 17 TASBO Course: CSRM Funding School Risks Irving ISD, Irving For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org October 17-19 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level I TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850.
> See Calendar, page 32 Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
> Continued from page 31 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds Prosper ISD, Prosper For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 18 Learning Forward Texas Training: More Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org TRTA District 3 Fall Convention Our Lady of Refuge, Refugio For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 19 TASBO Course: Fraud Detection and Investigation ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $170; nonmembers, $220. TRTA District 1 Fall Convention South Texas Community College, Rio Grande For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 19-20 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org October 20 Board2Board Central Texas Conference Hays CISD Performing Arts Center, Kyle For more info, (512) 535-2046. www.foundationinnovation. com Cost: $45. TRTA District 2 Fall Convention Holiday Inn Airport and Convention Center, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 23 TASBO Operations and Facility Masters Conference Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, Dallas For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: $225. October 23-24 TEXRP State Conference Convention Center, Arlington
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com October 24 TASPA Documentation Workshop Amarillo ISD, Amarillo For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. October 25 TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, Dallas For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. October 26 TASPA Documentation Workshop Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. TRTA District 16 Fall Convention ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org TRTA District 20 Fall Convention St. Peter the Apostle Church, Boerne For more info, (512) 476-1622 or (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org October 26-27 Learning Forward Texas Training: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning I Comal ISD, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org October 29-31 Texas ASCD Annual Conference Hyatt Regency Downtown, Houston For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org October 30 TASBO Purchasing Boot Camp Omni Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $215; nonmembers, $265. October 30-31 TASB/TASPA HR Administratorsâ€™ Academy Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
Cost: Early registration (by Oct. 12), $385; regular registration, $450. October 31-November 1 TASBO Purchasing Academy Omni Westside, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345.
NOVEMBER November 2 Board2Board North Texas Conference Frisco ISD Career and Technology Education Center, Frisco For more info, (512) 535-2046. www.foundationinnovation. com Cost: $45. November 3 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Hays CISD, Kyle For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org November 5-8 Texas Assessment Conference Hilton Hotel and Austin Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Pre-registration (by Oct. 20), $145; on-site registration, $195. November 6 Learning Forward Texas Training: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning 2 Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org November 6-7 TASBO Personnel and Payroll Academy Courtyard Austin, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. November 7-9 TEPSA Orange Frog Workshop Offices of Arlington ISD, Arlington For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org November 8 Learning Forward Texas Training: More Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org
TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting North East ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org November 8-9 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 3 of 4) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $695 for all four sessions; nonmembers, $795 for all four sessions; any one session, $250. November 9 TASPA Documentation Workshop Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: $250. November 9-10 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXI (session 2 of 3) Pat May Center, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org November 13 TASBO Workshop: Project Management for School Business Professionals Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Houston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $390; nonmembers, $440. November 14 TEPSA Lean Leadership Institute Rockwall ISD, Rockwall For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org November 14-16 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level II (session 1 of 2) TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org November 15 Learning Forward Texas Training: Tips, Techniques and Tools for Professional Learning I Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org TASB Symposium: Risk Management Fund Title IX TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
November 15-18 Texas Counseling Association Professional Growth Conference Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston For more info, (512) 472-3403 or (800) 580-8144. www.txca.org Cost: Early Bird registration: Professional members, $125; new professional members, $85; retired members, $85; student members, $85. November 16-17 TASBO Accounting and Finance Symposium Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort, Boerne For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $295; nonmembers, $345. November 22 Learning Forward Texas Training: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning II Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org November 28-29 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 2 of 4) San Angelo ISD, San Angelo For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members from districts that are members of the School Transformation Network: $1,995, others; $2,095-$2,295. November 28-30 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds Harmony Public Schools, Houston For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org November 29-30 Texas ASCD Workshop: Performance-Based Assessment in the Classroom Memorial Park Academy, Richardson For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org November 29-December 1 TAGT Annual Conference Brown Convention Center, Houston For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: Members, $410 for three days, $295 for two days, $150 for one day; nonmembers, $495
for three days, $380 for two days, $235 for one day. November 29-December 2 TAHPERD Annual Convention Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Professional and associate members: Early Bird registration (by Oct. 1), $105; pre-registration (by Nov. 1), $125; late registration (after Nov. 1), $145. Student and retired members: Early Bird registration (by Oct. 1), $35; pre-registration (by Nov. 1), $35; late registration (after Nov. 1), $45.
D EC E M B E R December 4 TASBO Workshop: Project Management for School Business Professionals Pine Tree ISD, Longview For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $390; nonmembers, $440. December 5 Learning Forward Texas Training: More Tips, Tools and Techniques for Professional Learning Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org December 5-6 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 2 of 4) TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members from districts that are members of the School Transformation Network: $1,995, others; $2,095-$2,295. December 6 TASBO Course: CSRM Administrators School Risks TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org December 7-8 TAMS Annual Legislative Conference Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, Bastrop For more info, (512) 346-2177. www.midsizeschools.org December 8 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Pflugerville ISD, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org
December 12 TEPSA Lean Leadership Institute (session 3 of 3) Rockwall ISD, Rockwall For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org December 13 TASPA/Legal Digest Personnel Law Conference for School Administrators Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Boerne ISD, Boerne For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org December 13-15 TASPA/TAEE Winter Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org
JANUARY January 10 TSPRA San Antonio Regional Meeting Southwest ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org January 11-12 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXI (session 3 of 3) Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 12 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Lockhart ISD, Lockhart For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org January 12-14 TAHPERD Annual Leadership Conference Conference Center, Granbury For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd January 17 Board2Board Waco Conference Offices of Midway ISD, Waco For more info, (512) 535-2046. www.foundationinnovation.com Cost: $45. January 17-18 TASA Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 3 of 4) TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361.
www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members from districts that are members of the School Transformation Network: $1,995, others; $2,095-$2,295. January 18-19 Texas ASCD CLA Leander ISD, Leander (session 1 of 3) For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2712. January 21-23 TASSP Symposium: Making Middle School Matter Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Until Jan. 5, $265; after Jan. 5, $315. January 24-27 TETA Theatrefest Moody Gardens, Galveston No phone number available. www.tetatx.com January 28-31 TASA Midwinter Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org/midwinter January 29 TASA Budget Boot Camp Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org/midwinter
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Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
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New neighbors, a birdhouse, and the sweet sound of children by Riney Jordan
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1GPA........................................................... 25 1gpa.org George K. Baum and Co......................2 Gkbaum.com Harris County Dept. Education.9, 29 www.hcde-texas.org
everal years ago, I spoke at the commencement service for about 100 women who were receiving their high school diplomas. These women were incarcerated in the women’s unit at one of our state penal systems.
“Riney, you have a visitor,” my wife announced.
I’ll never forget what the principal of this rather unusual school told me.
“It’s for you!” she exclaimed. “I knew you loved birds and when I saw it, I told my mother that we had to get it for you.”
As you might imagine, I was elated! The gift was wonderful, but even more beautiful was the kindness and thoughtfulness shown by a child to another individual. And that smile on her face showed how much joy she was receiving, too.
A few days later, I had all the children meet me at a tree between our houses.
“I wanted to hang this where both of our families can keep an eye on it,” I said. It was obvious that they all overwhelmingly supported this suggestion.
She said, “You know what the women in this prison tell me that they miss the most about being locked up?” As I struggled for the answer she simply said, “The sound of children.” I’ve often thought about that statement over the years, and have come to realize that a world without the sounds of children playing and laughing would, indeed, be a sad and dreary place. Recently, a new family moved next door to us and shortly after they were settled in, I heard the sounds of children out in their front yard. Now, I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I enjoy more than conversing with children. I mean it. I absolutely love it. I love their perception of things, their choice of words and their honesty. And upon hearing them, I rushed outdoors to meet them. “Hey, guys. Welcome to the neighborhood!” That’s all it took. All three came running over to meet me. I would later learn that the oldest boy was 10, the sister was eight, and the little boy had just turned three. It didn’t take long to realize that these kids were sharp! They loved “Star Wars,” (which always seems to be an indicator of brightness) their vocabulary was amazing, and they were interested in everything! Now, whenever I walk outside and they spot me, it’s, “Hey, Mr. Riney. What are you doing?” One day, we heard the prolonged ringing of the doorbell. My wife went to answer it, and a few moments later, she accompanied the young girl back to where I was comfortably resting in a recliner.
A big smile was on the face of the young girl as she stepped from behind and promptly handed me the cutest little red, white and blue birdhouse I’d ever seen.
I visited with the mother of the children one evening, and she asked about the birdhouse. I told her I loved it and was so pleased by her children’s thoughtfulness. “You probably don’t know that our daughter spent her own money on the birdhouse. When she spotted it, she immediately told me that she wanted to buy it for Mr. Riney, because he loved taking care of the birds.” That revelation made it even sweeter. Now when I see that patriotic little birdhouse, gently swinging from a limb between our houses, I pause, and thank God that there are children in the world. I am truly grateful for the joy that they bring. And, like the women who were imprisoned, there truly is no sweeter sound than that of children laughing, talking, and bringing hope to those around them. We simply must pause and listen and be thankful. In schools, we are blessed with the opportunity to hear those sounds of happy students every day. Don’t take it for granted. It’s one of the perks of the profession that is truly priceless.
RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.
Texas School Business SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2017
IBM Watson........................................... 35 ibm.com/watson LPA.................................................................4 PBK Architects......................................19 Spectrum Corp.................................5, 13 spectrumscoreboards.com TASPA........................................................13 TEPSA....................................................... 36 Texas Computer Cooperative........17 texascomputercooperative.net Texas School Business...... 27, 33, 34 Texasschoolbusiness.com
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Lean Essentials Institute
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Opportunities to Improve Student Achievement in Your District
You will earn a Lean Leadership Certificate.
Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association
Discover a blueprint for increasing employee engagement and tapping into people’s intrinsic motivations for higher productivity and results. The workshop is based on the works of Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology Orange Frog Workshop ] that Fuel Success and November 7-9, 2017 Performance at Arlington ISD Work.”
Learn to use a series of introductory lean tenets and tools to improve collaboration, teamwork and dynamics. Think more clearly for school improvement and create better results through continuous improvement. Learn from Dr. Shannon Flumerfelt, a leading ] Lean Essentials for expert in the appliSchool Leaders Institute: cation of Lean in Oct 10, Nov 14, and Dec 12 Schools. Rockwall ISD
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