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The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas for 60 Years

May 2014






Texas coaches inspire future generations

InnovatIon Zone

TACS President Profile Herb Youngblood Abernathy ISD

In the Spotlight Roscoe Collegiate ISD’s Kim Alexander

Meet the Class of 2014

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TSB contents news and features

An architect’s perspective on designing 21st century schools by Keith Anderson, AIA

8 photo feature SXSWedu in Austin attracts educators worldwide


Texas coaches inspire future generations, one champion at a time by Bobby Hawthorne

In the Spotlight Roscoe Collegiate ISD’s Kim Alexander is ready

TASBO convenes for annual conference 18 departments Who’s News


Ad index




by Elizabeth Millard

From the Editor


The Law Dawg  —  Unleashed


Tech Toolbox


by Katie Ford by Jim Walsh

by Terry Morawski



Small-school design team blazes trail to new graduation requirements

Game On!


The Back Page


by Bobby Hawthorne by Riney Jordan

by Sheila Bowman

TACS President Profile Herb Youngblood knows running a rural district is no small feat by Ford Gunter


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 of Canyon ISD’s Joe Lombard, courtesy of James Barrington, The Canyon News. May 2014 • Texas School Business


July 13-15, 2014 • Renaissance Austin Hotel

UT/TASA Summer Conference on Education House Bill 5: Launching the Next Generation of Opportunities for Texas Students This year’s theme focuses on creating opportunities and flexibility for all students through the successful implementation of House Bill 5. Conference sessions offer innovative ideas, strategies, resources, and networking in an effort to foster student-centered schools and future-ready students. Topics include:



Implementation of HB 5 Graduation Requirements and Endorsements


College and Career Readiness


TASA on iTunes U digital resource collections to address HB 5 college readiness requirements in English language arts and math, plus expanded resources for middle and high school courses


HB 5 Community & Student Engagement Efforts


TASA’s Initiative to Transform Learning through digital integration, high-priority learning standards, and community based accountability systems

Texas School Business • May 2014

Reminder—The UT/TASA Summer Conference takes place in July in 2014!

From the Editor I have to admit: When I was in high school, you’d never find me on a track or in a gymnasium. More likely, you’d find me in the parking lot, smoking cigarettes, perfecting my pout, and bemoaning the total cluelessness of all the adults in my life. Yep. That was me, draped in black material from head to toe, donning gratuitous eyeliner and hiding my face behind teased-out hair. I was righteously rocking the ’80s goth look like I had invented it. Dad, not bothering to hide his frustration, used to ask me on a regular basis: “Katie, why do you insist on dressing like you’re going to a funeral???” Poor Dad. I put him through a lot when I was a teenager. But I digress. I want to draw your attention to Bobby Hawthorne’s cover story on inspiring coaches. I loved reading this piece, because these days you are likely to find me on a track or in a gym, and I know how much a good coach can influence a person — physically, emotionally and spiritually. You see, when I turned 40, I made a promise to myself to get in better shape. I joined a small gym here in Austin that offers first-class programming and coaching. Three years later, I’m the strongest, fittest and fastest I’ve ever been. I dare say: My 43-year-old self could whip my 23-year-old self. No contest. Physical contests aside, the most important lesson my coaches have taught me is how to be mentally fit. Because of their encouragement and dedication, I have learned over and over that I’m often a lot tougher than I’m initially willing to believe. They have taught me to maintain my integrity and a workman-like attitude in the face of physical adversity — and that lesson has paid off tremendously in my life outside the gym. I carry myself differently. I have more confidence in difficult situations. I am a stronger woman, inside and out. I’m grateful the kids in our public schools have access to coaches like the ones profiled in this issue. I wish I had known them when I was a teenager. Perhaps Teen Goth Katie would have Katie Ford been less intimidated by this game we call life. Editorial Director

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) May 2014 Volume LX, Issue 8 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 Editorial Director Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Bobby Hawthorne, Riney Jordan, Terry Morawski, Jim Walsh Advertising Sales Manager Lance Lawhon Texas Association of School Administrators Executive Director Johnny L. Veselka Assistant Executive Director, Services and Systems Administration Ann M. Halstead Director of Communications and Media Relations Suzanne Marchman ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620 Published monthly, except for July/August and November/ December, and the Bragging Rights issue published in December by Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. Periodical 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 2014 Texas Association of School Administrators May 2014 • Texas School Business


SXSWedu in Austin attracts educators worldwide Educators from around the world descended upon Austin in March for the annual SXSWedu conference.

Jonathan Schor of Haifa, Israel, and Ido Schor of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Mindy Ekeroth and Saleta Thomas of Fort Worth ISD.

Susan Pantaleon of Institute for Public School Initiatives, Amy Mayer of Huntsville ISD and Rebecca King of Rockdale ISD.

Brittany Melnyk and Shakiba Jalal of University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Joe Peacock, Oscar Pedroso and Michael Adaniya of Buffalo, N.Y.

Laura Shaw of Pasadena, Calif.; Kathy Minardi of Washington D.C.; Maura Joyce of Redlands, Calif.; and James Moudry of Houston.

Carlos Cuadra and Stephen Wakulchik of San Francisco, Calif. Richard Middleton of The College Board in Austin, Lisa Brittain of Leander ISD and Matthew Lisk of The College Board, New York, N.Y. 6

Texas School Business • May 2014

THE LAW DAWG –Unleashed by Jim Walsh

A balancing act between safety, LRE


here was a day when campus principals wielded power like Russian czars. But that ended in 1988 with these words from the U.S. Supreme Court: “We think it clear, however, that Congress very much meant to strip schools of the unilateral authority they had traditionally employed to exclude disabled students, particularly emotionally disturbed students, from school.” The case was Honig v. Doe, and it remains a landmark in the field of school law, relevant to events occurring in your school today. The events leading to that decision occurred in 1980 — the early days of special education law. The San Francisco Unified School District sought to expel two boys, both of whom were identified as emotionally disturbed. The parents argued that the boys should be allowed to stay in school while they challenged the proposed expulsion. The parents argued that this was a “change of placement” and thus subject to the “stay put” rule. The school officials argued that the “stay put” rule did not apply in this case. The California district was dealing with two explosively dangerous high school students. If they “stayed put,” someone was likely to get hurt. Surely — SURELY — everyone understood that public school administrators are responsible for student safety. To which the Supreme Court responded: No. Congress “very much meant” to take away from school officials the power they had. The court went on to explain that this did not mean that principals were powerless. They just could no longer wield unilateral authority. In this same opinion, the court gave its blessing to the 10-day rule in special education discipline. Thus, a principal dealing with a dangerous special education student could unilaterally remove that student from the current placement for a short period of time — 10 days or less. Longer periods

would have to be approved by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee, by a hearing officer or the court. Now, 26 years later, school officials are still dealing with the ramifications of this decision. Most campuses have at least one student who personifies the dilemma facing school administrators. When I do training for teachers, I can predict that one of them will ask me the question that student poses. The teacher will explain that she spends most of her time focusing on this one student, that parents of other students have called to complain, that she is worried about safety. She will ask: “What about the other kids? Don’t they have any rights?” Of course they do. But the law creates a natural tension by asking the school to do two things at once: (1) maintain safety for all students and (2) serve every student, even dangerous ones, in the least restrictive environment (LRE). It would be easy to do one or the other. It is hard to do both at the same time. That’s where ARD committees come in. It’s the ARD committee that has to take all those factors into account and make a decision on a case-by-case basis. The LRE for each student is not necessarily the general education classroom. We have a full continuum of placement options, including some that are quite restrictive, for a reason. Principals are no longer sultans of all they survey. Their wings have been clipped by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court. So principals should focus their leadership skills, their power, where it can have the most impact. Lead the ARD committee to develop strong behavior plans for the kids who need them. Lead the ARD committee to a good balance between safety and LRE. JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa. com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg.

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An architect’s perspective on designing 21st century schools by Keith Anderson, AIA


quarter century of helping school districts improve their learning environments has shown me this: Information technology changes faster than anything else. Its rate of change is increasing continuously. However, are IT requirements the only consideration in modern education? Not by a long shot. Accommodating IT and the latest equipment are important, to be sure, but the emerging models for 21st century learning also include other critical considerations, such as core curriculum content, teaching methods and student interaction. With IT constantly changing, your architect does well to take advantage of the skill and knowledge of his technology consultants. These people are hardwired to monitor the minutiae in IT evolution. However, it’s the architect who understands how the whole building needs to

work together with its human components to bring improved education to the classroom. (As an aside, by “classroom,” I don’t mean the traditional definition of classroom; I mean any of the many spaces in a school where learning occurs.) Details that are physically affected by IT include things like the size and proportions of spaces, distance limitations, necessary proximities, necessary separations, lighting and acoustics. A good architectural program — i.e., educational specification — includes all these and more, tabulated space by space. These details should be identified before beginning the design of your addition, renovation or new facility project. One of the more visible improvements in 21st century classrooms has been replacing the teacher’s desk with a specialized technology podium. This podium is specifically designed to house a com-

The specialized technology podium is replacing the traditional teacher’s desk. 8

Texas School Business • May 2014

puter, document camera, and other tools that facilitate a more interactive teaching and learning experience. Moreover, it consumes less real estate in the bargain. Classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards; wireless access points; charging stations for e-books, laptops and tablets; and network computers — all of which reduce the amount of space required in the classroom for student computers. These things ultimately bring technology to every corner of the school. Moving beyond the obvious influence of technology in education today, 21st century schools are embracing the fact that students are individuals, that they learn in different ways and at different rates. Students are stimulated by variety — including variety in the spaces in which they learn. One of the ways our school designs respond to this is by providing different sizes and types of spaces for different types of learning. These diverse areas within a school include one-on-one spaces, small-group spaces and collaborative learning spaces — all in addition to the conventional classroom, which is becoming increasing unconventional. Spaces are provided for project-based learning, for student presentations and for instructional coaches to come to the students, rather than asking the student to travel to them. Even a conventional classroom corridor may soon be considered a poor and limited use of important square footage if it can be transformed into more spaces for group study. The school environment must be an asset to the learning experience, not a hindrance. For example, studies have demonstrated routinely that children learn better in rooms with natural light. However, merely placing a window in an exterior wall does not enhance learning if it washes out the classroom’s smartboard or if it’s covered with a closed blind all day to eliminate glare and heat. Windows must be located, configured and shaded in such a way to take advantage of natural light to make the classroom a better place for See 21ST CENTURY on page 10

TECH TOOLBOX by Terry Morawski

In app world, nothing is free


n early 2013, I wrote about the hidden dangers lurking behind mobile learning apps. They might serve primarily as teaching tools, but some apps expose students to questionable advertising, opportunities for in-app purchasing and links to social sites. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a report, “Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade,” in December 2012. The survey stated that more than 700,000 apps are available in Apple and Google app stores. Although 9 percent of app developers reported that their apps link to social sites, the FTC found the actual number closer to 22 percent. In addition to social features, many apps also featured advertising or opportunities to make purchases. A lot of attention has been given to inapp purchasing as more parents deal with their children running up huge bills while playing games like Candy Crush. Even as the app market is evolving for the better, there are other concerns looming on the horizon. One of these became crystal clear to me during a presentation at SXSWedu in Austin in March: student data-mining. In case you aren’t familiar with the term data mining, it generically refers to the practice of sifting through digital information to find useful patterns or trends. The age of high-stakes testing led districts to engage in data mining. From central office administrators down to teachers, it has become a basic requirement of the job to be a data cruncher. There is value in this type of data collection and analysis. Student performance data aside, there is another type of data being collected about students by third parties. And it’s not accessible to school systems or their parents. Who are these third parties? They are the companies providing “freemium” online services to students and their schools. Freemium is a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering, such as software, media, games or Web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for advanced features, functionality or virtual goods. (Source: Wikipedia) How do freemium products get into schools? Many well-meaning teachers and

administrators sign up for “free” products to enhance the education process. These products range from email services to educational games to youth-oriented social networking sites. Through user agreements, individuals using these programs are allowing the companies to track their activities and store their information. Cameron Evans, a national chief technology officer at Microsoft, said at SXSWedu that he feels the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (FERPA), originally signed into law by Gerald Ford in 1974, is due for a major overhaul. He said he also feels the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, enacted in 1998, is not comprehensive enough. Evans painted a scenario in which a student who has been using freemium products throughout middle school and high school is bombarded by marketers after graduation. His email account, home address, phone number, social media presence and more would be accessible to marketers if he provided that information when using these mobile apps. Who is on the hook for these privacy concerns? The truth is educators have a legal responsibility to shield students from inappropriate information online. I feel they also have a responsibility to protect children’s private information as much as possible. Proper vetting of a website or app does not just include the content itself, but what type of information students will share and what will be stored. I hope the regulation Evans spoke of is coming. It’s encouraging to see the FTC take a serious look at children’s use of technology. The challenge for educators and administrators is the online world is constantly evolving. Until children are truly protected, we need to spread awareness and educate parents about privacy concerns. Next, make sure your district has a centralized resource for sharing information about freemium sites that are problematic. TERRY MORAWSKI also wrote about the amazing people of West ISD in this issue. He serves as the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. You can email him at terrymorawski@ or follow the real Terry (not an impersonator) via @terrymorawski.

The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas for 60 Years Since 1954, Texas School Business has published the good news for and about Texas educators and the vendors who serve the public schools. Today, Texas School Business is considered an institution among school leaders and decision makers. Each issue includes: • In-depth features on Texas public education • Who’s News • The Law Dawg – Unleashed • Photo features of association events • Educator and administrator profiles • Riney Jordan • Bobby Hawthorne • T erry Morawski • And more…

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May 2014 • Texas School Business


21ST CENTURY from page 8

teaching and learning. The best combination of natural and artificial light — and the best means of controlling both — depend on many factors, from building orientation to light fixture selection. All of these factors should be studied by your architect to maximize the quality of light in each space. More focused attention to room acoustics is proving to be another excellent means of raising the quality of the teaching and learning experience. We’ve long known how to design spaces with hard surfaces where we want to reflect sound or amplify volume, and with soft surfaces where we want to absorb sound or minimize reverberation. What’s new on the horizon are portable sound reinforcement systems (technology inserting itself, yet again), which allow teachers to move around the room and interact with different groups, confident they can be heard without losing their voices by the end of the day. There are many considerations in building a 21st century school; I have only scratched the surface. Your architect looks at dozens of other major factors, including safety and security, flexible furniture

A classroom corridor can be reconfigured to offer spaces for group study.

design that permits multiple classroom arrangements, air quality, technology infrastructure, interior finishes that are both uplifting and healthy, and many more. If we stay committed to the hard work of always seeking ways to improve our children’s learning experiences, we can hope that the term 21st century school will grow stale long before the 22nd century gets here.


KEITH ANDERSON, a Dallas architect since 1978, is a principal and director of design at WRA Architects, a K-12 specialist firm.



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GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne

The storied life of Mr. Bob Peery


s high school junior and first-year member of the student newspaper staff, I was instructed to interview Bob Peery, the student council sponsor and high school counselor. I didn’t want to. I wanted to write about the Beatles or the Dallas Cowboys or some such. The last thing I wanted to write about was Bob Peery, a short, bald, rotund, thoroughly likable fellow — but no one worthy of my time and talent, I thought. Peery was also the school’s unofficial photographer, and his beautiful shots graced the halls and the yearbook. Somehow, I didn’t think that was interesting enough to inquire about. So, I eventually turned in an article that was less interesting than junk mail. It never ran, even though the editors were chronically desperate for copy. Years later, I was visiting Peery and his son Ron — one of my best friends in high school — at their home. By then, Peery had retired and opened a professional photography studio, and I finally got around to asking him how he got into photography. An old man now, he paused, then told me the most amazing story. Here it is: In 1944, Peery was a private in Gen. George Patton’s Sixth Army as it was rolling across France and into Germany. One day, he was minding his own business when an officer strutted in and asked, “Any of you guys know how to type?” Peery raised his hand. “Well, grab your gear and come with me.” Apparently, some guys who had served as battalion typists had been killed, and new typists were needed. One day, Peery was minding his own business when an officer strutted in and asked, “Any of you guys know how to write?” Peery raised his hand. Apparently, some guys who had served as reporters for the Army newspaper had been killed, and new reporters were needed.


“Well, grab your gear and come with

One day, Peery was minding his own business when an officer strutted in and asked, “Peery, where’s your camera?” “I don’t have one, sir,” Peery answered. “Well, get one and learn how to use it,” the officer barked. And that’s how Bob Peery got into photography. That story was there in 1969 when I was a junior in high school, and I was too stupid or lazy to find it. Now, here’s the kicker: I haven’t even gotten around to the good stuff. One day, Peery and members of his company were trudging across a field toward a wooded area and into a horrific odor — like nothing they’d encountered. Not the rotting carcass of a cow. Not burnt flesh. The U.S. soldiers had stumbled upon a Nazi concentration camp, one of scores of them that pockmarked that section of southwestern Germany. “The smell was so bad that guys rolled up their Juicy Fruit chewing gum and shoved it up their noses,” Peery said. He paused, squeezed his eyes, and added, “I can still smell that place.” Half a century later, Peery could still smell that place. That amazing story existed in 1969, and I didn’t have the sense to ask one simple question: How did you get into photography? What a moron I was. OK, why do I mention this? Because I wanted to chime in on my cover piece in this issue about coaches and inspiration. I had planned to write about Peery a year or two ago, but I procrastinated, and Mr. Peery died without my ever getting to tell him how much I admire and appreciate him and what an inspiration he has been to me.



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

May 2014 • Texas School Business


Innovation in the Education Marketplace TASA’s 2014 Midwinter Conference debuted an exciting, transformational concept in education exhibits—the TASA Innovation Zone. The purpose of the Innovation Zone was to feature early stage education market companies, selected by a panel of experts through an application process, that were searching for meaningful input and guidance about their products and services. TASA’s Midwinter Conference was the perfect venue to unite these companies with top education leaders who have a sincere desire to be knowledgeable about leading-edge innovations. Sixteen companies were selected to present their product/service in front of a three-member panel of superintendents and/or district-level school leaders. Participating companies were represented in the Exhibit Hall’s Innovation Zone area, providing an opportunity for conference attendees to view and learn more about these unique products and services.

2014 Innovation Zone Participants Altas Learning strives toward a singular goal: to develop software so simple and engaging that it’s more fun to pay attention than to daydream. Our apps make teachers’ lives easier, boost student interaction, and improve performance. LiveSlide instantly transforms static lessons into an interactive format on virtually any mobile device. Ed Valdez, Vice President of Marketing 512.751.8008 BloomBoard is an online growth development platform supporting the K-12 education community. Schools, districts and departments of education use BloomBoard to collect educator effectiveness data, provide targeted feedback and create personalized learning roadmaps. Our marketplace of professional development resources then offers recommendations to support educator growth and foster student success. Jason Lange, CEO and Co-Founder 203.675.9848 Cambridge International Examinations is the world’s largest provider of international education programs and qualifications for 5- to 19-year-olds. We are part of the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s top universities and trusted for ex12

Texas School Business • May 2014

cellence in education. Our qualifications are recognized by the world’s universities and employers. We understand education. More than 9,000 schools in more than 160 countries are part of our Cambridge learning community. Our mission is to provide excellence in education, and our vision is that Cambridge learners become confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged. We are a part of Cambridge Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge and a not-for-profit organization. Paula Apostolou, Schools Development Manager, U.S.A. 850.624.4420 Education Elements helps districts imagine, design and implement 1:1 technology programs and blended learning initiatives with products and services that help them personalize instruction for students—sustainably and at scale. Our collaborative, design-driven approach engages all stakeholders in the journey to improved student outcomes. Deep, first-hand classroom experience with new school models and the latest technologies inform our real-world recommendations and the design of our software platform. Ben Politzer, Director, Growth and Development 650.814.5444

Globaloria is a K-12 learning platform with courses for 6th-12th graders to design and code educational games using industry programming languages and professional practices. The Globaloria awardwinning platform, standards-aligned courses, teacher professional development, and expert support enable easy integration of STEM and computing into core subjects and electives that advances student achievement and teacher excellence. Amber Oliver, Vice President, Partnerships & Operations 646.895.9167 Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard and Remote Control provide educators with a cockpit for the rocket ship that is Google Apps for Education. Teachers get a bird’s eye view of all student activity in Google, organized by class and by student. Remote Control allows teachers to interact with student browsers in real time with a simple Chrome extension. Jack West, Lead Educator 650.701.3442 InSync Education joins educators, parents and the community in a collaboration to support the academic success of our children. The STAAR-aligned program provides a cohesive approach to instruction in the classroom and extension into

the home. By providing targeted activities that can be used by teachers, resources to support parental involvement, and differentiation for learners at all levels, the student learning experience becomes seamless. Lauren Little, CEO 603.718.1034 National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) is the leading provider of high-quality, research-based professional development proven to give principals the knowledge and skills they need to be instructional leaders and improve student achievement in their schools. School districts can develop their internal capacity to deliver the NISL program themselves and strengthen school leadership districtwide. Nancy Stewart, Director of Transformational Initiatives 214.991.2288 Rethink, an award-winning online solution, is setting the standard for a sustainable and cost-effective, inclusive-practices model. With its innovative approach to transforming how districts meet the federal mandate to serve students in the Least Restrictive Environment, Rethink has helped many districts reduce costs for outside services, training and litigation. Denny Hoover, Sales Executive 870.656.1361 Science Delights is a STEM-based, early elementary curriculum focused on handson experiments and activities. Unburden your elementary school teachers and introduce your younger students to complex STEM concepts. Our products come together, creating a turnkey solution for the challenges of teaching elementary students science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Anita Greenberg, CEO, Founder 512.947.6768

ScribeSense is a timesaving, online grading system. It extracts digital results from existing handwritten tests on plain paper. Track schoolwide student performance and auto-deliver individual test reports to each student and/or parent. ScribeSense is a teacher-friendly tool that saves hours of manual work. Paul Abumov, CEO 512.539.0383 Securly is a Web filter that has been designed from the ground up for schools. It is completely cloud based, is simple to set up, and costs less than the enterprise solutions that schools pay for today. We allow teachers “IT Admin-like control” over filtering policies in their classrooms. Awais Ahsan, Director of Marketing 855.732.8759 ext. 105 Silverback Learning Solutions is a company founded by educators with a mission to help fellow educators accelerate achievement in all students. Silverback’s flagship product, Mileposts, helps users create and connect individualized learning plans and interventions to all of the instructional and assessment resources already available in schools and to the millions of Open Educational Resources available on the Web via the Gooru search engine for learning. Rudi Lewis, COO 208.258.2582 Spark 101 helps educators bring real-world applications from industry into lessons to ignite interest in STEM. Spark 101’s free, interactive videos and instructional resources help teachers engage students in inquirybased learning—integrated directly to curriculum—to build

key 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. Anna Gemolas, Communications Director 301.751.2911 WriterKEY is a Web-based application used by teachers and students to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of writing instruction across the curriculum. WriterKEY is not an e-grader; rather, WriterKEY is a set of innovative tools that enable teachers to give better, differentiated feedback to students. Personalized teacher comments become part of the rich data analytics that monitor progress and guide instruction. Students benefit from tools and resources designed to enable a sustained, supported formative writing experience. Doug Silver, Chief Academic Officer 203.648.6789 YellowFolder, LLC, is the education documentation expert. We help store what you need to save. Destroy what you don’t. Organize and instantly access what you need, when you need it, and safeguard your most important files with vault-level protection. is the cloudbased file cabinet for all of your district’s records. Kelby Hagar, Chairman & CEO 214.208.821

InnovatIon Zone

May 2014 • Texas School Business


Texas coaches inspire future generations, one champion at a time by Bobby Hawthorne


ere’s a little challenge for you. Inspire someone. Inspire someone to be better, to dream big and to chase those dreams. Inspire someone to be kinder, more responsible. Just march out there and inspire someone — starting NOW, then check back with me in an hour or two because I want to know how you did. Did you inspire anyone to be more generous, less judgmental, lose weight, drive slower, or to do anything that might involve hard work or personal sacrifice? Probably not, regardless of how inspiring you might be. Like the rest of us, you live your life, scrape by and muddle through. Now and then, by luck or pluck, you excel. And when you do, you entertain the fleeting notion that someone might learn from your example, but then you chase the thought away because you’re not an egomaniac. So, think John Wooden versus Bill Belichick. Wooden inspires. Belichick motivates. Wooden inspires us to be better people. Belichick merely motivates his players to win. Wooden is about champions. Belichick is about championships. Big difference. Fact is, the act of inspiring is unconscious, unintentional, and that perhaps explains why, when I asked the following coaches to discuss something as misty as “inspiration,” each greeted the question with quizzical silence. Take Tammy Clark, head volleyball coach at Granbury High. First off, she can’t believe she was interviewed for this story. She has only coached for 17 years and hasn’t won a stack of championships —



Texas School Business • May 2014

Tammy Clark, head volleyball coach at Granbury High School, in Granbury ISD, has taught French and physics and is also an assistant principal.

although she has won her share of games. When she thinks of an inspiring coach, she thinks of Terry Pettit, the poet/author/ guru who built the University of Nebraska volleyball program into a national power. But ask Sam Tipton, executive director of the Texas Girls Coaches Association, about Tammy and he gushes. “She is not only highly respected by the girls she coaches, she has the same type of relationship with her fellow coaches,” Tipton says. “She realizes, through her day-to-day association with her student athletes, the importance of making athletics an integral part of the overall educational process. The state of athletics is better in Texas because of her.”

This year, Clark became an assistant principal — a job she loves so much she has agreed to give up teaching physics and French, both of which she learned while earning her bachelor’s degree in environmental chemistry from the University of Bordeaux. Still, she says she doesn’t think of herself as particularly inspiring, despite the flock of former players who return to tell her how much they appreciate all they learned from her, from just being around her. “There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone you’ve known for a long time, someone who’s now a full and confident young adult, someone who thinks you had a part in their success. That’s what coaching is all about.”

It took a while, but Tatum ISD head football coach and Athletic Director Andy Evans says he finally figured out what coaching was all about — and it’s not just winning, which his teams do regularly. He led the Eagles to state championships in 2005 and 2006 and a state runner-up in 2007. Evans says he has realized his gift is knowing how to motivate kids — particularly young male athletes and especially those who have grown up in fatherless homes. There are plenty of them in Tatum. Too many, actually. Evans came to this realization two years ago when he and one of his assistant coaches — his 79-year-old father who was then in his 57th year of coaching — were talking about kids. They were talking about how they think, what they know and what don’t know. Evans looked at his father, and it hit him: He taught me everything I know about being a man. Without him, I’m as lost as these kids are. His dad taught him you’re only as good as your word, that a handshake is a binding contract and that a promise broken is nothing but a lie. So, Evans decided that if one of his players didn’t have a man in his life to teach him these lessons, then he would. Every day, Evans and his dad and the other coaches emphasize honor, courage and commitment by teaching brief life lessons — often in the form of allegories about eagles or Napoleon or Hernando Cortez or Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain. Each story imparts a seminal lesson: Every job counts. One man alone can make a difference. Men are tempered by adversity; they succeed or die. Evans says his dad taught him these lessons not as vignettes but by showing up each day and keeping every promise, large and small. “Everything I know about how to treat kids, I learned from him,” he says. “For example, we had a kid three or four years ago who acted up during a football game, so I sent him to the locker room. Saturday morning, he came to me and apologized.” “I’m sorry for what I did, and I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to be a part of this team,” the young man told his coach. “Well, what are you going to do?” Evans’ dad asked him.


“I guess I’ll suspend him for half a game,” Evans replied. “That won’t be enough for some people, and it’ll be too much for others.” And his father replied: “It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. All that matters is your relationship with that kid.” That’s the philosophy Evans applies to all of his players. “Relationships are the most important thing we do in education — period,” he says. “I’ve chosen to treat them the way I feel like God treats me. When I do something wrong, I’m going to be held accountable, but it doesn’t change whether he loves me. So, we as a coaching staff have decided to love our kids unconditionally and work with them. And we want them to play hard for us, not because they fear us, but because they love us back.” Canyon ISD’s Joe Lombard is the most successful basketball coach — boys or girls — in Texas. Ever. His girls basketball teams have won almost 1,200 games and 16 state girls basketball championships — six at Nazareth ISD and 10 at Canyon High School. His 2002 Canyon squad finished No. 1 in USA Today’s national rankings, and MaxPrep chose him 2010-2011 National Girls High School Basketball Coach of the Year. For the record, he also took two Nazareth High boys basketball teams to the state tournament finals and coached


“There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone you’ve known for a long time, someone who’s now a full and confident young adult, someone who thinks you had a part in their success. That’s what coaching is all about.” —Tammy Clark, Granbury ISD four Canyon High girls cross-country state team champions. So, of course, the big questions are: How does he do it, year after year? How does he re-tool his teams and rejuvenate himself for the rigors of another championship run? “Well,” he says, “you have to love the kids,” because it’s not all about winning. Winning alone isn’t enough. “It’s as if we’re pursuing perfection, knowing, of course, that it’s unattainable,” Lombard says. “But that’s what we’re after. We’re always trying to get the kids to be the best they can be. We don’t just See COACHES on page 16

Tatum ISD head football coach and Athletic Director Andy Evans has a knack for providing guidance for athletes who don’t have father figures in their lives. May 2014 • Texas School Business


COACHES continued from page 15

expect them to win. We expect them to prepare and practice and play well all the time.” He’s fortunate to have high-quality kids who thrive under such otherwise wilting expectations. “They love to be coached,” he says. “They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They’re not necessarily seeking the individual glory. No one is selfish; everyone contributes. The game isn’t centered on the individual — the one kid who’s going to take all the big shots. It’s about the team.” It has to be. By and large, his girls are not world-class athletes, but they come from stable families. They buy in early and grow and mature each year. Generally, they like each other and feel good about themselves. They appreciate the importance of team chemistry. They know it’s as fundamental as dribbling. And they have a coach they respect and love, a coach who inspires them, even if he’s reluctant to see it that way. “This isn’t a job for me,” Lombard

Joe Lombard at Canyon High School in Canyon ISD says he is inspired by athletes who simply love the game, even if they’re not the most physically gifted players. Photo by James Barrington, The Canyon News.

says. “The kids can tell I love my work, and that inspires them, I suppose. As

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Texas School Business • May 2014

I’ve grown older, I feel like my gift is my compassion for the kids. I’m inspired by them, especially the kids who do their best, who are dedicated and excited and have great personal drive, who love the game even though they may not be as gifted physically as others. That’s what keeps me coming back.” That’s what keeps Tammy Clark and Andy Evans and most other coaches coming back as well. It’s not just a job. It’s not about Xs and Os and Ws and Ls, and it’s not about motivating kids to do this or that today and tomorrow. It’s about inspiring them to be better. Every day. To be champions. BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.

Who’s News Allen ISD Lance Hindt is now superintendent of Allen ISD after serving in his most recent position as superintendent of Stafford ISD since 2011. He began his career teaching geography, health and physical education at Dulles High School in Fort Bend ISD, Lance Hindt going on to serve as assistant principal of Dulles and then director of the district’s technical education center. He next was principal of Dulles High until his appointment to assistant superintendent in 2007. Hindt earned his undergraduate degree from William Penn University in Iowa and his master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University. He completed his doctorate at the University of Houston and conducted post-doctoral work in educational leadership at Lamar University. Alvin ISD A new principal has been named for Duke Elementary School, which is scheduled to open in August for the 20142015 school year. Fulvia Shaw, who currently leads Mason Elementary, has been with Alvin ISD for 14 years. She also has served Fulvia Shaw as assistant principal of Alvin High School, junior high summer school principal, and as assistant principal of Jeter and Marek elementary schools. Before coming to the district, she spent eight years as a bilingual teacher. Shaw earned her bachelor’s degree from Briar Cliff College and her master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Filling the newly created position of district lead counselor is Chenda Moore, who had been serving as Manvel High School’s lead counselor. With 14 years of counseling experience, she has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chenda Moore North Texas and a master’s degree in school counseling from Tarleton State University. Robert Wilcox has been named assistant athletic director and head football coach of Alvin High School. He comes to Alvin from Kingsville ISD, where he was the head football coach of King High School. An educator for 24 years, Wilcox Robert Wilcox received his bachelor’s

degree from Lamar University and his master’s degree in sports management from the United States Sports Academy. Amarillo ISD Denise Blanchard, program director of community partnerships, has been elected president of the Texas School Public Relations Association. She began her career in school relations in 2000 after spending 15 years teaching home economics at the middle and high school levels. Aransas Pass ISD A new superintendent has been appointed for the district. He is Mark Kemp, who worked at Blunt Elementary School as assistant principal and principal since 2012. He previously spent six years as superintendent of the Baker Valley Unified School District in California. Martha Rose is the new principal of Blunt Elementary. She comes to Aransas Pass ISD from Louisiana. Carthage ISD Chris Hardy has been hired as the district’s first chief of police. A graduate of Carthage High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and worked in Crockett ISD for a year as a teacher and coach. He then was on the faculty of the Crockett Alternative School from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, he worked as a police officer for Panola Junior College while attending the police academy in Kilgore. After graduation in 2009 he joined the Carthage Police Department, remaining there until taking his new position with the school district. Copperas Cove ISD Public information officer Olga PenaGaede has been named 2014 Rookie of the Year by the Texas School Public Relations Association. The award recognizes a public relations professional who has demonstrated outstanding, dedicated and creative approaches to school communications in his or her first 36 months on the job. Crane ISD James Rumage is now Crane ISD’s superintendent. He most recently held the same position in Banquete ISD. After serving as a member of the board of directors of Clyde ISD while making his living as a rancher, Rumage began his career in education in 1991 as a teacher and coach in Jacksboro ISD. Five years later, he took the role of K-12 principal of Bryson ISD, followed by working as grades 7-12 principal in Haskell CISD. He accepted his first superintendent position in Rochester ISD, followed by Ira ISD and Crockett County

CCSD. A graduate of McMurry University in Abilene, Rumage earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University. He has served on the educational advisory board of McMurry University and was treasurer of the Texas Association of Rural Schools. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Onica Mayers, former assistant principal of Bang Elementary School, is now principal of Kirk Elementary. An educator with 16 years of experience, she began her career at the Daniel Mucatel School in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she taught for four years beOnica Mayers fore spending a year as the literacy coach for grades pre-K through five. She then was the school’s assistant principal for seven years. Mayers came to Texas to join Houston ISD as assistant principal of the School at St. George Place in 2011, then was principal of Durham Elementary before coming to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in 2013. Mayers, whose bachelor’s degree in psychology was awarded from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, holds two master’s degrees, one in reading education from the City University of New York at Brooklyn College and one in education administration and supervision from Touro College, also in New York. The new principal of Cook Elementary School, Maggie Wiley, was most recently associate principal of Cypress Creek High School. She has been an educator for 18 years, beginning with three years as a high school teacher in Clear Creek ISD. She joined Maggie Wiley Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in 1999 as a math teacher at Cypress Creek High, going on to serve as a director of instruction helping teacher in 2001. She was named assistant principal in 2003 and a year later took the position of director of instruction, serving in that role for three years before being named associate principal. Wiley, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, earned her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston. Denton ISD Sharon Cox, Denton ISD’s director of communications and community relations, is the recipient of the 2014 Professional Achievement Award from the Texas School Public Relations Association, the highest award See WHO’S NEWS on page 19 May 2014 • Texas School Business


TASBO convenes for annual conference In February, school business officials traveled to Austin for the Texas Association of School Business Officials’ annual conference.

Past and present TASBO executive directors from left to right, Ed West, Gwen Santiago, Tracy Ginsburg and Bill Phipps. Lackland ISD Executive Director of Finance Becky Estrada gives her acceptance speech for TASBO’s Commitment to Excellence Award.

TASBO’s Commitment to Excellence finalist presentations, from left to right: Larry Pfeiffer, finalist, life member; Tracy Ginsburg, TASBO executive director; Steve West, finalist, Georgetown ISD; Mark Vechione, finalist, Socorro ISD; Art Martin, finalist, Slaton ISD; Kelly Penny, TASBO president, Coppell ISD; Becky Estrada, winner, Lackland ISD; Christopher Zingaro, AXA; JoAnn Tinney, finalist, Frisco ISD; Michelle Faust, finalist, Round Rock ISD; Renee Warner, finalist, ESC Region 2; and Deborah Ottmers, past president, Fredericksburg ISD.

Round Rock ISD Director of Purchasing Jamie Spiegel and Socorro ISD Director of Purchasing Mark Vechione assist Allen ISD Director of Purchasing Debra Nye at the Orientation Breakfast.

ASBO International Executive Director John Musso presents a travel map to past TASBO Executive Director Gwen Santiago as current TASBO Executive Director Tracy Ginsburg looks on.

Pictured left to right are BOSC’s Omar Garcia and his wife, Esther, with TASBO Leadership Dinner speaker Mark Strama, a former Texas state representative and current head of Google Fiber in Austin.

Migdalia Salinas and Sylvia Zapata of La Joya ISD.

First Public Vice President Trent Toon (left) and TASBO Board Member Jeff Baum from Lubbock at the TASBO Leadership Dinner at the Driskill Hotel.

Past President Deborah Ottmers (far right) with TASBO board members, from left to right, Jamie Spiegel, Round Rock ISD; Brenda Richmond, Hays CISD; Darrell Dodds, Alpine ISD; and Karen Smith, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. 18

Texas School Business • May 2014

Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 17

given to an individual by the organization. Cox came to Denton ISD 15 years ago, helping to initiate the Grandparents in Public Schools program, which now counts 80 people mentoring and tutoring in the Sharon Cox district’s schools. She also expanded the Adopt-A-School/Partners in Education Program to include more than 200 businesses and agencies. She has been president of TSPRA and the Texas Association of Partners in Education. Prior to joining Denton ISD, she worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Cox received her bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD A new principal has been appointed for Saginaw Elementary School. Amber Beene, who will take the new job for the 2014-2015 school year, currently serves as assistant principal of the campus. She assumed those duties in 2012, comAmber Beene ing to Eagle MountainSaginaw ISD from Coppell ISD, where she also was an assistant principal. She has also been a first grade teacher and intervention specialist and worked as a campus instructional coach in Northwest ISD in Fort Worth. Beene has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a specialization in early childhood development from Texas A&M University. Her master’s degree in education is from Walden University. East Central ISD (San Antonio) Rolando Toscano has been promoted from principal of East Central High School to district superintendent. He has spent his career with East Central ISD, beginning as a student teacher at Harmony Elementary and Oak Crest Middle School in Rolando Toscano 1997. He then coached and worked as an earth sciences teacher at Heritage Middle School and coached and taught biology at East Central High, where he went on to serve as assistant principal. He next was principal of Heritage Middle School for a year before taking his most recent position at East Central High, where he has served for seven years. Toscano received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from The University of

related to expanded learning opportunities, such as implementing an extended school day or year, and will review structured programs outside of the regular school day. The remaining council members are classroom teachers, higher learning professionals and business leaders. Jim Garfield, Elgin ISD’s new athletic director, comes to the district from Wichita Falls ISD’s Rider High School.

Texas at San Antonio and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Kingsville. He is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Elgin ISD Superintendent Jodi Duron is one of only two Texas public school administrators to be named to Commissioner of Education Michael Williams’ Expanded Learning Council. The 13-member committee will study issues

See WHO’S NEWS on page 23

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Roscoe Collegiate ISD’s Kim Alexander has never been more ready by Elizabeth Millard


ne of the slogans at Roscoe Collegiate ISD is: “All Students, College Ready, Career Ready, Life Ready.” To say that the district takes the phrase seriously is something of an understatement. The district set a 2015 goal of having 90 percent of students complete an associate’s degree before high school graduation. In reality, they’re likely to blow past that number, says Superintendent Kim Alexander. This year’s class was already at 89 percent, and he believes that next year should be close to 95 percent. “In our district, you have to work to get out of getting a degree, instead of working to get into a degree program,” he says.

Alexander’s passion is obvious — and the effect of his mission could have ripples across the state. “This doesn’t have to be a Roscoe thing. We’re trying to design this program in a way that will lead to a more highly educated workforce throughout the state, especially in STEM areas,” he says. Reaching toward readiness The fire behind Alexander’s efforts comes from growing up in the district and seeing changes in demographics and income. When he went to school there, Roscoe was predominantly comprised of middle-class farmers and ranchers. But as those small, family-run operations

morphed into large agribusinesses, day labor began changing the town’s economic makeup. About 30 percent of students were classified as low income in 1988, when Alexander started working as a teacher and a coach. Now, that number is closer to 70 percent. Also, the shift toward a larger Hispanic population challenged the district’s resources as it attempted to add more ESL and literacy classes. When he became superintendent in 2003, Alexander had just come out of a doctoral program where research on instruction for low socio-economic learners was emphasized. It was a eureka moment: He saw how differentiated instruction could boost student engagement and bet-

Superintendent Kim Alexander (standing) participates in a bond information meeting to educate the public on the need for the district’s STEM Research Center, which voters later approved. 20

Texas School Business • May 2014



Four guests (living or deceased) at my fantasy dinner party: Jesus, my wife, Bill Gates, and Glenn Shinn, professor of agricultural leadership, education and communications at Texas A&M University. When I need to relax, you’ll find me: in the swimming pool, doing laps. My advice for a new superintendent is: get involved with the school transformation network; keep your eye on the bigger picture of student outcomes. Something I’d like to do, but haven’t made time for: I have my real estate brokers license, because I’ve always been fascinated with farm and ranch land real estate, but I haven’t had time to pursue that. Maybe when I’m retired!

ter accommodate the needs of low-income families and ESL learners. Five years ago, Roscoe established an early college program that involved heavy investment in college readiness for all students in grades 7 through 12, relying on a Common Instructional Framework and adopting the Harvard Instructional Rounds Model. The district’s partnership with The Leadership and Learning Center in Denver, Colo., also has been a boon, with its focus on closing the literacy gap among low socio-economic learners by grade 3.

education or professional work experience could be seen as dropouts. “We’re celebrating high school graduation as an end point, instead of a step in the process. That’s frustrating to me,” he says. “When someone only has that high school diploma and nothing else, they’ll be on a plateau that could last for the rest of their lives.”

He was especially disheartened last year when Gov. Rick Perry vetoed House Bill 2824, despite unanimous approval in both the House and Senate. The bill would have given Roscoe Collegiate and the other 22 school districts in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (THPSC) some freedom from the system of standardized testing, which Alexander, who serves on the THPSC Steering Committee, believes could have created a new accountability system. “Instead, we’re still dealing with the system we’re in, which means we need more hours in the day and more funding to create a new system that has more meaningful assessments,” he says. Despite those challenges, Alexander still feels motivated every day, even after 26 years in education. He sees Roscoe’s model as one that could be replicated across the state, and he’ll work until the last minute on his retirement day to get students as career ready as possible. “We’re trying to develop a model that will transform education, and that probably sounds like an ambitious goal,” he says, with a laugh. “But we all believe here that we have the chance to make a difference, and we’re going to take that chance and run with it.” ELIZABETH MILLARD writes about technology, innovation and education.

Adapting to change Although Alexander’s daily focus is on the changing demographics and economics in his district, the superintendent also keeps in mind how shifts are affecting the entire state and how an educational program like Roscoe’s could be implemented on a larger scale. “Texas is growing so fast, and it’s changing so fast,” he says. “The economic devastation that we’ll experience if we don’t restructure education will be catastrophic. That’s why we need to take a fresh approach.” Alexander adds that in the current economy, those who only graduate from high school without any type of secondary

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Small-school design team blazes trail to new graduation requirements by Sheila Bowman


or small and rural schools, the reality of implementing the new graduation requirements of House Bill 5 has begun to sink in. Some schools are asking where to begin, while others assume the new graduation requirements, particularly the endorsements, will only be advantageous for larger schools. Small schools, not knowing of the many beneficial resources available, might see themselves as having the capacity to offer only a multidisciplinary endorsement, which HB 5 mandates for those districts that offer only a single endorsement. However, there are others who see the incredible potential that the new graduation requirements offer, and they have taken the lead in creating and planning ways to make the most of them, particularly in the five endorsement areas. Some of these trailblazers have discovered ways to simplify the undertaking, and they are willing to share their efforts with others. The Texas Rural Education Association HB 5 Design Team is one of those trailblazers. Back in the fall of 2013, TREA Executive Director Don Rogers organized a group known as the TREA HB 5 Design Team. The purpose of the group was to come together to find meaningful ways to disperse information about the new graduation requirements to others and to assist districts in planning for the new specifications. The design team continued to meet at ESC Region 12 in Waco during the fall. These sessions provided opportunities for superintendents, principals, counselors, and curriculum directors to deliberate and problem-solve issues facing their respective districts. During discussions, team members realized that, although each member came from different areas in Texas, they had many of the same needs and concerns. This realization inspired the team to create instruments and documents that could benefit small, rural schools as they planned for the new graduation requirements put forth in HB 5. One particular tool created during these meetings is a capacity assessment tool (CAT), which provides schools the


Texas School Business • May 2014

capability to assess their capacity to offer the five endorsements. The CAT, a customizable spreadsheet, contains a dropdown menu of courses that could be offered for each endorsement. Additionally, the tool allows schools to choose coursework from learning environments beyond their walls, such as nearby colleges, distancelearning courses, and school co-ops and consortiums. If a school, when looking under each endorsement area, has the capability to offer four courses within

This realization inspired the team to create instruments and documents that could benefit small, rural schools as they planned for the new graduation requirements put forth in HB 5. a coherent sequence, an endorsement pathway can be created and the school could offer that endorsement. The CAT also provides the means to create a long-term plan for endorsements by assessing which courses could be offered in the future for additional endorsement pathways. Another instrument the design team created is a slideshow presentation for HB 5 graduation requirements. Design team member Keri Winters, principal of LindenKildare High School in Linden-Kildare ISD, intentionally created this presentation without using educational jargon so it would be easy for everyone to understand. The presentation equates the foundation plan for the new graduation requirements to trip planning. Each endorsement adds personalization, interest and value to the student’s academic “journey.” The presentation’s simplified language makes it a straightforward way to educate students, parents and the community about the new

graduation requirements. Because the role of school counselor in a small school setting goes above and beyond counseling students, their questions and input led to the creation of many informational and planning documents that can make implementing the new requirements less complicated. One document, in particular, is an updated personal graduation plan for students. This editable tool, when used in tandem with the CAT, can be personalized to reflect the courses a campus has chosen for endorsement pathways. Design team member Robin Ralston, lead counselor for Hillsboro ISD, says these editable personal plans will make meetings with students seamless, smooth and successful. In March, members of this group gathered in Hillsboro for a Graduation Master Planning Summit. During this twoday meeting, principals and counselors collaborated using “what if” questions, while planning for next year, as well as the next four years. Participants came away from the meeting with short-term and long-term plans, additional shared resources and many questions answered. For all the small districts who have not yet begun to plan how HB 5 graduation requirements will look in your schools, some of the work has been done for you. All of the documents and tools mentioned above are housed on the TREA website under the HB 5 Template and Ideas for Implementation heading. As stated before, collaboration is key in this effort. Connect with your regional service center or schools in your area and host your own graduation master planning summit. Many hands make light work when it comes to implementing the new graduation requirements. SHEILA BOWMAN is an executive director of curriculum and instruction at Hillsboro ISD and was a member of the TREA HB 5 design team. She can be reached at bowman@

Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from 19

El Paso ISD Craig Kehrwald has been named principal of Austin High School. An educator for 28 years, he had been serving as the district’s director of college and career readiness. He also has been a classroom teacher, at-risk coordinator and assistant principal. A new executive director of school leadership operations is in place for El Paso ISD. He is Ramon Lozano, who has been principal of Horizon High School in El Paso’s Clint ISD since 2008. In addition, he has been a teacher, activities director and assistant principal during his 15-year career. Lozano holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at El Paso. Ennis ISD A new director of communications has been selected for the district. He is Art Del Barrio, whose experience includes work in news reporting, radio announcing, graphic design, photography, videography and Web design. He spent a year as community relations liaison for San Benito CISD and two years in Donna ISD, where he was the public relations director. A former member of the Mission CISD Board of Trustees and executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mission, he is a graduate of The University of Texas Pan-American, where he earned a degree in broadcast journalism.

of secondary education and assistant superintendent for curriculum, all in Alice ISD. Huerta’s bachelor’s degree in political science is from Texas A&M University at Kingsville and his master’s degree in Jaime Huerta secondary education was awarded from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Hart ISD The new district superintendent, Ken Rosser, comes to Hart ISD from Borger ISD, where he was a principal. Highland Park ISD (Amarillo) A new superintendent is in place for the district. He is Buddy Freeman, who comes to his new position from Quanah ISD, where he also held the top job. He spent 16 years as assistant superintendent of Prairiland ISD before taking on the top job in Quanah in 2010. Houston ISD Don Hare, a former teacher and superintendent in school districts in Ohio and North

Carolina, has been named chief major projects officer for Houston ISD. He will be responsible for the operation of the Futures Academy at Jones High School; the expansion of the EMERGE program Don Hare that guides high-achieving, low-income students to top colleges; and for developing additional college readiness initiatives. Hare has taught math and science and worked as a high school principal and educational consultant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in school administration and supervision from East Carolina University and a doctorate in school administration from Vanderbilt University. Italy ISD The district’s new superintendent is Jaime Velasco, who was most recently with Rosebud-Lott ISD as assistant superintendent.

Jaime Velasco

See WHO’S NEWS on page 27

Georgetown ISD Superintendent Joe Dan Lee, who has held the top position in Georgetown ISD since 2010, has announced his upcoming retirement, effective in July. Lee initially served as district superintendent from 2004 to 2007, returning in 2010 as interJoe Dan Lee im superintendent. Within a few months, he was given the permanent position once again. Lee has been an educator for 39 years, including stints as superintendent of Redwater and Pine Tree ISDs. Goose Creek CISD A new assistant superintendent of human resources has been named for the district. Jaime Huerta comes to his new job from Texas A&M International University, where he was director of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. An educator for 11 years, he has been a Spanish teacher, dean of instruction, administrator of the Alternative Education Program Center, principal, director N i c o l a S p r i n g e r,


/ n i c o l a s @ k i r k s e y. c o m / 7 1 3 4 2 6 7 5 1 0

May 2014 • Texas School Business


TACS PRESIDENT PROFILE Herb Youngblood knows running a rural district is no small feat By Ford Gunter


ome people are groomed for careers and others are born into them. For Herb Youngblood, incoming president of Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS), it’s both. Youngblood is the superintendent in Abernathy, which sits on the dry plains of the Llano Estacado in the southern part of the Texas Panhandle. With a population of 2,805 — according to the latest census — the town boasts one high school, one middle school and one elementary school. It’s fitting, then, that a man from Abernathy is taking the helm at TACS, which represents districts with no more than one

high school. Youngblood knows a thing or two about smaller school districts, having grown up in a small town and now having spent his entire career serving community schools. Youngblood grew up in Brookesmith, about 100 miles southeast of Abilene, and was the sixth of seven children. His dad was the super in Brookesmith. After going “public schools all the way,” Youngblood studied physical education at North Texas State University in Denton before embarking on a career in education as a coach and a math teacher in Leonard (population 1,990), also known as “the biggest

Abernathy ISD Superintendent Herb Youngblood is proud of his community school roots. With Youngblood are his wife, Robin, and children, Bridget and Scott. 24

Texas School Business • May 2014

little town in Northeast Texas.” After Leonard, Youngblood coached football and taught math in Cedar Hill ISD and then moved to Savoy (population 831), where he coached football and was the athletic director before taking on the roles of assistant principal and principal. After that, he moved to New Home (population 234), about 10 miles south of Lubbock, where he served as superintendent for two years, before moving to Abernathy in 2001. He has been superintendent there ever since. Youngblood, a longtime member of TACS, understands how important schools are in a small town. “The school is the city,” he explains. “Everything in Abernathy revolves around what the school is doing.” In small towns, the high school often is the great unifier. Politics, money and status aside, everyone in the town wants to see the school succeed — in sports, in academics, in everything. Small towns are invested in their public schools in a way that larger cities simply don’t seem to be anymore. The well-being of the school, in many ways, is a litmus test for the health of the surrounding community. “If you don’t have a school in these rural towns, your towns are going to go away,” Youngblood says. Youngblood’s main aim with TACS is to make sure that community schools continue to have a voice in the Texas Legislature. He cites two issues on the horizon that are paramount to the districts he represents. The first is to make sure policymakers understand the value of education service centers, which offer curriculum experts, Public Educational Information Management Systems (PEIMS), staff development and training, and a number of other services that rural districts often can’t provide on their own. “There’s a push in the state (to show) that they aren’t needed, so we’re really taking a stance that we need them,”

Youngblood says. “If we lose our education service centers, we schools would have to get together and combine resources to hire somebody.” Youngblood says resources are the biggest challenge to running a community school district. “It’s the different courses and vocational programs that the larger schools can offer that we can’t,” he says. “We just have one foreign language, for example: Spanish.” Human resources, of course, are just as hard to come by in rural districts. Other than Youngblood, his office consists of his secretary, a business manager and an accounts payable representative. His second priority is to support the University Interscholastic League. “UIL gets a lot of criticism about conferences and travel, but it’s really the supers who are the ones setting all the policies for UIL. We just want to support what they’re doing,” he says. “We need to make sure UIL is for public schools and not private and home schools.” While managing a smaller district can be challenging, there are advantages to a community school setting as well.


HERB YOUNGBLOOD Last book I read that I really liked: “’Divergent’ by Veronica Roth. I read the whole series.” A habit I’d love to break: “My wife says I’m a workaholic.” My dream vacation would be: Europe Beatles or Stones? “Both. Wait, my wife loves the Stones. I don’t know how many concerts she has been to, so I better say the Stones.”

Namely, it’s easier for students to participate and excel if they feel called to do so. There’s little risk of getting lost in the crowd or being just a number. “Our students do all sorts of sports and extracurricular activities, like band or FFA,” says Youngblood, whose children attended community schools growing up. His son, Scott, 23, just graduated from Texas A&M University with a de-

gree in engineering. His daughter, Bridget, 25, teaches seventh grade English and coaches volleyball, basketball and track in Lubbock. “I think that part is easier in a small school,” Youngblood says. “Your kids can participate in everything.” FORD GUNTER is a writer and filmmaker in Houston.

May 2014 • Texas School Business



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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 23

Katy ISD Charmaine Hobin now leads Alexander Elementary School as principal. She began her career as girls head track coach at Bayside Middle School in Virginia Beach City Public Schools, in Virginia, and has been a leadership coordinator in Charmaine Hobin the department of organizational development with Fort Bend ISD since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, a master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and cultural studies from the University of Houston. Alma Zertuche, an educator for 16 years, is the new principal of Bear Creek Elementary School, where she had been serving as assistant principal. She has also been a bilingual classroom teacher. Zertuche holds a bachelor’s degree in elAlma Zertuche ementary education from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Columbia University, and a doctoral degree in educational administration from Baylor University. Keller ISD David Rische, principal of Friendship Elementary School, is the recipient of the Instructional Leadership Principal Award from Tarleton State University’s Effective Schools Project (ESP). ESP is part of the university’s college of eduDavid Rische cation, bringing together teachers and administrators from more than 20 Texas public school districts for professional development conferences and seminars. One teacher and one campus administrator are recognized each year for the award, which is based on the candidates’ effective instruction, professional development, commitment to quality educational experiences and positive community relations. Rische has been principal of Friendship Elementary for two years, having previously served in the same capacity at Whitley Road Elementary.

Kerrville ISD Amy Ahrens, who has been principal of Tally Elementary School since 2012, will lead Starkey Elementary as principal, beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. She was a classroom teacher at Tally and at Nimitz Elementary for 10 years and Amy Ahrens previously taught for three years in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. Killeen ISD Kurt Hulett, principal of Liberty Hill Middle School, is one of the first educators appointed to the new Expanded Learning Opportunities Council by Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams. The council is the result of Senate Bill 503, which was passed in 2013 and directs Williams to appoint education and business leaders who have specific expertise in providing expanded learning opportunities for students in public schools. La Joya ISD Victor Garza, the district’s athletic director, was honored in March as ESC Region 7’s Athletic Director of the Year by the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association at the organization’s annual convention in Houston. A product of La Joya ISD schools and a graduate of La Joya High, he attended Texas Southmost College on an athletic scholarship, then earned a degree in kinesiology from The University of Texas-Pan American. Garza began his career as a coach in Mercedes ISD, spending four years there before joining La Joya ISD as an assistant coach. Two years later, he was promoted to head coach. Garza also holds a master’s degree. Lackland ISD (San Antonio) The Texas Association of School Business Officials recognized Lackland ISD’s executive director of finance, Rebecca Estrada, as its 2014 Commitment to Excellence Award winner. TASBO selects one outstanding member each year Rebecca Estrada who has demonstrated consistent leadership within both the organization and his or her profession. Estrada was honored at TASBO’s annual conference in February. She has been an educator since 1976 and has been in her current position for 12 years. Prior to that, she was assistant superintendent for finance at San Antonio’s Southside ISD for eight years. Estrada, who earned her bachelor’s degree from

Incarnate Word College and her master’s degree in business administration from Our Lady of the Lake University, was president of TASBO’s board of directors in 2010 and regularly presents at TASBO academies, workshops, conferences and webinars. Lamar CISD Keschia Jones now leads Terry High School as assistant principal. She has been an educator for 19 years, teaching in Houston ISD and in Alief ISD, where she also worked as a bilingual/ESL specialist. Jones is a graduate of the University of Keschia Jones Houston and holds a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Maria Marrero is the new assistant principal of Smith Elementary School. An educator for 13 years, she has been a classroom teacher, team leader, instructional leader and instructional coordinator in Katy ISD. Marrero earned her bachelor’s degree from Maria Marrero the University of Houston and her master’s degree from Lamar University. Lewisville ISD Beth Brockman has been named associate superintendent of staffing and community relations after serving as executive director for professional learning since 2008. Prior to that, she was principal of J.L. Huffines Middle School and assistant principal of Briarhill Middle School and Flower Mound High School. She also worked as a secondary math teacher. Brockman received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas, where she also completed her doctorate. Longview ISD Principal Cynthia Wise of Williams Elementary School was honored in March by the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members as its Administrator of the Year. Previously the principal of McClure Elementary, Wise opened the school in 2010. Manor ISD Esthela Allison, who was superintendent of Pearsall ISD since 2011, is Manor ISD’s interim superintendent. An educator for more than 26 years, she also worked as a classroom See WHO’S NEWS on page 28 May 2014 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 27

teacher, academic programs supervisor, assistant superintendent of personnel and instruction, director of curriculum and instruction and director of federal programs. Marble Falls ISD Brett Koch is now principal of Marble Falls Middle School after serving in an interim capacity since January. During his 25-year career, he has been a teacher, coach, athletic director, K-12 principal, middle and high school principal and superintendent. Koch received his bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and his master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. Navasota ISD Todd Nesloney, a fifth grade teacher at Fields Store Elementary in Waller ISD, will lead Navasota Intermediate School as principal beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in school administration from Lamar University. He was recognized by the National School Board Association as one of America’s “20 to Watch” educators in 2013. The Texas Computer Education Association also named him Teacher of the Year. Nesloney has been honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change.” Pflugerville ISD Pflugerville ISD’s newest elementary school, Dearing Elementary, will have Christy Chandler as principal when the campus opens in August for the 2014-2015 school year. Chandler has been principal of Timmerman Elementary since Christy Chandler 2009, having joined the district as a teacher at that school in 2002. She has 20 years of experience in education and holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin and a master’s degree from Texas State University. Veteran Pflugerville High School girls basketball coach Nancy Walling has announced her retirement, bringing to a close a 27-year career as a head coach, 25 of those with Pflugerville High. A two-time state champion player who went on to play Nancy Walling for Jody Conradt at The University of Texas, she spent her first two years coaching in Belton ISD. 28

Texas School Business • May 2014

Over the next 25 seasons, she led the Pflugerville High Lady Panthers to 622 wins and 10 district championships. Pine Tree ISD (Longview) A new athletic director and head football coach has been named for the district. He is David Collins, who comes to his new job from Lake Travis ISD in Austin. Mark Melton has filled the newly created position of director of fine arts, the latest assignment in his 31-year career in music education. He is in his third year with Pine Tree ISD and has taught in Longview, Lufkin and Union Grove (Gladewater) ISDs. Under his direction, the Union Gove High School band earned 20 consecutive UIL sweepstakes awards and four Texas Music Educators Association honor band finalist awards. Melton is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. Red Oak ISD The Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees has selected Kevin Freels to serve as assistant superintendent for campus operations. He has been principal of Red Oak High School since 2008. Freels, who has been an educator for 38 years, was with CeKevin Freels dar Hill ISD from 1989 to 2008, serving as a coach, teacher of biology and honors biology, associate principal and principal. He began his career in Fredericksburg ISD as a coach and a teacher

of life and earth sciences and physical education. Freels received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Assistant Superintendent and Chief Operations Officer Russ Schupmann has announced his upcoming retirement, effective in July. He began his career in 1981 as a teacher and coach in Galena Park ISD’s North Shore Middle School and at North Russ Schupmann Shore High School, where he was assistant principal from 1986 to 1989. He joined Red Oak ISD in 1989 as principal of Red Oak Intermediate School, going on to serve in the same capacity at the district’s junior high and high schools. He was named assistant superintendent in 2007. Schupmann earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and education at Iowa State University and his master’s degree in secondary education from Stephen F. Austin State University. River Road ISD (Amarillo) Mike Cheverier, associate high school principal in Boys Ranch ISD for the past seven years, has been appointed principal of River Road High School. Prior to his most recent job, he was assistant principal of Canyon ISD’s Randall High School and a teacher and administrator at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo ISD.

Who’s News Round Rock ISD District Athletic Director Dwayne Weirich has been elected regional director for the newly created Region 6 of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association. Region 6 encompasses school districts in 36 counties in the Central Dwayne Weirich Texas area. Weirich, who served as Region 8’s director in 2012-2013, joined Round Rock ISD in his current position in 2013. Prior to that, he was a coach at Round Rock High School. Salado ISD The new principal of Salado High School is Ross Sproul, who has been associate principal for curriculum and instruction at Lake Travis High School in Austin’s Lake Travis ISD. He previously taught ninth grade science in Deer Park ISD; worked as a science teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal in Humble ISD; and served as associate principal for curriculum and instruction at Westlake High School in Eanes ISD, also in Austin. Sproul holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston. San Benito CISD The San Benito CISD Board of Trustees has named Daniel Gomez the district’s athletic director and head coach. He comes to his new job from Lytle ISD, where he served in the same capacity since 2012. Gomez, who earned a bachelor’s degree in kineDaniel Gomez siology from The University of Texas, began his career as Raymondville ISD’s middle school athletic coordinator. He then spent a year with Hidalgo ISD as a history teacher and as a football, basketball and track coach, before joining Rio Hondo ISD as the head of the History Department and a coach. He next worked as a coach in Pharr-San JuanAlamo and Mexia ISDs. Sinton ISD New Superintendent Pari Whitten was most recently superintendent of Harper ISD. Snyder ISD A new principal has been appointed for Snyder Junior High. Jorge Mendez has been the school’s assistant principal since 2009. Prior to joining Snyder ISD, he was with Olton ISD,

Jorge Mendez

Robert Webb

where he was a high school math teacher, and with Lubbock ISD, where he taught math at Monterey High and served as an assistant principal intern at Estacado High. A former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, he earned his associate’s degree from South Plains College and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University. Robert Webb, who was most recently principal of Snyder Junior High, is now principal of Snyder High School.

South San Antonio ISD Abelardo Saavedra, who had served as South San Antonio ISD’s interim superintendent since December, has been named superintendent. Prior to coming to San Antonio, he was superintendent of Corpus Christi and Houston ISDs. Stafford MSD Former Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Don Hooper has been appointed the district’s interim superintendent. He held his former position from 1995 through June 2002. Hooper is the founder of the Center for Quality Leadership. He has 37 years of experience in public education. Stamford ISD Ronnie Casey, who joined Stamford ISD five years ago as a football coach, is now head coach of the Stamford High School Bulldogs. Casey also coached the school’s boys basketball team. Texarkana ISD Rick Sandlin, principal of Morris Mathematics and Engineering Elementary School, has been selected to serve on a committee of the National Academy of Engineering. The committee will focus on guiding the implementation of grades K-12 engineering curriculum in the United States. He is the committee’s only elementary school repreRick Sandlin sentative. Sandlin began his career in Texarkana ISD as a teacher at Highland Park and Kennedy elementary schools and became assistant principal of Wake Village Elementary in 1992. He

went on to work as principal of Highland Park, Nash and Wake Village elementary schools. Yorktown ISD Sharon Chapman is now principal of Yorktown Elementary School. Yorktown Elementary and Junior High Principal Sylvia Hernandez has been named the district’s director of curriculum and student services. Ysleta ISD New Superintendent Xavier De La Torre, who led El Paso’s Socorro ISD from 2009 to 2012, returns to El Paso from California, where he was county superintendent of schools at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. He also worked as associate superintendent of human resources and chief labor negotiator in the Elk Grove Xavier Unified School District in De La Torre Sacramento, Calif. Prior to that, he was associate superintendent of human resources in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, also in California. In 1999, he helped to plan, design and open Granite Hills High School in Porterville, Calif., serving as principal for five years. Before beginning work as a school administrator, he spent 10 years as a coach and a classroom teacher in social studies and Spanish. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Edgar L. Morphet Award, issued by the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration. The award recognizes a superior doctoral dissertation that addresses an important educational issue. De La Torre, who earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University at Chico and his master’s degree from the University of San Francisco, holds a doctorate from the University of California at Davis. TSB

Submit Who’s News to: Texas School Business provides education news to school districts, state organizations and vendors throughout the state. With ten issues a year, TSB can be an effective news source for your organization. 406 East 11th Street • Austin, TX 78701 512-477-6361 • Fax 512-482-8658 May 2014 • Texas School Business


THE BACK PAGE by Riney Jordan

Advertiser Index

Improving our public schools, Part III: Teach the basics


h, I love to get people to talking about this subject. First of all, it’s fascinating to see just what “the basics” mean to different individuals. Let’s see. Almost anytime folks talk about what kids need to learn in our schools, invariably someone will say, “These kids who work in fast-food restaurants can’t even make change. They need to know how to make change!” To that I say, “No, they don’t!” There’s not a fast-food business, grocery store or any other business that doesn’t have a cash register that does it for you. Does one need to know how to count? Yes, that helps. But a machine tells you plainly how much change to hand the customer. Some registers even count the coins and slide them down a chute for you. “Well, they need to know how to add, subtract and other simple math computations,” some say. “No, they don’t!” Every mobile phone out there has a calculator. Granted, the user needs to understand basic math concepts to do various calculations, but any of us could teach our children how to do basic math operations on a calculator in a few short lessons. Reading? There’s one that I do think is important. But most kids can do that fluently by the time they leave elementary school. Spelling? There’s auto-correct for that. Geography? Search the Internet for the most remote places on the globe and read everything you would want to know and then some. Well, if everything can be learned on a computer or solved by a machine, then why in the world do we even have schools? Because the basics that I believe are most critical to mankind’s survival are not reading, writing and arithmetic — as we’ve heard all our lives. What all these subjects we’ve focused on so far in school require is self-discipline.


Texas School Business • May 2014

If students are not disciplined enough to improve their knowledge base, develop their God-given gifts or pursue their dreams, then all the opportunities to learn are like man’s waste being buried in a landfill. How do we teach self-discipline? By encouragement. By genuinely caring. By helping to pick them up when they fall. In addition to self-discipline, we need to instill a work ethic. We should be showing them how to gain self-control. We also need to emphasize the importance of diversity. We must teach kids how to get along with others. Show them the value of being kind. Discuss the merits of compassion, understanding and caring for others. And we need to point out their gifts, their unique talents and special abilities. These are areas that can have a huge effect on their happiness, stability and satisfaction in life. What a miserable existence to go through life hating your job! Oh, I know we have to fill the day with a certain amount of curriculum that introduces them to the myriad opportunities out there. But, in my opinion, to require that they master concepts that, in far too many cases, they will never use again is a waste of taxpayer dollars, a waste of time for both the student and the teacher, and an incentive for kids with bright futures to drop out of school and get on with their lives. Back to basics? Yes. But back to those basics that have proven since the beginning of time to make a difference in people’s lives, in the lives of those around them and, eventually, to all mankind. Now, that’s an education! RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book “All the Difference” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at or by visiting

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