The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas
Texas School Business
MAY / JUNE
One day at a time School counselors look ahead, offer tips for helping students, staff recover from a pandemic school year
Also in this issue: TACS President Kevin Noack TEPSA President Lorena Zertuche
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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
14 Cover Story
One day at a time School counselors look ahead, offer tips for helping students, staff recover from a pandemic school year
TEPSA President Profile New TEPSA president Lorena Zertuche sings praises for school leaders by James Golsan
by Dacia Rivers
20 TACS President Profile Kevin Noack steps up to lead Texas’ community schools association by James Golsan
Departments 7 Who’s News 24 Calendar 29 Ad Index
22 TSPRA Annual Conference
5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 11 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 13 Digital Frontier by Matt Yeager 23 Regional View by Matt Koumalats 29 The Back Page by Riney Jordan
The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication.
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From the editor
s we wind down what might be the most challenging school year in history, and definitely in recent memory, we have a must-read feature for you. Experts agree that whether students were in in-person school or remote learning this year, they experienced what was possibly the most unstable and confusing year of their young lives. I spoke with school counselors from across the state to ask what takeaways they had after a year of working with students during a global pandemic and what advice they would offer to administrators as they look ahead and prepare to usher students and staff into a new and, hopefully, more stable school year. That story kicks off on page 14. Please share it with your colleagues. In the pages of Texas School Business, we aim to provide you with information as well as inspiration. If there is ever a topic you’d like to see covered in the magazine, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your input.
Texas School Business
Dacia Rivers Editorial Director
MAY / JUNE 2021 Volume LXVIII, Issue 3 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Dacia Rivers DESIGN
Phaedra Strecher COLUMNISTS
Riney Jordan Jim Walsh Matt Yeager
TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS
Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published online bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators. © Copyright 2021 Texas Association of School Administrators
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
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Who’s News Abilene ISD Jay Ashby, former associate
principal of Cooper High School, will lead the district’s new LIFT (Leadership and Innovation in Future Technologies) Center when it opens in August. He began his career in 2011 as a world geography teacher at Abilene High School. Abilene High School principal Michael Garcia stepped down from that role at the end of May to accept the position of Abilene ISD’s executive director of student services. He began his career in the district 27 years ago as a computer literacy teacher and coach at Franklin Middle School and served as principal of Martinez and Long elementary schools. Former Reagan Elementary School principal Leslye Roberts now leads Taylor Elementary School as principal. An educator for 14 years, nine of those in Abilene ISD, she previously worked in Santo ISD. In Abilene ISD, she has been a teacher, instructional coordinator and assistant principal. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lubbock Christian University. Keri Thornburg, former
principal of Taylor Elementary School, has been promoted to executive director of curriculum and instruction. An employee of the district since 1995, she previously worked as a teacher and instructional coordinator at Bowie, Bonham and Lee elementary schools and as principal of Bassetti Elementary. She is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University with a master’s degree in education from Abilene Christian University.
Allen ISD Allen High School head coach Terry Gambill has retired from the position he held since 2016. Prior to that, he was head coach at Waco ISD’s Midway High School. After 46 years with the district, athletic director Steve Williams will retire in June. He began his career as a teacher and football and basketball coach, going on to serve as head boys’ basketball coach and assistant athletic director before beginning his most recent role in 2000.
Alto ISD Alto High School alumnus Lance Gamble has returned to his hometown as the district’s athletic director. He most recently served as defense coordinator for Lufkin ISD. Prior to that assignment, he was head coach and athletic director at Beckville ISD.
Argyle ISD The district’s director of special education, a newly created department and position, is Mark Ruggles. He comes to Argyle from Lake Dallas ISD, where he worked since 2003, serving as director of special education since 2012. He is a graduate of Centenary College with a master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in school psychology from Texas Woman’s University.
Brenham ISD The Brenham ISD board of trustees announces the appointment of Kasandra Davis as child nutrition director. She brings 10 years of experience in the school food service industry to her new position.
Canutillo ISD (El Paso) Canutillo ISD’s chief human resources officer, Martha Carrasco, has been elected president of the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA). A TASPA committee member for seven years, she previously served as secretary, then vicepresident.
Carroll ISD After 25 years as an educator, the past five as principal of Walnut Grove Elementary School, Mike Landers will retire at the end of the school year. His 16 years with Carroll ISD included service as assistant principal of Johnson Elementary.
Center ISD Center High School’s new principal is Amanda Clark, who joins the district from Hallsville ISD, where she spent the past four years as an assistant principal. The 21year educator has also served in Marshall, Jefferson and Dallas ISDs. Former Center Middle School principal Jake Henson is now Center ISD’s assistant superintendent for student services. He began his career in the district in 2000
as a middle school teacher and coach, transitioning to administration in 2008 as an assistant and then associate principal at Center High School. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a master’s degree in educational leadership from the same institution. Valerie Moore has been hired as chief financial officer. She began her career 17 years ago in Timpson ISD, going on to work in Quitman ISD as an accounts payable clerk and assistant to the business manager. She holds a degree in business administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Conroe ISD Conroe ISD will implement a virtual academy for the 2021-22 school year, and William Kelly has been chosen as its principal. Until the new academy opens, he will continue to serve as Caney Creek High School’s associate principal for curriculum.
Coppell ISD New director of child nutrition Eric Lozano is a 25-year veteran of the food service industry with 10 years of experience in school nutrition. He previously worked in Midlothian and Grapevine-Colleyville ISDs and was assistant director of child nutrition in Plano ISD.
Crockett ISD Alton Dixon has accepted the position of head football coach and athletic director. He previously coached in Lufkin and Dallas ISDs and was defensive coordinator at Wylie ISD’s Wylie East High School.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD A new head coach and offensive coordinator is in place for Cypress Springs High School. Oji Fagan comes to CFISD from Fort Bend ISD, where he worked for the past 10 years, most recently as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. Fernando Zambrano, assistant
director of transportation and human resources, was honored in May with the 2021 Anti-Defamation League’s Walter Kase Teacher Excellence Award. The award recognizes educators’ outstanding efforts to create an atmosphere in schools that reject prejudice and regard diversity as strength.
> See Who’s News, page 9 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Who’s News > Continued from page 7
D’Hanis ISD Brian Thompson, new district superintendent, previously led Brazos ISD. In addition, he held the top position in Sunray and Pettus ISDs.
DeSoto ISD Now serving as chief financial officer of DeSoto ISD is Joey Jones. He comes to his new position from 10 years in Longview ISD, where he most recently was assistant superintendent of finance. He previously served in Grand Saline ISD and in the private sector. He received two bachelor’s degrees, in finance and accounting, from the University of Texas at Tyler.
Denton ISD Former Rayzor Elementary School principal Cecilia Holt now serves as the district’s early childhood education coordinator. The 28-year educator joined Denton ISD in 1996 as a teacher and in 2006 took her first administrative position. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. The district’s new virtual academy, set to commence at the beginning of the 202122 school year, will be led by Caleb Leath as principal. Currently leading Wilson Elementary School, he previously was assistant principal of Nelson Elementary.
Dripping Springs ISD Kristen Ray, who joined the district in 2017 to open Sycamore Springs Elementary School as principal, has been named director of elementary education. Previously employed as a consultant in the private sector, she also worked in Roosevelt ISD and San Antonio’s North East ISD as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Wayland Baptist University.
The newly appointed principal of Cypress Springs Elementary School is Kellie Raymond, moving to her new job from Dripping Springs Elementary, which
she led for six years. She began her career in Austin ISD, coming to Dripping Springs in 2006 to teach at Dripping Springs and Rooster Springs elementary schools. She is a graduate of Texas State University, where she also received her master’s degree in educational administration.
El Paso ISD Veteran educator Haidi Appel will lead the newly consolidated Haskins Pre-K-8 School when its doors open in August. Now principal of Lincoln Middle School, she has been with the district for 20 years, working as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso. After serving the past year as interim chief of police, Manuel Chavira now holds the job on a permanent basis. He is a 31-year veteran of the El Paso Fire Department and spent seven years with El Paso ISD’s police services department. Adan Lopez, new principal of
Canyon Hills Middle School, previously served as an administrator in the district’s secondary schools division. In addition, he was principal of Hughey Elementary and the College, Career and Technology Academy. Rose Ann Martinez, currently
principal of MacArthur Intermediate School, will lead the newly consolidated campus called MacArthur Pre-K-8 School when it opens in the fall. Prior assignments in EPISD include assistant and interim principal of Franklin High School and assistant principal of Silva Health Magnet School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and her master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. A new principal has been named for Duran Elementary School. Yeni Ontiveros, currently principal of Dowell Elementary, will take the helm when the new school opens for the 2021-22 academic year. She previously taught in both California and El Paso schools and was principal of Canutillo ISD’s Childress Elementary. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education were awarded from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD The district’s newest elementary school, Lake Country Elementary, will open its doors in August with Anke Bracey as principal. She brings 29 years of experience to her new job, the last 23 of those in administration. The Midwestern State University graduate was most recently Boyd ISD’s elementary principal. She earned her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. Sonia Garcia has accepted the position of assistant principal of Marine Creek Middle School after working in that capacity for the past 12 years, most recently in HurstEuless-Bedford and Irving ISDs. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education administration, both from Texas Woman’s University.
The new director of safety and security is Charles Ramirez, who joins the district after retiring from 29 years of service in the Fort Worth Police Department. His bachelor’s degree was awarded from Midwestern State University and his master’s degree from the University of Louisville.
Ector County ISD Ector County ISD has hired its first female athletic director. Tracey Borchardt began her career in the district in 1989 as a physical education teacher and was most recently assistant director of athletics.
Edinburg CISD Mario Salinas has been approved as superintendent of Edinburg CISD. He has been an educator for more than 30 years, working as a high school teacher, head varsity basketball coach, assistant principal and, for 10 years, principal of Edinburg North High School. Most recently, he served as assistant superintendent for support services. His bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were conferred from the University of Texas Pan-American.
> See Who’s News, page 10 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Who’s News > Continued from page 9
Ennis ISD Former North Hopkins ISD superintendent Darin Jolly now serves as Ennis ISD’s assistant superintendent of accountability and operations. He led North Hopkins for the past five years.
Frenship ISD Tiffany Taylor is Frenship
ISD’s new director of communications and community engagement. Previously the district’s media relations coordinator, she also worked as a public information officer for the Lubbock Police Department.
A new superintendent is in place for Granger ISD. Jeni Neatherlin joins the district from Salado ISD, where she was chief operations officer. Prior to that, she was principal of Llano High School in Llano ISD and of Abell Junior High in Midland ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.
The Italy ISD board of trustees has approved Rachel Kistner as district superintendent. Most recently executive director of special services in Burleson ISD, she has also worked in Red Oak ISD as a teacher, principal and director of special education.
Humble ISD Billy Beattie has been chosen
to serve as the district’s chief financial officer. Previously director of business systems, payroll, benefits and risk management, he is a Texas A&M graduate, a native of Humble and product of Humble ISD schools.
Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD HEB ISD recently made 15 new administrative assignments. They are:
Frisco ISD Athletic director
David Kuykendall has retired. He spent seven seasons as Frisco High School’s head coach before becoming the district’s first athletic director in 1999. Grace McDowell, who has
worked in the district since 2002, the past seven years as assistant athletic director, will take over the role of athletic director. She has taught and coached at the secondary and college levels and was Fowler Middle School’s assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and master’s degrees in exercise science and administration and is completing a doctorate in sports management from Texas Woman’s University.
Glen Rose ISD Trig Overbo has accepted the position of
superintendent of Glen Rose ISD. Most recently the eight-year superintendent of Jayton-Girard ISD, he previously taught, coached and served as an administrator in Hamlin and Snyder ISDs. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater with a master’s degree in educational leadership from Abilene Christian University. His doctorate in educational leadership was awarded from Lamar University.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
• Tiffany Benavides, coordinator of human resources – auxiliary; • Lilymar Benitez-Berrios, coordinator of special education (assessment); • Aungelique Brading, coordinator of quality learning; • Darla Clark, assistant superintendent of elementary administration; • Christine Cruz, principal, Shady Oaks Elementary School; • Shannon Gauntt, principal, Arbor Creek Elementary School; • Katie Harrell, principal, Bedford Heights Elementary School; • Joe Harrington, deputy superintendent of educational operations; • Lindsey Hopkins, coordinator of information services; • Shannon Huber, principal, Harrison Lane Elementary School; • Terry Jackson, director of information services; • Melanie Mans, principal, Viridian Elementary School; • Miranda Martin, principal, Shady Brook Elementary School; • Ann Rodriguez, principal, Meadow Creek Elementary School; • Conrad Streeter, assistant superintendent of secondary administration.
Katy ISD Mayde Creek High School has a new campus athletic coordinator and head football coach. J Jensen is a graduate of Mayde Creek who began his career as a coach at Morton Ranch Junior High in 2003. He next was a defensive line coach at Mayde Creek before transferring to Alief ISD. He returned to Katy ISD in 2014 as Taylor High School’s defensive coordinator.
Keller ISD The district’s new executive director of special education is Lynn Jameson, who spent the past six years as director of special education in Castleberry ISD. Prior to that, she was special education coordinator and an educational diagnostician for Mansfield and Arlington ISDs. The Keller High School graduate received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University. Clarence Scott, newly
appointed principal of Sunset Valley Middle School, has been promoted from assistant principal of Liberty Elementary. An educator for 12 years, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and his master’s degree in educational administration from Dallas Baptist University. After 19 years with the district, Indian Springs Middle School principal Sandy Troudt will bring her 43-year education career to a close with her retirement in June. She began as a teacher and volleyball coach in Colorado and Kansas before transferring to Texas to teach and coach at Texas Woman’s University and beginning the volleyball program at Texas Christian University. She joined Keller ISD in 2002 as head volleyball coach at Fossil Ridge High School.
> See Who’s News, page 17
THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED
Vist TSB online!
Scrappy underdog KOs infamous slugger by Jim Walsh
he federal judge in the case of Bell v. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD had some fun writing his opinion. He describes the plaintiff, Dr. Keith Bell, as “an infamous slugger known in federal courts around the U.S. for throwing heavy-handed hooks at nonprofits and taxpayer-funded school districts in the hopes that they throw in the towel and let him take the purse.” EMS ISD is described as “the underdog … a scrappy, counter-punching independent school district.” The judge continues with the boxing metaphor through all 20 pages of his decision, which is best absorbed while listening to the soundtrack from “Rocky.” The district won the case in a fourround knockout. Not only that, the court ordered Bell to reimburse the district for its attorneys’ fees and costs. Now that is a satisfying outcome. Bell is the author of “Winning Isn’t Normal,” a 72-page book published in 1982. He sued EMS ISD because two district-affiliated Twitter pages posted a photograph of a single page of the book. When informed of the issue, the district removed the two posts and informed Bell that it would treat the incident as a “teachable moment.” That did not satisfy Bell. He wanted a monetary settlement, despite the absence of any indication that these posts on obscure Twitter pages with fewer than 1,000 followers had any adverse effect on book sales. But EMS refused to throw in the towel and thus the “infamous slugger” and the “scrappy counter-puncher” ended up in a boxing ring that looked a lot like a federal court. In the course of his opinion, the judge cites two football coaches (Vince Lombardi and Bear Bryant), two presidents (Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt), two generals (Patton and
MacArthur) and one saint (Jerome). All this comes in a section of the opinion with the heading: “Eagle Mountain breezes by Bell’s blow and delivers a devastating uppercut.” That uppercut established that the use of Bell’s copyrighted work amounted to “fair use.” It’s a knockout in favor of the underdog. Rocky wins! But it gets better. After the analysis of “fair use” under federal copyright law, the judge notes that, “this court, like any good referee, does not tolerate unsportsmanlike conduct.” Oops! A football reference in an opinion built on a boxing metaphor! But let us overlook that for the moment. Let us instead appreciate Hizzoner’s laser focus on the motivation that drove this suit. “The issue is not that he seeks to enforce his copyright,” says the judge, “but that he seeks a disproportionate amount to settle his claims in a repulsively pungent pattern that repeats tens, if not hundreds, of times over.” The judge cites “the plethora of lawsuits Bell has filed throughout the United States.” The “unavoidable conclusion,” according to the judge, is “that Bell continues to insist on extorting public schools by abusing the Copyright Act.” Sheesh! The judge was hot! And thus he ordered Bell to pay for the district’s fees and costs, noting that these sums “shall be extracted solely from Bell, not his counsel.” The judge was The Honorable Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas. The order is dated March 26, 2021. And I’m pleased to let you know that the “devastating uppercut” was delivered by Kelley Kalchthaler, one of the shareholders in the Walsh Gallegos law firm.
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68 Years and Counting
JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
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How Garland ISD implemented a private cellular network infrastructure pilot program to ensure the success of all students during remote learning by Matt Yeager
ike school districts across the country, Garland ISD faced a significant challenge in ensuring equitable access to remote instruction for their 37,000 economically disadvantaged students — about 68% of the district’s total enrollment — during the COVID-19 pandemic. After providing all students with 1:1 devices at the beginning of the school year, the district ascertained that approximately 13,000 of their students were without reliable high-speed internet service at home. Due to the ongoing need for student connectivity at home and to bridge this digital gap, earlier this year GISD’s board of trustees approved the implementation of a private cellular network infrastructure pilot program. This pilot program will service the two areas in which the district’s most economically disadvantaged families reside, as indicated by the district’s connectivity heat map. The goal of the pilot program is to provide and evaluate private cellular network connectivity at home to ensure access to online instructional resources and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year — not just during school hours. Using the Band 48 Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) authorized by the FCC for private cellular service, the pilot will begin with 200 end
users per site to test signal strength and connectivity speeds at various points up to 1.8 miles away from the cell tower. Why a private cellular network? •
High-speed connections up to 100 Mbps with unlimited data
GISD-owned and managed towers, network infrastructure and cellular service
GISD-owned and managed hotspot devices convert cellular signal from the towers to Wi-Fi for district device connectivity
Extension of the current GISD network infrastructure. Provides access to district network resources and internet, as well as content and internet filtering, in a setting similar to connecting to GISD Wi-Fi at school
A private cellular network’s total cost of ownership is less than the ongoing monthly service fees charged by hotspot providers over five years.
After the initial phase of the pilot program, GISD will evaluate the efficacy of the initiative with the hope of expanding the service to ensure that no matter what challenge the district faces in the future, all students will have the opportunity to access the critical learning resources they need to succeed in today’s changing world.
The goal of the pilot program is to provide and evaluate private cellular network connectivity at home to ensure access to online instructional resources and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year — not just during school hours.
MATT YEAGER is executive technology officer in Garland ISD and a Texas K-12 CTO Council Member.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
One day at a time by Dacia Rivers
he 2020-21 school year has been a feat — for administrators, teachers, students, parents — for everyone. As it winds down, school staff are no doubt ready to breathe a sigh of relief while at the same time realizing it’d better be a quick one. A new school year is on the horizon and no one can say what it holds for sure. Everyone working in a public school has been working extra hard this year, and counselors are no exception. From connecting with students remotely to
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
School counselors look ahead, offer tips for helping students, staff recover from a pandemic school year
welcoming students back into classrooms, all while also supporting their fellow staff members and carrying on their regular duties, counselors had their feet held to the fire this year and they’ve come out confident in the need for the work that they do.
A sudden shift Dyann Wilson is a sixth grade counselor at Teague Middle School in Aldine ISD. When COVID-19 first forced students into remote
learning, she took quick steps to reach her school community. With the help of a twin sister who serves as the head of technology in Montgomery ISD, Wilson adjusted her work to use Wakelet, a program that would allow her to share information virtually. “When all this happened, I was so used to being in one little bubble where I didn’t go outside of my job role,” Wilson says. “I didn’t try new tools because when you’re a counselor, you already have so much on your plate.”
Lesa Pritchard, executive director of whole child services in Boerne ISD, agrees that the counselors she works with in the district learned the importance of being flexible when the pandemic hit. “Things change from day to day, and you have to move forward,” she says. “Uncertainty can cause you to be stagnant. You have to learn to move forward even when you don’t have all the answers.” As the pandemic forced Wilson to move outside of her comfort zone, she found herself enjoying the change. She adapted to using technology to reach her students, and found her efforts were needed more than ever. “Whenever kids think that something traumatic is happening, on or off campus, they’re always worried about not coming back to campus,” Wilson says. “For them, school is comfort. This is where they see their friends, where they get free meals. When COVID took that from them and they went home indefinitely, they struggled.” Wilson says students’ needs were the primary focus in Aldine ISD when the pandemic hit, but counselors in the district realized that many of their fellow staff members also needed support. New staff in the district, especially those who had moved for their jobs and had no local family or friend groups, struggled with being isolated at home. Counselors found themselves providing support not only to students, but with adults who worked in the district.
Comprehensive school counseling programs during school closure Ensure your school counseling website is up-to-date and reflects the current operations of the program. Include: • Services available to students and how to access them • Digital resources for individual planning and social-emotional well-being • Clear, current contact information for counseling staff and hours of operation/expected wait time for response • Links to approved mental health and support resources in the community • Directions for what a student in crisis should do (e.g., contact 911, suicide prevention hotline, etc.) Communicate early and often • Students and families may not realize that the counseling program is operating or what services are available. Consider sending weekly updates highlighting your services and resources and reminding families of upcoming milestones. • Carefully review digital resources for quality and accuracy before promoting them to students and parents. • Promote self-care with all students, families, and educators. Source: TEA
Aldine ISD counselors created a virtual calming room, a website anyone can visit and click on different links aimed at relaxation, such as the soothing sound of ocean waves, live zoo animal videos and coloring apps. “It’s a website anybody can go to when they’re feeling boxed in or need a break and need to push that reset button,” Wilson says. “Especially for kids, instead of sending them to discipline, we need ways to help calm them and meet their emotional needs.”
Challenges ahead COVID learning loss is a bit of a buzz term right now. While the effects of the pandemic on student learning haven’t yet been fully realized, early research shows it’s a significant issue. A McKinsey & Co. report released in late 2020 states that students are an estimated three to five months behind where they would be in a typical school year. “When you’re on campus, you’re engaged. There’s people in front of you educating you,” Wilson says. “When you’re at home
and it’s just you and that computer, it can be difficult. That’s been a struggle for us, getting virtual students to be more engaged online.” In Aldine, some students are still unaccounted for, neither signing into virtual learning or coming back to inperson school. Wilson worries about these students, but is happy that the district has created a CARES team at each campus, made up of staff who go out into the community to try to locate these students and bring them whatever they may need, from Chromebooks to food.
When students do return to campus, it’s not as though a switch has been flipped and everything can just go back to normal, Pritchard and Wilson warn. Students and staff have been through a lot, and many are still struggling. “Once you’re experienced that kind of trauma, once you have experienced something you never thought was possible, you can’t go back to not experiencing that,” > See One Day, page 16 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Pritchard says. “We all need to feel safe in our environment, and the pandemic has caused us all to feel less safe.” Pritchard points out that the next school year will bring more students who are new to campus than usual. High schools will welcome freshmen and sophomores who have never set foot on the campus before. Likewise with kindergarten and first grade students, along with sixth and seventh graders. Preparing for these new challenges means school staff will be putting in more effort, working harder and longer hours to try and help students get back on track. “Everyone’s more exhausted this time of year than they normally are,” Pritchard says. “Everyone’s going to need a break, and in some cases, we won’t get a break because we’re doing to have a more intensive summer program to try to get our students caught up.”
Support school staff Staff retention is on every administrator’s mind. After an exhausting year and with new challenges to come, school staff need support now more than ever. Pritchard and Wilson say that for counselors to be able to reach out and help students and staff, they need the freedom to do the work they are trained to do, without distraction. They need to be allowed to be whole counselors. “Take as many non-counseling duties off of them as you can,” Pritchard suggests. “Make sure they have the time and emotional energy to be able to give the kind of support they need to offer.” Wilson says that in the past, she was made to wear many different hats as a counselor, being asked to help with discipline or cover non-counseling duties. This year her school hired a new principal, and Wilson says the new administration’s dedication to counseling staff has elevated the work she is able to do. “I think the most important thing is for an administrator to know the role of the counselor, and if they don’t know, to ask,” she says. “When we are able to do our job, we know it makes a difference. If we can meet the needs of our students and our staff, you can see the change on campus.” In Boerne, counselors have created a Tuesday night program called The Well, where students, parents and staff are invited to talk to counselors and each other. The event, offered both virtually and in-person, allows everyone to relax and connect
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
with those facing similar struggles and frustrations.
the teachers. We have to make sure their needs are being met.”
“We continue to stick together and support each other,” Pritchard says. “And we get through it, just one day at a time, and remind everybody that we’re all just doing the best that we can, and that’s enough.”
Pritchard adds that self-care is for everyone, and administrators who aren’t taking time for themselves can’t be of much help to others.
In Aldine, Tuesdays are “Take Care Tuesdays,” where counselors send staff a Wakelet newsletter full of mindfulness activities, healthy eating tips, exercises and humor. The goal is to remind staff to reset and recharge, and let them know they can always reach out to the school counselors. “We all started as educators in the beginning, we were all in a classroom at one point,” Wilson says. “We need to be mindful of that and make sure that we’re supporting
“Administrators have been stressed. This has been a difficult year, budget-wise, it’s a legislative year, and we have all had to be flexible,” she says. “Administrators need to make sure that they’re taken care of, that they find a balance between work, relationships and family time, so that they have energy and patience for their staff and students.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.
Recommendations for maintaining a commitment to student wellness and postsecondary readiness Articulate a vision for counseling and define expectations with input from the counseling staff. • Integrate counseling support. Let counselors join morning meetings to connect with students. • Spread out logistical duties like tracking down absent students across school staff or, if the resources are available, hire additional staff. Prioritize counselors’ time with students and take flexible and creative approaches as needed. • Be intentional about scheduling. Give students (and families) an advisory period as a chance to connect. This may require flexibility and may need to take place outside of school hours to accommodate the needs of students and their caregivers. Ensure counselors have access to resources and supports to adapt to supporting students in this new environment. • Consider the need for privacy in virtual counseling sessions. Counselors may need to connect with students in a safe meeting space or use a tele-counseling platform. • Offer training and support that meet the specific needs of counselors. As the pandemic has increased trauma, grief and isolation, counselors may need explicit training in these areas. Source: Harvard Graduate School of Education
Who’s News > Continued from page 10
Killeen ISD Now serving as executive director for elementary schools is Iris Felder, who most recently led Brookhaven Elementary. Initially a teacher at Reeces Creek Elementary, she holds a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix.
Lamar CISD Nick Codutti is now head football coach and
campus athletic coordinator at Fulshear High School, coming to his new job from Tomball ISD, where he was assistant head football coach at Tomball High School. The 12-year educator is a graduate of WilliamJewell College with a master’s degree from William Woods University. Brian Gibson has been
selected to serve as principal of one of Lamar CISD’s new campuses, Morgan Elementary, when school begins in August. Principal of Velasquez Elementary since 2014, he has also been an assistant principal, teacher and math specialist in Fort Bend ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and his master’s degree in education from Prairie View A&M University, where he is at work on his doctorate in educational leadership. Sherri Henry, now principal of Velasquez
Elementary School, was most recently assistant principal of Beasley Elementary School. She has been an educator for 15 years and holds a bachelor’s degree from Lamar University, a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and a doctorate in education from Walden University.
Creighton Jaster is the newly appointed principal of another new campus, Wright Junior High. He has led Lamar Junior High since 2015 and previously was an assistant principal at Lamar Consolidated High School. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Brian Randle has accepted the position of head football coach and campus athletic coordinator at Randle High School. An educator for 18 years, he most recently held the same position at Mayde Creek High School in Katy ISD. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University at Kingsville.
Greg Tielke is the new principal of Lamar
Horace Williams, who
Junior High after having served as an associate principal of Lamar Consolidated High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Sul Ross State University and his master’s degree from Lamar University.
Leander ISD Monica de la Garza-Conness, who began her career in Seguin ISD, is the new principal of Bagdad Elementary School. She took her first administrative position in Austin ISD’s Sadler Means Young Women’s Academy, going on to work as principal of Martin Middle School and as a school improvement facilitator. She graduated from Texas State University and earned her master’s degree in education administration from Concordia University.
Lewisville ISD The district’s newest elementary school, designated as a STEM academy and as yet unnamed, will have Stephanie Lawson as principal when it opens in August. Currently an elementary virtual administrator, she was previously principal of Lewisville Elementary. She began her career in Arkansas, joining LISD in 2005. She is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, from which she also earned her master’s degree in education.
Longview ISD Craig Coleman has been
named chief innovation officer for Longview ISD. He has been an educator for more than 20 years, working as a teacher, assistant principal and principal before serving as superintendent of Harleton ISD. In addition, he was a professor in the department of secondary education and educational leadership at Stephen F. Austin State University. The district’s new assistant superintendent of business, transportation and technology is Wayne Guidry, who comes to LISD from Spring Hill ISD, where he was superintendent. He previously was an administrator in Hubbard and Hamshire-Fannett ISDs and West Orange-Cove CISD. Now serving as the district’s director of employee relations is Shalona McCray, who has been with LISD for more than a decade. She has served as a teacher, principal and administrator.
joined the district in 2013, has accepted the position of deputy superintendent. He previously served as superintendent in Diboll ISD and on Staten Island, NY.
Former Carthage ISD superintendent John Wink is now Longview ISD’s coordinator of policy and new schools. An educator for more than two decades, he also served in Gilmer, Tatum and Hallsville ISDs and was most recently superintendent of Carthage ISD. John York, newly appointed
chief human resources officer, has been a teacher, principal and district administrator in various districts in east Texas in his 30-year career.
Marlin ISD A new head football coach and assistant athletic director has been announced. Ruben Torres comes to Marlin from El Paso ISD’s Franklin High School. Prior to that, also in El Paso, he was head football coach and athletic coordinator at Socorro ISD’s El Dorado High School and Ysleta ISD’s Ysleta High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Meadow ISD Bric Turner, who came
to Meadow ISD in 2017 as secondary principal, has been named district superintendent. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas Permian Basin and his master’s degree in education administration from Lubbock Christian University.
Mesquite ISD The appointment of Angel Rivera as deputy superintendent has been approved by the Mesquite ISD board of trustees. He will transition from his most recent position, assistant superintendent for innovation and leadership. The University of Houston Clear Lake graduate has been an educator for 20 years, working in Pasadena, Nacogdoches, Mansfield and Garland as well as Mesquite. He earned his master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and his doctorate from Stephen F. Austin State University. > See Who’s News, page 26 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Texas Association of Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association
New TEPSA president Lorena Zertuche sings praises for school leaders by James Golsan
ew Texas Association of Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) President Dr. Alma “Lorena” Zertuche would not be where she is today without the support and sacrifices made by her family. A first-generation immigrant from Mexico and naturalized American citizen, she’s quick to credit her family, especially her husband, Michael, and her parents, Drs. Ramon and Alma Borreno, with all they have done to support her throughout her career. “My parents used to say, we’re not rich, so your inheritance is your education,” Zertuche says. She adds, jokingly, that all hope of her using that education to join her parents in the medical field went out the window the moment she had to start dissecting animals during junior high school science classes. “I couldn’t stand the smell of formaldehyde or the sight of blood!” It was another family member, her aunt, who set Zertuche on the path toward becoming an educator. “Every summer growing up, we would go and visit my family in Ciudad Juarez, where my dad’s youngest sister was a kindergarten teacher, and I would help her with her classroom, preparing for the next school year, that kind of thing.”
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
By the time she reached high school, Zertuche knew education was the right career for her. She began exploring prospective educator events and set her sights on attending the best education college in the country, which Zertuche says was the George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University at the time. Upon graduating, Zertuche was prepared to start teaching immediately, but her parents, ever education focused, encouraged her to immediately pursue her master’s degree. She spent a year at the Teachers’ College at Columbia University earning a master’s in curriculum and instruction (an experience she says she “absolutely loved”), then returned to the Houston area to begin her teaching career. “I returned to my alma mater district, Spring Branch ISD, and taught everything there,” Zertuche says, as she covered nearly every grade and subject matter offered at the elementary level in Texas. Much as she did during the course of her education, Zertuche excelled. She was nominated for Spring Branch’s Teacher of the Year award during just her fourth year as an educator. While she did not win, her principal had seen enough of her quality work, as well as her leadership skills, to encourage Zertuche to pursue her doctorate and subsequently a leadership role in the education field.
It took some pushing. Zertuche loved teaching and did not want to leave the classroom, but she ultimately chose to pursue her doctorate at Baylor University. During her ninth year as an educator, she landed her first leadership position, an assistant principalship at Bear Creek Elementary School in Katy ISD. Once again, she excelled in her role. During the final year of a sevenyear turn as an assistant principal at Bear Creek, Zertuche was awarded National Distinguished Principal for the State of Texas, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that she would not officially become Bear Creek’s lead principal until the following fall. While Zertuche loved being a principal and the community around Katy ISD — she led the school through the Hurricane Harvey catastrophe during the fall of 2017 — when it came time to take the next step in her career, she was ready for a change. She is now the community engagement coordinator for Spring ISD, where she has established a new mentoring program and jokes that while she used to dread becoming one of “those people at the central office” during her classroom days, she works to be mindful of the relationship dynamics that exist between district offices and campus leadership, and is
focused on building and strengthening the education community at Spring ISD. A longtime TEPSA member (she first became involved with TEPSA as she pursued her doctorate), Zertuche credits the organization with many aspects of her professional development and says organization members are at the front of her mind as she assumes the presidency this summer. “We’re member-owned, and membergoverned, and my theme for my first year is ‘Singing our Praises for School Leaders,’ because our school leaders have been through so much this last year. With all the changes they have been through [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], the work they do is nothing short of heroic.” Zertuche’s career as an educator has been defined by excellence and passion. Those qualities shine through both in the classroom and at the campus leadership level, and they will continue to do so at Spring ISD and TEPSA in the coming years. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.
Texas Association of Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) Membership: TEPSA membership includes school leaders of Texas PK-8 schools. Mission: TEPSA provides leadership training, networking opportunities, information and support for school leaders as they strive to improve the education of Texas school children and members’ working conditions. The group maintains its positive impact on legislators, policy makers, communities and other stakeholders to improve the quality of childhood, public education and the principalship, and continues to raise the level of respect for and prestige of the principalship and makes the principalship a highly desired leadership position. Year founded: 1917 Number of members: more than 5,900 Website: tepsa.org
ARCHITECTURE ▪ INTERIOR DESIGN
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Texas Association of Community Schools
Kevin Noack steps up to lead Texas’ community schools association by James Golsan
he Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) defines the “community schools” in their membership as districts with fewer than 12,000 students in average daily attendance, or districts that have only one high school. While there are some larger districts that might fit the latter half of that definition, that means many of the districts that are TACS members come from smaller communities. Working with such communities is a comfortable fit for Kevin Noack, Palmer ISD superintendent and new TACS president. A native of Olton, he grew up in a small town and attended a small school in a small district, much like those he now represents. Like many who enter the education field, he was partially inspired by family to do so, though not by his parents, as is often the case. “My father owned a grocery store,” Noack says, adding that he saw himself entering the business community while he was growing up. Noack married young, and says it was his wife, a teacher herself, who first gave him the idea that he might like teaching. “I married young and went back to school late, and kind of decided during my first semester, ‘You know what, I’ll go ahead and get my degree and teach science.’”
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Upon graduating from Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio, Noack did exactly that. He was a classroom teacher for five years, three spent teaching fifth grade science and two teaching physics and physical science. Yet while he loved many things about the education profession, Noack found himself with a rare problem among teachers. “Quite frankly I was bored, come June, July and the first part of August,” Noack says with a laugh (stressing that it was the free time and not the work that got to him). “So I decided to go into administration.” He pursued and earned his master’s degree at Eastern New Mexico University, and in his own words, “never looked back.” He’s been a superintendent for 20 years, the last 12 with Palmer ISD. Though Noack’s education career is long and distinguished, he’s a relatively new member of TACS, especially for someone who has ascended to the organization’s presidency. His involvement with the organization began just five years ago, though Noack is quick to emphasize that he has always been impressed by and respected the work the organization does.
“I really appreciate what they do,” Noack says. “They are a great voice for public schools, especially for districts our size, as well as large and small districts alike.” He adds that he appreciates that the organization has historically gone to bat for its members. “I just really wanted to be a part of it.” As the organization’s new leader, Noack is focused on continuing to grow the organization’s membership (more than 600 school districts and counting as of 2021, which means more than half of the school districts in Texas are TACS members), and is keeping his fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in Austin during the 87th Texas Legislature. For the most part, he’s pleased with what he’s seeing from Texas’ lawmakers regarding their response to the needs of TACS’ member schools. “[Our representatives] have been down at the Capitol what seems like every day talking with legislators, and a lot of what we’ve been hearing is very positive,” he says. “When Governor Abbott came out and said we were going to receive hold harmless [funding] for all of 2021, that was huge for districts whose enrollment is down due to
COVID-19.” He also speaks well of the Legislature’s intent to maintain funding for HB 3 (a sweeping school finance bill passed during the 86th Texas Legislature), and adds that, “while there’s always room for a few tweaks,” when it comes to most things legislative, he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from the Legislature during what could have been a fiscally turbulent cycle for Texas schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Noack has proven himself a steady hand with strong leadership skills in the field of Texas education. As TACS assists its member schools through recovery from the pandemic and works to deliver on its core missions of improving instruction at community schools, providing member educators with professional development opportunities, and advocacy for member schools and their communities, Noack’s experience and abilities as an administrator will be a welcome presence. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.
Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) Membership: TACS membership is open to staff at school districts with fewer than 12,000 students in average daily attendance or that have only one high school. Mission: TACS aims to work for the improvement of instruction in the community schools of the state, provide professional growth programs, support legislation that enhances the opportunities and abilities of community schools to provide quality education programs, and cooperate with other organizations dedicated to such purposes. Year founded: 1951 Website: tacsnet.org
PLEASE CONTACT US TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR: • Instructional intervention programs
WE’RE COMMITTED TO YOUR STUDENTS’ SUCCESS
• Professional development services, including leadership coaching and workshops • Specialized services, including counseling, nursing, and speech & language • Family engagement programs, including workshops for families and school staff • COVID Recovery program, which includes all of the services and programs above, while also focusing on reducing COVID learning loss
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
TSPRA HOSTS ANNUAL CONFERENCE With a “Tune into TSPRA” theme, the Texas School Public Relations Association held its yearly conference in Denton in February. Photos were taken by Timothy Richardson of Lancaster ISD.
▲ Melissa Tortorici, Texas
▲ Andrea Gribble, #SchoolSocial4Ed; Jason Wheeler,
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD; Justin Elbert, Klein ISD; and Chelsea Ceballos, Klein ISD pose at the Star Awards Banquet.
▲ Andy Welch received the TSPRA Key Communicator Award.
City ISD (left) and Ian Halperin, Wylie ISD (right) present the Professional Achievement Award to Art Del Barrio, Pasadena ISD (center).
▲ TSPRA President ▲ TSPRA members from Tyler ISD represent their district at the conference.
Veronica Castillon, Laredo ISD, addresses conference attendees.
▲ TSPRA members who completed the APR (Accredited in Public Relations) certification pose for photos.
▲ The TSPRA conference ▲ This year’s TSPRA
conference offered socially distanced breakout sessions.
offers members ample networking opportunities.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
▲ TSPRA members gather on the last day of the conference.
Education service center programs & practices
Purchasing cooperative in Texas receives national attention by Matt Koumalats
▲ Todd Merriman, TexBuy Field representative, and Andrew Pickens, Texbuy director of purchasing, pose with the 2020 AEPA Quality and Innovation Award
he TexBuy Purchasing Cooperative has been recognized nationally for its outstanding service. TexBuy is the statewide purchasing cooperative hosted by Region 16 Education Service Center in Amarillo. It is the sole Texas representative of the national purchasing organization AEPA (Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies). APEA chose TexBuy to receive the Quality and Innovation Award for 2020. This award recognizes TexBuy for its outstanding quality and the strength of its multiple relationships with members and vendors. TexBuy is led by Andrew Pickens, director of purchasing. “This is truly a great honor,” Pickens says. “We work hard on building relationships with our members and our vendors across the state of Texas, and it’s wonderful to be recognized by AEPA for all that hard work. I think TexBuy was chosen because of the great partnerships we have built over the years. Plus, we have a unique rebate structure that puts money back into our members budgets. Also, it never hurts that we have a knowledgeable and friendly staff. It’s their hard work that is a big part of us receiving this award.”
TexBuy can offer service to every level of education from school districts to colleges and universities. They also assist local governments and non-profit organizations of varying size. TexBuy offers its clients everything needed to keep their schools and organizations running efficiently. That includes products like artificial turf, computer software, furniture, office supplies, roofing, vehicles and much more. Many of the awarded contracts offered through TexBuy were solicited nationally by AEPA, providing the most competitive pricing available. Only one entity per state can hold the AEPA national contracts and TexBuy is that entity for the entire state of Texas. Purchasing through a cooperative helps members reduce costs and offer competitive prices. Cooperatives like TexBuy have become an essential part of doing business in today’s shifting economy. They allow businesses and nonprofits alike to do more with less by pooling buying power and negotiating for better prices across the board. AEPA has become a leading force nationally by making sure all its state representatives use their local knowledge to provide the best services to their clients. Started
in 2000, AEPA has grown to be a national leader among purchasing cooperatives. AEPA has representation in 29 states and provides services and products to nearly 25 million students. Many of the awarded contracts offered through TexBuy were solicited nationally by AEPA, providing the most competitive pricing available. “It’s the relationships that keep clients with TexBuy,” says Todd Merriman, a TexBuy field representative. “Our members know that we’ll take care of them, and that we only provide quality products and services. I think that really puts their minds at ease. We want to make the whole purchasing process as easy as possible. I believe that’s why our members and vendors keep doing business with us.” TexBuy’s national purchasing power means that any of its members can save actual budget dollars on TexBuy contracts. Membership is free and easy. Membership documents can be found on their website at www.TexBuy.net. MATT KOUMALATS is the communications and marketing specialist for the Region 16 ESC.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Calendar Professional development & events JUNE June 3-4 TASA/N2 Learning 2020-21 Executive Leadership Institute (session 4 of 4) Hilton Post Oak, Houston For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $4,000 for all four sessions. June 6 Texas ASCD Literacy Academy: Beyond House Bill 3 Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org June 6-9 THSADA 2021 State Conference Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (832) 623-7803. www.thsada.com June 7 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (session 6 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $600. June 8 TACS Summer Budget Workshop Texas Computer Educators Association offices, Austin For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org June 8-9 TASA/N2 Learning 2020-21 Principals' Institute (session 6 of 6) Hilton Post Oak, Houston For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $6,000 for all six sessions. June 9 TASB Course: Simple Ways to Optimize Emergency Operations Plans Webinar For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Ed311 2021 Conference on Education Law for Principals Online event For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $205 with digital handouts; $230 with printed workbook.
TASSP Summer Workshop Virtual event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: April 16-June 4: Members, $299; nonmembers, $499. June 5-25: Members, $339; nonmembers, $539.
TAHPERD Annual Summer Conference Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org
June 14-16 TASBO Summer Solutions Conference Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org June 14-July 2 TEPSA Summer Conference Virtual event – all sessions available for viewing during this time frame For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Regular registration, conference only (April 16-June 4): Members, $299; nonmembers, $539. Late registration, conference (June 5-25): Members, $329; nonmembers, $569. Regular registration, added master class (April 16-June 4): Members, $119; nonmembers, $169. Late registration, added master class (June 5-25): Members, $149; nonmembers, $199. June 15 TAGT Leadership Conference (part 4 of 4) Virtual event For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: Members, $350 for all four parts; nonmembers, $450 for all four parts. June 15-16 Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org Cost: $289. June 16 TASBO Course: CSRM – Handling School Risks Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org
June 16-19 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Marriot RiverCenter, San Antonio or virtual, at attendee’s option For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $435. June 21-23 TASA txedFest Summer Conference Hyatt Austin, Austin (and Virtual) For more info, (512) 477-6361, txedfest.org June 23-24 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 1 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org June 23-26 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Omni, Fort Worth or virtual, at attendee’s option For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $435. June 28-29 TCWSE Annual Conference Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org Cost: $150; students, $95.
JULY July 9 TASB/CSA Post-Legislative Seminar TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
July 12-15 TGCA Summer Clinic Esports Stadium, Arlington For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com July 14-16 TASPA Summer Conference Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org July 18-20 THSCA Coaching School Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.com Cost: Pre-registration (through July 1): $60; late registration (July 2-10), $75; onsite registration, $90. July 21-22 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 2 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org July 26-28 TCASE Interactive Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 4492. www.tcase.org July 30 TASB/TACCA Post-Legislative Seminar TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
AU G UST August 3 TAGT New Coordinator Boot Camp Online event For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: Members, $100; nonmembers, $200. August 4-5 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 1 of 4) Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: All four sessions: Members, $845; nonmembers, $945. Any one session: $295. August 10 TASB Course: Preparing to Serve Webinar For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org
SEPT E M BE R September 8 TASA/N2 Learning 2020-21 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Houston Area Cohort (session 1 of 6) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Berry Center, Cypress For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.
TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 2 of 4) Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: All four sessions: Members, $845; nonmembers, $945. Any one session, $295.
Ed311 Back to School Workshop ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $175; with printed workbook, $200.
TASA/N2 Learning 2021-22 Executive Leadership Institute (session 1 of 4) Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $4,000 for all four sessions.
September 12-14 TACS State Conference Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 480-8227. www.tacsnet.org September 14 TASA/N2 Learning 2020-21 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Austin/San Antonio Cohort (session 1 of 6) Northside ISD, location TBA, San Antonio For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions. Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Dallas Area Cohort (session 1 of 6) McKinney ISD Stadium and Community Event Center, McKinney For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.
TASA/N2 Learning 2021-22 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Virtual Cohort (session 1 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $800. September 16 TASA/N2 Learning 2020-21 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Corpus Christi/ Victoria Cohort (session 1 of 6) Corpus Christi ISD, location TBA, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions. Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXXIII Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org September 21 TASA/N2 Learning 2020-21 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Rio Grande Valley Cohort (session 1 of 6) Weslaco ISD, location TBA, Weslaco For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.
TASA/N2 Learning 2021-22 Principals Institute (session 1 of 6) Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $6,000 for all six sessions. September 24-26 txEDCON21 TASA/TASB Convention Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas For more info, (512) 477-6361. tasa.tasb.org September 27 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 3 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org September 29-October 2 TxETA TheatreFest 2021 Moody Gardens, Galveston No contact phone provided www.tetatx.com ◄
Where did you find that great conference? I found it in Texas School Business! Discover upcoming conferences and continuing education opportunities in the calendar section of each issue of Texas School Business and on our website.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Who’s News > Continued from page 17
Midland ISD Chief financial officer Darrell Dodds has been named president of the board of directors of the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO). He joined the TASBO board in 2014 and was elected vice-president in 2019. During his education career, he has also served as interim superintendent, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, director of administration, director of finance and business manager. Angelica Ramsey is the district’s new superintendent. She comes to Midland from Camarillo, Cal., where she was superintendent of schools for Pleasant Valley School District. Prior to that, she spent 10 years with El Paso’s Socorro ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. She earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University.
Milano ISD Elisabeth Avila Luévanos has been promoted from director of student services to superintendent. She has been an educator for 15 years and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University and a doctorate from Texas A&M University. She is nearing completion of a second master’s degree, in business administration, from Houston Baptist University.
Natalia ISD A new superintendent is in place for Natalia ISD. Harry Piles was most recently an assistant superintendent in Lytle ISD.
New Braunfels ISD James Largent has come out of retirement to serve as the district’s interim superintendent. An educator for 33 years, he holds a master’s degree in administration and a doctorate in education leadership from Sam Houston State University.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Pearland ISD Matt Cline, director of maintenance and operations, spent the past 12 years as assistant director of that department. He began his career as a high school teacher in Kentucky, joining Pearland ISD as a construction supervisor. He holds associate degrees from Eastern Kentucky University and Lexington Community College.
New executive director of human resources Sundie Dahlkamp is a graduate of Pearland High School and former director of human resource services. An educator in the district for 19 years, she spent seven years teaching at her alma mater before becoming an administrator. Her bachelor’s degree was conferred from Texas A&M University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Jon-Paul Estes has been
welcomed as the district’s new chief technology officer. Most recently a director of information technology support and vendor management for the University of Central Florida, he brings 24 years of experience in education and the private sector to his new position. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. Shayla McGrew has accepted
the position of director of human resources after spending the past six years as principal of Silverlake Elementary School. She began her career in Lufkin and DeSoto ISDs before coming to Pearland. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University and is at work on her doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. The newly named director of purchasing is Moniki Mason, who was the district’s purchasing coordinator. She has been with Pearland ISD for eight years, previously working for Houston Community College’s education foundation and as a fundraising manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University and a master’s degree in business administration from Texas Woman’s University. David Moody, former
assistant superintendent of human resources, has been promoted to deputy superintendent. He has spent
21 of his 26-year career in Pearland, working as a teacher and campus administrator. He received his bachelor’s degree in education and his master’s degree in mid-management from the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Rocksprings ISD A new district superintendent is in place. James Oliver has been an educator for 26 years, serving as a teacher and administrator in Garland, Nazareth, Palestine, Brookesmith and Martin’s Mill ISDs. He holds degrees from East Texas State University and Stephen F. Austin State University.
Round Rock ISD Round Rock ISD’s newest, as yet unnamed, elementary school will be led by Kimberly Connelly as principal when it opens in August. She has served as principal of Union Hill Elementary School since 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education from Texas State University. Johanna Dorris, assistant
principal of Teravista Elementary School since 2019, will lead Union Hill Elementary as principal when the 2021-22 academic year begins in August. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Central Texas, where she also earned her master’s degree in educational administration. Larissa Ortiz has been
promoted from assistant principal of Hernandez Middle School to principal of Caraway Elementary. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas State University.
San Angelo ISD The district has announced the appointment of Kevin Crane as athletic director and head football coach, promoting him from assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico State University and earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Kingsville.
Seguin ISD After 22 years with Seguin ISD, Nikki Bittings has been named deputy chief of operations. She began her career as a student teacher while attending Texas Lutheran University, going on to work as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and human resources officer.
Craig Dailey has been approved as Seguin ISD’s athletic director and head football coach. A graduate of Seguin High School, he has worked as a teacher and coach since 2004 in Katy and Clear Springs ISDs as well as Seguin.
Sharyland ISD Ron Adame has accepted the role of district athletic director. Eddie Galindo has been named head
football coach at Pioneer High School. His most recent assignment in the district was assistant head coach at the school. In addition, he served as assistant coach in Edinburg CISD. The new head coach at Sharyland High School is former assistant coach Craig Krell, who previously served in the same capacity at McAllen ISD’s McAllen High. The district’s new assistant athletic director is Thomas Lee, who has been with Sharyland ISD since 1984 and has served as head football coach and athletic coordinator at Sharyland Pioneer High School since 2018. After 20 years with the district, athletic director Richard Thompson has retired.
Shelbyville ISD Jared Wallace has been hired as head football coach and athletic director. He spent the past four years as head coach at West Sabine ISD.
Sherman ISD Mindy Schoen has been promoted from Sory Elementary School’s assistant principal to principal. Prior to arriving in Sherman, she worked in Frisco and Plano ISDs as a behavior specialist, special education teacher and team leader. She is a graduate of Sherman ISD with a bachelor’s degree from Austin College and a master’s degree in education from Lamar University.
Spring Hill ISD Penny Fleet has agreed to serve as Spring Hill ISD’s interim superintendent. She previously served the district as assistant superintendent of curriculum and special programs. An educator for 37 years, she was a teacher, coach and administrator in Hallsville and Pine Tree ISDs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Centenary College and a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Former Sundown ISD high school principal Brent Evans has been promoted to district superintendent.
The district’s newly created position of chief innovation officer has been filled by Cassandra Chapa, former Peete Elementary School principal. She joined Tyler ISD in 2016 as an instructional specialist in the bilingual department before being named principal of Ramey Elementary.
Tahoka ISD Torrey Price, newly appointed
superintendent, comes to Tahoka from Stamford ISD, where he was that district’s middle school principal. Prior to that, he worked as a high school principal in Baird and Sherman ISDs and was athletic director and head coach in Tom Bean ISD. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce and received his master’s degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Taylor ISD Superintendent Keith Brown, who served Taylor ISD for the past four years, retired in February. Prior to his time in Taylor, he led Bay City ISD. Taylor ISD’s new superintendent is Devin Padavil. He comes to Taylor from Leander ISD, where he was an area superintendent, and brings more than 20 years of experience. He previously was assistant superintendent of secondary schools in Fort Bend ISD and a principal in Pflugerville and Frisco ISDs. His bachelor’s degree was earned from Illinois State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas.
Temple ISD The Temple ISD board of directors announces the hiring of Donna Ward as assistant superintendent of human resources. Most recently the district’s employee relations director, she has been an educator for 18 years, working in Japan and in Belton and Smithville ISDs as well as Temple. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University and is at work on a doctorate in education from Baylor University.
Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Kelli Moulton, former
superintendent of Galveston ISD, has joined TASA as a member service representative for ESC regions 12, 13, 14 and 15. An educator for more than 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary curriculum and assistant superintendent as well as superintendent.
Amanda Hortman, currently assistant principal and dean of instruction at Three Lakes Middle School, will now lead Early College High School as principal. She began her career in Tyler ISD as a bilingual teacher, taking her first administrative position in 2017.
Victoria ISD DeLeon Elementary School will welcome Jennifer McIntyre as principal when the new academic year begins in August. Now in her 11th year as an educator, she has been the school’s assistant principal since 2019. She is a graduate of the University of Houston at Victoria with a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington. Elizabeth Schubert has been named principal of the new Stroman STEM Academy, which is slated to open in August. An educator for 15 years, she has been assistant principal of Victoria East High School since 2018. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University at Kingsville and her master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University.
The Victoria ISD board of trustees has approved Tammy Sestak as assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and accountability. The Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) graduate has three decades of experience. She received her master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria.
> See Who’s News, page 28 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
Who’s News > Continued from page 27
Waco ISD Linden Heldt, former defensive coordinator
at Grand Prairie ISD’s South Grand Prairie High School, is now Waco High’s head football coach. Prior to his six seasons in Grand Prairie, he coached in Arlington and Richardson ISDs and in Oklahoma and Florida. He is a graduate of Wheaton College with a master’s degree from Oklahoma’s East Central University. Kent Laster, now head
football coach at University High School, comes to Waco from the Little Rock (Ark.) School District, where he held the same position at Central High School. He brings 22 years of coaching experience to his new job, having served in Frisco and Weatherford ISDs and at colleges in Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and his master’s degree from Henderson State College in Arkansas.
Former Iowa Park ISD head football coach and athletic director Aubrey Sims has accepted the same role at Weatherford ISD. He was with Iowa Park for seven years.
Ysleta ISD’s new director of safety and security is Rodney Liston, a 21-year veteran of the El Paso police department. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Simpson College and a master’s degree in the same field from Sul Ross State University.
Whitehouse ISD Previously Barbers Hill ISD offensive coordinator, Kyle Westerberg is now Whitehouse ISD’s head football coach.
Do you have good news to share about your district?
The new Hanks Middle School will open in August with Pauline Muela as principal. A 32-year member of the Ysleta ISD team and current principal of Indian Ridge Middle School, she began her career as a teacher in the district, going on to serve as an assistant principal and principal. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Texas at El Paso. ◄
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THE BACK PAGE
Perseverance: what you need when you feel like giving up by Riney Jordan
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caissaps.com Catapult Learning.............................................21
I grew up in a family where quitting or giving up wasn’t an option, and I’m so grateful for that.
pinned on his official number. Was this a joke? A few even shouted insults at him, but he ignored them.
Houston ISD Medicaid Finance and Consulting.................................................8
That’s why when I recently received a phone call from an old friend who said that their daughter was quitting her teaching position at midterm after 17 years, I was surprised. This young lady had been honored numerous times for her teaching skills, including being named Teacher of the Year, and l could not imagine her giving up the career she loved so much.
When the starting gun was fired, spectators couldn’t help but notice the strange shuffle the old man had. The laughter and jeers continued as the runners grew out of sight.
I know, without a doubt, that the education field is harder than ever. Our demands on school employees continue to mount. Kids seem less disciplined and respectful of adults. Parents, too, often support students’ viewpoints without knowing all the facts. Yes, it’s a tough time to be an educator! And it is for that reason that I believe we need to encourage teachers, administrators, school board members and support staff with a renewed passion. Persevere! You are needed more now than perhaps at any other time in our nation’s history. Stick with it! Don’t give up! I recently read one of the most amazing stories I had ever read. Let me share the highlights of it with you. Each year in Australia, an unbelievable footrace is held. The Australian Ultramarathon is a grueling 544 miles in which participants run all the way from Sydney to Melbourne. In 1983, those in attendance noticed a rather oddly dressed competitor. He was significantly older than the others, 61 to be exact, and he wasn’t dressed in the typical commercially sponsored attire. There were no specially designed running shoes, but instead, rubber galoshes covered his boots. A work shirt hung over his faded, baggy overalls. He sported a baseball cap with sun-screening flaps. You could hear the laughter as the officials
But five days, 15 hours, and four minutes later, stunned spectators gasped as Cliff Young crossed the finish line in Melbourne almost 10 hours ahead of the second-place runner.
You can imagine the press and the other spectators as they questioned him. How in the world did this 61-year-old farmer win such a grueling race?
As the facts began to emerge, the world learned that this sheep farmer was too poor to own a horse, so he herded his entire flock alone. It was common for him to run day and night to keep up with the herd of sheep. In addition, he did not know that the runners in the ultramarathon could stop at night to rest, so he simply ran the entire race without sleeping. Now, that is perseverance. When the going gets rough, keep going. Focus on the job at hand. Don’t be swayed or deterred by daily distractions. No one knows how to do your job better than you do, so keep your eyes on the goal. You can make it to the finish line, and our schools have never needed you more than right now. I’m not the only one who is proud of you. Scores of young people and far more parents than you realize are on your side. Don’t let the negative remarks of a few deter you. I like what Calvin Coolidge once said: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
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RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.
Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2021
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