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67

YEARS

The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas

Texas School Business

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER

2020

Also in this issue:

2020 Outstanding School Board Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD 2020 TSPRA Key Communicator Andy Welch TCASE President Kendra Wiggins

J. A. Gonzalez

selected as Texas nominee for 2021 National Superintendent of the Year


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Texas School Business

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

16 2020 Outstanding School Board

Board of trustees for Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD receives highest honor

12

14 2020 Texas Superintendent of the Year Finalists 18 2020 Honor Boards

19

Cover Story

2020 Superintendent of the Year J. A. Gonzalez of McAllen ISD earns topmost distinction

2020 Key Communicator Texas School Public Relations Association names San Benito native as recipient of its Key Communicator Award

Departments

20 TCASE President Profile Kendra Wiggins works to support special education professionals by Dacia Rivers

by Dacia Rivers

8 Who’s News 26 Calendar 29 Ad Index

Columns

5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 7 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 24 Regional View by Dr. Allegra M. McGrew 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

A

s this tumultuous year starts to wind down, I’d like to thank you all for reading Texas School Business and for reaching out to me to share the amazing stories of success going on in your districts. It’s always our pleasure to share the wonderful programs and people of Texas public education with anyone and everyone across the state. For this issue, I was lucky enough to interview the 2020 Texas Superintendent of the Year, J.A. Gonzalez of McAllen ISD. You can get to know Gonzalez and learn about his family of educators and his dedication to helping students’ dreams come true starting on page 12. Following that, you’ll find bios on all of the finalists, along with an interview with the president of the 2020 Outstanding Board, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD’s Julie Cole. In December, keep an eye out for our special Bragging Rights issue, in which we highlight 12 outstanding programs going on in Texas public schools. We’ve been hard at work preparing these stories to share with you, and I can tell you that, perhaps now more than ever, these programs are an inspiration and a testament to the value your schools provide to Texas’ children. If you’d like to see your school district’s programs featured in the pages of Texas School Business, please drop me a note at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com. We are always looking for good news to share, and I know every administrator in Texas has at least one excellent story that could serve to inspire others. I hope to hear from you, and I send my best wishes for a peaceful, safe and healthy holiday season to you and yours.

Texas School Business

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 Volume LXVII, Issue 6 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

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Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published online bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators. © Copyright 2020 Texas Association of School Administrators

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THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED

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That time I called the other lawyer a bozo … by Jim Walsh

I

’m not proud of it, but it has made for a good story. It was a long and ard-uous ARD meeting, mostly due to the fact that the honorable opposing counsel insisted on asking the same question over and over and over and over. I think many of you have been in such situations. The guy was messing up my vision for the day. The meeting was in a district about two hours east of Austin. It was a gorgeous fall day. My plan was to drive back to Austin, into the sunset, enjoying the fabulous fall weather. I had my soundtrack ready to play. But the meeting went on and on and on and on. I saw the sun slipping down in the western sky, my vision for the day setting along with it. That’s when I spoke up. I don’t recall the exact words except for the last two: “... you bozo.” There followed this exchange: OPPOSING COUNSEL: Am not. LAW DAWG: Are too. OC: Am not. LD: Are too. HIM: Not. ME: Are. PRINCIPAL: Let’s take a little break! I felt embarrassed at my sudden loss of professional decorum. Bozo and his client had left the room, so it was just me and the school staff there. I apologized, hoping I had not embarrassed the district. And the principal said, “Not at all, counselor. We liked it.” This gave me a good insight into the heart of today’s Texas educator. Looking back, I realize that my name-calling was inappropriate, but at least it did not violate any legal standards.

Which brings to mind another ARD meeting, when we got off to a rough start. After the introductions, the principal called on the diagnostician to report on some recent testing. That’s when the dad interrupted. He pointed to the special education director and said, “We’re not having this meeting as long as you’ve got that b**** sitting over there!” I think you can figure out the asterisks.

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This created a “study your shoes” moment for me, as I had no idea how to respond. Law school had prepared me for many things, but not this unscripted outburst at a meeting that lacked a judge to take control. Should I say something? What would I say? My strategy was to avoid eye contact with anyone and hope that the moment would pass.

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The principal did not study his shoes. He was prepared. With no hesitation he responded, “Sir, she may be a b****, but she’s our b****. We want her here.”

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I’m not sure that was the best possible response to the moment, but at least it was legally accurate. The school district can bring to the meeting whatever staff members it believes will be helpful. The usual lineup is 1) general education teacher; 2) special education teacher; 3) someone who can interpret the evaluations; 4) an administrative representative; and 5) anyone else the school wants to be there, as long as the parent is notified. The special education director here fit into category 5. I pass these stories along in these difficult times as we face a pandemic that won’t quit and an election season unlike any other. Stormy days ahead indeed. So be prepared. Try to maintain professional decorum, even when provoked to do otherwise. But if you do explode, make sure you stay on the right side of the law.

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Texas School Business THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS

67 Years and Counting

JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Who’s News Allen ISD Allen ISD’s new chief financial officer is Johnny Hill, who comes to Allen from Lake Travis ISD, where he was assistant superintendent for business, finance and auxiliary services. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a master’s degree from West Texas A&M University, he previously held finance and business positions in Seminole, Perryton and Dimmitt ISDs.

Argyle ISD Former Argyle Middle School assistant principal Dona Lumsden now serves as principal of the district’s newest campus, Hilltop Elementary. An educator with 15 years of experience, she worked in Lake Dallas ISD before coming to Argyle in 2018. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education administration from Texas Woman’s University.

Austin ISD Toni Cordova, newly appointed chief of staff, joins the district from Dallas ISD, where she was chief of communications. She has been an educator for 25 years, working in districts in San Jose, Ca., Tucson, Ariz., Albuquerque, N.M., and El Paso. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Arizona.

The district’s new superintendent,

Stephanie Elizalde, has come

to Austin from Dallas ISD, where she was chief of school leadership since 2015. She brings 28 years of experience to her new position, having served in San Antonio and San Antonio’s Southwest ISDs as well. Jacob Reach, new chief of government

relations and board services, was previously the district’s chief of staff.

Larry Throm has been named chief business officer. During his 40-year career, he has served in similar capacities in Dallas and Lubbock ISDs and as a school finance consultant.

Boerne ISD Chief financial officer Tish Grill retired at the end of the fall semester after six years in the position. She worked in public education finance for 35 years, including 13 years as Burnet

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

ISD’s budget and finance director and 15 in Bandera ISD as chief financial officer. Her bachelor’s degree was earned from the University of Phoenix and her master’s degree in professional accountancy from Texas A&M University at San Antonio.

Brenham ISD A new superintendent is in place for Brenham ISD. Tylor Chaplin, who led Burkburnett ISD since 2016, is a 25-year educator with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University and a doctorate in education leadership from Lamar University.

Buckholts ISD Veteran educator Joe Oliver is now superintendent of Buckholts ISD. He has spent 42 years as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal and superintendent.

Carroll ISD Superintendent David Faltys retired in October but agreed to remain with the district through December as a special advisor. He led Carroll ISD for 15 years. Former Frisco superintendent Jeremy Lyon has been tapped to serve as Carroll ISD’s interim superintendent. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a doctorate from the University of Texas, he was a teacher, coach, campus administrator and superintendent for 31 years before retiring in 2017. William Wooten has been

hired as the district’s assistant superintendent for financial services. He spent the past two years as Ferris ISD’s chief financial officer and five years as director of financial services for DeSoto ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years, and received his master’s degree in business administration and financial management from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Clear Creek ISD Travishia Hewitt has been

promoted from assistant principal of Ward Elementary School to principal of Robinson Elementary. She is a 12-year educator.

Cleveland ISD Kristy Dietrich has been promoted from associate principal to principal of Cleveland High School. She has spent her 13-year career with the district.

Comanche ISD Former Rocksprings ISD superintendent Daron Worrell has accepted the position of superintendent of Comanche ISD. Prior to his time in Rocksprings, he worked as a principal in Sonora and Brackettville ISDs.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Lanette Bellamy is now principal of Cypress Lakes High School, coming to her new position from Labay Middle School, which she led for four years. She has been with CFISD for 20 of her 28 years as an educator, serving as a counselor and director of instruction. She has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in counseling from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Sarah Harty, who was principal of Cypress Lakes High School, has been promoted to assistant superintendent of secondary school administration. She has spent her 35-year career in CFISD as a teacher and assistant principal as well as principal. She received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her master’s degree from the University of Houston.

Dilley ISD The district announces the appointment of Emilio Castro as superintendent. He is the former superintendent of Edgewood ISD.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Hollie Smith has been promoted from coordinator of health services to director of health services. A registered nurse for 14 years, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mississippi State University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University. She is at work on her master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. Cindy Tucker, a 28-year educator, has been promoted from coordinator of instructional technology and library/media services to director of instructional


technology. She has a bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in education from Lamar University.

Ector County ISD After 25 years with Ector County ISD, 21 of those as a teacher and three as an assistant principal at Jordan Elementary, Jennifer Bizzell is now principal of Reagan Elementary School. She attended Odessa College and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in educational leadership from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

eight years.

Former district AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) coordinator Elizabeth Gray now serves as ECISD’s coordinator of postsecondary education. She has been with the district for

Edcouch-Elsa ISD New superintendent Gregory Rodriguez comes to his new position from Waterbury Public Schools in Connecticut, where he was deputy superintendent. He has previously served as superintendent of schools in Carlsbad, N.M. and as deputy superintendent of Huntsville ISD and assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and accountability in San Marcos CISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Houston Baptist University. His doctorate in school improvement was earned from Texas State University.

Education Service Center Region 2 ESC 2 has announced the hiring of Esperanza Zendejas as executive director. Her career has included stints as a teacher, counselor, principal and superintendent. She is the former superintendent of Brownsville ISD and was most recently with San Benito CISD. A graduate of San Diego State University with a master’s degree in counseling from the University of San Diego, she holds a doctorate in education from Stanford University.

Galena Park ISD Wanna Giacona, the

district’s former associate superintendent for human resource services, is now chief administrative officer. An employee of the district for 26 years, she has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of

St. Thomas and a doctorate from Stephen F. Austin State University. Cimarron Elementary School’s new principal, Janie Jimenez, is an 18-year educator who most recently served as assistant principal of Cloverleaf Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Clear Lake and her master’s degree from the University of Houston Downtown. John Moore is the district’s

new superintendent. An educator for 30 years, he was formerly the district’s associate superintendent of operations. He is a graduate of McNeese University, from which he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His doctorate was awarded from Lamar University.

Emmett Whitefield has

rejoined Granbury ISD, having been named director of finance and facilities after serving as director of accounting for Weatherford ISD. He previously worked in GISD as district comptroller and as a staff accountant. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Tarleton State University.

Hardin ISD The Hardin ISD Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Darrell Myers as interim superintendent. He is a former HISD teacher and coach and spent 22 years working in various Texas districts, most recently in Cleveland ISD.

Jacksonville ISD Former Crosby ISD accountant Luke Ocker now serves Jacksonville ISD as chief financial officer. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University.

Galveston ISD Superintendent Kelli Moulton has announced her intention to retire at the end of January. She joined the district in 2016 after working as a classroom teacher in Spring ISD and as an administrator in Magnolia ISD. Additionally, she spent 17 years as an administrator, eight of those as superintendent, in Hereford ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, master’s degree from the University of Houston and doctorate from Texas Tech University.

Georgetown ISD New director of assessment Deb Jacobson has been Leander ISD’s state assessment coordinator for four years and, prior to that, served as an assessment specialist with Hays CISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.

Granbury ISD Danielle Parsons, newly

appointed technology director, has worked as a district instructional technology coordinator since 2019. Prior to that, she was an instructional specialist and STEAM coordinator at the STEAM Academy at Mambrino Elementary. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University.

Keller ISD Bryce Nieman, director

of communications and legislative affairs, began his career in the district in 2008 as a web communications specialist, going on to serve as web communications coordinator and assistant director of communications. A graduate of Fossil Ridge High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and his juris doctor from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University. 18 new assistant principals have been announced. They and their schools are: • Briana Baker, Hillwood Middle School; • Sydney Bramer, Keller High School; • Travis Brewer, Keller High School; • Lyntoria Davis, Timberview Middle School; • Jason Dunkelberger, Fossil Hill Middle School; • Lance George, Woodland Springs Elementary and Ridgeview Elementary; • Athea-Anne Jendel, Trinity Springs Middle School; • Helene Kilianski, Timber Creek High School; • Jared Lee, Trinity Springs Middle School; • Magan Locey, Timber Creek High School; > See Who’s News, page 10 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

9


Who’s News > Continued from page 9

• Lindsey Rudnick, Keller Center for Advanced Learning; • Clarence Scott, Liberty Elementary School; • Grant Simpson, Heritage Elementary School; • Jason Snyder, Parkview Elementary School; • Trista Steuart, Timber Creek High School; • Lori Strom, Independence Elementary School; • Colon Taylor, Trinity Meadow Intermediate School; • Trey Vanderhule, Keller Learning Center.

Kingsville ISD Kingsville ISD has named Cecilia Reynolds-Perez

district superintendent. A product of Kingsville ISD schools, she was principal of Corpus Christi ISD’s Ray High School for 10 years, then joined West Oso ISD as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and human resources.

Lamar CISD Kayse Lazar has been named

the district’s career and technical education director. An educator for 11 years, she was most recently an assistant principal at George Ranch High School and served as an instructional coordinator at Terry High School. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, she earned her master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria and her doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University. A school safety coordinator,

David Pollard, has been hired

for the district. He comes to his new job from the Texas Medical Center, where he was director of police and security operations. Prior to that, he was a supervisor with the University of Texas police department and a safety manager at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Lufkin ISD Gabriela Murphy is the new

director of counseling at Lufkin High School. A high school Spanish teacher for nine years, she then joined Lufkin ISD as a counselor. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in school counseling from Stephen F. Austin State University.

McKinney ISD Ashley Cruz is now the district’s elementary

math coordinator. She has been with MISD for 10 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and two master’s degrees, in educational administration and curriculum and instruction. She is also an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University at Commerce.

New coordinator of counseling Errin French brings 28 years of experience to her position, working in Houston ISD and in Katy ISD, where she spent 15 years at Evans Middle School as a counselor. She was named 2017’s Texas Counselor of the Year by the Texas School Counselor Association. Javetta Jones Roberson is the district’s newly appointed coordinator of advanced academics and gifted and talented. She comes to McKinney from Birdville ISD, where she was a high school dean of instruction. She was also an administrator in Fort Worth ISD. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from Texas Woman’s University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

The following assistant principal assignments have been made: • Cindy Bice, Slaughter Elementary School; • Teresa Bilyeu, Malvern Elementary School; • Marina Byrd, Webb Elementary School; • Rachel Cotton, Press Elementary School; • Melissa Hernandez, Dowell Middle School; • Justin James, McKinney High School; • Nataushe Jordan, McKinney North High School; • Ebonee King, DAEP (Disciplinary Alternative Education Program); • Elise Landrum, McKinney High School; • Amanda Leader, McKinney High School; • Zoraya Palmer, Caldwell Elementary School; • Heather Piñero, McClure Elementary School;

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

• Kelli Snyder, McNeil Elementary School;

• Michael Westfall, McKinney North High School; • Misty Young, McNeil Elementary School.

Manor ISD New superintendent Andre Spencer arrived in Texas from New York, where he was an executive superintendent in the New York City Department of Education. Prior to that, he spent five years as superintendent of Harrison School District 2 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and served as an administrator in Baltimore’s City Public School System for 13 years and as a regional superintendent in Houston ISD. He’s a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a master’s degree from Morgan State University and a doctorate in education from Capella University.

Mesquite ISD The new assistant principal and registrar of Mesquite High School is Megan Green, who has 13 years of experience in education, all within the district.

Midland ISD Ann Dixon has accepted the position of interim superintendent of Midland ISD. She has served in that capacity and as a consultant in Cedar Hill, Odem-Edroy, Pettus and Red Oak ISDs, Hays CISD and, most recently, Montgomery ISD.

Nederland ISD Steven Beagle, former principal of Nederland High School, has been promoted to assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

Longtime educator and Nederland High School alumna Natalie Gomez now leads the school as principal. She previously served as an assistant principal and most recently was principal of Central Middle School. Stuart Kieschnick is the district’s new superintendent, having previously served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. He has spent his career in Nederland ISD, beginning in 1991 as a teacher and coach and transitioning to administration eight years later. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lamar University.


Northside ISD (San Antonio) Northside ISD has opened its newest school, Wernli Elementary, with Lori Shaw as its first principal. She most recently led Carson Elementary.

Prosper ISD Prosper ISD began the 2020-21 school year with a new superintendent at the helm. Holly Ferguson began her career in the district in 1998, moving to work in Frisco ISD a few years later before returning to her original district. She has since served as principal of Rucker and Rogers middle schools and as executive director and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. She has spent the past three years as associate superintendent.

Quanah ISD Quanah ISD announces the appointment of Tom Johnson as district superintendent. He was previously a principal in Shallowater ISD.

Rio Vista ISD Rio Vista High School alumna Jaylynn Cauthen is now superintendent of the district. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a master’s degree in educational leadership from Tarleton State University and is nearing completion of her doctorate. Previously a teacher in Hays CISD and Glen Rose ISD, she has served in Rio Vista ISD as an elementary and middle school principal.

Round Rock ISD The new principal of Fulkes Middle School is Kathy Cawthron, former principal of Berkman Elementary Arts Integration Academy. She has been an educator for 30 years, 23 of those as an administrator. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education administration were awarded from Baylor University. Tyler Hultman, newly

appointed principal of Fern Bluff Elementary School, is the former assistant principal of Pond Spring Elementary. Prior to that assignment, he taught at Herrington Elementary and in schools in Indiana and New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Iowa.

Raelye Self has accepted the

Berkman Arts Integration Academy’s new principal is April Nilson, previously assistant principal of Gattis Elementary School. An educator for 13 years, she also served as an elementary and intervention teacher in Pflugerville ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Lyon College and her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of North Texas. Round Rock ISD has a new chief of police. Jeffrey D. Yarbrough, who served as executive director of safety and security, was previously chief of police of Bastrop ISD, an investigator in the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office, a senior investigator for the State Bar of Texas, and the City of Tulia’s assistant city manager and chief of police. He is a graduate of the University of Texas with a master’s degree from Texas A&M University.

Royal ISD Now serving as superintendent is Richard Kershner, former assistant superintendent of Splendora ISD.

San Angelo ISD Rikke Black has taken on the

role of director of elementary curriculum and instruction. She is a 27-year employee of the district and previously led Central High School.

New director of campus academic support Cheri Braden has been with the district for 24 years. She was principal of Glenmore Elementary School and most recently held the position of director of elementary curriculum and instruction. Now serving as director of community relations is Molly Johnson, who comes to San Angelo ISD from working in the private sector as a marketing manager. She is a native of San Angelo and a graduate of Central High School. Brandon Ligon, newly named digital innovation facilitator, previously worked as an assistant principal of Glenmore and Ft. Concho elementary schools. He is a native of San Angelo and a graduate of Central High School.

position of director of data services. She has experience in the district as a secondary teacher and elementary and middle school assistant principal.

High School.

private sector.

The new director of safe environment and student services is Jason Skelton, former middle school teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal and principal. He most recently led Lake View Whitney Watson Wood has joined the district as executive director of communications. Her experience includes work as a civil attorney and marketing and public relations professional in the

In addition, seven principal assignments have been announced. They are: • Toni Daniel, associate principal, Central High School; • Laura Eubank, Belaire Elementary School; • Cathy Humble, Fannin Elementary School; • Shannon Klepac, Goliad Elementary School; • Zach Ramirez, Lake View High School; • Jennifer Ryan, Lamar Elementary School; • Bill Waters, head principal, Central High School.

Sherman ISD Aileen Hays has accepted

the position of coordinator of counseling and student services for Sherman ISD. She has more than 30 years of experience as a school counselor, social worker and mental health counselor, and spent the past two years as student support counselor at Sherman High and Piner Middle schools. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a master’s degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sherman ISD has welcomed a new director of technology services and online learning. Jon Hill joins the district from Dodd City ISD, where he was superintendent. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University and his doctorate from Lamar University. > See Who’s News, page 22 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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J.A. GONZALEZ AND FAMILY

2020 Superintendent of the Year 12

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

J.A. Gonzalez of McAllen ISD earns topmost distinction by Dacia Rivers


2020 Superintendent of the Year For Gonzalez, having his father, who at age 92 is healthy, living independently with Gonzalez’s mother and just had his driver’s license renewed, share that experience made the recognition even sweeter. The two men aren’t the only educators in the family — Gonzalez’s wife teaches fifth grade bilingual education in McAllen ISD, making a love of Texas public schools a shared passion. The couple also has three young children who attend McAllen schools.

I

t was 1978 when J.A. Gonzalez first thought that he might like to be an educator. He was just 6 years old at the time, but his father was a teacher in Jim Hogg County ISD — and his biggest role model. Seeing the impact his father had on his students, Gonzalez knew he wanted to follow in his footsteps.

McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., has been selected by TASA as Texas’ nominee for 2021 National Superintendent of the Year, an award given by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

Gonzalez began his education career as a science teacher and coach, before moving into positions as an assistant principal, principal, associate superintendent, interim superintendent and, finally, superintendent of McAllen ISD, a position he’s held for the last four years. Overall, he’s worked in the district for 23 years and it has become home to him, as the tight-knit, people-oriented community reminds him of the small town of Hebbronville, where he was raised.

Pressure is commonplace for school administrators, but Gonzalez says he has learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. He stays focused even on the most difficult days, remembering that his actions affect children and their families, a charge he takes to heart. Gonzalez says he’s proud of the social and emotional work going on in McAllen, and he enjoys collaborating with his colleagues in schools across the state to the benefit of all Texas students.

“When I got to McAllen, although the city had 150,000 people and I came from a town with 4,000 people, it still had a small town feel to it,” he says. “The people were so friendly and helpful, just like where I grew up, and they had a lot of passion for education and doing what’s best for children.”

“As we design curriculum and deliver instruction, we might be teaching about solids, liquids and gasses, but we’re going to infuse the concepts of self-regulation, self-awareness, motivation, empathy and social skills,” he says. “A student is going to see that through their entire day over and over again.”

As Gonzalez came up through the administration, he served as principal at McAllen’s Instruction and Guidance Center, a sixth through 12th grade campus for students in the district’s alternative education program who have violated the student code of conduct. Gonzalez says he fell in love with working with at-risk students during his three years at the school. While working on his dissertation for his doctorate, Gonzalez came across the concept of emotional intelligence, and has worked to develop his own emotional quotient, as well as that of students and staff in McAllen.

For Gonzalez, the end goal is to help students not only achieve their dreams, but excel at them. For instance, if a McAllen graduate wants to become a doctor, Gonzalez wants that student not only to pass her exams, get certified and complete a residency, but to use her heart when treating patients, to be empathetic, to be emotionally intelligent.

“We focus on emotional intelligence and work that into our curriculum,” he says. “There’s a prescriptive effort to raise students’ and staff members’ self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. I’m very proud of that.”

This fall, 42 years later, Gonzalez’s father, who retired after 38 years in education, got to see his son recognized as 2020 Superintendent of the Year at the TASA|TASB Convention. It was a moment neither will soon forget.

Social-emotional learning isn’t just a buzz term for Gonzalez, or something he suggests only to his students — it’s a concept he continues to apply in his own life, one that he says has made him a better educator.

“It was overwhelming,” Gonzalez says of hearing his name announced at the virtual convention. “They say certain moments take your breath away, and you think, ‘That’s just a figure of speech.’ Well, I finally know what it’s like to have my breath taken away.”

“I’ve been taking a deep dive on my self-awareness, and I think that’s helped me tremendously, because I’ve been able to raise my own emotional quotient along the way,” he says. “And that allows me to deal with pressure in a healthy way.”

“We’re trying to create medical doctors and teachers, architects and engineers who are not only smart, but people-smart,” he says. “And I think that’s what we need to focus on across the state, because what’s the use of putting people out there to accomplish their dreams if they don’t know how to work with people or deal with stress? It’s counterproductive.” At the end of the day, Gonzalez says his greatest reward is knowing that he is trusted to educate and care for the people of McAllen’s most precious resources — their children. “Every day I go to work, I am having an impact on a child’s dreams and on parents’ dreams for their children,” he says. “That’s what I live for. As educators, we’re in the dream business. We’re entrepreneurs of the human spirit.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 13


2020 Superintendent of the Year Finalists

Now entering his seventh year at the helm of Corpus Christi ISD, ROLAND HERNANDEZ has 22 years of administrative experience. Committee members noted the humility with which Hernandez leads, whether guiding this district of 36,000 students through a series of recent crises, turning around 18 schools in just four years, or acknowledging that it takes the whole community to make the district a success. They also made note of the value he places on input, actively listening to assess the diverse needs of Corpus Christi students and reaching out to parents during the pandemic. Hernandez is an active advocate for public education, serving as the 202021 president of the Texas School Alliance. Hernandez received his bachelor’s degree from Texas State University, his master’s degree from the University of Houston–Clear Lake, and his doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin.

ROLAND HERNANDEZ

MICHELLE BARROW With 17 years of administrative experience under her belt, MICHELLE BARROW has been superintendent of Newton ISD for five years and serves approximately 1,000 students. The committee noted her resilience and her loyalty to this East Texas community. A graduate of Newton ISD, Barrow is committed to remaining in this small district and helping it continue to grow stronger. She takes a grow-your-own approach to teacher recruitment to get others to stick around as well. Whether providing diversity training to students and staff, free breakfast and lunch to all students in this 392-square-mile district, or adult classes to the community (planned for spring 2021), the committee said Barrow shows her heart for Newton’s students and the community. Committee members also noted her efforts to build trust, considering it essential to district success. Barrow received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University.

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2020 Superintendent of the Year Finalists

JAMIE WILSON serves a diverse population of about 32,000 students. He has been in education administration since 2001, serving as superintendent of Denton ISD for the last eight years. The committee noted that Wilson leads this fast-growth district with a can-do attitude and a data-driven approach. Wilson places a priority on social and emotional learning and considers it an essential ingredient for academic success. This focus on the whole student has been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the district worked to meet students’ basic and emotional needs before addressing learning needs. Wilson is an avid advocate for public education and ties district outcomes to legislative priorities. Wilson earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of North Texas.

BECKY MCCUTCHEN

JAMIE WILSON

BECKY MCCUTCHEN has led Alpine ISD for five years and has worked in education administration for 12 years. She serves approximately 1,000 students in this 1,995-square-mile West Texas district. Of particular note to the committee were her empathy for the district’s students and her involvement in advocating for rural schools. The committee stated that McCutchen values the many differences among students, including special needs students, a population with whom she has spent much of her education career. She uses her ability to relate to the students to make decisions that take all children into consideration and are guided by the belief that schools exist for the students. McCutchen earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree from Sul Ross State University.

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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y

The Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD board of trustees are (back row, from left): Faye Beaulieu; Andy Cargile; Steve Chapman, superintendent; Matt Romero, vice president; Julie Cole, president; (seated, from left): Dawn Jordan-Wells; Fred Campos; and Rochelle Ross, secretary.

2020 Outstanding Board 16

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD board of trustees receives top recognition


2020 Outstanding Board

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t this year’s virtual TASA|TASB Convention, the board of trustees of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD was named as 2020 Outstanding Board, the top school board in the state. H-E-B Board President Julie Cole, who has led the board for three years, says that serving with her fellow trustees is a reward in itself. “Everything we do, all the decisions we make, is in support of children,” she says. “That’s what makes it rewarding. It takes a special kind of person to put in the effort, and all of the board members in H-E-B are cut from that cloth.” H-E-B ISD, lying between Fort Worth and Dallas, serves more than 23,000 students. Cole says the district is highly diverse, with 76 unique languages spoken by families and 56% of students considered economically disadvantaged. The district is growing by leaps and bounds, with between 300 and 500 new students enrolling each year. The board in H-E-B is also unique, thanks to the creation of the Board Ambassador Academy. About 10 years ago, the board created the program to interest local community members in running for the school board. Ambassadors go through a yearlong process, during which they learn what board service entails along with the ins and outs of H-E-B ISD, including finances. Of the seven current board members, five, including Cole, went through the ambassador academy, while the other two were members before and during its creation. About 20 to 30 community members go through the academy each year, more than could ever serve on the school board. This has been a boon for the district, creating a growing pool of community members who serve as advocates for the schools. “The academy has created this cadre of people in our community who are very well educated about public education,” Cole says. “And they can speak intelligently to people in the grocery store or on the football field about what H-E-B ISD is doing and what makes us different by design.”

to the classroom. Trustees make sure that everything they do, every decision they make, is working toward small, incremental improvements over time. This process allows board members to work on their communication and stay focused on working together in the most efficient and effective way. Cole says one result is that the board is prepared for challenges before they even show up. “Challenges come up and they’re going to come at the worst possible time,” she says. “When chaos hits us, when something unforeseen happens, we’ve already done the hard work, so we can then create the processes that will get us through the difficult time.”

"When chaos hits us, when something unforeseen happens, we’ve already done the hard work, so we can then create the processes that will get us through the difficult time.” - Julie Cole

These efforts have already brought recognition to the H-E-B board. The Education Resource Group has named H-E-B ISD as the No. 1 Texas district for financial efficiency for 12 of the last 13 years. Looking ahead, Cole says the board continues on its mission of focusing on academic achievement, especially in the current challenging educational landscape. She’s also preparing for the 87th Legislature, with a focus on funding. “We need to stay very focused on working with our state legislators to remind them that HB 3 was just the first step,” Cole says. “In H-E-B ISD, we’re what is known as a transition district, so there’s quite a bit of the funding from HB 3 that is temporary. We have to work with our legislators to ensure that the next step fixes that temporary funding for us.” H-E-B ISD’s board of trustees are proud of the recognition they’ve received, and proud of the work they do together. Cole credits the longtime culture of the board and the district. “This has been a high-functioning board for a long time,” she says. “All I’m doing as the current board president is taking the reins from someone else and trying to keep things at the same level as always. We’re fortunate to be where we are, and grateful.”

Cole says that for more than 15 years, the entire district has been in a process of continuous improvement as a methodology for all it does, from the boardroom

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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2020 Honor Boards MESQUITE ISD Back row, from left: Gary Bingham, president; Robert Seward; Archimedes Faulkner, secretary; and Greg Everett. Seated, from left: Eddie Rose, vice president; Kevin CarbĂł; Elaine Whitlock; and Dr. David Vroonland, superintendent.

SHELDON ISD Back row, from left: Fred Rivas; Devora Myles; King Davis, superintendent; Erika Martinez; and Ken Coleman. Seated, from left: Angela Cormier, secretary; Latricia Archie, president; and Eileen Palmer, vice president.

TEMPLE ISD Dr. Sandhya Sanghi; Linell Davis; Shannon Gowan; Bobby Ott, superintendent; Dan Posey, president; Ronnie Gaines, vice president; Shannon Myers; and Virginia Suarez, secretary.

TORNILLO ISD Back, from left: Enrique Vega; Hector Lopez; and Daniel Dozal. Center, from left: Ofelia Bosquez, secretary; and Sally Upchurch. Front, from left: Maria Kika SaldaĂąa, vice president; Rosy Vega-Barrio, superintendent; and Marlene Bullard, president.

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2020 KEY COMMUNICATOR

Texas School Public Relations Association

Texas School Public Relations Association names San Benito native as recipient of its Key Communicator Award

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ndy Welch, who was born and grew up in San Benito, where he received an outstanding public school education, has been named by the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) as its Key Communicator for 2020.

communications team. In 1990, Welch switched from promoting Texas foods, wines and organic produce to explaining state tax policy and revenue estimates, as he became communication director for newly elected State Comptroller John Sharp.

Since 1981, TSPRA has recognized a Key Communicator for outstanding contributions to public education through effective communications. The recipient may be a legislator, educator, or a professional in another field who has improved school communications, or a member of TSPRA who has contributed outstanding service to the profession of school communications across the state of Texas. Recipients have included leaders from business, media, PTA, politics and education.

It was in 1998 that Welch accepted what he calls “the hardest job I ever had,” as communication director for Austin ISD, where two of his first assignments were to coordinate a districtwide realignment of all campus attendance boundaries, and the recruitment and hiring of Superintendent Pat Forgione — who remained at the helm of the 80,000-student district for 10 years. Soon after Forgione’s retirement — and following the brutal legislative session that resulted in $5.4 billion being cut from Texas school districts — Welch also retired in 2011.

Welch will be recognized twice for his accomplishments — first at the virtual joint meeting of the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators in October, and then again at TSPRA’s Annual Conference, which will be held in February in Denton. It was as a teenager that Welch says that he first witnessed the headaches of school administration, when his dad, a Main Street merchant who served as a San Benito ISD trustee, would return home from Monday night board meetings and would almost literally bang his head in frustration on the kitchen table. Soon after graduating from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Welch began a decade-long career as a State Capitol reporter, providing daily news coverage to newspapers and radio stations across Texas. In 1983, he joined the staff of newly elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower where he led the agency’s

However, with the 2013 legislative session approaching, TSPRA Executive Director Linsae Snider recruited Welch to write a loosely defined newsletter named EduLege for the organization’s 1,000 members, to help keep them informed of the issues that they must confront on a daily basis. Many TSPRA members also provide EduLege to their administrative team and campus educators, to help keep them updated on issues of importance. Now in its eighth year, Welch estimates that he has written more than 850 editions of EduLege. Welch and his wife, Lisa Price, live in Georgetown with their adorable dog Boudreaux and their snooty cat Ziggy. When he’s not writing EduLege, Welch enjoys gardening and playing the piano. Andy has two married sons and a precocious 5-year-old grandson who, despite his young age, is “much smarter than me.”

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education

Kendra Wiggins works to support special education professionals during her time as TCASE president by Dacia Rivers

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hen she was getting an undergraduate degree in international studies and public relations, with a focus on Latin America, being a teacher was Kendra Wiggins’ backup plan. After graduation, while waiting to find a job in her field, Wiggins worked as a substitute teacher in a special education classroom — and that changed everything. “I fell in love with it and I never looked back,” she says. “I’ve been doing special education from day one.” That was 21 years ago. After serving as a special education teacher, art facilitator, coordinator and assistant director in Tomball and Magnolia ISDs, Wiggins now serves as director of special education/504 in Conroe ISD. She’s a passionate supporter of special education, and says she hopes to be an advocate for students who in some cases aren’t able to speak up for themselves. “I was drawn into special education because I have always thought that everyone has equal rights as far as education goes,” she says. “I feel all children deserve an equal education and everyone should have high expectations for all kids.”

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Wiggins says she’s driven by the unique challenges working in special education creates, as she strives to think outside of the box and come up with new ideas and teaching methods to provide the most benefit to students. Right now, teaching special education during COVID-19 has presented new challenges for educators, making it a struggle to continue to meet the needs of all students. Even before the pandemic hit, Wiggins has seen special education students’ unique needs become more complex, so that just staying on top of changing standards is a constant job. Networking and collaboration with other special education professionals has been a huge help to Wiggins in her career, and is what drew her to join the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) nearly 15 years ago. When her school district offered to send her to a TCASE conference, Wiggins jumped at the change. Her experience there made joining the association an easy decision. “I fell in love with being at a place where we could all talk about the same thing, because special education can sometimes be isolated,” she says. “From that moment on, I was always a part of TCASE —


from networking and learning what other districts were doing to being a part of it.” In Wiggins’ eyes, TCASE’s networking opportunities are a huge benefit for its members. The association hosts an online message board where members can ask questions and get input from special education professionals across the state. This summer, TCASE held its annual conference virtually. Wiggins says the event was a success, and the online format allowed members who were not able to attend to join in. The group might consider continuing a virtual conference option in the future, even when it can host in-person meetings again, for those who might not be able to join otherwise. Serving as TCASE president wasn’t Wiggins’ plan when she first joined the association. She says she has benefitted so much from her membership that she felt drawn to give back.

I want as many people as possible to know about it and I want to give back to TCASE some of the things it’s given to me.” During her time in the president’s seat, Wiggins hopes to help the association adapt to districts’ changing needs in special education, while growing the group to include more coordinators and other special education professionals. She also hopes to partner with other organizations to spread the TCASE message and special education information even further. “We are constantly thinking of ways to meet the needs of our members through this challenging time, and to be there for them.”

“We are constantly thinking of ways to meet the needs of our members through this challenging time, and to be there for them.”

“TCASE has done so much for me in my career,” she says. “I’ve learned so much, and

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Who’s News

Steve Guerrero, newly appointed director of district support, has joined TISD from Houston ISD, where he was principal of Austin Senior High School.

> Continued from page 11

Skidmore-Tynan ISD Richard Waterhouse, who led

George West ISD since 2013, is now superintendent of Skidmore-Tynan ISD. Prior to his time in George West, he worked in Robstown and Premont ISDs.

Socorro ISD Jennifer Avila has been named principal of the Drugan School. An educator for 22 years, she was most recently principal of Campestre Elementary School.

Campestre Elementary School’s new principal, Randi Shreve, has been with the district for 16 years, serving as an elementary teacher, bilingual instructional specialist, and campus administrator.

Spearman ISD Pilot Point ISD’s former superintendent, Dan Gist, now holds the top position in Spearman ISD.

Spring ISD Assistant director of athletics Armando Jacinto has been selected as the first president of the newly formed Hispanic Texas High School Football Coaches Association. He has more than 30 years of experience as a coach, athletic coordinator and administrator in Waco, Austin and Houston area districts.

Tomball ISD Zack Boles has been promoted from director of finance to assistant superintendent for finance. He has been with the district for 10 years.

After serving as principal of Oakcrest Intermediate School for the 2019-20 school year, George Flores is now the district’s school support officer for secondary schools.

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

Rodney Smith has been promoted from University High School’s head football coach and campus coordinator to the district’s assistant athletic director.

Former associate principal for administration at The Woodlands High School Paul LeBlanc now leads Oakcrest Intermediate School.

Additional principal appointments include:

Mindy Muñoz has been promoted from principal of Creekside Park Junior High to assistant superintendent of secondary schools. She was the district’s 2019-20 Secondary Principal of the Year.

• Courtney Whitaker, Provident Heights Elementary School.

New Creekside Park Junior High principal John Vaglienty previously served as associate principal of Tomball Memorial High School and Tomball High School.

Victoria ISD The Victoria ISD board of trustees announces Ashley Scott as executive director of communications and public relations. The University of Houston at Victoria graduate holds a master’s degree in strategic human resources from the University of Denver and has 10 years of experience in communications and marketing. She was most recently the City of Victoria’s digital media specialist.

Waco ISD Isaac Carrier, new principal of Carver

Middle School, has more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, central office administrator and education consultant in Dallas and Aldine ISDs.

Lena Ortiz has begun her first year as a principal, leading Parkdale Elementary School. Most recently assistant principal of Chavez Middle School, she previously worked as a fifth grade teacher and instructional specialist at Kendrick Elementary School.

Who’s News

• Lindsey Helton, Alta Vista Elementary School; • Everette Taylor, Hines Elementary School;

Winnsboro ISD New superintendent Dave Wilcox was previously assistant superintendent of Atlanta ISD.

Ysleta ISD (El Paso) Horacio Gomez, 26-year band director at Hanks High School, has been awarded the 2020 Meritorious Achievement Award from the Texas Bandmasters Association for outstanding commitment to music education. He will be recognized at the association’s 2021 convention in San Antonio in the summer.

Former Tornillo ISD finance director David Solis has accepted the position of Ysleta ISD’s director of accounting and payroll. He began his career in 2004, working for the City of El Paso’s Housing Authority, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Canutillo ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Zavalla ISD Superintendent Ricky Oliver has announced his upcoming retirement, effective in December. ◄

Do you have good news to share about your district?

Send news items for Who’s News directly to news@texasschoolbusiness.com


Watch your inbox! In early December, we’ll be releasing our 14th annual Bragging Rights issue, featuring 12 amazing programs going on in school districts across Texas. You won’t want to miss it! Check our website at texasschoolbusiness.com, or follow us on twitter @ TXSchoolBiz to read the issue online.

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BRAGGING RIGHTS 2019-2020

Twelfth Annual

BRAGGING RIGHTS Bastrop

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Eleventh Annual

BRAGGING RIGHTS

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Burleson ISD Dripping Springs ISD Galve ston ISD Grapevine -Colleyvil le ISD Hillsboro ISD

Beeville ISD Abilene ISD Elgin ISD

Fruitvale ISD

Granbury ISD Hawkins ISD

Kemp ISD

Laredo ISD

de ISD Northsi Prosper ISD Spring Hill ISD Tyler ISD Texas School Business

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Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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REGIONAL VIEW

Education service center programs & practices

Region 4 ESC responds to COVID-19 pandemic with remote support by Dr. Allegra M. McGrew

◄ A Region 4 ESC staff member provides

professional development to educators during COVID-19.

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ednesday, March 11, 2020, began like most ordinary days for leaders in the field of education. This is a day that we will not soon forget, the day that COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. In the days that followed, a blurred reality of rapid-fire decision making came together to fuel significant changes in our field. Region 4 Education Service Center (ESC), like other ESCs, quickly sprang into action. We were laser-focused and determined to support the local education agencies (LEAs) in our region. Fast-forward to the present, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to our LEAs. Region 4 is quite remarkable. Geographically speaking we are not the largest ESC in the state by size; however, we are the largest with respect to the number of individuals we serve. In total, our service area includes seven counties (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty and Waller) and 88 LEAs (48 public school districts and 40 open-enrollment charter schools). We support more than 101,000 educators

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and 1,500 campuses that provide instruction to more than 1.2 million students. While we realized that our support would look different, we were determined to continue to provide exceptional service. Collaboratively, we began to create an action plan. This plan included: • Online resources support (website) • Region 4-led professional development • Region 4 partner-led professional development • Just-In-Time support • Increased support for leaders within the Region 4 service area • Customized technical assistance • Responsive ongoing support We pivoted quickly in order to provide services remotely. We worked our way through our action plan to ensure that we were poised to support LEAs for the purpose of instructional continuity. The website was developed to provide the resources and support our districts would need as they pivoted to online

instruction. Digital instruction support, non-digital resources, curated resources and information about internet connectivity options were included on our site. From the end of March through the end of May, the site was accessed by more than 75,000 visitors, not only from our region and across the state of Texas, but from individuals from all 50 United States and 49 countries. Information related to teaching and learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing and we want to provide the most up-to-date information and support to our districts. In fact, we have recently released a new webpage, Resources 4 Remote Learning, which is designed to support our stakeholders at this stage of their teaching and learning journey. Our website includes resources to support asynchronous instruction, links to Texas Education Agency resources, information about Region 4 professional development that supports remote instruction, and more. The site supports the shift that districts have made from instructional continuity to providing exceptional instruction that may be delivered in a remote environment.


One of the most significant changes that we have made is in the area of professional development delivery. When our landscape significantly reduced the ability to provide face-to-face services, we restructured our offerings to align with this new reality. It was also critical that sessions include modeling of components that best practices dictate should be included in remote instruction. For instance, our science professional development encompasses building teacher capacity in the science content area, as well as modeling what instruction can look like for students in a virtual setting. Remote lesson design, classroom management, communicating in a remote environment and student engagement are modeled in Region 4 sessions so that teachers/staff are able to experience these components firsthand. Since March 2020, Region 4 has provided virtual professional development to more than 25,000 teachers, staff and administrators in our service area (and beyond). We have also provided professional development via a number of virtual conferences and workshops. For example, our Inclusive Practices Conference, a multiday online event, provided hundreds of teachers support in meeting diverse student needs. We have sought to ensure that we are providing professional development that is aligned with the type of instruction school districts are currently engaged in delivering — both asynchronous instruction and synchronous instruction. We are committed to providing teachers/ staff with professional development that teaches best practices in the remote instructional environment. This, in turn, supports student success because many of the considerations that are a part of the remote instructional environment are addressed. Teachers are then empowered to facilitate remote instruction that is engaging, interactive, includes measures and checkpoints to monitor student progress, and is inclusive of the 4 C’s (critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication). Region 4 also called upon our partners to collaboratively work with us to increase our internal capacity and enable us to provide training to teachers and staff on tools offered through Microsoft, iOS and Google, as well as digital tools such as BrainPop, Nearpod, Pear Deck, PenPal Schools, TexQuest and more. Through our

► Region 4 ESC

responded to COVID-19 by pivoting to provide its services remotely.

partnerships, we are able to provide training for hundreds of teachers/staff each month with some sessions offered in English and Spanish. Feedback that we have received from teachers includes: • “This session was a great help for my students to be successful”; • “I will use the tools learned in this training to have students collaborate with me and with other students”; • “Region 4 seems to have all the needed training in place!”; and • “I will implement my new learning when I provide virtual staff PD.” The sentiments expressed by attendees affirms not only the need for professional development in the area of remote teaching and learning, but that our efforts are in line with the needs of those we serve. Currently, we are heavily engaged in the next phase of our remote instruction support. This includes an abundance of virtual offerings: Texas Accountability System support, T-PESS (Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System) support, virtual coaching, dyslexia training, digital tools and resources training, advanced academics services and professional development, and more. But we also excitedly embrace a new area of support. Education service centers have been called upon to support TEA-provided resources available through Texas Home Learning

(THL) 3.0. Those resources include curriculum, technology and professional development. As an ESC, our role is to support these tools by participating in communities of practice and providing ongoing support and training for local education agencies. As additional tools are released and launched, Region 4 will continue to support these resources. While the pandemic has proven to be a roller coaster ride of instructional twists and turns, Region 4’s support has been constant. The reality is that our charge remains the same, “partnering to achieve educational excellence for all children through innovative service.” The field of education now demands a high level of innovation, and while we acknowledge this, we also know that comfort and ability levels vary. Thus, we continue to offer support through technical assistance for LEAs. Through this avenue we offer instructional support feedback, recommendations and brainstorming to district personnel. After all, who wouldn’t benefit from a “thought partner” as we work to navigate our new landscape together? DR. ALLEGRA MCGREW currently serves as the director of publishing and digital learning solutions for Region 4 ESC in the Houston area. She has previously served as an elementary classroom teacher, high school classroom teacher, curriculum writer, specialist, university adjunct professor, campus administrator and district-level administrator. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Calendar Professional development & events Note: Many events are being moved, postponed or canceled due to COVID-19. Please verify any event listed below by calling the included phone number for the most up-to-date information.

DEC EM BE R December 1 Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 1 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 1-2 TASA/N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute (session 2 of 4) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org TASA/N2 Learning Principals' Institute (session 3 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Texas ASCD Literacy Academy: Developing a School-Wide Literacy Plan Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 2 ED311/TASPA Conference: Personnel Law for School Administrators (session 1 of 4) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.org Cost: $205, four-session webinar series only; $230, webinar series and workbook. December 2-3 Texas ASCD Workshop: Creating an Understanding-Based Curriculum and Assessment System for 21st Century Learning Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723.

December 3

December 8-9

Ed311/TASPA Conference: Personnel Law for School Administrators (session 2 of 4) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.org Cost: $205, four-session webinar series only; $230, webinar series and workbook.

Texas ASCD Curriculum Design Academy Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (session 3 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org TASBO Course: What’s New for Tax Year 2020 Webinar For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $75; nonmembers, $125. December 3-4 TAHPERD Annual Convention Virtual event For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org December 3-5 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Association Annual Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: TAGT members, $359; nonmembers, $459. December 7-10 THSADA State Conference Virtual event www.thsada.com For more info, (832) 623-7803. December 8 Ed311/TASPA Conference: Personnel Law for School Administrators (session 3 of 4) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.org Cost: $205, four-session webinar series only; $230, webinar series and workbook. TASBO CSRM Class: Measuring School Risks TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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 December 9 Ed311/TASPA Conference: Personnel Law for School Administrators (session 4 of 4) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.org Cost: $205, four-session webinar series only; $230, webinar series and workbook. TASBO Workshop: School Nutrition Purchasing Fundamentals Virtual event For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $215; nonmembers, $265. Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 2 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 9-11 TASPA Winter Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org December 10 TASB Workshop: Wrapping Up 2020 for Special Populations Webinar For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Student Solutions members, no charge; participants from nonmember districts, $25.

TASBO Workshop: Filing 2020 W2s Webinar For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $75; nonmembers, $125. TASSP Region 10 Meeting Spring Creek BBQ, Richardson For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Texas ASCD Series: The 100-Day Leader (session 3 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 10-11 TAMS Annual Legislative Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 346-2177. www.midsizeschools.org Cost: Participants from TAMS and TARS districts, no charge; nonmembers, $100. December 15 Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 3 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org December 16 TASA/TASBO/TASB 2020-21 Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org TASBO Course: ACT106 Financial Coding for Texas Schools Webinar For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $175; nonmembers, $225. December 17 TASBO Workshop: Filing 2020 1099s Webinar For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $75; nonmembers, $125.


JAN UARY January 12-13 Texas ASCD Literacy Academy: Developing a School-Wide Literacy Plan Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 13 TASBO Workshop: Budget Fundamentals Courtyard Austin, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $225; nonmembers, $275. January 13-14 Texas ASCD Curriculum Design Academy Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 14 TASB New Board Member Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 457-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org January 14-15 TASBO 2021 Budget Academy Courtyard Austin, Pflugerville For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $305; nonmembers, $355. January 21 TASPA HR Series: Title IX, Part 1: How do the New Title IX Regulations Impact Human Resources? (session 2 of 4) Webinar For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: TASPA members, no charge; nonmembers, $25. January 23-24 TCWSE Annual Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org January 25-27 TASA Midwinter Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www. tasanet.org

January 27-28

February 10

February 24-25

TASA/N2 Learning Principals' Institute (session 4 of 6) Hilton Garden Inn Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals ESC Region 8, Pittsburg For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org

TASA 2020-21 Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

February 11-12

February 25-26

FE B RUA RY

Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXXIII Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

FastGrowth School Coalition Annual Conference Eilan Hotel, San Antonio For more info, (512) 536-1206. www.fastgrowthtexas.org Cost: FGSC members, $150; nonmembers, $250.

February 1-2 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy, Katy ISD (session 3 of 3) Katy ISD, Katy For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 2-3 Texas ASCD Literacy Academy: Developing a School-Wide Literacy Plan Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 7-9 Texas Counseling Association Annual School Counselor Conference Kalahari Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 472-3403. www.txca.org Cost: Full conference preregistration: Members, $175; nonmembers, $200. Single day pre-registration: $125. February 8-9 TASSP Assistant/Aspiring Principal Workshop Virtual event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org February 8-10 TCASE Great Ideas Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org February 9 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (session 4 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 1 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

February 16 Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 2 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 17-18 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 4 of 4) For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: Members, $795 for all four sessions; nonmembers, $895 for all four sessions. Any one of the four sessions, $275. TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals ESC Region 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org February 22 THSCA Coaches Leadership Summit Esports Stadium, Arlington For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.com February 22-25 TSPRA Annual Conference Embassy Suites, Denton For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org Cost: By Jan. 25: Members, $495; nonmembers, $670. After Jan. 25: Members, $595; nonmembers, $770. February 23 TASA/TASB Legislative Conference Sheraton at the Capitol, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 3 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

MARCH March 1-2 TASSP Symposium: Making Middle School Matter Virtual event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org March 2 TASPA HR Series: Title IX, Part 2: Investigating and Making Decisions about Title IX Complaints (session 3 of 4) Webinar For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: TASPA members, no charge; nonmembers, $25. March 3-6 TASB Governance Camp Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org March 17 TASA/TASBO/TASB 202021 Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org March 23-24 TASA/N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute (session 3 of 4) Hilton Dallas/Park Cities For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $2,850 for all four sessions. TASA/N2 Learning Principals' Institute session 5 of 6) Hilton Dallas/Park Cities For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org â—„

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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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. TexasSchoolBusiness.com

28

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020


THE BACK PAGE

The worst of times … the best of times by Riney Jordan

“I

’m worried.” “I’m afraid.” “I’m concerned.”

These are the kinds of remarks that I am hearing more and more often. And, here’s the sad part: I’m hearing them from adults! And, if the adults in the world are expressing these thoughts, can you imagine what fears our children are having? Read the following magazine clip. It certainly summarizes our world today, doesn’t it? “The world is too big for us. Too much going on, too many crimes, too much violence. Try as you will, you get behind in the race, in spite of yourself. It’s an incessant strain to keep pace ... and still, you lose ground. Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment. The political world is news seen so rapidly you’re out of breath trying to keep pace with who’s in and who’s out. Everything is high pressure. Human nature can’t endure much more!” Wow! I got exhausted just reading that. But here’s what you need to know: It’s an editorial clip from the June 16, 1833, edition of The Atlantic Journal. Yes, almost 200 years ago! You see, things have always been troubling. There’s always been something for us to worry about. Today we worry about some mysterious, misunderstood disease they’ve decided to name COVID-19. The longer we deal with it, the more convinced I am that if we all follow the guidelines as suggested, we’re going to be fine. And then we hear constant grumbling over the politics in our nation. How many times have you heard someone say, “This is the most important election in the history of our country.” Well, I’m 78 years old, and I’ve heard that said about virtually every presidential election for the last 20 years. Whoever is elected will be

fine. If not, we’ll reelect someone else in four years. And then there’s “virtual” learning. My goodness, what an opportunity for teachers to shine! You know parents are probably watching, or at least hearing what you’re saying. What a perfect time to let them see how much you care about their child. Ask how he or she is doing. Find out how they’ve been spending their days. Take time to show a real interest in them, and use your God-given talents to shine during these difficult days.

Texas School Business Advertiser Index

Classlink..........................................................4 classlink.com Corgan..............................................................2 corgan.com Forecast5........................................................6 forecast5analytics.com TASA..............................................................30 Tasanet.org TASPA.............................................................. 5 Taspa.org Texas Assessment Conference.........21 txassessmentcon.org Texas School Business.............7, 23, 28 texasschoolbusiness.com

Thomas Wolfe perhaps said it best in his book, “The Web and the Rock.” “If we have a talent and cannot use it, we have failed. If we have a talent and use only half of it, we have partly failed. If we have a talent and learn somehow to use all of it, we have gloriously succeeded, and won a satisfaction and a triumph few individuals ever know.” During these difficult days, use your talents in creative and inspiring ways. Get excited about trying something new and regain that enthusiasm you had when you first began teaching. And grow your love and support for kids to new heights. Children have always needed comforting. They’ve always needed to know that they are safe and secure. This is nothing new. But, as educators, as role models, as those acting in loco parentis, in place of the parent for so many hours each day, we need to remember to be the comforter that they often need so desperately. Please, keep an eye on your students. Watch for signs that they may need some encouragement, some uplifting, some reassurance that everything is going to be okay. Remind yourself and your students that, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Advertise in Texas School Business magazine. For specs and rates, contact jgarrido@tasanet.org or by calling (800) 725-8272 https://texasschoolbusiness.com

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 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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Join Us! TASA is the professional association for Texas school leaders. In addition to advocacy and professional learning, we provide networks and services that offer mentorship and inspiration to our members. Although 2020 has introduced a new set of challenges, TASA is working hard to provide the support that Texas school leaders need. We invite you to be part of TASA in 2020-21!

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November/December 2020 Texas School Business  

The November/December 2020 issue of Texas School Business, published by TASA, features McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, who was sel...

November/December 2020 Texas School Business  

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