November/December 2022 Texas School Business

Page 1

69

YEARS

The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas

Texas School Business

NOV/DEC

2022

Temple ISD’s Bobby Ott named 2022 Texas Superintendent of the Year

Also in this issue:

2022 Outstanding School Board Lyford CISD 2022 TSPRA Key Communicator James Colbert Jr.


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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

12 Cover Story

16 2022 Outstanding School Board

Board of trustees for Lyford CISD receives highest honor

19 2022 Key Communicator Texas School Public Relations Association names James Colbert Jr. Key Communicator

2022 Superintendent of the Year

Temple ISD’s Bobby Ott leads with love by Dacia Rivers

14 2022 Texas Superintendent of the Year Finalists 18 2022 Honor Boards Departments 7 Who’s News 20 Calendar 32 Ad Index

Columns

5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 The Digital Frontier by Dianne Borreson 26 Student Voices by Vanessa Macaluso 32 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

W

elcome to the wind down of the calendar year, where life feels like you’re in a freefall until the new year, when maybe things might calm down for a minute — or perhaps that’s just in my house. It’s an exciting time of year, which perhaps is why it seems to fly by in a flash. It’s also a good time to reflect and to be appreciative and thankful, which is why I’m happy to introduce you all to one of your outstanding peers in this issue: Dr. Bobby Ott of Temple ISD, who was named Texas’ 2022 Superintendent of the Year. I hope you’ll read about Ott’s journey to the superintendency and the philosophy that keeps him going, all kicking off on page 12. In this issue, you’ll also meet the finalists for the award, along with the 2022 Outstanding Board and finalists, plus TSPRA’s Key Communicator — another Texas school superintendent. And coming soon, you’ll want to keep an eye out for our 16th annual Bragging Rights edition, where we highlight 12 unique programs going on in Texas’ public schools. It’s the perfect issue for sharing to spread the great news about the amazing things happening right on your campuses. As we hurtle toward a new year, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your work in Texas’ public schools and remind you that Texas School Business is your magazine. If there is a topic you’d like to see covered in these pages, I welcome your emails at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com.

Texas School Business

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022 Volume LXIX, Issue 6 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Dacia Rivers DESIGN

Phaedra Strecher COLUMNISTS

Dianne Borreson Riney Jordan Jim Walsh ADVERTISING SALES

Dacia Rivers Editorial Director

Jennifer Garrido

TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Kevin Brown

DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING

Amy Francisco

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 2022 Texas Association of School Administrators

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


Who’s News

Brownsville ISD Leticia Briones, former

Aldine ISD Diaka Melendez has been named assistant

superintendent of student support services, returning to the district where she began her career. The 20-year educator was most recently Spring ISD’s executive director of curriculum and instruction and also worked in Humble ISD.

New chief financial officer Stan Osborne has come to Aldine from San Antonio’s Southside ISD, where he served in the same capacity since 2018. Prior to that, he was director of accounting for Pasadena ISD and held financial administrative positions in the Yukon-Koyukuk School District in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in New Mexico’s Socorro Consolidated Schools. Additionally, five principal assignments have been announced. They are: • Luz del Carmen DeAnda, Aldine High School;

Elementary.

Aiken Elementary School has welcomed Deyanira Garcia as its principal. Previously a specialist in the district’s professional development department, she also worked as an assistant principal, principal and human resources director. The new principal of Vermillion Elementary School is Sandra Lopez, who in the course of her 44 years as an educator has served as a teacher, assistant superintendent, facilitator, assistant principal and principal. Cesar Murillo, new principal

of Garden Park Elementary School, was previously an assistant principal at Lopez Early College High School. He has been an educator for 19 years.

• Artisha Holmes, Dunn Elementary School; • Sherree Johnson, Griggs Primary School; • Jonathan Kegler, IMPACT Leadership Academy;

Julie Pena, newly named

principal of Ortiz Elementary, was the school’s dean of instruction. She has 25 years of experience as an educator.

• Dale Prioleau, Knipple Education Center and the Lane School.

Bastrop ISD

Morningside Elementary School now has Dora Sosa as principal. The 32-year educator previously served as an assistant principal, principal, curriculum and instruction administrator and assistant superintendent.

Derek Eberly, who was

associate director of the district’s office of special programs and services, has been promoted to director of that department. He has been an educator for 21 years, 11 of those with Bastrop ISD. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Brackett ISD Eliza Diaz has been confirmed as district superintendent, having served in that capacity in an interim position.

assistant principal of Garden Park Elementary, is now principal of El Jardin Elementary. The 14-year educator also served as a facilitator at Canales

Susana Zapata-Burguete has

beginning his career in Brownwood ISD and working as a principal and athletic director in Paint Creek ISD. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a master’s degree in education administration from Tarleton State University.

Canutillo ISD (El Paso) Canutillo ISD has announced the appointment of Maria Villarreal as director of student services. She returns to the district where she previously was a lead counselor after a stint in Fabens ISD. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, where she also earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling.

Cedar Hill ISD The new assistant principal of Highlands Elementary School is Monica Balderas, who was an instructional coach at the school for five years. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University. Carla Settle has been promoted from

executive director of finance to chief financial officer. She has been with the district for two years, previously serving in Grand Prairie ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Texas Tech University.

Coppell ISD Mary Kemper has been

selected to serve as executive director for educational leadership. Previously director of K-12 mathematics, she has been with CISD for 10 years and also worked in Pearland and Midlothian ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University.

assumed the role of principal of Russell Elementary. She was most recently assistant principal of Egly Elementary and also worked as a teacher, counselor, dean of instruction and guidance counselor.

The district’s new child nutrition director is Aubrey Blaylock, who previously held similar positions in Dallas and Duncanville ISDs.

Buna ISD

Christoval ISD

Tiffany Spicer, former assistant superintendent of innovation and learning for Beeville ISD, is Buna ISD’s new superintendent.

Corsicana ISD

Now serving as superintendent is Clint Askins, who most recently led Miles ISD. During his 24-year career he has also served as a teacher, coach, special education director and principal at all levels.

Calhoun County ISD Evan Cardwell has been promoted from

deputy superintendent to superintendent. He previously led Newcastle ISD after > See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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Who’s News > Continued from page 7

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Derrick Crowder has been promoted from assistant principal of Jersey Village High School to principal of the district’s Alternative Learning Center West. He has spent his 13-year career in CFISD as a teacher and administrator. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington and is a doctoral student at the University Houston.

DeSoto ISD Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones, newly appointed chief communications officer, came to DeSoto ISD in 2017 as director of communications. She previously worked in Dallas ISD. Lakedra Cardell, director of evaluation and assessments, comes to DeSoto ISD from Dallas ISD, where she was a district testing coordinator. Arthurlyn Morgan, a 28-year educator, is

now director of multi-tiered systems of support. She was most recently coordinator of RtI (response to intervention) for Crowley ISD as well as that district’s coordinator of multitiered systems of support.

Melinda Pugh, director of career and

technical education, began her career as a teacher in Baton Rouge, La., before transferring to Dallas ISD. She joined DeSoto ISD in 2002 and in 2013 was named the district’s project-based learning coordinator.

Saundra Scott, director of business operations, brings 20 years of financial experience to her new position. She began her career as a tax assessor before taking business management roles with Dallas ISD and the Texas Can academies.

Dallas ISD Jon Dahlander, who was director of communications for Highland Park ISD since 2015, has returned to Dallas ISD as chief of strategic partnerships and intergovernmental relations. Before joining Highland Park, he worked in the communications office of DISD for 20 years.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD

Diboll ISD Erasmo Herrera, who for

the past two years has been director of the Diboll Junior High band, has been tapped to serve as the district’s director of bands. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in music performance from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Dripping Springs ISD The new deputy superintendent for finance and operations is Elaine Cogburn, who spent the past three years as Leander ISD’s chief financial officer. She brings 27 years of experience to her new position, including serving as DSISD’s assistant superintendent for finance and operations from 2013 to 2018. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and is a CPA. Sirenna Cumberland is the district’s new

director of safety. In her 30-year career she has served as a patrol officer and investigator in Hays County as well as working as a Dripping Springs ISD resource officer from 2013 to 2019. She spent the past three years as a training specialist for the Texas School Safety Center.

El Paso ISD Andress High School now has Luis Alarcon as principal. He comes to his new job from serving as assistant principal of Bel Air and Parkland high schools and was a coach and teacher at Riverside High. In addition, he was an admissions counselor at the University of Texas at El Paso, from which he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in educational administration and leadership from Sul Ross State University. The district’s new budget director is Gloria De Leon, who was the department’s assistant director. An employee of El Paso ISD since 2018, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and is at work on her master’s degree in that field from the University of Texas Permian Basin. Jennifer Mata has been promoted from

assistant principal of Crockett Elementary School to principal. She previously taught at Hillside Elementary and was a special education teacher, literacy coach and assistant principal at Newman Elementary. Her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational administration were awarded from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Now serving as director of community engagement is Pablo Villa, who joins the district from the University of Texas at El Paso, where he was an assistant director of communications. His master’s degree in communications was awarded from Arizona State University.

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

Remington Point Elementary School has welcomed Claire Compton as its principal. She most recently served as an assistant principal at Copper Creek Elementary School and previously worked in Midland ISD. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Texas Permian Basin. Chaney Curran, who for the past eight years was principal of Remington Point Elementary School, is now assistant director of human resources. She has spent 13 of her 18 years as an educator with the district.

Now leading Copper Creek Elementary School as principal is Daniel Dodson, who had been serving as the school’s assistant principal. The 13-year educator holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Maria Gamell, newly

appointed executive director of human resources, was for the past five years the district’s director of elementary staffing and human resources. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, her master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from Shippensburg University, and her doctorate in educational leadership from Duquesne University. New Elkins Elementary School principal Sonia Garcia is a 17-year educator who most recently was assistant principal of Marine Creek Middle School. She began her career as a bilingual teacher in Fort Worth ISD, going on to work in Birdville, Irving and Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education administration from Texas Woman’s University. Chris Morgan, director of human resources, joined that department in 2021 as assistant director, coming to EMISD from Decatur ISD, where he was director of academic learning and student services. He previously worked in Sherman and Frisco ISDs. He received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and his master’s degree > See Who’s News, page 28


THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED

Vist TSB online!

My career as a teacher’s aide by Jim Walsh

I

did a strange thing 25 years ago. I took an unpaid leave from my law firm for several months in the fall of 1997 and spent that time working as an unpaid voluntary teacher’s aide in several different Texas school districts. This raises some questions, such as why? And how? The “why” was because of a comment my younger child made to me. “Dad, you cannot imagine how boring it is.” This was in reference to his experience at Anderson High School in Austin ISD. The boy was smart, intellectually curious, a voracious reader … and he found high school boring to the point that he dropped out at age 16. I found this hard to fathom. I had been working with public school administrators for more than 15 years by this time and had come to be a big believer in public education. I decided I wanted to see for myself just what it was like out there. The “how” involved Aunt Verne and the superintendents of the state. Aunt Verne had recently died. She had no children but loved her nieces and nephews. To our surprise, she left each of us a nice sum of money. It was just enough to replace my salary for four months. So I decided to take some time off from law practice. Next, I mapped out the places I wanted to go and contacted superintendents. Here was the pitch: Can I work in your district for a week? No pay, and no commitment. If I’m miserable, I’m outta there on Tuesday. Assign me to a teacher. Let me be an aide in the classroom. I suspect that if I did this today I would be enveloped in red tape with many forms and waivers to sign. But life was simpler in 1997, and only one of the districts I contacted required a criminal background check.

I started out close to home with visits to a content mastery class in Leander and an elementary language arts class in Liberty Hill. I ventured out to Killeen and spent a memorable week in the behavior unit of the middle school. Later in the semester I was in a math class in McAllen, a history class in Lubbock, and with a coach in Keller. They let me teach a class in Hallsville. I spent a week in Presidio with a day trip to Candelaria and formed a lifelong friendship with Ted Purcell. What do I remember? What did I learn? I saw good teachers, great teachers, and not so good teachers. I saw differences between elementary and high school, which helped me understand why my very smart son was bored at school. I experienced what a difference it made in a fourth grade classroom for an adult male to be present. I had some fun encounters with a few students. I attended a faculty meeting where they reviewed the results of the STAAR test (then whatever name it went by in 1997), which was illuminating. I learned about the difference between reading the words on a page and comprehending what the words meant. I went to a pep rally, learned that the smart teachers brought their own coffee to school, and commiserated with the assistant principal who had to be the “dirty dancing” moderator at the middle school dance. I’m grateful for the experience and the memories. As for that high school dropout: I’m pleased to let you know that he has a master’s degree and is the owner of Daymoon Coffee Bar and Booksellers in Asheville, North Carolina. I’ll be writing more about this in my daily blog: www.edlawdawg.com. If you’re interested, check it out.

Check us out online at texasschoolbusiness.com for: ► recent issues ► how to submit articles ► Bragging Rights nomination info ► advertising information ► and more! Texas School Business THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS

69 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 2022

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MAKING AN EVERYDAY IMPACT

HCDE makes a BIG impact on Harris County communities through specialized schools; Head Start early childhood education; afterschool programs; school-based therapy services; and adult education.

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


DIGITAL FRONTIER

The evolving role of the CTO, part one by Dianne Borreson

O

ver the last 20 years, we have experienced significant changes in the technology that we use in our daily lives. Just think about it … from iPhones, Fitbits, Amazon and Alexa, to Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, and TikTok — the way we work out, find entertainment, get our news, buy our groceries and talk with friends and family all look a lot different today. The same is true for our schools and how we use technology to facilitate learning. From personal devices, chargers, hotspots, passwords, Wi-Fi, personalized learning apps and cloud computing, the tools students use in classrooms today look very different than they did 20 years ago. When I started as a chief technology officer in 2001, after spending more than 15 years in various classroom settings, our servers held 2 gigs of data, we had a limited network with very little redundancy, discussions of technology integration were just beginning, and cybersecurity was a term used by mostly governmental agencies. Today, thumb drives range between 32 gigs to terabytes of storage, students come to school toting multiple personal devices, and our network capacity has quadrupled as we have wireless connectivity in all potential learning spaces. As educators, we work to adapt to this seemingly constant, often invisible change, and, as we do, we rely on the district’s technology department to lead us safely and securely through the latest and greatest advancements. In fact, now more than ever, almost all instructional and administrative functions involve technology in some manner. From supporting instructional software to using point-of-sale in the cafeteria line, from online student registration to maintaining digital transcripts, from integrating school safety initiatives to supporting 1:1 mobile computing and online testing — almost all district operations now depend on

technology departments to ensure that technology functions seamlessly and securely. As the technology landscape has changed drastically over the past 20 years, so too has the role of the CTO, both in the leadership skills required by the job, and the scope and complexity of the technical expertise needed. Consider, for instance, the critical role technology and the CTO play in campus and student safety. The level of professional skills and knowledge required to implement and oversee these safety systems is ever-evolving. For instance, where the maintenance department previously issued metal keys to all employees, most districts now use keyless entry systems with advanced technical capabilities. Identity automation is often used to programmatically provision account access, providing multiple levels of functionality. Video surveillance is another security measure that requires close collaboration with the technology department. Here are a few more examples: 1.

For law enforcement to access district security networks during an emergency, the technology department must create and maintain unique links between the security system and emergency management teams. This provisioning must ensure that student data is protected, district security is maintained, and the login credentials for remote users are safeguarded and secured.

2.

To better protect students’ health and wellbeing, many districts have implemented internet filtering platforms designed to provide real time alerts for student safety concerns by monitoring searches and user content, whether the school devices are used on or off campus. Such systems are complex and multifaceted and, once

implemented, require the CTO to collaborate with other department leaders to develop a highly structured response process to monitor and follow up on alerts, assessing the level of emergency and ensuring appropriate follow through. 3.

Managing the data requirements for new instructional technology applications can also be daunting. While the capacity for server and cloud storage has increased significantly over the years, our need to store data is increasing at an even faster rate. The reliance on digital media has caused districts to implement a variety of solutions to manage this need. Online cloud platforms such as Google, however, will soon begin charging for storage. This will require districts to more efficiently manage the storage provided and implement solid systems for data management.

4.

Software application development has exploded, including the development of instructional learning platforms. The technology department should be included in all software purchases and deployments. This is particularly challenging because apps can be purchased/downloaded online. Districts typically implement a twoprong vetting process wherein the technology department reviews the security of the app/software even before the curriculum department assesses its educational suitability and value. Districts must consider how the app will be implemented and maintained. The approval process should also consider student data privacy, documenting what data will be shared and how it will be protected. The National Student Data Privacy Alliance has helped CTOs by creating and maintaining a national database > See Digital Frontier, page 30 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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2022 Superintendent of the Year

Temple ISD’s Bobby Ott leads with love by Dacia Rivers

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


2022 Superintendent of the Year

D

r. Bobby Ott, superintendent of Temple ISD, was recently named Texas’ 2022 Superintendent of the Year and will go on to represent the state in the National Superintendent of the Year program. While Ott says he was overwhelmed when he learned he’d been awarded the top distinction, the honor is poetic in a way, representing how he is one outstanding success story for Texas public schools, though in perhaps a more unusual way than most might expect. Ott graduated from Texas’ public schools, from Copperas Cove ISD to be exact, but beyond that, he says he was truly raised by his schools. When Ott was growing up, his father was incarcerated, and when his mother moved to California, he was left in an unstable home situation. Ott says the school system really was the only stable thing he had in his life. Due in no small part to that fact, a young Ott knew that when he grew up, he wanted to do the same work as the public school employees who had helped support him during tumultuous times. “I didn’t have much direction in terms of what specific field I wanted to get into, but I just knew I wanted to be like them,” he says. “I didn’t care what they did for a living. I just wanted to do what they did, because they made me feel safe. They made me feel valued, and they didn’t give up on me.” That’s just what Ott set out to do, nearly 30 years ago, receiving his bachelor’s from Angelo State University and working as a teacher and coach in Round Rock and Anson ISDs. After becoming a middle school principal in Anson, Ott was nominated for the doctoral program in educational administration at the University of Texas at Austin. He applied for a fellowship with the TEA, working at the agency during and after he completed his doctorate. The program he worked on migrated to UT, so he made the move along with it, eventually spending a little more than six years working between the TEA and UT systems. “At that point in time, I kind of said, ‘I’ve been out of the public school thing a while, and I’ve worked for two large bureaucracies. If I stay out too much longer, I’m not going to look or smell like any school administrators.’ And I got back into it.” Ott knew he wanted to be a superintendent, and he started looking for central office positions. He was hired back at his alma mater, Copperas Cove ISD, to serve as deputy superintendent. After three years in that position, he moved into the same seat in

nearby Killeen ISD and held the job for three years. In 2012 he made the move to Temple ISD, serving as assistant superintendent for six years before becoming superintendent in the district, a position he’s held since 2018. While Ott considers public school district offices to be his ideal work environment, he says his years spent working at TEA and UT gave him unique insight and perspective into his work as administrator. “When I worked at TEA, I became very astute in the legislative process and working with bills, legislation and policy writing,” he says. “Then when I worked at the UT system, I had an opportunity to see a lot of best practices from across the state. That helped me become effective in terms of being able to come into a district and look for innovative opportunities that maybe they weren’t using at the time.” Some unique personal traits help Ott stand out in his job as well. He says he’s been complimented by his peers on his communication and collaboration skills. He also has a deep creative streak, and is always looking for alternatives and opportunities, especially in the face of obstacles. Assessing himself, Ott feels his greatest strength is being able to connect with a variety of audiences in a genuine way. “I have a really strong desire to connect with everyone, and I’ve been told that desire radiates,” he says. “Whether it’s through my work or personal experiences I’ve had in my life, I think I have a natural ability to connect with all types of groups.” It’s these connections that keep Ott going when the job gets challenging. Temple isn’t a small district. With more than 8,500 students under his wing, Ott strives to let them know that he sees them, and that they matter to him — something he knows kids need. Through these connections, he says the community knows that he genuinely cares about students and their families, and in his experience, these relationships help reduce the pressure of holding the high office. “I think high pressure situations really escalate if people don’t know or trust you, and they don’t know where your heart is,” he says. “If they think your heart is fair and they know you love their children, I really believe that is the best medicine for dealing with high pressure situations.” Ott is quick to tell his students that he loves them, but he doesn’t just talk the talk. His goal is to give his students confidence. He’s also quick to support staff in the district. For

him, the greatest reward of the job is helping others be successful. “It could be giving a senior a letter of recommendation. It could be hiring a great teacher and giving them their first opportunity. It could be working with the board, or a partnership with a business that manifests into a practicum for kids. Whatever it may be, my number one goal when I sit at any table, when I look around and think about who I’m responsible for, is to work as hard as I can and be diligent to put them in the best positions to be successful.” Called to the work at a young age, Ott feels that public education is an honorable profession, and one that provides a service that regularly generates more success than any others. His hope for the future of public education is to see the work recognized for its importance, and for schools to be held up, supported and not dismantled. That’s the work he’ll continue doing in Temple, where he is proud to bring home the Superintendent of the Year title. “The community is happy,” Ott says. “I had a first grader, when I walked into the classroom this week, the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘Dr. Ott, you won the state championship!’” Ott is proud of everyone in the district, where he has supported a culture that is dedicated to serving students and the community with compassion, love, inclusivity and innovation. “At the end of the day, I don’t think a superintendent can change an entire world. But we sure have the opportunity to make a small corner of it bright, shiny and special. I’m part of a bright, shiny place right now, and that’s Temple.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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2022 Superintendent of the Year Finalists

Doug Killian

Doug Killian became superintendent of 25,000-student Pflugerville ISD in 2017, coming from nearby Hutto ISD, where he held the top office for seven years. The state selection committee was impressed with Killian’s commitment to open communications and his work providing equitable and rigorous instruction to all students in the district. Killian began his career in education as a teacher in United ISD and has held several administrative roles. He was named the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Superintendent of the Year in 2014 and Region 13’s Superintendent of the Year in 2015.

Thurston Lamb

In 2019, Thurston Lamb became superintendent of Henderson ISD in East Texas, where he leads 3,500 students over five campuses. Of note to the selection committee was Lamb’s approach to supporting and coaching teachers while improving student achievement in the district and staying connected with the local community. Lamb is also known to have a strong relationship with the Henderson school board. In the district, his Instructional Leadership Academy has helped grow other school administrators through a rigorous one-year leadership program.

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


2022 Superintendent of the Year Finalists

Jenny McGown

Since 2019, Jenny McGown has been the superintendent of Klein ISD, a 54,000-student district in northwest Harris County. The selection committee acknowledged McGown’s commitment to maintaining an outstanding relationship with Klein ISD’s board of trustees and her work focused on student achievement and personalized learning. Since McGown has led the district, Klein ISD has been recognized as a District Administration’s National District of the Year, honored twice for Houston Business Journal Innovation Awards, and twice was a finalist for an H-E-B Excellence in Education Award for Best Large District.

Scott Muri

Scott Muri became superintendent of Ector County ISD in 2019, after holding the top office in Houston’s Spring Branch ISD. Muri’s work improving education in the district of 33,500 students caught the committee’s notice, while members were also impressed by his commitment to teacher training, board relations and a focus on equity work. In Muri’s time in ECISD, teacher vacancies have dropped from 356 to 61, and the district has expanded its pre-K offerings and increased kindergarten readiness.

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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y

Joey Mendoza, secretary; Arnold Cortez, trustee; Marina Quilantan-Rivera, vice-president; Victoria Perez, president; Viola Z. Vela, trustee; Alison Busse-Savage, trustee; Dr. Kristin N. Brown, superintendent; Eulalio Mendez IV, trustee.

2022 Outstanding Board 16

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

Lyford CISD


2022 Outstanding Board

A

t this fall’s TASA|TASB Convention, Lyford CISD was named the 2022 Outstanding Board, recognizing the trustees as the top school board in the state. Located in ESC Region 1, Lyford CISD serves nearly 1,500 students at the southernmost tip of the state in the Rio Grande Valley. The Lyford CISD board shares a vision of graduating responsible student leaders who are prepared for the realities of today and the opportunities of tomorrow. Victoria Perez has served as board president since 2019. Perez is a graduate of Lyford High School and now has three children who attend district schools. No stranger to public school operations, Perez also serves as chief financial officer for Socorro ISD, and previously worked in Monte Alto ISD and San Benito and Los Fresnos CISDs. Marina Quilantan-Rivera has served on the Lyford CISD board since 2011 and currently holds the vice presidency. Quilantan-Rivera also graduated from Lyford High School and is parent to three Lyford CISD students. She works as a legal assistant with the 13th Court of Appeals and is a master graduate of TASB’s leadership class of 2010. Joey Mendoza serves as board secretary and has been on the board since 2013. Mendoza is a Lyford High graduate and dad to two LCISD students. Trustee Viola Vela graduated from Lyford High as well and has been on the board since 2011. Vela has three children in LCISD schools. Alison Busse-Savage has been an LCISD trustee since 2013. A Lyford High graduate, Busse-Savage has two children who attend LCISD. Trustee Arnold Cortez joined the board of trustees in 2013. Also a Lyford grad, Cortez works as an art teacher and is parent to one child in the district. Eulalio “Larry” Mendez IV graduated from Lyford High and has been a board member

since 2013. Mendez has three children in the district, and one future LCISD student, and is a 2020 TASB leadership class master graduate. Board members in Lyford CISD use detailed step-by-step processes to facilitate their meetings. They say that this structure has helped them to be successful, even in the face of challenging decisions. Transparency is also important to the board. Working closely with Lyford’s superintendent, Dr. Kristin N. Brown, trustees share information on proposed policies on a weekly basis and through open communications are able to ask questions and seek clarification. The board’s process for considering any changes includes seeking input from school district staff along with site-based decision making committees and the district education improvement committee. With a focus on student achievement, the Lyford CISD board is proud of the opportunities available to students in the district. The district has maintained an 11-year 1:1 partnership with Apple and provides students with a wide array of CTE programs. In addition, Lyford High School has been a designated STEM academy for more than nine years, with a goal of preparing students for the careers of the future through project-based learning.

Community outreach is important to Lyford’s board members, with trustees attending community events as often as possible in an effort to build relationships and earn trust.

Community outreach is important to Lyford’s board members, with trustees attending community events as often as possible in an effort to build relationships and earn trust. Perhaps as a result, in the May 2022 election, 69% of voters approved a bond to create new and improved athletic facilities, a stadium and additional parking. In a time when conflicts between school board members frequently make headlines, trustees in Lyford CISD are committed to compromise through open communication. Trustees say that while they might not agree on every issue, they are committed to treat each other with respect and operate in a peaceful, harmonious manner.

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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2022 Honor Boards East Chambers ISD Left to right: Taylor Wilcox, secretary; Charlotte Edwards, trustee; Lisa Bauer, vice president; Scott Jones, president; Frank Abalos, trustee; Kelley Touchet, trustee; Scott Campbell, superintendent.

Goose Creek CISD Left to right: Dr. Randal O’Brien, superintendent; Richard Clem, president; Howard Sampson, secretary; Jessica Woods, trustee; Shae Cottar, trustee; Tiffany Guy, vice president; Mercedes Renteria III, trustee; Helen Berrott-Tims, assistant secretary.

Lubbock-Cooper ISD Left to right: Ursula Caswell, trustee; Kevin Bryan, secretary; BJ Lewis, trustee; Paul Ehlers, president; Brent Preston, trustee; Colby Miller, trustee; Daniel Castro, vice president; Keith Bryant, superintendent.

Quinlan ISD Left to right: Todd Darter, trustee; Kenny Stone, president; Billie Miller, trustee; Eric Kleiber, secretary; Rusty Case, vice president; Jeff Irvin, superintendent.

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


2022 KEY COMMUNICATOR

Texas School Public Relations Association

James Colbert Jr. named 2022 TSPRA Key Communicator

T

he Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) has named James Colbert Jr. as the recipient of the association’s 2022 Key Communicator award. The Key Communicator award is the highest form of recognition that the association bestows upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the field of public school communications. Colbert is superintendent of the Harris County Department of Education. Colbert is an educational leader with a passion for students and a strong background in collaboration, communication and child advocacy. He leads by example and shows how communications can pave a pathway to success for everyone. A visionary and systems-oriented thinker, Colbert is skilled at implementing comprehensive plans that reflect the current and long-term needs of an organization and the community it serves. He is a champion for providing the best education for all children, and is also dedicated to building positive relationships with stakeholders and embracing civic and business community partnerships. Colbert has 30 years of diverse educational experience spanning multiple states. During his tenure in the education field, he has been a special education teacher, coach, high school assistant principal and principal, operations director, area superintendent, assistant superintendent, superintendent and county superintendent. Colbert is a Virginia native who attended the University of Texas at Austin on an athletic scholarship, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in education. He also holds a master’s of education in administration from Texas State University. Colbert has been married to his wife, Angie, for almost 30 years and they have a son

who recently graduated from Louisiana State University. 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. A complete list of past recipients can be found on TSPRA’s website.

A visionary and systemsoriented thinker, Colbert is skilled at implementing comprehensive plans that reflect the current and longterm needs of an organization and the community it serves.

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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Calendar Professional development & events D EC E M B E R December 1 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Austin/San Antonio Cohort (session 3 of 6) North East ISD, San Antonio For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Dallas Area Cohort (session 3 of 6) Allen ISD, Allen For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org TASBO Tax Series: Preparing and Filing W2s for Tax Year 2022 Online event For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $85; nonmembers, $135. TSPRA Regional Meeting, West Central Area Location TBA, Waco area For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org December 5 TASBO Workshop: Business Ethics ESC 15, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $195; nonmembers, $245. December 5-7 TASPA Winter Conference Kalahari Conference Center and Resort, Round Rock For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $315; nonmembers, $440; retired, $155. December 6 TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders (session 3 of 8) Webinar For more info, (512) 462-1711. http://bit.ly/budget-cohort-22-23

20

TASBO Tax Series: Preparing and Filing W2s for Tax Year 2022 Online event For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $85; nonmembers, $135. December 6-7

December 12

January 17

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Corpus Christi/Victoria Cohort (session 3 of 6) Corpus Christi ISD, Corpus Christi For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

TASA Executive Leadership Group (session 4 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/tx-exec-lead-groups

TASA/N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute (session 2 of 4) Hilton Post Oak, Houston For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

December 13

TASA/N2 Learning Principals’ Institute (session 3 of 6) Hilton Post Oak, Houston For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

December 14

TASBO Workshop: Hot Topics in School Finance ESC 1, Edinburg For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $335; nonmembers, $385. December 7 TSPRA Regional Meeting, Gulf Coast Area Gregory-Portland ISD, Portland For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org December 7-9 TAMS/TARS Legislative Conference Lakeway Resort, Lakeway For more info, (210) 865-6132. www.midsizeschools.org December 8 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Virtual Cohort (session 3 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org December 9 TSPRA Regional Meeting, Central Area Bastrop ISD, Bastrop For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

TCASE and TEA Talk Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org

TASB SHARS Matters Webinar Series: SHARS Billing Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TCASE Ignite Academy for New and Aspiring Directors (session 4 of 10) Virtual event For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: Administrators and associate members, $1,070 for full academy; nonmembers, $1,270.

JANUARY January 10-11 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy 38 (session 3 of 3) Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 12 TASB Student Solutions Webinar Series: Collaboration 101 Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org January 13 TSPRA Regional Meeting, Central Area Lockhart ISD, Lockhart For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

TASB Training: Asbestos Designated Person TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TASBO Project Management Workshop ESC 20, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285. January 18 TASB Course: Integrated Pest Management TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TCASE Ignite Academy for New and Aspiring Directors (session 5 of 10) Virtual event For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: Administrators and associate members, $1,070 for full academy; nonmembers, $1,270. TSPRA Regional Meeting, East Texas Area Virtual event For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org January 18-19 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy 39 (session 1 of 3) ESC 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 19 TASA Breakaway Leadership (session 1 of 6) Virtual For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/breakawayleadership


2022-23 Hanover Superintendents Leadership Council Meeting “Building Relationships with Your Board” Virtual https://bit.ly/SLC-registration TASBO Workshop: Commodity Codes in Purchasing ESC 1, Edinburg For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285. TSPRA Regional Meeting, Houston/Beaumont Area Tomball ISD, Tomball For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org January 20 TASBO State Aid Workshop ESC 1, Edinburg For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285. TSPRA Regional Meeting, North Central Area Wylie ISD, Wylie For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org January 23-24 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 1 of 3) ESC 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org January 24 TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals ESC 8, Pittsburg For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org January 26 TASBO Workshop: CSRM Measuring School Risks TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members and nonmembers, $250. TASBO Workshop: Intermediate Government Accounting ESC 18, Midland For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $195; nonmembers, $245.

January 26-27

February 1-2

Texas Association of Community College Attorneys Conference TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

TASA/N2 Learning Principals’ Institute (session 4 of 6) Hilton Garden Inn, Austin For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

January 28-29 TCWSE Annual Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tcwse.org January 29 TASA School Finance Template Boot Camp Austin Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/school-financeboot-camp January 29-February 1 TASA Aspiring Superintendents Academy Austin Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. http://bit.ly/aspiringsuperintendents TASA Midwinter Conference Austin Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasamidwinter.org Early-bird rates (before Dec. 2): TASA Member Educational Entity, $445; Non-Member Educational Entity, $545; TASA Member Non-Educational Entity, $545; Non-Member Non-Educational Entity, $845; Student Member, $200. January 30 TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders (session 4 of 8) Austin Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. http://bit.ly/budgetcohort-22-23

FE B RUA RY February 1 TASSP Training: The EQ-uipped Leader Online event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: No charge for TASSP members. TETL Winter Summit Hays CISD, Kyle For more info, (855) 458-9286. www.tetl.org

TASA/N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute (session 3 of 4) Hilton Garden Inn, Austin For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org February 2-3 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $179. February 5-7 TASSP Assistant/Aspiring Principal Workshop Hilton Airport, Austin For more into, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Early Bird registration (through Jan. 21), $261. After Jan. 21, $311. February 6-8 TASB Training: Legal Services School Law Boot Camp TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TCASE Great Ideas Annual Convention Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org February 7 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Corpus Christi/Victoria Cohort (session 4 of 6) Corpus Christi ISD, Corpus Christi For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders (session 5 of 8) Webinar For more info, (512) 462-1711. http://bit.ly/budgetcohort-22-23

TASB Training: Asbestos Designated Person ESC 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TASBO Workshop: Purchasing a School Bus Do’s and Don’ts Online event For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org February 8 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Houston Area Cohort (session 4 of 6) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Cypress For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org TASB Training: Integrated Pest Management ESC 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org February 8-9 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy 39 (session 2 of 3) ESC 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 9 TASA Breakaway Leadership (session 2 of 6) Virtual For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/breakawayleadership TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Virtual Cohort (session 4 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org TASB Student Solutions Webinar Series: Understanding the FIE from Referral to IEP Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org February 9-10 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 2 of 3) ESC 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

> See Calendar, page 23 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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22

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


> Continued from page 21 February 10

February 20-23

TSPRA Regional Meeting, Central Area Round Rock ISD, Round Rock For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

TSPRA Annual Conference Omni Downtown, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org Cost: Members, $550; nonmembers, $980.

February 13 TASBO Workshop: CSRM Handling School Risks Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members and nonmembers, $250. February 13-17 TASBO Engage Annual Conference Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Full conference: Members, $450; nonmembers, $575; associate members, $950; associate nonmembers, $1,100. One-day conference: Members, $400; nonmembers, $525. February 14 TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders (session 6 of 8) Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. http://bit.ly/budgetcohort-22-23 TASBO Workshop: CSRM Funding School Risks Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members and nonmembers, $250. February 15-19 TABSE Annual Conference Horseshoe Bay Resort, Horseshoe Bay For more info, (937) 617-1706. www.tabse.net February 16 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Dallas Area Cohort (session 4 of 6) Allen ISD, Allen For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

February 21 TASA/TASB Legislative Conference Sheraton at the Capitol, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Austin/San Antonio Cohort (session 4 of 6) North East ISD, San Antonio For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org February 22 TSPRA Regional Meeting, East Texas Area TSPRA Conference, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org February 22-23 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 4 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361. http://bit.ly/ftsa-22-23 Cost: Members, $845 for all four sessions; nonmembers, $945. One session only: $295 member/ nonmember. TASB Training: Recruiting and Retaining School Employees Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $225. February 28 TASA Executive Leadership Group (session 5 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/tx-exec-leadgroups

MARCH March 1 TASBO Workshop: Preparing for ESSER Compliance Review ESC 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285. TASSP Training: The EQ-uipped Leader Online event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: No charge for TASSP members. March 1-2 TASA Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network (session 3 of 3) Blue Ridge ISD, Blue Ridge For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/22-23-frsln-3 TASB Training: Understanding Compensation in Schools Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $225. Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy 40 (session 1 of 3) Northside ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org March 1-4 TASB Governance Camp: Powered by Student Voices Convention Center, Galveston For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org March 2 TASBO Student Attendance Workshop: Develop Your District’s Audit Box Checklist Online event For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org March 5-7 TASSP Symposium: Making Middle School Matter Hilton Airport, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Early Bird registration (through Feb. 11), $280; after Feb. 11, $330.

March 7 TASB Training: Asbestos Designated Person ESC 5, Beaumont For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org March 8 TASB Training: Integrated Pest Management ESC 5, Beaumont For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TEPSA Regional Meeting ESC 3, Victoria For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org March 9 TASA Breakaway Leadership (session 3 of 6) Virtual For more info, (512) 477-6361. https://bit.ly/breakawayleadership TSPRA Regional Meeting, Gulf Coast Area Zoom meeting For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org March 10 TSPRA Regional Meeting, Central Area Hays CISD, Kyle For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org March 20 TASBO Workshop: Preparing for ESSER Review ESC 19, El Paso For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285. March 21 TASB Training: Asbestos Designated Person ESC 11, White Settlement For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TASBO Workshop: Commodity Codes in Purchasing ESC 11, White Settlement For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285.

> See Calendar, page 25

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

23


COMING SOON! Look for our 16th annual Bragging Rights issue, coming to your inbox in early December

24

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022


> Continued from page 23 March 22

March 28-29

TASB Training: Integrated Pest Management ESC 11, White Settlement For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

TASA/N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute (session 4 of 4) Hilton Park Cities, Dallas For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

March 23

TASA/N2 Learning Principals’ Institute (session 5 of 6) Hilton Park Cities, Dallas For more info, (972) 515-2268. https://www.n2learning.org

TSPRA Regional Meeting, Houston/Beaumont Area Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Cypress For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org March 24 TSPRA Regional Meeting, North Central Area Aledo ISD, Aledo For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org March 27 TASBO Workshop: Commodity Codes in Purchasing Spring Valley Conference Center, Richardson For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285.

TASBO Workshop: Hot Topics in School Finance ESC 12, Waco For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $335; nonmembers, $385. March 29 TASBO Workshop: Commodity Codes in Purchasing 1832 E. Sam Houston Pkwy. S., Pasadena For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285.

TASBO Workshop: Intermediate Governmental Accounting ESC 1, Edinburg For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $195; nonmembers, $245.

TASBO Workshop: Leadership Fundamentals Frenship ISD, Wolfforth For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $550; nonmembers, $600.

TCASE Ignite Academy for New and Aspiring Directors (session 6 of 10) Virtual event For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: Administrators and associate members, $1,070 for full academy; nonmembers, $1,270.

March 30 2022-23 Hanover Superintendents Leadership Council Meeting “Marketing and Advocating for Your District” Virtual https://bit.ly/SLC-registration

March 29-30 TASA Texas Public Accountability Consortium (TPAC) Meeting The Holdsworth Center, Austin http://bit.ly/tpac-2022

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 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

25


STUDENT VOICES

▲The author poses with

friends at a Distributive Education Clubs of America event.

I

think it’s safe to say that you walk, naive and blindly, into your freshman year of high school. I was one of those many students unsure of what was ahead of me, oblivious of the opportunities presented to me, waiting to be discovered. During the second week of my freshman year at Samuel Clemens High School, located in Schertz, Texas, I was approached by a family friend

26

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

A newfound passion for leadership by Vanessa Macaluso

who was in charge of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), an international, business-related club for high school students. I instantly turned down the idea of a business club. There was no way I was interested in a business-related career. All I cared about at the time was volleyball, and volleyball only. For the next two months, I would turn

down the opportunity to join DECA each time she approached me about the matter during lunchtime. In November 2019, I caved into joining this club I knew nothing about, unaware at the time that it would be the best decision I could ever make, thanks to my teacher, Mrs. Lauinger. My first year of DECA was a new beginning. I remember having a case


of the nervous sweats during my first competition, not knowing what to expect and doubting we would advance to the next level. But an hour later, I heard my name announced as part of our group that made it to state. It was one of the most incredible feelings I have ever experienced. That year l unwittingly learned something: DECA wasn’t only for students who wanted to become entrepreneurs or to specialize in business. It was so welcoming that there was a place for everyone. As my freshman year drew to a close, I found myself a confident young woman, unafraid of speaking in front of any audience. Despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, my first year of high school left me with amazing memories of my experience in DECA, eagerly anticipating my sophomore year of high school. Our team would advance to state during the 2020-21 school year. The pandemic put a damper on my DECA experience, but I pushed through, learning multiple ways to navigate the business operations digitally. Zoom calls were interesting, to say the least. My school district, Schertz-CiboloUniversal City ISD (SCUC ISD), smoothed some of the obstacles we faced brought about by the pandemic, to allow us to compete and share what we learned. That summer, Mrs. Lauinger gave me the opportunity to work for the school district, in DECA — a nerve-wracking experience to say the least. I completed my sophomore year with a newfound feeling of confidence and felt open to a world of unlimited possibilities. Momentum from my first two years in DECA allowed me to acquire the skills necessary to become vice president of media. It carried new responsibilities, such as travel and learning to network with other students across Texas. The vote of confidence the district showed in giving me this leadership position infused a feeling of confidence and success in my progression. I led my peers into competitions and had many bonding experiences. Growing into a leadership position opened me up to even more opportunities. However, hurdles would emerge in my junior year. For starters, I had to change my project to a different business model. Making matters worse, our group split apart. I was lost and unsure of what the

▲ DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

future would hold for me. My two good friends, Grayson and Maddie, worked with me to come up with a new project proposal and came together with a very good presentation, even though we weren’t originally supposed to work together. We worked hard that year, beyond anything we had experienced before. The payoff came when we advanced to the state competition in Houston in February 2022. Our teacher then asked some DECA members, including me, if we would be willing to take part in an international competition in April. We accepted the challenge, which led to the unforgettable experience of flying to Atlanta, Georgia, and meeting 17,000 other students from around the country and around the world. The morning we left, waking up and heading to the airport was one of the most liberating and exhilarating moments in my life, free as never before. It was surreal, boarding a plane to take a flight as a junior

in high school, joined by my friends, into one of the most populated cities in the nation. Returning home five days later, I realized the magnitude of the indelible memories made, individually and collectively. It would not have been possible without the district allowing us to have this opportunity and supporting us in facing our challenges. As I write this and reminisce about my DECA experiences, I realize how thankful I am to Mrs. Lauinger, my business teacher, for pushing me to do something far from my comfort zone. I still cannot quite find the perfect words to use. I am eager for what is ahead in DECA in this, my senior year of high school. I plan to make this the best year yet, filled with wonderful memories and recollections. VANESSA MACALUSO is a senior at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz-CiboloUniversal City ISD.

“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Dacia Rivers at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com for publishing guidelines. Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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Who’s News > Continued from page 8

in education administration from the University of North Texas.

Fairfield ISD Mickie Jackson has been named the new

assistant superintendent for the district.

Fort Worth ISD Fort Worth ISD has announced the appointment of Angelica Ramsey as superintendent. She arrives in Fort Worth from Midland ISD, where she was superintendent since 2021. She previously worked in El Paso’s Socorro ISD and then spent five years as superintendent of the Pleasant Valley School District in California.

Galveston ISD Erich Kreiter, newly appointed

executive director of facilities and operations, comes to Galveston from Friendswood ISD, where he was executive director of facilities and construction. The 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps began his public education career as assistant director of facilities services and director of safe and secure schools in Clear Creek ISD.

Galveston ISD has welcomed Josette Rivas as chief of police. She joins the district with more than 20 years of experience, having been previously employed by the Galveston County Sheriff ’s Office, Clear Creek and Dickinson ISDs, and Texas City.

Ganado ISD Brian McCraw has accepted the position

of superintendent, coming to his new job from Shiner ISD, where he was principal of that district’s junior high and high school. Previously an administrator in Medina and Rocksprings ISDs, he received his doctorate in education from Texas Tech University.

Georgetown ISD Georgetown ISD announces the appointment of Jennifer Hanna as chief financial officer. She has 18 years of experience in financial positions in Texas public schools, most recently

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Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

serving as chief financial officer for Del Valle ISD and Liberty Hill ISD prior to that. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Trinity University and is a CPA.

Granbury ISD Former Baccus Elementary instructional specialist Belinda Linker has been promoted to early childhood curriculum coordinator. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree from Concordia University.

services before being promoted to her most recent assignment.

Lazbuddie ISD Former Rule ISD superintendent Brad Jones now holds the top position in Lazbuddie ISD.

Leander ISD

Landry Mullins has been promoted to

curriculum coordinator of intervention programs after serving as an instruction specialist at Acton Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Angelo State University.

Amarillo ISD.

Maggie Jistel, former assistant principal of Parkside Elementary, is now principal of Cypress Elementary School. She has been with the district since 2016 and previously taught in

Superintendent Robin Ryan, who led the district for 13 years, has announced his plan to retire, effective in January. Prior to joining GCISD, he was chief academic officer in Dallas ISD. In addition, he held administrative roles in Carroll, HurstEuless-Bedford and San Angelo ISDs.

Leander ISD has announced the appointment of Pete Pape as chief financial officer. A CPA with 21 years of experience in school district finance and operations, he comes to Leander from Mesquite ISD, where he was assistant superintendent of finance and operations. He previously served in business, administrative and financial roles in Deer Park, Goose Creek, Sealy and Grape Creek ISDs.

Hillsboro ISD

Lubbock-Cooper ISD

Darrell Brown has been named the district's

The district has announced the following appointments:

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

new superintendent. Brown, who has been in retirement for the past year, most recently served as superintendent in Birdville ISD.

Iredell ISD Chris Morrow, who was

principal of Blanket ISD, has accepted the position of superintendent of Iredell ISD.

Keller ISD Keller ISD has announced the appointment of Rola Fadel as executive director of construction services. She brings 25 years of facility and renovation project experience to her new position, most recently working as design manager for Fort Worth ISD’s bond program. She earned her degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington.

• Matt Bullen, director of community development and engagement; • Keetha Chadwick, assistant principal, South Elementary School; • Matt Cmerek, director of mathematics; • Justin Guerrant, principal, New Hope Academy; • Ashley Herrera, assistant principal, Lubbock-Cooper High School; • Tracye McAllister, assistant principal, Lubbock-Cooper Middle School; • Jess McReynolds, principal, LubbockCooper Middle School; • Morgan Martin, assistant principal, Bush Middle School; • Taylor Owens, assistant principal, Central Elementary School; • Phillip Saffel, principal, LubbockCooper High School; • Whitney Tarrant, assistant principal, North Elementary School;

Killeen ISD

• Brandon Tucker, assistant principal, Lubbock-Cooper High School;

Former Temple ISD chief financial officer Kallen Vaden now holds that position in Killeen ISD. A CPA, she spent 11 years as Temple ISD’s executive director of business

• Randa Wrenn, assistant principal, Bush Middle School.

• Jay Whitefield, executive director of student services;


Northside ISD (San Antonio)

Midland ISD The Midland Board of Trustees has named Kellie Spencer acting superintendent. She has served as the district’s chief of administrative services since 2020 and previously spent 20 years with Cedar Hill ISD, ultimately as deputy superintendent. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from Texas A&M University at Commerce. The district’s new executive director of special services is Tyrell White, who comes to his new position with 15 years of experience as an educator, the last two years as senior director for special services in Beaumont ISD. Two additional positions have been filled for Midland ISD. They are: • Hilda Arnold, director of opportunity culture; • Mark Gabrylczyk, director of performance and accountability.

Midway ISD (Waco) Superintendent

George Kazanas has announced his upcoming retirement, effective in January, after leading the district for more than a decade.

Miles ISD The district’s new superintendent is Ty Stevens, former high school principal in Sterling City ISD.

Nacogdoches ISD Former Timpson ISD band director Deshmond Johnson has been named director of fine arts for Nacogdoches ISD. Prior to his time in Timpson, he was band director in Shelbyville, Garrison and Carthage ISDs. He earned bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in music composition from Stephen F. Austin State University.

North East ISD (San Antonio) Former U.S. Secret Service agent Paul Duran is now North East ISD’s first director of safety and security.

The following administrative assignments have been announced: • Tamara Campbell-Babin, assistant principal, Pease Middle School; • Lauren Gonzaba, associate principal, Northside Alternative High School; • Nereida Ollendieck, assistant principal, Briscoe Middle School; • Laura San Roman, associate principal, Neff Middle School.

Northwest ISD (Fort Worth) Michael Griffin has accepted the position of interim superintendent. An employee of the district for 20 years, he served as vice superintendent of curriculum and instruction since 2018.

Plano ISD Mackenzie Casall has been named executive

director for student support services. The 22-year educator joined the district last year as director of special education and previously worked in Duncanville, Irving and Garland ISDs.

Kristyn Edney has been promoted from

director of counseling services to executive director for counseling and college, career and military readiness. She previously was a teacher and administrator in Garland ISD and principal and dean of instruction at Richland Collegiate High School in Dallas. The director of secondary academic services,

Kristin Hebert, comes to her new position

from Anna ISD, where she was director of strategic initiatives and gifted education. Kevin Keating, new chief of safety and

security operations, previously served in the New York City police department and worked for the City of Dallas before joining Plano ISD in 2019 as a safety and security coordinator. The new director of business systems is

Tracy Martin, a 17-year employee of the

district in several capacities, including senior systems analyst. The district’s new director of fine arts is Phillip Morgan. An educator for 18 years, he began his career as a theater arts, speech and debate teacher, going on to serve as director of fine arts in Waco ISD, Goose Creek CISD and, most recently, Waxahachie ISD. Mandi Murphy, newly named director of emergency management and safe schools, joins Plano ISD from Dallas ISD, where she was a principal. She also was a teacher and principal in Argyle ISD. Andrew Ochoa has been appointed director

of student records. He comes to Plano from El Paso’s Socorro ISD, where he worked as an administrator for the past 11 years.

The new executive director of school leadership and innovation is Ryan Steele. An employee of the district for 18 years, he previously was a teacher and principal Now serving as senior executive director of the Plano ISD Education Foundation is Brittnea Ussery, who spent the past eight years as the district’s coordinator for special programs and events and as an assistant director for communications, community engagement and events. The district has announced the appointment of seven principals. They are: • Katie Brittain, Frankford Middle School; • Jennifer Caplinger, Hughston Elementary School; • M’Cheyl Herrera, Hickey Elementary School; • Gwendolyn Johnston, Solomon Adult Transition Center; • Wendy Miller, Mathews Elementary School; • John Tedford, Armstrong Middle School; • Amy Weems, Haggar Elementary School.

Quitman ISD Quitman ISD superintendent Rhonda Turner has announced her upcoming retirement, effective in January. She led the district for the past 15 years.

Richardson ISD Tabitha Branum, who

had been serving as interim superintendent since December, is now superintendent. She has been an educator for 25 years, previously serving as assistant superintendent of secondary schools and, most recently, deputy superintendent. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas and is completing her doctorate in educational administration at Dallas Baptist University.

Round Rock ISD McNeil High School began the 2022-23 school year with Mack Eagleton as principal. He comes to Round Rock from Galena Park ISD, where since 2016 he served as lead assistant principal of North Shore Senior High School. He has been an educator for 20 years. > See Who’s News, page 31 Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

29


DIGITAL FRONTIER

> Continued from page 11

of developers who have agreed to maintain the privacy of students’ data. When school districts join TETL, they automatically receive access to the database and can check to see if agreements for the vendor they are considering are already in place. When I was hired as the first CTO at Hays CISD, I was expected to lead our team in making sound technology decisions, support technology integration, and grow our staff professionally. Those components are still included in the CTO job description today. A few of the items that have fallen off the job description include managing overhead projectors, deploying TVs on carts, managing digital media on a VCR or DVD, engineering wired computer labs, and supporting analog phone systems. The CTO of 20 years ago has witnessed a plethora of technical innovation and advancements. Over the years, as the role of technology evolved in our students’ lives, in our classrooms, and across our campuses, so too did the role and responsibilities

of the CTO. Technology staff have expanded considerably and now regularly include a variety of programmers, engineers, technicians and cybersecurity specialists. CTOs are now expected to create a cybersecurity infrastructure with safeguards against cyber hacking. They must develop and extensively document disaster planning and recovery processes. CTOs and their staff now regularly manage hundreds of open records requests for digital information. They are tasked with developing and implementing strategies to support 1:1 devices for every student, from pre-K through 12th grade. They support online testing for multiple standardized tests: SAT/ACT, STAAR, EOC, AP, TELPAS, etc. CTOs design and support complex wireless infrastructures that provide 1:1, 24/7 connectivity to all learning spaces. They manage high-capacity fiber networks to deliver uninterrupted bandwidth throughout the district. They are also responsible for maintaining communication systems to support classroom phones,

voicemail, unified communications, digital faxing, intercoms, e911, and emergency management communication. As we emerge from the disruptions of the last two years, I look at the ways in which we have, driven first and foremost by instructional need, adapted and grown, and I am excited about the future. I am confident that working together we can meet the challenges ahead. We have already seen that happen. When the pandemic hit, our CTOs and technology departments turned on a dime and worked overtime to flip our classrooms and support students, teachers and administrators, as we iterated and evolved, and then evolved again. It wasn’t perfect, but we made it work and, most importantly, we learned from the experience. Now, we better understand what we need to do today to prepare kids and classrooms for tomorrow. And we better understand, too, what we need to do to develop the next generation of education technology leaders. More on that in my next column.

DIANNE BORRESON, CETL, was the chief technology officer at Hays CISD for 21 years. She currently serves as the executive director of the Texas Education Technology Leaders (TETL).

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Who’s News > Continued from page 29 Kyla Mills is now principal of Grisham Middle School, coming to Round Rock from Leander ISD, where she was associate principal of Leander High School since 2016. Marisa Ramirez, newly

appointed principal of Ridgeview Middle School, was an assistant principal at the school and at Fulkes Middle School since 2013. Her career in education has spanned 18 years. Now leading Cedar Ridge High School as principal is Jonathan Smith, who held the top position at Hutto High School in Hutto ISD since 2021. Prior to that, he was principal of Deer Park Middle School in Deer Park ISD for five years. After serving as assistant principal of Caraway Elementary School since 2015, Melanie Solis has been named principal of Spicewood Elementary.

Sherman ISD New marketing director Emily Tabar Cathey previously worked as a reporter and anchor at Sherman’s KXIITV. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Duquesne University.

South San Antonio ISD

Winona ISD

After serving as the district’s interim superintendent since December, Henry Yzaguirre is now superintendent. A graduate of South San Antonio High School, he went on to St. Mary’s University. Prior to joining South San Antonio ISD, he was executive director of operations for Southside ISD in the city.

A new principal began the new academic year at Winona Elementary School. Steven Young, a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has spent the past 26 years with Dallas and Tyler ISDs. He holds two master’s degrees, from the Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of Texas at Tyler, where he also received a doctorate in school improvement.

Victoria ISD Randy Meyer now serves the district

as deputy superintendent. Prior to joining VISD in 2021, he was a deputy superintendent in Wharton ISD and superintendent of Sweet Home ISD.

Vysehrad ISD The new superintendent, Joey Patek, comes to the district from Aransas County ISD, where he also held the top job.

Wichita Falls ISD Travis Armstrong is now an

assistant principal at Hirschi High School. He has been with the district for six years, during which time he was director of early learning and assistant director of special education. Now serving as director of human resources is Dayna Hardaway, who has been the department’s assistant director for the past six years.

named Sherman High School’s head boys’ soccer coach. He served as assistant soccer coach from 2010 to 2013. His degree in bilingual education was awarded from Midwestern State University.

The district’s new chief financial officer, Leah Horton, has worked since 2011 as student/business instruction networks services lead. Prior to coming to Wichita Falls, she spent nine years as Burkburnett ISD’s accountant. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration from Midwestern State University.

Somerville ISD

Cyndy Kohl has been with the district for

Carlos Perales has been

Two principal assignments have been made for the district. They are: • Justin Lindsey, Somerville Elementary and Intermediate School; • Philip Salazar, Somerville High School.

New director of student evaluation

34 years, serving the past six as director of human resources. She previously worked as assistant director and then director of assessment.

Ysleta ISD Cindy Sizemore has been named director

of the Ysleta Community Learning Center. Most recently assistant principal of the Plato Academy, she began her career as a foreign language teacher in Arizona. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Zapata County ISD The district’s new superintendent is

Roberta Ramirez-Trevino.

Who’s News

Do you have good news to share about your district? Send news items for Who’s News directly to news@ texasschoolbusiness.com

Texas School Business NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022

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THE BACK PAGE

The pledge I hoped would make a difference by Riney Jordan

I

had gone back to being an elementary principal after 14 years as director of communications. I enjoyed my job in communications, but I knew my retirement would be in the next few years, and I discovered that I had a longing desire to be around kids again. I kept thinking that I had become an educator to make a difference in kids, and I rarely saw a student anymore. And my interactions were certainly not long enough to create meaningful relationships with them. So, on a Monday morning, I made an appointment with the superintendent and told him of my plan to go back to an elementary campus. I had known most of my life that I wanted to work with kids. I had been inspired and encouraged by my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Huff. What an impact she had on my life! Well, long story made a bit shorter, I was asked to be principal of a brand-new elementary school. Now, that was exciting. There were approximately 650 youngsters there in kindergarten through fifth grades. But, in the 14 years that I had been away from an elementary campus, some things had changed.

The staff and I developed several steps to emphasize common courtesy, respect for others, and to help students see their value and potential. It was not going to happen overnight, but we all felt that if significant learning was ever going to happen, the basic standards of good behavior had to be instilled in our students. I had long been impressed with Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement: “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of education.”

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One day at a meeting, we all stood and said the pledge to the flag, and as I sat down, I began thinking of the impact that the Pledge of Allegiance had been on my life since childhood. Perhaps a pledge for students might begin to instill some of those qualities we deemed critical: learning the value of hard work, kindness to others, and selfimprovement.

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For the remainder of that meeting, my mind was racing as I created a short pledge that I hoped had real meaning — one that could be a mantra for the rest of one’s life.

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Here is the pledge that all of our students said each morning during the two years I was principal:

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Texasschoolbusiness.com

On my last day, a little guy came up to me and told me that he would miss me. “Oh, I’ll miss you, too,” I responded. “And, by the way, you haven’t been to the office for a long time. Have you stopped saying those bad words that got you into trouble?” “Oh, yes, sir,” he proudly proclaimed. “You wanna know why? It’s because of that pledge we say every morning. If I’m really gonna become a better person, I need to quit talking like that.” And as he walked away, he glanced back and said, “It’s workin’, ain’t it!””

convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.

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RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your

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We knew we could improve their intelligence, but developing their “character” might prove to be a greater challenge.

Kids didn’t seem to be as courteous to one another as I remembered. Profanity had become rampant, especially with older students. Disrespect to teachers and other adults was alarming. As I began to analyze the major problems on this campus, I quizzed other principals who said they faced the same issues day after day.

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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. TASA is working hard to provide the support that Texas school leaders need. We invite you to be part of TASA! Join today for the 2022-23 membership year!

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