May/June 2024 Texas School Business

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Texas School Business

The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas 71 YEARS MAY/JUNE 2024 Also in this issue: TACS President Tommy Hooker | TASPA President Kimberly Rich | TASB President Armando Rodriguez Enter the Gamifying innovation in San Marcos CISD

The Principals’ Institute (PI) is a year-long professional development series that provides a unique opportunity for principals to understand why transformation of public education is necessary. PI is designed to help principals develop the knowledge and skills required to be transformational leaders and to help build the capacity it takes to sustain transformation over time. The PI experience includes exposure to influential superintendents and speakers, such as Eric Sheninger, Rob Evans, George Couros, Dwight Carter, John Tanner, Thomas C. Murray, Jimmy Casas, and Joe Sanfelippo.

Logistics:

• Registration Fee: $6,000.00 per participant (excluding travel expenses)

• Six, 2-day sessions alternating between Austin, Dallas, and Houston

The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is designed to build the capacity of district executive leaders for system-wide improvements in teaching and learning. Sessions will include opportunities for leaders to cultivate strategic approaches and actions in order to support district transformational efforts. The ELI experience includes exposure to influential superintendents and speakers, such as Eric Sheninger, Rob Evans, George Couros, Dwight Carter, Jimmy Casas, Thomas C. Murray, and Joe Sanfelippo. In addition to the scheduled sessions, each participant will receive the support of an Executive Coach throughout the year.

Logistics:

• Registration Fee: $4,500.00 per participant (excluding travel expenses)

• Four, 2-day sessions alternating between Austin and Houston

The Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (APL) provides learning opportunities to develop, challenge, and inspire assistant principals to be transformative leaders. APL participants will engage in processes which support the development of skills specific to transformational leadership and building a learning organization while preparing them for the role of principal.

Logistics:

• Registration Fee: in-person sessions - $1,000 per participant (excluding travel expenses); virtual sessions - $1,000 per participant

• Six, 4-hour sessions throughout the year

The Teacher Leadership Institute (TLI) is a boundarybreaking institute for classroom teachers. Throughout the 6 sessions, committed teachers are empowered to revitalize learning cultures while leaning N2 an inspired future. Centered on teacher voice and grounded in a foundation of collaboration, the Teacher Leadership Institute challenges teachers to move beyond accountability standards and toward innovative learning that ignites student engagement.

Logistics:

• Customized for individual districts or regional consortiums of districts

• Six full day sessions

Find out more about our partner initiatives with TASA at www.N2learning.org

TACS President Profile Tommy Hooker supports community school districts through TACS leadership

TASPA President Profile Dickinson ISD’s Kimberly Rich steps in to TASPA presidency

TASB President Profile TASB President Armando Rodriguez dedicates himself to his community

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. Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024 Enter the Hall of Fangs Gamifying innovation in San Marcos CISD by
12 Departments 6 Who’s News 28 Calendar 33 Ad Index 20
22
18
Photo Features 15 TSPRA Annual Conference 16 TASBO 2024 Engage Conference Columns 5
Editor
7
9
Frontier
24 The Arts
33
From the
by Dacia Rivers
The Law Dawg—Unleashed by Jim Walsh
The Digital
by Dr. Karla Burkholder and Dr. Kari Murphy
by Kaileigh Newman and Bradley S. Kaplan
The Back Page by Riney Jordan

TFrom the editor

he school year is winding down, which means things are busier than ever in Texas’ public schools. In this issue, we highlight some of the extraordinary work being done behind the scenes in San Marcos CISD. Innovative learning coordinators have created a new method to gamify innovation in the district, encouraging teachers and administrators to tackle professional development training through a fun, competitive, incentive-based system. Check it out on page 12 and see if something similar might work in your district.

We’ve also got all your favorite columns in this issue, so take a break from your year-end to-do list to check out a timely Law Dawg discussing the First Amendment, a poignant Back Page from Riney Jordan, and a Digital Frontier focused on the hot topic of AI and how it can be used in school business settings. On page 24, you’ll find an inspiring The Arts column out of Aldine ISD, highlighting a partnership with the Houston Metro that allowed students to design bus shelter artwork.

As we head into summer, Texas School Business is desperately seeking student writers to send in Student Voices columns. These columns come straight from the students you serve and are a great way to highlight your district and encourage young writers. If you know of a student in your district who might be interested in writing a column, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com.

For now, I hope the school year wrap-up goes smoothly for all of you and ushers in a pleasant and relaxing summer.

Texas School Business

MAY/JUNE 2024

Volume LXXI, Issue 3

406 East 11th Street

Austin, Texas 78701

Phone: 512-477-6361

www.texasschoolbusiness.com

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Dacia Rivers

DESIGN

Phaedra Strecher

COLUMNISTS

Dr. Karla Burkholder

Riney Jordan

Bradley S. Kaplan

Dr. Kari Murphy

Kaileigh Newman

Jim Walsh

ADVERTISING SALES

Jennifer Garrido

TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Kevin Brown

DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING

Amy Francisco

5 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
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 2024 Texas Association of School Administrators

Who’s News

Archer City ISD

Azle ISD

Former Hico ISD superintendent Jon Hartgraves has accepted the top position in Archer City ISD. Prior to his 10 years in Hico, he led Gordon ISD.

Amanda Moore has been named Azle ISD’s director of special services. An educator for 27 years, all of which have been spent in special education, she was most recently the district’s special services coordinator.

Bastrop ISD

Now serving as director of athletics is Michael Sain He has been a coach and educator for 18 years and comes to Azle from Prosper ISD, where he was assistant athletic director.

The district’s new director of communications and marketing, Cassie Balderas, was most recently public relations officer for the City of Pflugerville and the Pflugerville Police Department. Prior to that, she was communications officer for Pflugerville ISD after beginning her career as a communications specialist in Hutto ISD.

Heather Christie, new principal of Cedar Creek Intermediate School, led the campus on an interim basis since the fall semester of 2023. She began her career in 1997 in Grand Saline ISD as a teacher, going on to become that district’s curriculum director. In addition, she has worked for ESC Region 7, the Texas Education Agency, and Pflugerville ISD. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University.

Belton ISD

The district’s new superintendent is Malinda Golden, who had been serving as acting superintendent. She is a 30-year educator, working as an assistant superintendent in Georgetown ISD and as an assistant and deputy superintendent in Leander ISD. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in education from Texas

State University and a doctorate from the University of Texas.

Blooming Grove ISD

John Griggs, now serving as Blooming Grove ISD superintendent, is a 17-year educator who comes to his new position from Mexia ISD, where he was high school principal.

Boerne ISD

Boyd ISD

Former Venus ISD director of transportation Melanie Lee now holds that position in Boerne ISD. She previously spent 11 years as Dallas ISD’s assistant transportation supervisor.

Boyd Elementary School will have new leadership with the beginning of the 2024-25 academic year. Principal Jana Clark comes to Boyd from Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD with 16 years of experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and a master’s degree from Lamar University.

Brenham ISD

Clay Gillentine, who had led the district on an interim basis since October, is now superintendent. He previously was assistant superintendent of administrative services.

Brownsville ISD

Burton ISD

Jesus Chavez has been named superintendent after serving in that position on an interim basis since January.

College Station ISD

Christy Beaudry has been named executive director of special services, joining the district from Clear Creek ISD with 21 years of experience. She began her career in Lumberton ISD, where she was a teacher, campus administrator and, most recently, director of special education. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lamar University.

The College Station ISD board of trustees has named Shannon Calltharp director of transportation. She comes to her new position from Willis ISD, where she worked for nine years, the past four as director of transportation.

Mindy Chapa, new principal of Spring Creek Elementary School, has 20 years of experience as an educator, 10 of those as an administrator. She taught in Anderson-Shiro CISD and Bryan ISD before joining College Station ISD in 2018. She most recently was Spring Creek’s interim principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University.

Bridget Cooper has been promoted from assistant director of human resources to director of human resources. Most of her career was spent with Bryan ISD, where she spent 24 years as a teacher, campus administrator and Title I and professional development specialist. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in school administration from Lamar University.

Rob Barnwell has agreed to suspend his recent retirement to take on the position of interim superintendent of Burton ISD. The veteran educator spent 19 years as a superintendent, most recently leading Jefferson ISD.

Superintendent

Edna Kennedy, who has led Burton ISD since 2015, will retire at the end of this school year. She has served as an educator in Texas public schools for 39 years.

Penne´ Liefer has been named assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. She comes to College Station from Bastrop ISD with 26 years of experience, 21 of those as an administrator. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a master’s degree in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.

Brandon Schmidt, A&M Consolidated High School's new head football coach and campus athletic coordinator, arrived in College Station from Prosper High School in Prosper ISD, where he held the same position. Prior to his time in Prosper, he coached in Leander, La Porte and Round Rock ISDs.

► See Who’s News, page 8

6 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

TWhat to do on fourth down

he Supreme Court of South Carolina seems to think that James Madison and his buddies were not thinking about what to do on fourth-and-3 when they wrote the First Amendment. Here’s the quote:

Fielding a football team or devising an offensive strategy is not the type of public issue envisioned by the Framers of the First Amendment. It isn’t? Why not? Is there something more important?

This came up in a case where a former football coach got a $200,000 verdict in his favor for being defamed by an employee of the district where he previously worked. The court’s opinion fails to address the underlying issue: Can a coach be dismissed for never punting?

I’m not talking about a team that never punts because it never has to. The Berkeley High School Stags “suffered lopsided defeats” after Coach Cruce implemented the “we never punt” strategy. His strategy was, as you can understand, a source of controversy in the community. In fairness, we should mention that the coach testified that the team did, in fact, punt occasionally. Nevertheless the court described it as a “no punt” offensive scheme.

After the season he was relieved of his head coach/athletic director duties and sent to the middle school as a counselor. At the end of the school year, he resigned and moved out of state. Then he sued the district alleging wrongful termination and defamation.

The district prevailed on the wrongful termination claim. After all, he wasn’t terminated. He quit. Not only that, but in his five years as head coach he had only one winning season. The team was 3-7 in his

final season. If that makes for a wrongful termination case there are a lot of excoaches who might like to lawyer up.

The district also prevailed on the claim that it defamed him by not offering an explanation for his reassignment. That’s a unique theory — defamation by silence. The court didn’t buy it. Defamation cases depend on someone saying or writing something about you. Keeping your mouth shut is usually an effective way of avoiding a defamation suit.

However, Coach Cruce hit the jackpot with his claim of defamation based on an email that an athletic trainer sent to 45 school employees “questioning the integrity and completeness of student athletic files Cruce had maintained.” The jury awarded him $200,000 for the damage to his reputation. The state’s Supreme Court upheld that verdict.

Much of the opinion deals with whether or not a head football coach/AD at a public high school is a “public figure” for purposes of the law of defamation. The court concluded that he was not a public figure, and so he did not have to show that the offensive email was sent with “actual malice.” Key quote:

No matter how intense the public gaze may be upon sports figures, they do not have any official influence or decision-making authority about serious issues of public policy or core government functions, such as defense, public health and safety, budgeting, infrastructure, taxation, or law and order.

Thus the court views the crucial play call on fourth-and-3 as a non-serious issue. Reasonable people can disagree with that.

Much of the opinion deals with whether or not a head football coach/AD at a public high school is a “public figure” for purposes of the law of defamation.

It’s an interesting case to read but has little practical application here in Texas. This case is based on South Carolina law. A case based on these facts in Texas would likely be promptly dismissed based on the immunity enjoyed by both school districts and their employees.

But it would be fun to see a Texas court address the “public figure” issue. What play you call on fourth-and-3 may not be a “serious issue of public policy” in the Palmetto State. But here, I’m not so sure.

This one is Cruce v. Berkeley County School District, decided by the Supreme Court of South Carolina on Jan. 17, 2024. It’s cited at 2024 WL 174324.

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.

7 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024 THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED

Who’s News

◄ Continued from page 6

Former director of human resources Josh Symank is now assistant superintendent of operations. He has spent 17 of his 18 years as an educator with the district, working as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in addition to his most recent position. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in administration from Sam Houston State University.

Danielle Valadez is now assistant director of human resources, returning to the district from Texas A&M University, where she was a human resources specialist. She previously spent 13 years with College Station ISD as a bookkeeper and management and payroll specialist.

Colmesneil ISD

A new superintendent is in place for Colmesneil ISD. Sharon Tule is a veteran educator who most recently held the top position at West ISD. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina University.

Conroe ISD

The Conroe ISD board of trustees has approved the appointment of Karen Garza as chief financial officer. She was the district’s director of finance for 18 years.

Jeffrey Stichler, former principal of Caney Creek High School, has been promoted to superintendent for middle schools. He has been with the district for 19 years, working as a coach, assistant principal and principal.

Coppell ISD

Coppell ISD has welcomed Karen Duke as executive director of human resources. She brings more than 33 years of experience to her new position, having previously served as assistant director of operations and certification. In addition, she spent 17 years in human resources at ESC Region 10 and Rockwall and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISDs. She earned

her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce and her master’s degree from the University of North Texas.

Corrigan-Camden ISD

A new superintendent has been announced for Corrigan-Camden ISD. Brian Aiken comes to his new position from Crockett ISD, where he was assistant superintendent. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Clear Lake, holds a master’s degree from Lamar University, and is working on his doctorate at Abilene Christian University.

Corsicana ISD

Superintendent Diane Frost, who has led the district since 2010, has announced her plan to retire this summer. Initially a special education and language arts teacher, she served as Lake Travis ISD’s deputy superintendent before coming to Corsicana.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

Former Bane Elementary School principal César Díaz now leads Owens Elementary. Currently in his 20th year as an educator, he has been a CFISD employee for nine years, also working at Reed and Duryea elementaries. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Universidad Rafael Belloso Chacín in Venezuela and his master’s degree in education administration from Prairie View A&M University.

Amy Frank, principal of Owens Elementary School, has been named principal of the district’s newest elementary campus, as yet unnamed, which will open in August. She has spent her 31 years in education in the district, previously working as an assistant principal and instructional specialist. A graduate of the University of Houston, where she also earned her doctorate, she received her master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Denton ISD

Karsten Hatcher has been chosen as the first principal of Martinez Elementary, which is scheduled to open in August. Most recently assistant principal of Union Park Elementary, she is a product of Denton ISD schools with a bachelor’s degree from the University

of North Texas and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas Woman’s University.

Denton ISD has selected Charlie Lokey as the next principal of Ryan Elementary School. She comes to Denton from Birdville ISD, where she was principal of Stowe Elementary since 2021. In addition, she worked in Lake Dallas and Copperas Cove ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and her master’s degree from Lamar University, where she is working on her doctorate.

Nicole Poole, former principal of Ryan Elementary School, now leads Alexander Elementary. She has 24 years of experience in education, 12 of those as an administrator. She began her career in Duncanville ISD, joining Denton ISD in 2001. She is a graduate of Jacksonville University with a master’s degree in elementary education from Florida Atlantic University.

Lori Robertson is now principal of Paloma Creek Elementary School after serving in that position on an interim basis for the past several months. The 15-year educator was the school’s assistant principal after working in Temple and Wylie ISDs and in schools in Virginia. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

Toby Thomason now leads Moore High School, having served there as an administrative intern since 2021. He has spent 12 years of his 15-year career at Moore after initially working as a teacher in Dallas ISD. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dickinson ISD

Superintendent Carla Voelkel, who has led the district since 2018, has announced her upcoming retirement, effective in June. An educator for 45 years, she began her career as a teacher in Texas City ISD, going on to serve as an administrator in Alvin and Channelview ISDs before coming to Dickinson in 2013 as deputy superintendent for educational services.

8 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
17
► See Who’s News, page

As school districts address the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to enhance teaching, learning and administrative processes, safeguarding sensitive data has become more critical than ever. The implications of AI on data privacy apply to both instructional and business environments. Business officials should equip themselves with practical knowledge and strategies to navigate this landscape effectively ensuring the responsible and ethical implementation of AI technologies, while upholding the privacy rights of students, staff and stakeholders. Understanding of the fundamental principles of AI and its role in education, as well as the importance of data privacy and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of sensitive data in AI applications, provides education leaders a sound foundation to make informed decisions and take proactive measures to address the challenges and opportunities of AI.

Understanding artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. It encompasses a broad range of technologies and techniques aimed at enabling machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and decisionmaking. AI systems are designed to analyze vast amounts of data, recognize patterns, and make autonomous decisions or predictions — often in real time. In the context of K-12 education, AI holds the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning practices, personalized instruction, administrative tasks, and student support services.

While the science of AI is broad, there are several subsets that address specific functions of AI. Machine learning (ML)

What do school business officials need to know about AI?

is a subset of AI that enables systems to learn from data, identify patterns, and make predictions or decisions without explicit programming. ML algorithms iteratively analyze and interpret data, refining their performance over time through experience. In the context of school business practices, ML algorithms can be applied to various tasks, such as automating processes, ensuring regulation and legal compliance, predicting employee turnover, finding and tracking candidates, analyzing employee engagement and satisfaction, and predicting job success.

Natural language processing (NLP) is a second subset of AI focused on enabling computers to understand, interpret and generate human language. NLP algorithms analyze text and speech data, extracting meaning, identifying sentiment and generating responses or summaries. In school business, NLP can be used to:

• analyze student transcripts, applications and other documents for admissions or enrollment purposes

• process and analyze open-ended survey responses, feedback forms, or written evaluations from students, parents and staff

• generate automated reports or summaries from textual data sources such as financial statements, budget reports, or meeting minutes

• analyze contracts, agreements and legal documents

Computer vision (CV) is a field of AI concerned with having computers interpret and analyze visual information derived from the real world. CV algorithms process images and videos, detecting objects, recognizing patterns and extracting meaningful insights. Possible use cases for school business include:

In the context of K-12 education, AI holds the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning practices, personalized instruction, administrative tasks, and student support services.

• visitor management and security to automatically identify and authenticate visitors by analyzing their faces or license plates, streamline check-in processes, and enhance campus security by flagging unauthorized individuals or potential threats

• attendance tracking using cameras to capture and analyze images of students entering or exiting designated areas, enabling real-time attendance monitoring and generating accurate attendance records without manual input

• facility maintenance and inspection with drones or stationary cameras to conduct visual inspections of school facilities, infrastructure and equipment

• inventory management for school stores, cafeterias, or supply rooms

• safety compliance monitoring using cameras to detect and analyze adherence to safety protocols, such as wearing personal protective equipment or following evacuation procedures

► See Digital Frontier, page 30

9 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
DIGITAL FRONTIER
IT’S TIME TO

DEBUNK

Sol ar myths

Download our Free Resource

While the potential of solar is undeniable, misperceptions can cloud the benefits for some. Scan the QR code to fact check some common myths about solar.

10 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

Myth #1

Solar panels are only viable in sunny climates.

Much like a Texan’s spirit, solar panels thrive under all kinds of skies.

Myth #2

Solar panels require a lot of costly maintenance.

Today’s solar technology proves to be as weather resistant as Texas itself.

Myth #3

My roof is too small, or too old to handle solar panels.

Myth #4

Solar is bad for the environment.

Our experts can help determine the right solution for your school district’s needs, no matter its age or size.

Solar panels can not only be made from nontoxic, recyclable materials but also provide significant benefits to your school district.

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Over the past 30 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented 170 K-12 projects in more than 140 Texas school districts. We strive to help you create modern, sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Enter the Gamifying innovation in San Marcos CISD

In 2017, San Marcos CISD adopted a 1:1 tech initiative. At the time, Executive Director of Academic Services James Nevarez was in the education technology department, trying to think of a way to support the district’s teachers as they adapted to the change. He knew the district needed to help teachers engage with the many digital tools at their disposal, and considered acquiring an existing technology integration framework. But, after attending a conference and seeing attendees working toward badges, he had an idea: Why couldn’t SMCISD construct something similar, a badge program that would reward teachers for their efforts in learning and utilizing educational technology in their classrooms?

It was this need for teacher engagement that led to the first iteration of the Hall of Fangs (so named because SMCISD is home of The Rattlers). In its infancy, the Hall of Fangs was a digital framework, built in the Canvas learning management system, which teachers in the district could use to earn various badges by completing online professional development courses.

The Hall of Fangs team created a colorful game board and badges, with printing help from a partnership with local Texas State University, and distributed the boards to teachers in the district. Teachers could then log on to the Hall of Fangs and complete trainings to earn the badges, which ranged from a “Gettin’ Googley” badge to badges

12 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
▲ A virtual leaderboard shows the teachers who have completed the most Hall of Fangs badges.
Badges range from a “Gettin’ Googley” badge to badges for being an “Absolute Kahooter” or “QR Code Aficionado.”

for being an “Absolute Kahooter” or “QR Code Aficionado.”

And rather than just tossing the badges in a teacher’s mailbox, the Hall of Fangs team created a prize patrol, presenting badges to teachers in person, complete with noisemakers, during class, making sure that the teachers’ accomplishments go quite noticed. As teachers earn additional badges, they also win other prizes, from lanyard pins and other Hall of Fangs swag to a “Denim Distinction” jeans pass from the superintendent and, the ultimate prize for the top eight to 10 badge earners: a free trip to the ITSE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, held in Denver this year.

Since its inception, the Hall of Fangs has only continued to grow in participation and scope. While early versions focused on app-based learning, SMCISD has expanded offerings to include professional development focused on the district’s WICOR (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading) learning model. Staff has added personalized learning badges, SEL badges, and milestone badges, which are more challenging and take a little extra time to earn.

When a teacher has completed a badge, they submit the evidence of their work through Canvas, either via a video or writeup detailing how they’ve implemented the lesson in their classroom and what the

result has looked like. Because this step created more work for teachers, this year the district also allows teachers to have staff come witness a lesson in person, bypassing the need for a written exit ticket.

“I like that we implemented that this year,” says Dana Linebarger, an innovative learning coordinator and key member of the Hall of Fangs team. “It makes it easier on us to see the learning happening in realtime and it helps us build relationships with those teachers.”

The response to the program has been positive. When the prize patrol visits classrooms to deliver badges, the students get into the celebration, cheering for their teachers’ achievements. Staff proudly display

13 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
▲ A prize patrol presents teachers with their Hall of Fangs badges and an array of prizes for top badge earners. ▲ SMCISD created the Hall of Fangs game boards, where teachers can display their badges as they complete various professional development courses.
“Just build upon it. Make it grow.”

their badges and their lanyard pins, and the district keeps a live, updated leaderboard on the Hall of Fangs portal, so teachers, schools and administrators can see how their campuses are performing compared to others and enjoy the competition.

In the first four months of the Hall of Fangs, 60-plus educators in the district became level one Google certified. And Nevarez says participation in the Hall of Fangs has grown since then, with numbers at least doubling since the program’s first year. The district also created an Admin Hall of Fangs badge program, geared toward counselors, assistant principals, and principals, where participation has grown 60% since the first year.

Linebarger says the Hall of Fangs program has made teachers more comfortable with education technology, which was the original goal. Even kindergarten teachers, who previously believed their students were too young to use some of the tech, have realized they can incorporate lessons even to their younger students, thus better preparing to use the programs in the future.

Aside from the buy-in rate and increased tech savvy, there is a palpable, but less quantifiable effect of the Hall of Fangs program.

“You can see it when you visit the classrooms, the creativity and innovation happening from a student perspective, the

critical thinking, the problem-solving — it’s indirectly contributing to our digital citizenship as teachers and students utilize the technology more,” Nevarez says.

Jeff LeRoy, also an innovative learning coordinator in the district, says that through the program, teachers are able to strengthen their lessons by more purposefully using education technology in their classrooms.

“It’s eye-opening,” he says.

After completing a badge, teachers are asked to give their feedback, and the district incorporates their responses into the program, making tweaks and developing badges to best suit educators’ needs. When teachers asked to skip ahead on some badges, not always having to start at level one, the district opened up the program to be more free-form.

The flexibility, thought and attention to detail that the district has put into the Hall of Fangs program is especially remarkable when considering the small size of the team that works on the project. LeRoy suggests that any district interested in doing something similar consider that running the program is akin to teaching a full-time class composed of every educator and administrator in the district. In SMCISD, that number is nearly 700, meaning badge exit tickets are constantly rolling in for review. LeRoy’s recommendation, then, is to start small.

“Just build upon it. Make it grow.”

For now, the Hall of Fangs team plans to keep the program growing with minor adjustments, connecting the badges to the district’s goals from a curriculum perspective. Eventually, Nevarez says he’d love to create a similar program for student achievement, but for now, the focus remains on making the badge program as beneficial as possible. He credits much of the program’s success so far with the hard work of the team and the district’s supportive superintendent, Michael Cardona.

“Our superintendent has really expressed the need to drive innovation, and to drive teachers to try things outside of their comfort zone,” he says. “His ability to cheer the program has been beneficial.”

Everyone likes to be celebrated for their hard work, and teachers are no exception. Linebarger says the program thrives through this recognition and the promotion the team puts into it.

“You have to generate excitement,” she says. “We made a kickoff video and we show it at every single school at a faculty meeting. Generating that excitement to begin with lets them know what the program is and how they can be a part of it. Teachers are being rewarded and recognized for the hard work that they’re putting in.”

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▲ Each year, the top Hall of Fangs badge earners are entered into a drawing to win a free trip to the ITSE conference.

TSPRA

TSPRA members are “Livin’ the School PR Sweet Life” at annual conference in Sugarland.

▲ Several members were honored with Crystal Commendation awards in various categories.

▲ Monica Faulkenbery, APR, Northside ISD and Bob Noyed, APR, CESO, presented Dr. Brian Woods with the 2023 TSPRA Key Communicator award.

▲ Dr. Joe Sanfelippo delivered an engaging and inspiring keynote to members during the first general session.

◄ Immediate Past President Megan Overman, APR, CPC, presented President Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez, APR, CPC, with the President’s Gavel.

▲ Members tapped into the wealth of knowledge and experience of four outstanding superintendents during the third general session, leaving inspired and empowered. Thank you to Dr. Tiffany Spicer, Superintendent, Buna ISD; Dr. Martha SalazarZamora, Superintendent, Tomball ISD; Dr. Robert Bostic, Superintendent, Stafford MSD; and, Mr. James Colbert, Superintendent, Harris County Department of Education.

► President-Elect

Kristyn Cathey, APR, cherished moments with her Alief ISD family!

▲ School PR life never looked sweeter! Shoutout to stylish TSPRA members from Humble ISD for adding some extra sweetness to the mix.

15 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
Photo Feature
▲ Parent Square and Class Intercom teamed up for a night of karaoke showdowns! ▲ TSPRA President Arianna VazquezHernandez, APR, CPC (right), and former TSPRA President Veronica Sopher (left) connected with Dr. Martha SalazarZamora, Superintendent of Tomball ISD, after the Superintendent’s Panel. ▲ TSPRA members looked for sessions in their sweet conference program.

TASBO HOSTS 2024 ENGAGE CONFERENCE IN HOUSTON

The Texas Association of School Business Officials held its annual Engage conference in Houston in February, with networking opportunities, learning sessions, certification courses and more.

▲ Brenda Delgado, supervisor of operations, and Michelle Eggert, accountant IV – federal stimulus grants, both from CypressFairbanks ISD, show off their badge ribbons.

▲ Conference attendees enjoy a presentation from speaker Stevie Dawn, CEO or Stevie Dawn Inspires, LLC.

▲ Kristi Grant, director of payroll in Katy ISD, speaks to attendees.

▲ The conference included the presentation of the Leadership Recognition Award. Shown are: Tracy Ginsburg, TASBO executive director; Elaine Cogburn, TASBO board president, Dripping Springs ISD; Shay Adams, Little Elm ISD; Michele Trongaard, Mansfield ISD; Darrell Dodds, Garland ISD; Jennifer Land, Pflugerville ISD; and Michael Steffan of Equitable.

▲ Phillip Ellison, TASBO board member, poses with keynote speaker Courtney Clark at the keynote book signing.

▲ The First TASBO President’s Award is given to Nan Walker, a high school teacher of 2023 Board President Shay Adams from Little Elm ISD.

◄ All in the family: Lindy Finley, TASBO Life Member (center) with daughters Kala Moore, chief human resources officer from Jacksonville ISD, and Kasey Russell, executive director of financial services from Tyler ISD.

▲ Two 2024 RISE Award recipients pose: Kenneth Cloud, PEIMS coordinator in Tomball ISD, and Kelechi Bradley, director of research assessment and data in Sheldon ISD.

Members of

◄ Closing keynote speaker Kenyon Salo shares the mic with Diana Robles-Mendez, assistant superintendent for finance from Rio Grande City CISD, and Ysidro Merlos, energy coordinator from Lamar CISD.

welcomes

16 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024 Photo Feature
the 2024 TASBO Board of Directors enjoy a group photo opportunity at the conference. ▲ TASBO ASBO International Executive Director Jim Rowan to Texas with a brand new cowboy hat. Shown are: Tracy Ginsburg, TASBO executive director; James Rowan, ASBO International executive director; and Shay Adams, 2023 TASBO Board President.

Who’s News

◄ Continued from page 8

El Paso ISD

Now serving as the district’s chief academic officer is Adalberto Garcia Jr., who was assistant superintendent of elementary schools. He came to El Paso ISD last year from El Paso’s Socorro ISD, where he was principal of Paseo del Norte Fine Arts Academy, assistant superintendent of schools, and principal of several elementary schools. The district has announced the appointment of Iris Jimenez as director of student retention and truancy prevention. An educator for two decades, she most recently was director of choice schools and planning for Ector County ISD. In addition, she was a campus and central office administrator in Midland ISD and taught in El Paso’s Socorro, Clint and Ysleta ISDs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State University.

Lisa Lyons is the new director of curriculum and instruction. Most recently the district’s Title I instructional coordinator, she initially was a teacher at Indian Ridge Middle School and chair of its English department. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso. A new principal is in place for Green Elementary School. Guadalupe Pineda, who has worked in the district for 23 years, was most recently assistant principal of Mesita Elementary.

East Central ISD (San Antonio ISD)

The new principal of CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) Lead High School, Erica Jackson, was previously an assistant principal at the campus and, prior to that, an assistant principal at Legacy Middle School. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where she also earned her master’s degree.

Charlott McReynolds, newly appointed principal of Harmony Elementary School, joined the district in 2016 as a social studies instructional specialist. Prior to that, she was a teacher and administrator in Floresville ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Flour Bluff ISD

Fredericksburg ISD

The district’s new director of CTE and technology is John Hext. A graduate of Fredericksburg High School, he previously was a coach and AV production teacher.

Georgetown ISD

A new principal is in place for Carver Elementary School. Charlotte Young, the school’s assistant principal since the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year, is a 12-year educator who previously served as a teacher and assistant principal in Georgetown and Round Rock ISDs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas State University.

Granbury ISD

Assistant superintendent Jimmy Dawson has announced his retirement, bringing to a close a 30-year career in Texas education, the past 20 with Granbury ISD.

Julie Rohleder, former principal of Baccus Elementary School, now leads Granbury Middle School. She has been an educator for 26 years, beginning her career in Joshua and Keene ISDs. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Wesleyan University and her master’s degree in administration from Tarleton State University.

Hays CISD

Now serving as chief technology officer is Alan Duerr, who joined the district in 2001 as a network coordinator. He was named director of network services in 2008 and in 2020 was promoted to deputy chief technology officer. Prior to joining Hays CISD, he worked in the private sector with National Instruments and Lockheed Missiles and Space Company.

is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso with a master’s degree in sports administration from Concordia University.

Hidalgo ISD

Hidalgo ISD has named Jason Wheeler athletic director and head football coach. He comes to his new job from Mission High School in Mission CISD, where he was defensive coordinator. In addition, he was head football coach at Sharyland ISD’s Pioneer High and previously coached in Los Fresnos, Port Isabel and San Benito ISDs.

Jayton-Girard ISD

Former Muenster ISD superintendent Scott Bicknell has accepted the top position in Jayton-Girard ISD. Prior to his most recent assignment, he led Glasscock County ISD.

Keller ISD

Keller Middle School’s new principal, Ramsey Branch, served as Keller High School’s assistant principal since 2018. Previously a science teacher in the district, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Northwestern State University.

The new principal of the Early Learning Center North is Christy Johnson. She previously led that campus from 2014 to 2016 before opening the Early Learning Center South, where she served as principal until 2021. At that time, she became Keller ISD’s director of early childhood programs.

Chris Steinbruck, who had been leading Flour Bluff ISD on an interim basis, has been named superintendent. He is a 22-year employee of the district, also serving as a teacher, coach and athletic director.

Elizabeth Lara has been selected as the first principal of the new Cullen Elementary School, which will open in August. Most recently principal of Pfluger Elementary and formerly assistant principal of Lehman High School, she has been an educator for 13 years, nine of those with Hays CISD. She holds a master’s degree in public school administration from Texas A&M University. A new director of bands is in place for Johnson High School. Joni Perez brings more than 20 years of experience to her new job, most recently working as a music education clinician and consultant. She previously held leadership positions with Conroe ISD band programs, including serving as director of bands from 2010 to 2022.

Mark Torres is now Hays High School’s athletic coordinator and head football coach, coming to his new job from El Paso, where he held the same position at Pebble Hills High School in that city’s Socorro ISD. He

HR Lugo has been selected to lead Timber Creek High School as principal. He was the school’s associate principal during the 2021-22 academic year, when he was named principal of Keller Middle School. He is a graduate of New Mexico Highlands University with a master’s degree from Chapman University.

Kerrville ISD

Tivy High School head girls’ basketball coach and coordinator Christy Dill has announced her retirement. She was an employee of Kerrville ISD for 28 years, taking her most recent position in 2007.

► See Who’s News, page 26

17 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas

Association of Community Schools

The Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) is an organization dedicated to supporting Texas’ community school districts — specifically those that culminate in a single high school, where that school is the pillar of the local community. Thrall ISD Superintendent Tommy Hooker recently stepped into the president’s role at TACS, bringing with him 29 years of work in public education.

Hooker got his start as a teacher, coach and athletic coordinator in Willis ISD. He moved into administration, serving as a principal and assistant principal in Huntsville ISD, then principal in Cameron ISD before moving to Thrall 13 years ago. All three of his children are Thrall ISD graduates, and all either have graduated from or are attending Texas A&M University.

While attending Sam Houston State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree, Hooker planned to work as a financial advisor, but quickly realized he didn’t feel connected to the work. It was Hooker’s wife, Stacy, who reminded him of his own experiences as a young person and how he had benefited from the effort his coaches and teachers had invested in him.

“She was the inspiration,” Hooker says. “She reminded me of the positive conversations I had with the educators who had been in

Tommy Hooker supports community school districts through TACS leadership

“I love this district, and we’re very proud of it. It’s been a work in progress, but it’s because of this board that this team has been able to come together and accomplish all of this.”

my life who impacted me. She felt my heart was in education, so I pursued that and I never looked back.”

Since then, Hooker says he’s never even considered leaving the profession, making the move into administration after completing his master’s and receiving his principal certification. Being an FFA and 4-H president in his youth gave him an early feel for leadership, and that drive to lead has been a constant in Hooker’s career. In 2020, Sam Houston State selected him as Distinguished Educator of the Year for the College of Education.

“I’m not a creature of change, but I like challenges, and I like leadership,” he says.

Support and mentorship from others have also helped Hooker grow in his career. He says it was Fred Rush, former superintendent of Huntsville ISD, who first promoted Hooker to a principal position and served as a mentor to him.

“I was 29 years old and I told him he had more confidence than I did in myself because I didn’t know what I was doing, but he said, ‘You will do just fine,’ and I did,” Hooker says.

Support from his colleagues also led Hooker to join TACS about 10 years ago. Two of his fellow Region 13 superintendents, Bill

18 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

Chapman and Doug Killian, encouraged him to join the association and he did, appreciating the leadership of former TACS Director Barry Haenisch, who is also a former superintendent. Immediately after joining, Hooker felt compelled to contribute to the association, and followed his leadership path to serve as a Region 13 director before moving to the executive board and, now, serving as president.

TACS has many member benefits, from weekly communiques and monthly Zoom meetings to scholarship opportunities and a robust annual conference. Through all of these, Hooker says the some-600 TACS members have access to the group’s greatest asset: its networking opportunities.

“To me, the nice thing about having that networking with TACS is the capability to come out of your individual district and share what is going on that you’re doing a great job with, or maybe it’s a struggle, and then having others discuss that with you and possibly show you a better way of doing things or giving you confirmation that what you’re doing is on the right track. It provides each superintendent with an opportunity to learn from others.”

Through his TACS membership and leadership, Hooker says he’s been able to grow as a superintendent, and take what he has learned and the support he’s received home to help boost the Thrall ISD community. Hooker says the members of the Thrall ISD board support his involvement in TACS and encourage him to stay involved at the state level.

“I have an amazing team of eight,” Hooker says. “I love this district, and we’re very proud of it. It’s been a work in progress, but it’s because of this board that this team has been able to come together and accomplish all of this.”

As TACS president, Hooker is working to highlight the unique perspectives community school districts share and spread their message to those in power.

“I’m compelled to reach out and bring our districts to the table, but it’s something more. It’s about reaching out and helping one another. And in between sessions, in between the talk of vouchers, right now is the time that we’re making a strong effort to reach out to legislators and really state our case for our member districts’ beliefs.”

Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS)

Membership: TACS membership is open to staff at school districts with fewer than 12,000 students in average daily attendance or that have only one high school.

Mission: TACS aims to work for the improvement of instruction in the community schools of the state, provide professional growth programs, support legislation that enhances the opportunities and abilities of community schools to provide quality education programs, and cooperate with other organizations dedicated to such purposes.

Year founded: 1951

Website: tacsnet.org

Ideas, Insights, and Inspiration

Shaping public education together

Sept. 27–29

San Antonio

Henry B. González Convention Center

APRIL 1– MAY 1

Session Selector is open for proposal submission .

MID-MAY

Session voting begins.

RESOURCES

Want to write session titles and descriptions that pack rooms? Ready to submit your session proposal? Visit tasa.tasb.org for details.

19 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators

Kimberly Rich’s path to working in human resources has been a varied one, serving multiple roles in four different Texas school districts. With more than 29 years of work in public education, she began her journey as a junior high school special education teacher before also serving as an instructional technology specialist, ARD facilitator, CTE director, assessment and accountability director, administrator and grant manager. For the last 10 years, she’s held the position of executive director of human resources in Dickinson ISD.

Rich had always wanted to work in school HR, but wasn’t sure if the timing was right when she applied for a teacher development/ professional learning position in Dickinson. She had been wearing many hats in Santa Fe ISD, a small district, when she applied at DISD. After reviewing her application, an administrator in Dickinson called her and asked her if she’d be interested in interviewing for the executive director of HR position. She wasn’t sure she was qualified, but the folks in Dickinson thought it would be a good fit. It turns out they were right.

“It came to me earlier than expected,” Dickinson says. “I’ve grown in it and I love it. I genuinely still love coming to work every day.”

Dickinson ISD’s Kimberly Rich steps in to TASPA presidency

“I was drawn to join TASPA due to the support and advocacy it provides for education personnel professionals.”

Growing up with a severely disabled cousin, Rich was initially drawn to work in special education. Once she got into the field, she realized she had a passion for helping people. In her work in HR, her aim is to support teachers and administrators so they can serve students, and make sure they get the best possible opportunities.

“I think I’m an excellent listener,” she says. “Even working through issues, helping principals, sometimes they just want someone to hear them. I just listen. I don’t judge and I don’t give advice unless they ask. If every day I can go home and say I helped one person, then that means that one kid got what they needed, and that was a good day.”

Both of Rich’s adult children are products of Texas public schools, and one now serves in the military. Rich grew up in the Brazoria and Galveston County area and feels connected to the local community. Much like when she arrived in Dickinson, Rich also says she felt at home when she first joined the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA), the association she now serves as president.

“I was drawn to join TASPA due to the support and advocacy it provides for education personnel professionals,” she says. “The

20 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

encouragement from colleagues, like Dr. Casey O’Pry and Dr. Sundie Dahlkamp, played a significant role in my decision. HR people are unique, and that drew me in.”

TASPA membership comes with many benefits, and Rich feels the most important one is the support members receive from their colleagues. From the state staff to other members, Rich says she can send somebody a text when she’s having a problem and receive a helpful call or email from someone in the know.

A belief in TASPA’s mission and encouragement from her peers lead Rich to want to serve the association in a leadership role. Attending the TASPA and ASPA conventions helped Rich become more deeply involved, and she says she especially enjoys seeing firsttime convention attendees react when they realize the many resources available to them through the association. During her time as president, she hopes to

advocate for educators and staff, enhance professional development offerings, promote diversity and inclusion, and support mental health and well-being in schools.

“I’d like to try to find different ways to incorporate technology and professional development together to provide more information to people,” Rich says. “COVID was eye-opening; it helped us see different ways of doing things. I think we need to look at ways that we can capture that and move forward with some of that.”

As Rich begins her third decade in public education, she is motivated by her daily work and association service to foster education excellence for school staff and students in Dickinson ISD and beyond.

“My goal has always been to significantly impact students’ educational experiences and staff’s professional environment. My work is guided by integrity, academic excellence and a commitment to equity and family.”

The Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA)

Membership: TASPA membership is open to Texas public school human resources administrators and support staff.

Mission: The mission of TASPA is to engage and develop human resource professionals thereby enhancing HR services to school districts.

Year founded: 1966

Number of members: About 1,000 Website: taspa.org

21 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Association of School Boards

Armando Rodriguez had graduated from Canutillo High School and was studying at the University of Texas at El Paso when he decided to run for school board. Some 18 years later, he is still on the board in Canutillo, now in his fifth term. He joined the board as its youngest member ever and one of the youngest school board members to serve in the state. School board service isn’t something that frequently calls to recent graduates, but Rodriguez says he had always felt politically connected to his community, and he wanted to represent it on a larger scale.

“My main goal was how do we close achievement gaps, how do we look at making sure we provide better opportunities for all kids,” Rodriguez says. “I was able to bring a fresh perspective, and we’ve been able to see success continue to grow throughout the years.”

In his time on the Canutillo board, Rodriguez has served as secretary, vice president and president. A Leadership TASB graduate and a Master Trustee, Rodriguez finds board work incredibly rewarding, in that he gets to see students succeed and thrive in their goals and aspirations in the local community and beyond.

“In my community, where I’ve come from, sometimes we’re not represented in many of the organizations, or we don’t have a seat at the table,” Rodriguez says. “I think the most important thing is taking a proactive role, not sitting back and complaining.”

TASB President Armando Rodriguez dedicates

himself to his community
“My main goal was how do we close achievement gaps, how do we look at making sure we provide better opportunities for all kids.”

It was this drive that led Rodriguez to join TASB. He realized the issues impacting Canutillo ISD weren’t just local, or isolated, and that change might have to come from work at the state and even federal levels.

“I knew I had to get active, not only to make a change, but so that others could learn and grow and appreciate where I come from and the obstacles that many of our students face. That way we could make a true impact on addressing and correcting some of those issues.”

In 2005, Rodriguez joined the TASB board and currently serves the group as the Region 19 representative. He is also on the board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and is a past president of the Mexican American School Boards Association and president of the Far West Texas School Boards Association. For Rodriguez, leadership in anything he does is a goal, not for his own benefit, but so he can best build up his community.

“I just want others to succeed,” Rodriguez says.

Rodriguez recently became president of TASB, and in his time in the role, he aims to help build the association. He hopes to help the group build a toolkit or platform that local school districts can use as part of leadership development, one that would have different modules focused on governance, finance, educational opportunities and best practices.

22 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
“I knew I had to get active, not only to make a change, but so that others could learn and grow and appreciate where I come from and the obstacles that many of our students face. That way we could make a true impact on addressing and correcting some of those issues.”

“I want to work on building the capacity in our local communities, not necessarily for the elected school board members, but to build a leadership pipeline of advocates for public education. That way they could develop programs in their local communities so we have people who understand the way public ed works and could be advocates for it.”

Rodriguez has spent the bulk of his adult years, nearly the majority of his life, serving on the Canutillo school board, and through his leadership in TASB and with other groups, he no doubt has a long future of service ahead of him as he dedicates himself to bettering not only his community but the state of public education in general.

“I think, especially in these current times more than ever, there’s an opportunity for us as school board members across the state to actually work together to ensure that every student has opportunity, and to support public schools, because we know they’re at the forefront of making sure every kid has those opportunities.”

Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)

Membership: TASB members include board members of Texas school districts and regional education service centers, along with associate and affiliate members.

Mission: TASB promotes educational excellence for Texas schoolchildren through advocacy, visionary leadership and high-quality services to school districts.

Year founded: 1949

Number of members: more than 7,000

Website: tasb.org

Help Texas School Business brag on your schools!

Does your school or district have a program that's wildly successful?

Tell us about it! Submit your nomination today for possible inclusion in the 18th Annual Bragging Rights issue, which honors 12 deserving school districts and their innovative programs. To apply, visit texasschoolbusiness.com and fill out the Bragging Rights online nomination form.

Nominated programs must have been in operation for at least one semester. There is no limit on nominations submitted per school or district.

Contact drivers@ texasschoolbusiness.com.

23 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

THE ARTS News in fine arts education

HArt that moves people

ow do you create a visual representation of campus pride that can be shared with the entire community?

Art That Moves People is the concept that started in Aldine ISD in collaboration with Houston Metro as a way to engage students by designing bus shelter artworks that represent their campus pride. We have had a long-standing partnership with Metro that has embraced Aldine ISD visual arts artists and our community.

All Aldine ISD ninth-grade campuses and high schools created bus shelter artwork that is installed on their local Metro bus shelters. Aldine ISD, a K-12 district located north of Houston, has collaborated with Houston Metro to bring the two entities together.

The Art That Moves People art contest helped students think critically about how

their artistic creations can interact with and impact the community in which they live and create. As students conceive and design their submissions, they consider the diverse audience that will engage with their art daily. Students were required to design with a purpose, adhering to specific criteria and requirements that met the needs of both the school and the public agency (Houston Metro).

According to Matthew Kirkpatrick, art educator, Carver Senior High School, and Fine Arts Department Head, “Competitions, from a teaching perspective, are less about winning for students and more about modeling a professional workflow, working with clients, getting feedback, and getting real recognition for their hard work. By collaborating with Metro, students can

24 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
Katherine Robles stands inside the Houston Metro bus shelter with her artist's statement and original winning artwork on display for everyone in the community to enjoy.

see their win, as winning work becomes a public product, viewable by all in the area and forever tying that student’s work to the campus.”

The program provides students the opportunity to submit their design into a contest that goes through several rounds of evaluations, based upon a rubric provided to the students, the school, and district evaluators. In the real world, artists and graphic designers have worked to fulfill the goals of a project. A project such as this requires the student to work within the project owner’s (Metro in this instance) framework and timeline.

A primary goal of the project is to portray the school culture, showcasing the core values and strengths of each school to the community. The Art that Moves People design contest provides students with a means to connect authentically with their local community. By placing the artwork in a public space, students are adding to the legacy and cultural fabric of their neighborhood. Jorge Vazquez, art educator, Nimitz Senior High School, said, “The competition can help by promoting their school beyond the bus shelter and keeping the students engaged in their community through other design opportunities.” This became an opportunity for the art educator and student to make authentic connections to their school community.

This contest fosters a sense of pride and ownership among students. Their art will become a permanent fixture in the community, which instills a sense of commitment to the impact of their creative work. This connection to the community is an important aspect of art education and learning about becoming an artist/designer, as it emphasizes the role of the artist as a

contributor to the collective identity of a community.

Hailey Williams, art educator, MacArthur Senior High School, said, “This was an amazing opportunity for student artists to see their artwork come to fruition not only in a public space, but in their very own communities! Students experience real life development challenges and cultivate skills in presentation and problem solving to ensure their work represents all areas of their school pride.” It provides students with the opportunity to apply their artistic skills in a real-world setting, which is an invaluable opportunity for future endeavors in the arts and related fields.

Witnessing their designs come to life and become a permanent fixture in the community can have a profound impact on students’ confidence and sense of achievement. The contest provides a tangible validation of their artistic abilities,

reinforcing the idea that their creativity has real-world value. Being an artist is not only fulfilling the creative spirit of each student artist, the contest and school is providing the direction to be part of a very profitable and viable arts community.

This sense of accomplishment extends beyond the individual student to the entire school community. As the winning design adorns a local shelter, it becomes a source of pride for the school, showcasing the talent and creativity nurtured within its walls. This shared achievement fosters a positive and supportive environment for future artistic endeavors.

The Art that Moves People design contest can serve as a platform for promoting inclusivity and celebrating diversity within the school community that encourages students to draw inspiration from their cultural backgrounds, personal experiences, and unique perspectives, which results in a rich tapestry of artwork that reflects the diversity of the student body. The public nature of the art installation also allows the celebration of different voices and narratives. The contest provides an opportunity for students to express their cultural identity, and contribute to a collective mosaic of stories that make up the fabric of the community.

The contest is a powerful educational tool that extends the boundaries of traditional art education by fostering creativity and promoting community engagement. The Art that Moves People initiative promotes the artistic ventures of the emotional impact in the community. It connects to Metro’s initiative in providing public art for their stakeholders utilizing public transportation.

25 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
KAILEIGH NEWMAN is director of Fine Arts in Aldine ISD. BRADLEY S. KAPLAN is a consultant with Houston Metro (MTA). ▲ Jordan Chaney-Barnes holds his original artwork in front of Carver High School in Aldine ISD. ▲ Houston Metro’s graphic artist created a rendering of bus shelter artwork using student-submitted art as inspiration.

Who’s News

◄ Continued from page 17

The next principal of Daniels Elementary School is Katie Miller, who joins the district from Boerne ISD, where she was an assistant principal. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Schreiner University.

Killeen ISD

Aycock Elementary School, which will open its doors in August, will have Savannah Jimenez as its first principal. She has been with the district since 2018 after beginning her career in Bossier City, La., and coming to Texas to work in Pflugerville ISD. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Louisiana State University.

Adam Rich has accepted the position of assistant superintendent for facilities services, having most recently been the district’s chief operations officer. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and worked in the private sector before joining Killeen ISD in 2014.

Killeen native

Karen Rudolph has returned to her hometown as executive director of communications and marketing for Killeen ISD. She was most recently executive director of marketing, recruitment and outreach at Central Texas College and previously was a communications specialist at Belton ISD. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University and her master’s degree in public relations from the University of Georgia.

New executive director of student success Micah Wells was previously the district’s executive director of athletics. Prior to that, he was principal of Shoemaker High School and Rancier Middle School. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Lamar CISD

Sherryl Anthony has been promoted from assistant principal to principal of Wright Junior High. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria.

Ernest Bainbridge, now serving as principal of Randle Elementary School, is a 15-year educator who most recently led Hubenak Elementary. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Former assistant principal of Wright Junior High Marilyn Cooper has accepted the position of principal of Travis Elementary School. The 11-year educator is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria.

George Junior High School’s new principal, Leslie Crawley, brings 20 years of experience to his position, including eight years as a teacher and 12 as an assistant and associate principal. He is a graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown with a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Carrie Flores has joined the district as principal of Hubenak Elementary School. The 25-year educator is a graduate of the University of Houston with a master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University.

Nancy Garcia has moved up from assistant principal of Arredondo Elementary School to principal of Ray Elementary. Her 22-year career has included stints as a teacher, literacy coach and assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston at Victoria.

Former Austin Elementary School principal Janice Harvey will lead Terrell Elementary, a new campus slated to open for the 202425 school year. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University Houston at Victoria.

Melton Elementary School has welcomed Laura Haugvoll as principal. She has spent 19 of her 31 years as an educator with Lamar CISD, working as an assistant principal and principal. She graduated from Sam Houston State University and earned her master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas.

Former Austin Elementary assistant principal Steffanie Horelica is now the school’s principal. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Rochelle Horton has joined the district as principal of Meyer Elementary School, bringing 32 years of education experience to her new position. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University.

Benjamin Perez, newly appointed principal of Steenbergen Middle School, most recently led Ray Elementary. The 27-year educator has been a paraprofessional, teacher, assistant principal and principal. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria.

Lamar Junior High’s new principal, Mike Semmler, most recently led Leaman Junior High. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota.

Now leading Beasley Elementary School is Laura Spiegel, who has been promoted from assistant principal of that campus. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harding University, going on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Trey Watkins, now leading Leaman Junior High as principal, was most recently associate principal of Fulshear High. The nine-year educator graduated from the University of North Texas and received his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston at Victoria.

Laredo ISD

The Laredo ISD board of trustees announces the appointment of Jamie Cantu Vargas as principal of Dovalina Elementary School. She has 20 years of education experience and previously was an assistant principal in the district. A product of Laredo ISD schools with a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from Texas A&M International University, she is working on her doctorate in curriculum and instruction and instructional leadership from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Leander ISD

Cedar Park Middle School has appointed Lauren Meeks as principal. She has been with the district since 2006, working as a teacher and administrator. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Texas State University and her master’s degree in education administration at Lamar University.

Lewisville ISD

The new chief of high schools, Will Skelton, has been with the district for 23 years, serving as principal of Marcus High School since 2018. Prior to that, he led Flower Mound High School’s ninth grade campus and worked as an assistant principal. His bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and his master’s degree in educational administration is from the University of North Texas.

26 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

Liberty-Eylau ISD

Jeff Wright is the new superintendent. He had been serving as interim superintendent and previously worked in the district as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal as well as assistant superintendent. He holds a master’s degree in school administration from Texas A&M University at Texarkana.

Lockhart ISD

The new director of fine arts is James Crowley, who was the district’s fine arts coordinator and band director. In addition to his work in Lockhart ISD, he has served as assistant band director in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD’s Cypress Lakes High School and as director of bands at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School in New Jersey.

Michelle Hale is now principal of Clear Fork Elementary School. She comes to Lockhart from Brazosport ISD, where she was an elementary principal, and previously worked in Aransas Pass and Ingleside ISDs. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi.

Longview ISD

Former Bailey Elementary School principal

Julie Hope now leads the Bramlette STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy, bringing with her nine years of experience as a principal and 16 as a teacher and campus administrator.

Sue Wilson has come out of retirement to serve as interim principal of Bailey Elementary School. An educator for 46 years, she was principal of Hudson PEP Elementary for 18 years.

Coronado High School’s new athletic coordinator and head football coach is Andrew Roy, who was the school’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator since 2021. His 16-year career has also included stints in Snyder and San Antonio ISDs. His bachelor’s degree was awarded from Hardin-Simmons University and his master’s degree in education from Concordia University.

Former Early ISD superintendent

Dewayne Wilkins has accepted the position of Lubbock ISD’s chief financial officer. He led Early ISD since 2020 following a two-year stint in Gordon ISD in the same capacity.

Lufkin ISD

Angela Johnson has been appointed director of the district’s new Stronger Connections program, intended to build student support teams. An educator for 16 years, she joined Lufkin ISD in 2022. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University and her doctorate in organizational leadership from Abilene Christian University.

Now serving as director of bilingual/ESL programs is Adriana Solis, who has spent her career in Lufkin ISD, initially as its migrant and parent liaison. A graduate of Lufkin High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Josh Williams, who was Lufkin ISD’s director of technology since 2019, has been named chief technology officer. An employee of the district since 2005, he holds a bachelor’s degree from DeVry University.

McKinney ISD

The McKinney ISD board of trustees has announced the appointment of Nate Leonard as head football coach of McKinney High School. He began his career in San Antonio’s Edgewood ISD, going on to coach in Seguin, Clear Lake and Canyon ISDs. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and his master’s degree from Lamar University.

Magnolia ISD

After 25 years with the district, 15 of those in the lead position, superintendent Todd Stephens has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of this academic year. This will bring to a close a career in education spanning 43 years.

Manor ISD

Derrick Lewis has accepted the position of head football coach and athletic coordinator at Manor ISD’s New Tech High School. He joins the district from the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin ISD, where he was athletic director, head coach and offensive coordinator. He previously was a professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. Now serving as principal of Decker Middle School is Blake Rhyne, who was founding principal of KIPP Texas Public Schools’ Paseo Preparatory School since 2021 and, prior to that, a principal and assistant principal with Kansas City Public Schools and a teacher in North Carolina. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Midland ISD

Wesley Torres, who was the district’s athletic director, is now executive director of athletics. He has been with the district for over a decade, beginning as girls’ basketball coach and girls’ athletic coordinator at Midland High.

New Diana ISD

Former Crowell ISD superintendent Marshall Moore now leads New Diana ISD. He has been an educator for 16 years, eight of those as an administrator.

New Home ISD

Former Canyon ISD athletics director Toby Tucker has accepted the position of superintendent of New Home ISD. Prior to his six years in Canyon, he was ESC Region 16’s director of field services and superintendent of Claude ISD.

Northside ISD (San Antonio)

The following administrative appointments have been announced:

• Belinda Belliveau Cisneros, associate principal, Henderson Elementary School;

• Leann Kidd, executive director of technology services.

27 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024 ► See Who’s News, page 32
Lubbock ISD

Professional development & events Calendar

JUNE

June 2-5

THSADA Annual State Conference

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Round Rock

For more info, (832) 240-6550. www.thsada.com

Cost: Pre-registration, $125; late and onsite registration, $150.

June 5

TSPRA Regional Meeting, Gulf Coast area

Harlingen ISD, Harlingen

For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

June 5-6

TASB Workshop: Managing State and Federal Leave Online

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

Cost: $225.

Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy 44 Corpus Christi ISD, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

June 6

TASA Breakaway Leadership Program (session 6 of 6) Online

For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

Registration is closed for this event.

June 9-10

TALAS Summer Leadership Summit

Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio www.talasedu.org

Cost: $75

June 9-11

TAGT Gifted+Equity Conference

AC Hotel, Waco

For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org

Cost: Members, $359; nonmembers, $459.

June 10-11

Texas ASCD Academy: Assessment for Learning Frisco ISD, Frisco

For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

June 10-12

TASA TxEdFest Summer Conference

Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.txedfest.org

Cost: Through June 1: Members, $325; student members, $150; nonmembers (educational entities only), $425. On-site: Members, $400; student members, $195; nonmembers (educational entities only), $500.

Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference Conference Center, Hurst

For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org

Cost: Until May 24: $479; after May 24: $499.

June 11

Education Law for Principals Conference Convention Center, Austin

For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com

Cost: Single registration, $230; group of five or more, $205 each; group of ten or more, $195 each. Registration includes digital workbook; printed workbooks available for $25 per person.

June 12

TASBO Workshop: Board Policies and Administrative Procedures

Dallas ISD, Dallas

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $195; nonmembers, $245.

June 12-14

TASSP Summer Workshop Convention Center, Austin

For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org

TEPSA Summer Conference

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Round Rock

For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621.

www.tepsa.org

Cost: Members, $489; nonmembers, $728. Conference and master class: Members, $738; nonmembers, $1,027.

TxETA Summer Fest

Howard College, Big Spring www.tetatx.com

June 12-15

TASB Summer Leadership Institute

Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272.

www.tasb.org

Cost: By May 14: $485; May 15June 11: $535; onsite registration, $585.

June 13

TSPRA Regional Meeting, North Central Texas area

Location and city TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

June 14

TSPRA Regional Meeting, Houston/Beaumont area

ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

June 17

TASBO Workshop: Funding School Risks

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Round Rock

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members and nonmembers, $250.

June 17-19

TASBO Summer Solutions Conference

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Round Rock

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Workshops: Members, $300 per day; nonmembers, $350 per day. Business rate: Members, $700 per day; nonmembers, $750 per day. Certification courses: Members, $240 per course, per day; nonmembers, $290

per course, per day. ITC course: Members, $270; nonmembers, $320. CSRM course: Members and nonmembers, $250.

June 19

TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders (session 9 of 9)

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Round Rock

For more info, (512) 462-1711 https://www.tasbo.org/

Registration is closed for this event.

June 19-22

Leadership TASB Class of 2024 (session 5 of 5)

Omni, Fort Worth

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

TASB Summer Leadership Institute

Omni, Fort Worth

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

Cost: By May 21: $485; May 22-June 18, $535; onsite registration, $585.

June 20

Fast Growth Texas Lunch and Learn Online

For more info, (512) 536-1206. www.fastgrowthtexas.org

June 25-27

TETL Summer Conference

Hyatt Regency Reunion, Dallas

For more info, (855) 458-9286. www.tetl.org

June 26-27

TASB Workshop: Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act

Online

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

Cost: $225.

Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy 45

ESC Region 7, Kilgore

For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

28 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024

June 27-30

TASSP New Principal Academy Hilton Airport, Austin

For more info, (512) 443-2100.

www.tassp.org

Cost: Early Bird registration (through June 7): $795; after June 7, $895.

JULY

July 14-16

TAHPERD Summer Conference

Embassy Suites, Frisco

For more info, (512) 459-1299.

Cost: Pre-registration (May 15June 15): Professional members and out-of-state attendees: $140; retired members, $45; student members, $35. Late registration (June 16-July 18): Professional members and out-of-state attendees: $150; retired members, $55; student members, $45.

July 15-17

TCASE Interactive Conference

Marriott Hotel, Austin

For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492.

www.tcase.org

Cost: Early registration (through May 31): Pre and main conference: Members, $575; nonmembers, $640; main conference only: Members, $485; nonmembers, $560. Standard registration (June 1-July 15): Pre and main conference: Members, $635; nonmembers, $700; main conference only: Members, $545; nonmembers, $620.

July 16

TASB Training: Asbestos Designated Person

TASB offices, Austin

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

TASBO Workshop: State Aid Template for School Districts

Sheraton, McKinney

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285.

July 17

TASB Workshop: Integrated Pest Management

TASB offices, Austin

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

TASBO Workshop: Business Manager Fundamentals

Sheraton, McKinney

For more info, (512) 462-1711.

www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285.

TASPA Summer Law Conference

Worthington Renaissance Hotel, Fort Worth

For more info, (512) 474-9353. www.taspa.org

July 17-19

TASPA Summer Conference

Worthington Renaissance Hotel, Fort Worth

For more info, (512) 474-9353. www.taspa.org

July 18

TASB Best Practices Workshop: Maintenance and Operations

TASB offices, Austin

For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

July 19-21

Texas PTA Launch Conference Gaylord Texan, Grapevine

For more info, (512) 320-9801. www.txpta.org

July 21-23

THSCA Coaching School Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.com

Cost: Through June 1, $60; June 2-July 1, $75; onsite registration, $90.

July 23

TASBO Course: Business Ethics Convention Center, South Padre Island

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $195; nonmembers, $245.

TASBO Course: Managing for Performance Excellence Convention Center, South Padre Island

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $195; nonmembers, $245.

July 24-25

TASA First-Time Superintendent Academy (session 1 of 4)

Marriott Austin North, Round Rock

For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

Cost: Members, $845 for all four sessions; nonmembers, $945 for all four sessions; individual sessions, $295.

AUGUST

August 2

TAGT New Coordinator Boot Camp Online

For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org

Cost: Members, $199; nonmembers, $299.

August 27

Texas ASCD Instructional Aides Academy (session 1 of 12) Online

For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

SEPTEMBER

September 4-5

TASA First-Time Superintendent Academy (session 2 of 4)

Marriott Austin North, Round Rock

For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

Cost: Members, $845 for all four sessions; nonmembers, $945 for all four sessions; individual sessions, $295.

September 5

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, North Dallas area cohort (session 1 of 6)

McKinney ISD, McKinney For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

September 9-10

TASA Executive Leadership Institute (session 1 of 4)

Lakeway Spa and Resort, Austin For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $4,500 for all four sessions.

TASA/N2 Learning Principals’ Institute (session 1 of 6)

Lakeway Spa and Resort, Austin For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $6,000 for all six sessions.

September 12

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Austin area cohort (session 1 of 6) Georgetown ISD, Georgetown For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

September 17

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, North Houston area cohort (session 1 of 6) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Cypress

For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Wichita Falls area cohort (session 1 of 6)

Wichita Falls ISD, Wichita Falls For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

September 18

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, East Texas area cohort (session 1 of 6)

Tyler ISD, Tyler For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, San Antonio area cohort (session 1 of 6)

North East ISD, San Antonio For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

September 19

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, Corpus Christi area cohort (session 1 of 6)

Corpus Christi ISD, Corpus Christi For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

September 24

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, South Dallas area cohort (session 1 of 6)

Duncanville ISD, Duncanville For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, South Houston area cohort (session 1 of 6)

Clear Creek ISD, Webster For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

TASBO Workshop: PEIMS Fundamentals

Westin North, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $235; nonmembers, $285.

29 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024 ► See Calendar, page 30

September 24-25

TASBO Internal Audit Academy

Westin North, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $335; nonmembers, $385.

September 25

TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, virtual cohort (session 1 of 6)

Online

For more info, (972) 515-2268. www.n2learning.org

Cost: $1,000 for all six sessions.

September 25-26

TASBO PEIMS Academy

Westin North, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members, $335; nonmembers, $385.

◄ Continued from page 9

September 26

TASBO Workshop: Handling School Risk

TASBO offices, Austin

For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

Cost: Members and nonmembers, $250.

September 27-29

txEDCON, The TASA | TASB Convention Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio

For more info, (512) 467.0222 www.tasa.tasb.org

Cost: Early registration (July 23-Sept. 1): TASA or TASB member, $485; full board-superintendent team, $385; nonmembers, $585; students, $210; preconference sessions, $50; guest badges, $75. Regular registration (Sept. 2-27): TASA or TASB members, $535; full boardsuperintendent team, $435;

• event management and crowd control during school assemblies, sports events or extracurricular activities

Generative AI

Generative AI refers to a subset of artificial intelligence techniques and algorithms designed to generate new original content, data or information not explicitly provided in the input data. Generative AI is based on complex mathematical models and algorithms inspired by the structure and functioning of the human brain. Specifically, it relies on deep learning techniques, which are a type of machine learning method that involves training artificial neural networks with large amounts of data.

The recent emergence of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft CoPilot have caused much debate in the education world. These tools are large language models, a type of artificial intelligence designed to understand and generate human-like text. These models are trained on vast amounts of text data and use deep learning techniques, particularly neural networks, to learn the statistical patterns and structures of language. They can then generate coherent and contextually relevant text based on prompts or questions provided to them. These models are called “large” because they typically contain

nonmembers, $635; students, $260; preconference sessions, $50; guest badges, $75. Onsite registration (after Sept. 27): TASA or TASB member, $585; full board-superintendent team, $485; nonmembers, $685; students, $310; preconference sessions, $50; guest badges, $75.

September 28-30

TASSP Leadership Academy Hilton Airport, Austin

For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org ◄

Discover upcoming conferences and continuing education opportunities in the calendar section of each issue of Texas School Business and on our website.

millions or even billions of parameters, allowing them to capture complex linguistic relationships and nuances.

However, not all generative AI tools are based on large language models. Generative AI encompasses a broad range of techniques and algorithms for creating new data, and while large language models are one prominent example, there are others as well.

For example, generative adversarial networks (GANs) are a type of generative AI that consists of two neural networks, a generator and a discriminator, that are trained together in a competitive manner to generate new data that is indistinguishable from real data. GANs have been used to generate realistic images, videos and even audio.

Variational autoencoders (VAEs) are another type of generative AI that learn a low-dimensional representation of input data and then generate new data samples from this learned representation. VAEs have been used for tasks like image generation and drug discovery.

Generative AI models can:

• assist school finance officials in budget planning, revenue projections and long-term financial strategy development

• simulate various financial scenarios

DIGITAL FRONTIER

and assess potential risks, such as budget deficits, funding fluctuations or investment volatility

• automate the generation of financial reports, statements and disclosures required for regulatory compliance or stakeholder transparency

• analyze expenditure patterns, vendor contracts and procurement processes to identify opportunities for cost savings and efficiency improvements

• analyze demographic data, enrollment trends and fundraising initiatives to generate strategies for revenue diversification and sustainability

Understanding AI risks

The many benefits of AI also come with risks that must be considered. It’s important to note that AI is only as “smart” as the quality of the data available to it. AI systems rely on vast amounts of data, raising concerns about privacy breaches, unauthorized access, and data misuse, if not adequately protected. Any data entered into an AI system is used to “train” the algorithms and considered “there forever.” AI algorithms may perpetuate or amplify biases present in the data used for training, leading to unfair treatment or

30 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
TexasSchoolBusiness.com
◄ Continued from page 29

discrimination against certain individuals or groups. AI systems are also susceptible to errors, inaccuracies and algorithmic biases that can undermine the reliability and trustworthiness of their outputs. Generative AI systems often produce “hallucinations,” which are completely false results. For this reason, information generated must be verified for accuracy. Overreliance on AI for administrative tasks may lead to job displacement for staff members, particularly those in routine roles, raising concerns about unemployment and workforce displacement. Finally, AI raises complex ethical dilemmas around issues such as autonomy, accountability and transparency, that require careful consideration and responsible governance to address effectively.

To maximize the benefits of AI while mitigating its risks, schools must prioritize data privacy and security, ensure fairness and transparency in algorithmic decisionmaking, and foster a culture of ethical AI use and responsible innovation. Additionally, ongoing monitoring, evaluation and collaboration with stakeholders are essential to address emerging challenges and adapt to evolving technological advancements in school business operations.

Best practices for ethical data collection and usage

Districts and schools collect enormous amounts of data, and much of it is highly sensitive. Consider the types of data typically collected on students (personally identifiable information [PII], transcripts, attendance records, disciplinary history, special education services, grades, standardized test scores, individual learning progress), staff (PII, personnel records, employment history, qualifications, training data, evaluations, professional development records) and financial/operational data (budgetary information, expenditure records, ad procurement details, facility maintenance records, transportation schedules, resource allocation metrics). Any compromise of sensitive data can be devastating for a district.

Safeguarding sensitive data requires

collaboration between all district department leaders, including instruction, business, technology and human resources to develop comprehensive data governance policies and procedures, including data classification, access controls, encryption and incident response protocols, to ensure the secure and ethical handling of data throughout its lifecycle. Anonymizing and de-identifying sensitive data can minimize the risk of privacy breaches while still allowing for meaningful analysis and research. Techniques such as aggregation, pseudonymization and differential privacy help protect individual privacy while preserving data utility. Implementing data minimization strategies reduces the potential for unauthorized access, misuse and data breaches, while also simplifying compliance with privacy regulations.

It is strongly recommended that school districts conduct periodic audits and risk assessments of AI systems and data practices to identify vulnerabilities, evaluate compliance with privacy regulations, and implement corrective measures to mitigate risks. Additionally, districts should provide comprehensive training and awareness programs for staff members on data privacy best practices, security protocols, and compliance requirements to foster a culture of accountability and responsibility regarding the handling and protection of sensitive data. Finally, transparent communication about the purposes of data collection, the types of data collected, and how it will be used is essential to building trust and ensuring compliance.

Recommendations for business officials

Investing in staff training and awareness programs is essential to equip educators and administrators with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the intersection of AI and data privacy effectively. Through regular training and access to resources on data privacy best practices, AI ethics and compliance requirements, districts can foster a culture of data literacy and privacy awareness empowering staff to make informed decisions and uphold privacy standards in their daily practices. Business officials should establish clear

policies and procedures for data handling to ensure consistency, transparency, and accountability, including:

• roles and responsibilities

• data collection and usage guidelines and

• protocols for data access, storage, and sharing

Through formal data governance frameworks and clear expectations, educational institutions can minimize risks, streamline operations, and demonstrate commitment to privacy protection. Business officials should proactively communicate with students, parents, educators, and community members to solicit feedback, address concerns and provide updates on AI projects. By involving stakeholders in decision-making processes and fostering open dialogue, educational institutions can build trust, enhance transparency and promote collaborative efforts to safeguard data privacy in K-12 education.

Conclusion

Looking ahead, the widespread adoption of AI in K-12 education will have profound and far-reaching implications for business operations within educational institutions. AI technologies are poised to revolutionize various aspects of administrative functions, including finance, human resources, procurement and facilities management. Automated processes, predictive analytics, and AI-driven decision support systems will enable greater efficiency, cost savings and strategic planning in K-12 business operations. However, the integration of AI also presents challenges such as workforce reskilling, organizational change management and ethical considerations surrounding AI governance. Education leaders will need to navigate these complexities, embracing AI as a transformative tool — while prioritizing ethical and responsible AI deployment — to ensure equitable outcomes and uphold the trust of the education community.

DR. KARLA BURKHOLDER is the deputy director of Texas Education Technology Leaders, a professor of practice at Baylor University and recently retired director of technology services in Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD where she served for 10 years.

DR. KARI RHAME MURPHY is the chief technology officer at Deer Park ISD and serves as the past chair of Texas Education Technology Leaders.

31 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
DIGITAL FRONTIER

Who’s News

◄ Continued from page 27

O’Donnell ISD

Blake Nichols has been promoted from district athletic director to superintendent. The 15-year educator is a graduate of West Texas University with a master’s degree from Texas Tech University.

Palestine ISD

Palestine ISD has announced their new athletic director and head football coach. James Reyes joins the district from Lumberton ISD, where he held the same position.

Pearland ISD

Thu Pham, who has been the district’s controller and director of accounting for the past five years, is now executive director of business services. She previously was an administrator in Spring and North Forest ISDs and for the Harris County Department of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix.

Prairiland ISD

Jeff Ballard, who has led Prairiland ISD since 2009, has announced his plans to retire at the end of this semester, bringing to a close a 37-year career as a Texas educator. He initially taught and coached in Chisum and Detroit (Tex.) ISDs before joining Prairiland ISD in 1993.

Presidio ISD

Carmen Rubner has been named district superintendent after serving in an interim capacity since last June. She previously worked for Presidio ISD from 1991 to 2019 as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and technology director. In addition to her superintendent position, she is also principal of Presidio High School.

Rankin ISD

A new superintendent is in place for Rankin ISD. Shaye Murphy is a 22-year educator whose most recent assignment was assistant superintendent and chief administrative officer of Gunter ISD.

Round Rock ISD

Now serving as director of safety and security is Richard Andreucci. He is a graduate of Midwestern State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

The district’s new executive director of special education, Bonita Teasley, most recently held the same position in Elgin ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, where she also received her doctorate in educational policy and planning. Her master’s degree was awarded from Prairie View A&M University.

Jennifer Wagner, now serving as director of behavioral health services, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

San Angelo ISD

Central High School’s new athletic coordinator and head football coach is Mark Smith, who has 24 years of experience coaching high school and college football and most recently was the University of Oklahoma’s defensive analyst. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD (San Antonio)

The district’s board of trustees has approved the appointment of Justin Linthicum as associate principal of Steele High School. He previously served in the district as a teacher and coach. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of TexasPermian Basin and a master’s degree in education leadership from West Texas A&M University.

Seguin ISD

The Seguin ISD board of trustees has announced the appointment of Veronica Vijil, who had been serving on an interim basis since October, as the district’s new superintendent. She previously was the district’s deputy superintendent.

Socorro ISD (El Paso)

Americas High School has announced its new head track and field coach.

Joshua Nunn came to El Paso in 2006 as a coach at Chapin and Irvin high schools in El Paso ISD before joining Socorro ISD in 2023. He is a graduate of McMurry University.

Spring ISD

New athletic director

Derrell Oliver began his tenure in the district in 2021 as assistant athletic director, going on to serve most recently in the top position on an interim basis. The Prairie View A&M graduate initially worked as an engineer in the private sector before going on to a now 20-year career as a sports consultant, assistant principal and head football, track, cross-country, golf and baseball coach.

Vega ISD

Newly appointed superintendent Jerry Adams comes to Vega from Comfort ISD, where he was assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Previously an administrator in Lubbock and New Deal ISDs, he is a graduate of Texas Tech University, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Waco ISD

Wendy Sledd is the district’s new executive director of communications. Previously serving as communications coordinator, she also spent a decade leading Copperas Cove ISD’s communications department.

Dennise Wooden has been promoted from associate principal of University High School to principal of Carver Middle School. An educator for 17 years, she previously worked as a teacher, instructional coach and program director. ◄

32 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024
Send news items for Who’s News directly to news@texasschoolbusiness.com

hen was the last time you looked at your job description? Whether you are a teacher, an administrator or any other job in your school district, the job description attempts to cover every thing that you are supposedly required to do.

I’ve often thought that we should simplify the educational world by saying in the teacher’s job description, “Teach as much as you can, by doing the best that you can.”

Likewise, the administrator’s job description might say something like this: “Provide what is necessary so that teachers can teach as much as they can, in order for them to do the best that they can.”

I recently had the mother of a teacher tell me about her daughter’s experience every morning. She works with children who have ADHD, and her first student each day came into her classroom with a dress that didn’t fit, shoes that needed repair, and hair that had not been brushed.

One day she simply asked the little girl if she would like to have her hair brushed.

Her eyes opened wide, a big smile came up on her face, and she said, “Sure! You would do that for me?”

“Of course I will,” the teacher replied. “And I’ll do our lesson while I brush your hair.”

Of course, this became a daily ritual when the little girl walked into the classroom. The teacher bought her a hair brush and kept it in its special spot in her classroom.

One day, the teacher asked her if she would care if she braided her hair. Her little student was ecstatic and said she had never had her hair braided before.

So, as you can imagine, this became the daily order of business. Once, the child even asked if she would French braid her hair. Unfortunately, the teacher told her she didn’t know how to do that, so the simple

braiding of her hair continued each day.

One day, the teacher received a notification that her evaluator would be in her classroom during the first period in the morning. The teacher was so apprehensive about braiding the little girl’s hair in front of the evaluator, but she cared more about the expectations of her student.

So, as the administrator walked into the classroom, the teacher was busily brushing, and then began to braid her student’s hair, all the time continuing to teach the day’s lesson.

Needless to say, she received a superior evaluation, and was encouraged to continue doing what she was doing: taking care of the basic needs of her students.

I know of another teacher who once gave an 11-year-old boy her personal copy of “David Copperfield” to read during the summer.

“I think you’re going to love the young boy in this book,” she said. “In some ways, he reminds me of you. I hope that one day, you’ll understand why some books are called classics.”

I never forgot that book, and I never forgot that teacher.

Every day, in classrooms all across the country, teachers go above and beyond the call of duty to make children feel good about themselves. They introduce them to learning more about those items which interest them, and they provide the extras they need by purchasing them themselves. They demonstrate kindness, compassion, and understanding for those who need a little tender, loving care.

Thank God for educators and others who do more than just teach the basic curriculum. You show students how to be kind, how to be good citizens, and how to love one another.

And those lessons can be the most important ones that a student will ever learn.

33 Texas School Business MAY/JUNE 2024 THE BACK PAGE
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.
and
RINEY JORDAN
Above
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