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FISD, Frisco Chamber Welcomes New Hires (August 8, 2005)

FISD, Frisco Chamber Welcomes New HiresEvery school year FISD kindergarten students learn to make new friends, eat in the cafeteria together and join together in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. On Monday more than 400 new professionals did those same things as they were honored by local elected officials, business people and community leaders at the annual Frisco Chamber of Commerce New Teacher Breakfast at Centennial High School.

Dr. Rick Reedy, FISD Superintendent of Schools; Collin County Judge Ron Harris, who has a daughter-in-law joining the FISD team this year; Mayor Mike Simpson, and School Board President Buddy Minett, all welcomed the educators to the state’s largest recognized school district. Nationally renowned motivational speaker, LaDonna Gatlin, a Frisco resident mother of a Frisco graduate and grandmother of a new FISD kindergarten student, was guest speaker.

Changes and confidence in FISD were the themes for the event, which was underwritten by The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-Channel 8. Other major sponsors included Frisco Medical Center, RLK Engineering, The Haskell Company, Strasburger& Price LLP, Wilson Orthodontics, ABC Heating and Air Conditioning, Frisco Style Magazine and Tom Thumb. More than 100 businesses and community leaders sponsored one or more teachers for the event. A wide variety of area businesses provided door prizes that ranged from $200 shopping certificates to Stonebriar Centre Mall to facials, ice skating lessons and golf lessons. Food was provided by Celebrity Bakery, Chick-fil-A, Curves, Kolache Heaven, Krispy Kreme, McDonalds, Sam’s Club, Sherry’s Schoolhouse, Starbuck’s Coffee and Tres Meridas.

“You are working for the best school district in the entire United States,” Mayor Mike Simpson told the teachers, many of whom are about to enter the classroom for the first time and others who have relocated from all across the country to continue their profession in FISD. The mayor noted that the quality of the schools and quality of the teachers is one of the major reasons Frisco continues to grow and attract quality businesses and caring people to the city. He also told the group that he and the city council are available to talk to students at any time. “Just give us a call and we’ll be there,” he said.

Gatlin, who is the younger sister of country-music legends The Gatlin Brothers, greeted the new teachers with song and words of encouragement. She freely admitted that she is not impartial due to her own experiences as a parent of an FISD student. A native Texan, Gatlin attended public schools and her mother was a teacher’s aide. Her family has great respect for education. “We believe in what you do,” she said.

Gatlin gave a humorous look at stress and the way it affects people. New jobs rank high on reasons for stress. But she equated stress and change with her first reaction to piano lessons. She noted that she had liked playing by ear on the white keys, but that her piano teacher encouraged her to learn to play in many keys so that she could use the sharps and flats to stretch herself musically. “Life isn’t in the key of C,” she noted. “We all need to learn the sharps and the flats.” She even got Mayor Mike Simspon to join her in a chorus of the old Mac Davis tune, “I Believe in Music.”

Amid the laughter and song of the last week of summer, the leadership of FISD has been busy getting ready for August 15, when the doors open across the district. Dr. Linda Goins of Human Resources notes that all the principals are double-checking with their staff to make sure that everyone is indeed returning. “We are probably going to have to hire a few more people,” she said, “We are also looking at campus enrollments and grade level numbers. We may have to relocate a few teachers from one campus to another.”

Audie Adkins, chamber president, noted that her first duty with the chamber 10 years ago was helping Dr. Rick Reedy arrange the New Teacher event. “It was a luncheon at Storybook Farms. We had 45 people there and we were able to team a sponsor with each new teacher.” Looking at the full auditorium of a school that didn’t even exist 10 years ago, Adkins noted that the changes in FISD and Frisco are “absolutely awesome.”

Each new teacher left the breakfast well-fed and carrying away tote bags courtesy of the Dallas Morning News that were filled with goodies from area businesses.