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Frisco Dedicates Third High School in Honor of Former Superintendent (September, 2006)



Dr. Rick Reedy lauds old friend and boss Dr. Justin Wakeland


Dr. Justin Wakeland, left, and Principal Mike Farish, look at bronze plaque for Wakeland High School


Wakeland Orchestra Student performs at Wakeland High School dedication.

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Wakeland Band performs for honoree Justin Wakeland and school administration at school dedication.

Dr. Justin Wakeland served as superintendent of Frisco schools for 19 years, laying the groundwork that has allowed the district to successfully manage the challenging waters of being the fastest growing school district in the nation.

That leadership was honored Sunday afternoon as Frisco Independent School District leaders and guests gathered to officially dedicate its third high school, Justin Wakeland High School, home of the Wolverines.

Rick Reedy, who served as Wakeland’s assistant superintendent and became FISD superintendent when Wakeland retired, described his friend and former boss as a visionary and committed family man. He credited Wakeland’s “forward thinking and humane leadership” with setting the course for the Frisco ISD that exists today.

Wakeland is the son of two educators. His father was superintendent of Ellis County Schools for many years and his mother taught school for 50 years. Wakeland’s own 19 years in Frisco is “an extremely long consecutive tenure” for Superintendents in Texas today, Reedy said.

Reedy praised Wakeland for developing a comprehensive plan for FISD years ago that followed through with the wishes of the community. At that time, the citizens of Frisco said they didn’t want “mega” high schools. Wakeland High School is a direct result of that position, which the Frisco School Board continues to support today.

“Having smaller secondary schools was part of Justin’s planning,” Reedy said. He also credited Wakeland with the institution of the Senior Citizen’s Luncheon, which is held each December and is open to all senior citizens of Frisco. Another notable achievement was in helping FISD - by working with the forward-thinking George Purefoy, City Manager of Frisco - in becoming part of the TIF, a program that allows the city of Frisco and the school district to save millions of dollars and bring business to Frisco. Stonebriar Centre, which has brought growth and sales tax to Frisco, was the beginning of development in that zone.

Wakeland also fought hard to protect FISD’s boundaries. He was instrumental in lobbying for change in Texas law that makes it more difficult to detach and annex land from one district to another. “This was good for the district and good for the state,” Reedy said.

The former superintendent stepped forward to address the audience at the dedication and reminisced about his years in education. He saw many teachers he had hired in the audience. “I interviewed every person we hired back then, and I usually had time to give them a tour – which didn’t take very long back then, it was just downtown,” he recalled. “And all of those people made me successful.”

Wakeland expressed happiness to see his former secretary, Reba Carroll, in the audience. She met him the day he interviewed with the board for the job. “Reba, Joni (Minett) and Jean (Lumpkin) sold everybody who came to interview on Frisco,” Wakeland said.

He oversaw Frisco from the years of a small district where he could assemble every student and teacher on a football field for a photograph to the early days of the population boom. “I remember my first three board meetings,” he said. “We argued for three meetings on whether we could afford $90 a chair to replace the boardroom chairs,” he said, looking around Wakeland High School’s impressive 600-seat auditorium.

Wakeland admitted that he is pleased with the planning done by himself and the school board years ago to stick with smaller schools. “We wanted students to get the individual attention they needed. I commend the current school board for staying with that.”

Collin County leaders, including Wakeland, were instrumental in beginning Collin County Community College. Today high school students are able to take college level courses through the community college.

Now that he is retired, Wakeland, enjoys remembering he started senior citizens luncheon, which was organized in the old days by his secretary Reba Carroll. Today both he and Mrs. Carroll are able to attend the luncheon as guests. “Now I get that free lunch,” Wakeland said proudly.

Wakeland thanked all the many school board members he had worked with over the years and the board members who have served in the subsequent years. He remembered the night before the district was to open Curtsinger Elementary School. “Libby Maus and other board members were out there with brooms helping sweep out Curtsinger.”

With a salute to his successor, Wakeland noted that the district has improved its ability to get schools ready and open on time since that first new elementary school.

Wakeland High School Principal Mike Farish presented Justin Wakeland with a football signed by the team from the school’s “dedication week” game and a flag that had flown over the state capital on August 14, 2006, the first day of classes at Wakeland.

The Wakeland band and choir performed “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” in honor of Wakeland, a University of Texas graduate, and the new Wakeland Fight Song.

The new school’s orchestra provided music prior to the dedication and during the reception.