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School Board Begins Superintendent Search Process

Mar 23, 2017

The Frisco ISD Board of Trustees will host a special Board workshop on Monday, March 27 at 8 a.m. to further discuss the process for selecting a new superintendent of schools.

The meeting will be held in the Board conference room at the FISD Administration Building, 5515 Ohio Drive in Frisco. 

Trustees formally accepted a letter of retirement and resignation from current Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Lyon at the Board meeting on March 20. Dr. Lyon, who joined FISD in 2013, announced his retirement March 17 after 31 years in public education. He has been named the first president of Cooper Youth, a division of The Cooper Institute, and will lead a national effort to advance preventive health practices for children.

“I can’t say enough great things about your leadership, your vision and the steps that you have taken to help keep Frisco ISD a destination district,” said Board President Anne McCausland. “We keep striving for the academic success, but more importantly, something that you have highlighted and brought to this Board is the focus on the whole child.”

Dr. Lyon briefly reflected on his tenure as superintendent, noting rapid change and growing pains in the District.  

“We’ve got to work together,” Lyon said. “As we move forward as a community and a school district, I sincerely know working with these seven individuals that they only have one interest and that is to protect and grow the greatest school district in this nation, Frisco ISD.

“I just have the greatest, utmost respect for Frisco ISD and will continue to support and cheerlead on this new venture, because this is something worth fighting for, Frisco ISD, it is amazing.”

Trustees will further discuss the search for a new superintendent at the Board workshop next week. They agreed Monday to solicit information from executive search consulting firms who may assist with the process and timeline for naming a successor.

Prior to Monday's Board meeting, the Board welcomed state qualifiers in swimming, diving and wrestling, as well as All-State band, choir and orchestra students. Families and staff were also on hand to recognize these top student achievements.

More than 70 student athletes competed in the State Swimming and Diving Championships in February, with four Frisco ISD teams finishing in the top ten in the team standings. Twenty-seven wrestlers participated in the Wrestling State Tournament, with four individual state champions and three teams finishing in the top four. More than 40 band, choir and orchestra students performed in February with Texas All-State music ensembles during the 2017 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Clinic/Convention. This is the highest honor that a Texas music student can receive.

During the regular meeting, the Board also recognized Heritage High School teacher Michelle Valliere, winner of the 2016 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. The honor, awarded by Humanities Texas, comes with a $5,000 award as well as $500 for Heritage to purchase humanities instructional materials or improve humanities courses and programs.

Trustees expressed their thanks for the continued support of CoServ, which partners with the District and Frisco Education Foundation on several initiatives including Mindbender Academy and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, among others. As a member of the electric cooperative, FISD also accepted its annual capital credits check in the amount of $152,822.57 from CoServ. Since 2003, CoServ has allocated more than $928,600 in capital credit retirements back to the District.

During the meeting’s Celebration of Learning, educators and students from Scoggins and Fowler middle schools shared information regarding a new initiative this school year to provide middle school students with more options to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) applications. Campus-based STEM Innovators Conferences provide more choices and opportunities for students to apply skills to real-world contexts based on their individual interests. Fowler Middle School student Gurnoor Narula shared his science fair project, "Tumeric: The Golden Spice," which won first prize in Biochemistry at the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Scoggins Middle School teacher Nancy Gardner and students Nate Uglialoro and Anusha Kashyapa shared information about the school’s recent STEAM Night and two electric cars built by students, thanks to a donation from Siemens.

In addition, Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Pickens shared the latest financial projections for the District as part of an update on the priorities-based budget process. Key assumptions include adding approximately 6,500 new students over the next three years, seven to nine percent taxable value growth each year, a one percent raise for all staff in 2017-18 and two percent raises for staff in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Frisco ISD continues to analyze top savings options presented earlier this spring by a committee of parents, staff and community members. The District plans to present 2017-18 budget recommendations to the School Board in April. If a recommendation is made not to move forward with an idea presented by the Stakeholder Committee, the District plans to provide explanation at that time.

Pickens also shared that FISD would benefit greatly from House Bill 21, introduced in the Texas Legislature by state Rep. Dan Huberty. Leaders are encouraging legislators to support the bill. If approved as introduced, it would mean about $16 million more for the school district in 2017-18, and an additional $3 million the following year. Any additional revenue the District could receive from the state would be prioritized toward staff salaries and benefits, and to reduce class sizes.

Deputy Superintendent of Business Services Dr. Todd Fouche shared updated enrollment projections from external demographer Population and Survey Analysts (PASA). The District is expected to add 2,381 students between October 1, 2016 and October 1, 2017, for a total projected enrollment of approximately 58,232 students. The projections anticipate enrollment will grow most significantly at the high school level, for an average of approximately 300 students per grade, while middle school enrollment is projected to grow at an average of just under 200 students per grade, and elementary enrollment at an average of just more than 100 students per grade. This trend is consistent with what FISD has seen over the past year or so, but is not typical of growth trends the District typically observes, in which a larger percentage of new students are added at lower grade levels.

Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Gary Nye highlighted the impact of growth in the District as it relates to students served by special programs such as Gifted and Talented, Career and Technical Education (CTE) and more. With more than 56,000 students, Frisco ISD is now the 15th largest school district in Texas, falling in the top one percent of all districts in the state for size. While the percentage of students identified as economically disadvantaged, or who receive special education or English-language services, has remained relatively flat or declined since 2008, the percentage of students taking Gifted and Talented or Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses has exploded in recent years. So has the percentage of students who need 504 services. The number of students served through each one of these programs is larger than most school districts in Texas.

View the full Board book or click here to watch video of Monday’s meeting. 

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