Special to The Messenger

GRAPELAND – I believe one of the principles of leadership is beginning with the end in mind. Therefore, it’s important to me – as the leader of Grapeland ISD – for us to begin well so a great beginning influences a positive ending.

So, where do we begin? That’s the question. In order to answer this, I decided that it would take a patient spirit and not a proud spirit. As a leader, it is much better to ask others what they think and build a consensus about your direction and focus.

From the very beginning, back on April 7 when our board president, Eddie Childress, called to offer me the position of superintendent in GISD, I promised our board that I would operate on certain principles.

These principles are: communication; collaboration; connecting; and caring. I also promised I would be visible, vocal, available, accessible and approachable. Finally, I expressed my intent to look, listen, learn, love and lead.

Well, in the execution of these principles, I have been able to collect data from many GISD stakeholders. I completely understand that there are two things that Grapeland parents are passionate about. They are passionate about their children and how they spend their money.

With that being said, on August 21st, Grapeland ISD will be in possession of our community’s most precious resource, our students and your children. We will also be the beneficiary of your hard earned money through the taxes you paid.

As superintendent of GISD, I want to assure you the district will gladly accept the challenge of caring for these two passions. We will strive to educate our students by having lofty expectations for their attendance, attitudes, academics, attention, appearance, and aspirations.

I am writing to solicit your understanding and request your cooperation as parents, grandparents and guardians as we deal with some distractor factors which have been drawing the attention of our students away from teaching and learning.

Accountability for public schools is at an all-time high and so are the distractor factors teachers have to deal with on a daily basis. This is not just in Grapeland… but worldwide.

With that being said, it is our job as school leaders to assess and address these factors. I am so thrilled to work with our District Improvement Committee, administrators and our school board members. It is our calling to do what is best for our students and to set them up for academic success – first and foremost.

As I entered high school back in 1979, I was a big fan of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was my hero and I wanted to be just like him. I was sure I was going to be 6’-9”, just like him and go to the NBA.

Well, I came up a foot short, but thank goodness my dream was accompanied by a goal. Along the way, I discovered it was not my love for band, choir, Ag or even athletics that would help me the most. It was my education that allowed me to have choices and opportunity.

Ok, we have found the ending that I would love for all Grapeland students to have. I would love to see them graduate with choices and opportunities and end up working in a place they WANT to work instead of working in a place that they HAVE to work.

So, whether we are preparing your child for college or for a career, we ask you for your help in the increase in expectations for your child’s attendance, attitude, academics, attention, appearance and aspirations. Mastering these principles will open the door to future choices and opportunities.