Spring is in the Air
Obrien Photo The fifth six weeks is well underway! The year is passing by quickly, and the weather is . . . unpredictable, as always, but I can sense the beauty of spring right around the corner. I want to update you on a few things happening around our district.

After searching diligently for the best possible fit, we have recently filled some campus leadership positions. Michelle James, former assistant principal at Ross S. Sterling High School, was named principal at Crockett Elementary School, replacing Becky Robins, now director of curriculum and instruction. Dr. Joseph Farnsworth, who began his career in education in Texas, has joined us from Queen Unified School District in Arizona as principal at Robert E. Lee High School, replacing Greg Lynd, who retired in December. Michael Curl has taken on the role of principal at Cedar Bayou Junior School, leaving his position as assistant principal at Sterling to replace Bruce Davis, who retired. Please support these exceptional leaders as they transition into their new positions.

Research shows that teachers have the greatest impact on student outcomes. The big focus from my duties as superintendent is to hire quality leadership in our principals and enable them to hire, train and continue to support the teachers of GCCISD. While we continue to be one of the highest paying school districts in the state of Texas, we are always looking to improve the product we deliver through staff development, training programs, enhanced curriculum and real world experiences for our students. In 2011, the student-to-teacher ratio was 16 to 1, and today it is 15 to 1.

The continuous improvement process also includes a priority of fiscal responsibility, and our obligation to taxpayers includes successful delivery of the 2013 Bond, efficient operation of facilities, delivery of the most current course selections and the development of community relations in a way that our campuses feel like home to our students and their families. In the course of annual reflection, we look for ways to improve, heightening quality and maximizing efficiency in all that we do.

As we move into the spring season, many of our programs continue to excel in competitions. Kudos to the Fine Arts Department for the six Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All-State Choir, Band and Orchestra members and 40 qualifiers in music for UIL State Solo and Ensemble Contest. Middle schools recently competed at a One Act Play Festival at Goose Creek Memorial High School. 

Upcoming events include UIL One Act Play, UIL Concert and Sight Reading and the Dance Spectacular. Ten GCCISD students qualified for the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) State competition in San Antonio. 

Congratulations to the Robert E. Lee High School basketball team on advancing to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years! It was an exciting game against C. E. King High School, and although the Ganders fell short of a victory, we are proud of their hard work and effort all season. The Goose Creek Memorial Lady Patriots also advanced, but fell to our neighbors to the north, the Crosby Lady Cougars, who have moved on to the state tournament.

Construction continues throughout the district, with ground being broken at Goose Creek Memorial for the wing that will house nearly 400 students, focusing on Career and Technology Education expansion. Other projects this school year include upcoming groundbreakings for the Transportation Center, the Technology Center and the Stuart Career Center expansion into a future CTE high school. Security improvements and upgrades are ongoing on various campuses for the next 18 months or so.

Our district is expanding our CTE program as a result of our business partners, who have reported the need for highly-trained, highly-developed skilled workers for the workforce. There are those students who know their desired profession from an early age and follow that track as an alternative to students who are college bound. Goose Creek CISD appreciates our business partners as well as our Partners in Education through the Baytown Chamber of Commerce. We are all part of a team working together to provide a quality education along with diverse and numerous opportunities for our students to prepare them for postsecondary education and careers. By our next Journal, we hope to hear about all of the Goose Creek CISD Education Foundation grants awarded to our teachers for innovative projects in the classroom.

As always, I invite you to stay involved with our district and the education of our children by visiting campuses and attending district events. We are proud of this excellent school district and welcome the opportunity to show off all the good things that are happening in Goose Creek CISD.