Back to School: Happy to be a Bulldog

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, August 6, 2014
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Michael Thurman felt comfortable in Alvord from the moment he walked into the job interview.

Michael Thurman

“It was like I knew these people,” the new Alvord Middle School principal said. “I related to them.”

That was in May. It didn’t take long for Superintendent Bill Branum and the board to settle on Thurman to take the spot vacated by Janis Branum’s retirement.

He was pretty sure he’d landed in a kid-centered school district, working with people whose priorities he shared. Attending high school graduation removed all doubt.

“It was so about the kids,” he said. “There wasn’t an adult on stage. Kids introduced the valedictorian and salutatorian. The whole ceremony was student-centered.”

Thurman appreciated the traditions, the emotion.

“Somebody said ‘That’s just graduation in Alvord,'” Thurman said. “I said yes, but there’s not a graduation like that anywhere else. It made an impact.”

Thurman grew up in Idabel, Okla., earned his B.S. in secondary education at Oklahoma State University and taught for six years in Norman before moving to Texas 20 years ago.

He taught, coached and served as middle school athletic coordinator in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district. In 2004 he was named assistant principal at a new middle school, helping start it from the ground up.

“I worked for some great people and loved what I was doing,” he said. “If you don’t love being around middle school kids, you’ve got no business being around middle school kids.”

Continued growth in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw motivated Thurman to look for a smaller community. His wife, Amy, had already made that move, having taught in Paradise for years. They live between Springtown and Boyd.

Now, Thurman feels like he’s come home.

“Alvord has a lot of good things happening, and can have a lot more,” he said. “I just want to be a part of it.”

That means a part of everything – sports to band, textbooks to computers.

“I’ve said for years – and I stole it from somebody – there’s nothing about education that’s supposed to be about us, the adults. It really is about those children.

“The teachers we remember, the coaches we remember – they were the ones who made it about the kids.


Alvord Elementary School

  • Kimber Dunkelbert – PE teacher
  • Elana Mattix – fourth-grade teacher,
  • Mindy Markum – counselor
  • Danielle Sandate – first-grade teacher
  • Barbara “Dede” Shelton – fourth-grade teacher.

Alvord Middle School

  • Krissi Oden – middle school and high school art teacher.
  • Kaitlin Sessions – English teacher
  • Charlie Stavlo – math teacher and coach.
  • Cicily Word – special education teacher

Alvord High School

  • Sandra Kostelecky – math teacher
  • John Shelton – girls athletic coordinator and head girls basketball coach for AHS
  • Kim Taylor – math teacher



Tax rate: 1.364 per $100 valuation

The Class 2A school district has three campuses, elementary, middle school and high school

Administration Building
100 Mosley Lane

Superintendent: Bill Branum

School board members: Larry Nivens, Kevin Wood, Vic Czerniak, Jimmy Looney, John Schedcik, Lance Thweatt and Charles Matthews

Alvord High School
1049 W. Bypass U.S. 81/287

Alvord Middle School
328 Farm Road 1655 S.

Alvord Elementary
711 W. Stadium Drive

Alvord Calendar

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