Back to School: Russell ready to serve DHS

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, August 6, 2014
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If new Decatur High School principal Jeff Russell needed any confirmation that he was where he was supposed to be, the words that greeted him on the side of the building provided just that.

“Enter to learn, go forth to serve.”

Jeff Russell

In his office Monday, Russell pointed out a similar sign that has always hung on his door so that he sees it as he leaves: “Servant’s Entrance.”

“It’s a reminder to me of what my role is – to serve kids and parents and teachers,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not always about me. It’s about trying to help somebody else.”

Serving as a Marine for 10 years before beginning his public education career, Russell knows what it means to put others first, an idea that still drives him today. His time in the Marine Corps also taught him the value of working as a team and having a purpose in what you are doing.

“You desire that at some level for the rest of your life,” he said. “Everything in the Marines has a purpose. Even if you are scrubbing the floor, you feel like you are doing it for a good cause.”

He fell in love with teaching after serving as a youth Sunday school teacher. He went on to become a special education teacher in the Lewisville school district before becoming an assistant principal at Smithfield Middle School at Birdville ISD, the district he attended growing up. Russell later served as principal at Smithfield for eight years before he moved to Haltom City Middle School, a low-performing school where 90 percent of the students qualified for free or reduced lunches.

“My first goal there was to raise expectations and still have the kids like us. We did that,” he said.

Within two years, Haltom City was the only secondary school at Birdville to be rated by the state as “distinguished” in all areas.

Russell was quick to point out that success was the result of kids and teachers believing in themselves. His role was to encourage them.

Now that he’s in Decatur, Russell looks forward to bringing that same encouragement and servant’s attitude to a new group of students and teachers.


Decatur High School

  • Jacyln Lang – history
  • Kari Laminack – math
  • Michael Fuller – athletic director
  • Tony Roth – speech/health/coach
  • Erin Hampe – math
  • Brian Blair – science
  • Steven Stanley – Spanish
  • Cade Wartes – science/coach
  • Ty Lang – math
  • Ron Taylor – special education/coach
  • John Campbell – history
  • Brian Tickell – English language arts (ELA)/coach
  • Caroline Renfro – ELA/special education
  • Mary Jolly – ELA
  • Meghan Woodall – agricultural sciences
  • Jeff Russell – principal
  • Linda Hudler – athletic secretary

McCarroll Middle School

  • Jo Lynn Tickell – ELA
  • Courtney Daugherty – seventh-grade English/coach
  • Lindsay Griffin – math
  • Ken Hering – instructional aide (ISS)
  • Mary Reagan Skates – eighth-grade ELA/coach
  • Heath Griffin – science
  • Tim Dukes – science/coach
  • Samantha Boyce – eighth-grade science
  • Katherine Hicks – sixth-grade science
  • Devon McCain – sixth-grade math
  • Lyndsey Vann – sixth-grade math

Carson Elementary School

  • Laura Wadlington – fifth-grade ELA
  • Ashley Carrizales – fourth grade
  • Becky Lyles – fifth grade

Rann Elementary School

  • Julie Harris – fifth grade
  • Patti Fernandez – first grade bilingual
  • Julie Siebold
  • Citlaly Rivas – second grade bilingual
  • Perla Zamora – bilingual Teacher

Young Elementary School

  • Kimberly McComb – fifth grade
  • Jessica Hartsell – third grade
  • Crystal Boles – third grade
  • Ahide Aldape – pre-k bilingual
  • Lori Mathias – pre-k
  • Rebecca Bryson – office aide
  • Donae Raymunda – kindergarten
  • Sarah Williams – fourth grade


Decatur ISD

Administration office
307 S. Cates St.
(940) 393-7100

Superintendent: Rod Townsend

School board members: Kevin Haney, Jeff Alling, Jeff Elder, Diana Mosley, Marsha Hafer, Wade Watson and Jim Lamirand

Back to School Events

Meet the Teacher Night: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at all elementary schools; 6:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 for middle school

Districtwide Pre-K Registration: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14 at Young Elementary School

Middle School WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) Orientation: Aug. 14; 6th graders 9 to 11:30 a.m. at sixth grade campus, seventh graders and new to the district eighth graders 1 to 3:30 p.m. at seventh/eighth campus

Middle School Schedules: eighth grade Aug. 18 and 19; sixth and seventh grade Aug. 20 and 21

High School Fish Camp: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12 for girls, Aug. 13 for boys

Senior Retreat: 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 20

Lunch Prices
Elementary: $2.50
Middle and High School: $2.75

Decatur Calendar

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