NEWS HEADLINES

Back to School: Decatur

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, August 8, 2018
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DECATUR OPENS INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

When classes start at Decatur ISD Aug. 15, the district will have an intermediate campus for the first time in eight years.

Fifth grade is moving from the three elementary schools to the McCarroll sixth-grade campus to create an intermediate school.

“It’s like opening a brand new campus,” said Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis. “It’s going fantastic. Everyone has pitched in to help.”

The change was made to accommodate growth, but Whitis said it will benefit students academically.

“Those grades are a good fit. It’s also a good transition to the secondary world of education. We’re raising the bar academically. Working together, the teachers can do some quality planning.”

The intermediate and McCarroll Middle School will share a cafeteria and gym.

Jim Cain, a former coach in the district, is the intermediate principal. Cain previously was the assistant principal at Bridgeport Intermediate.

“He has a lot of enthusiasm and energy,” Whitis said.

With fifth grade moving, Decatur’s three elementary schools were reconfigured. Young will hold pre-kindergarten through fourth. Rann will house the bilingual pre-kindergarten through fourth. Carson will have kindergarten through fourth.

DISTRICT UPGRADES SCHOOL SECURITY

After a string of school shootings last year, including the horrific events in Santa Fe and Parkland, Fla., school security is on everyone’s mind.

For the start of the 2018-19 school year, Decatur ISD is introducing some new safety measures.

Each school will now lock entrances after the start of the school day, and visitors will be buzzed in, using a new intercom and camera system.

“A secretary or someone up front will see the person on camera and let them in,” said Decatur ISD Assistant Superintendent for Operations Steve White.

At the elementary schools, the visitors will be ushered through a vestibule to the office, but on the other campuses someone will escort visitors where they need to go.

Pointing to the open entranceway at the high school, White said it was a needed upgrade.

Visitors to the high school will need to go to the far right door at the front entrance to use the intercom and camera.

The district has added a school resource officer, and teachers and staff will be undergoing additional training, said Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis.

White said he is working to update the district’s crisis management plan on each campus.

“Our No. 1 priority is to provide a safe environment for students to learn,” White said.

DISTRICT PLANS FOR CLOSED CAMPUS LUNCH

Decatur High School students won’t have the option of leaving campus to catch a bite to eat this school year.

Decatur ISD trustees voted in the spring to close the campus during lunch. The decision came after a student was involved in a fatal car accident in March.

To prepare for the seismic shift, Decatur ISD officials have made changes to schedules and facilities.

Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis said the school will have three lunch periods.

The campus has increased seating capacity in the cafeteria to 440. Whitis said students will also be allowed to dine in alternate areas around campus.

The school will open its bistro in the library in November to provide grab-and-go options for students.

Decatur ISD trustees approved the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of $423,932 from builders Steele and Freeman to construct the bistro. There will be additional costs, including fees and furniture.

NEW EDUCATORS

Rann Elementary School

  • Ana Marquex, assistant principal
  • Roby Nunn, principal
  • Alexandria Amador, TCH
  • Sierra Boespflug, kindergarten
  • Courtney Gay, fourth grade
  • Maddison Patterson, fourth grade

Young Elementary School

  • Sarah Whetsell, kindergarten
  • Jodi Burkhart, first grade
  • Megan Lozano, second grade
  • Megan Burross, third grade
  • Mary Mesa, third grade
  • Ryan Perkins, third grade
  • Kelsey Scales, third grade

Carson Elementary School

  • Craig Weston, principal
  • Tiffany Brubaker, second grade
  • Andrea Coleman, third grade
  • Amanda Huerta-Harvick, fourth grade

Decatur Intermediate School

  • James Cain, principal
  • Morgan Boles, Dyslexia
  • Carrie Hordern, life skills
  • Diana Flores, fifth grade bilingual
  • Debra Zachary, fifth grade ELA
  • Keri Little, fifth grade special education
  • Kimberly Naumann, sixth grade science
  • Taylor Delka, sixth grade special education
  • Tracie Berry, sixth grade ELA

McCarroll Middle School

  • Brett Phipps, assistant principal
  • Chasen Jackson, counselor
  • Kayla Weeks, behavior teacher
  • Torie Talkington, TCH
  • Donnette Hicks, seventh grade math
  • Randell Coleman, seven grade social studies/coach
  • William Chaney, seventh grade social studies/coach
  • Lisa Barnett, eighth grade ELA/history

Decatur High School

  • Christopher Mogan, principal
  • Marzia Infante, assistant principal
  • Catherine Kelly, counseor
  • Kristy Phipps, counselor
  • Kara Rodden, assistant band director
  • Raegan Baylee, English
  • Danielle Blair, science
  • Laura Fryman, theater arts
  • Yvette Gutierrez, Spanish
  • Jessica Locke, English
  • Joey Lukens, special education
  • Melissa McCoy, English
  • Christine Mogan, science
  • Mickey Morgan, CTE technology/engineer
  • Casey Moore, English
  • Rachel Petitt, math
  • Rebecca Robbennolt, family and consumer
  • Emery Maldonado-Santos, Spanish
  • Kevin Thomas, CTE business
  • Tiffany Tipton, family and consumer
  • Rachel Wallace, science
  • Alyssa White, special education

NEW PRINCIPALS

Chris Mogan
Campus: Decatur High School

“My name is Chris Mogan and I’m the new principal at Decatur High School. I’m entering my twentieth year overall in public education and my twelfth in administration. I have previously served as the principal at Sherman High School in Sherman ISD and at Wakeland High School in Frisco ISD.

“My family and I are blessed at the opportunity to now live and work in Decatur. We were drawn to this community and the school district due to the incredible community bond and values, tradition, and excellence of the school district. This is the place I want to call home for many years to come and consider it an honor to serve the students and parents of DHS.”

Name: Jim Cain
Campus: Decatur Intermediate School

“I previously served as the Assistant Principal at Bridgeport Intermediate for two-and-a-half years and have over 30 years of experience as a teacher and coach. I chose Decatur because I had a great experience during my time here in Decatur as a classroom teacher, assistant football coach and head track coach. The kids were great – very coachable and respectful. I like the vision of where this district is going.”

Name: Craig Weston
Campus: Carson Elementary

“My name is Craig Weston. I am beginning my 20th year of public school service. I have spent the past eight as a campus administrator, including the last three as a principal in Keller ISD. I have come to Decatur to serve a community with a reputation as a growing, thriving community. The opportunity to do what I love–campus leadership–in a district that truly values relationships first and foremost as the key to success was one I could not pass up.”

Name: Roby Nunn
Campus: Rann Elementary

“My name is Roby Nunn. This will be my 18th year in education. I am coming from Chisholm Trail Intermediate School in Keller ISD where I served as the Assistant Principal for three years. Prior to that, I served as the Assistant Principal at Parkwood Hill Intermediate School, also in Keller ISD, for five years.

“I believe in developing the whole child and am committed to helping my staff develop meaningful, lasting relationships with our students at Rann. I believe that every child deserves the best we have to offer, every day, and that every child can succeed. I love the growth that exists in Decatur, but also the home town feel that it offers. I love that Decatur is an innovative, technology rich, forward-thinking district that puts children first and takes care of its employees. I am blessed to work in an amazing district.

“Outside of work, you will see me playing soccer, watching sports with my family or simply hanging out with my family and friends. I have an awesome 15-year-old son, Jacob, who will be a sophomore at Keller Central high school. I also have an amazing wife, Carolyn, who is a 1st grade teacher at Park Glen Elementary school in Keller.”

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