Board to review district goals

Meeting for the first time in several months without a big crowd or a hot-button issue, the Alvord school board Monday spent most of its time examining the fine points of superintendent evaluation forms.

A needed process, but not exactly a crowd-pleaser.

In the end, they opted to make the process more about the district – re-examining its goals and direction – than the superintendent.

The form the board currently uses for its annual review of Superintendent Bill Branum’s performance was developed by trustees several years ago, based on district goals, and focused heavily on student performance.

Copies of that form, as well as other appraisal forms recommended by the Commissioner of Education, were passed out for review. The board spent the better part of half an hour discussing the formats and relative merits of each.

“The Commissioner is supposed to update this again by December of 2014,” Branum said. “If you’ll notice, it references AYP (Average Yearly Progress) and some other things that aren’t in the mix anymore.”

The school district’s current form references the old school rating system of Examplary/Recognized/Acceptable, which also is not used anymore.

“I think you’ll see quite a few similarities and some differences, certainly,” Branum said.

Board member Larry Nivens questioned the need for changing the form. “If we make the switch, how does it make us a better school?” he asked.

Czerniak said it’s simply a matter of bringing the district up to date.

Board member Kevin Wood said it had been “five or six years” since the form was revised.

“The instrument we were using prior to this was really generic and arbitrary,” he said. “We pulled it off another school’s website.”

Board member Charlie Matthews said it’s just a matter of finding the best tool.

“All this is, is a tool. You’re going to be able to see if there’s an area that’s at fault, whether it’s the superintendent or whatever,” he said.

Board member John Schedcik suggested combining the best parts of both forms, taking the portions they like from the Commissioner of Education’s suggested form and working them into the district’s form.

“The idea is trying to get an instrument that truly reflects what the board’s goals are,” he said.

After much further discussion, Wood moved to table the item.

“What if, instead of thinking of this as an appraisal instrument, we step back and go back over our goals, and let’s figure out what our vision is, where we want to go?” he said.

He said with several new board members, it’s a good time to back off and look at the big picture.

“If we’re going to take on the responsibility as trustees that our students and our citizens expect from us, let’s look at where we want the district to head,” he said. “Let’s look at our goals because this is based on our goals. Let’s become a team of eight and figure out where we want to go as a group.”

Matthews agreed.

“Things have changed so much, I do think it’s time to reassess what we’ve got right here,” he said. “Let’s look at what the goals are and base our evaluation on the goals.”

He said the goals need to be clear. Branum said he would welcome that.

“The bottom line is, it’s not the instrument that’s critical – it’s more, me being able to know exactly what you guys are asking me to get done,” he said. “When I know that, it’ll get done. That’s why I think this is probably in need of repair.”

The item will be the subject of a workshop for the board’s July meeting – after members have done their homework and come up with their goals for the district.


Prior to that discussion, the board:

  • reappointed Wood as board secretary, after Schedcik asked to step down due to time constraints and his work schedule;
  • amended the budget to pay for the $189,543 in roofing work to be done at the high school;
  • after a lengthy closed session, hired John Shelton of Franklin to be the new girls’ basketball coach.

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Boyd, Alvord compete for state bids

Sixteen teams will vie for the two spots into the Texas 7-on-7 Championships Saturday as one of the final state qualifiers.

Boyd and Alvord will be the only two Wise County teams in the tournament that starts at 9 a.m. They are both in Pool A with Bells and Mineral Wells.

The top team from each pool advances to the semifinals. The semifinal winners earn state berths.

Games will be played at Yellowjacket Stadium and the old football field.

The state tournament is July 10-12 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.

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Shelton to lead Bulldogs

After piling up more than 500 wins, multiple state tournament appearances and a state crown, John Shelton is coming to Alvord.

Shelton was hired Monday night by the district to take over as the Alvord girls basketball coach.

Shelton takes over for Rob Schmucker, who resigned in May to go to Panhandle.

“The groundwork is all done. It’s a good opportunity,” Shelton said. “I watched some of the kids in practice and was impressed with how hard the kids worked.

“I could tell there’s a desire to win. I was impressed with their commitment to win. I want to come up there and build on what’s been done.”

Shelton is also encouraged about the growing girls program at the Class 2A school, which is adding volleyball.

“I wanted to be a coordinator. I was at Buffalo when they started softball,” he said. “I like the opportunity to start volleyball and work with all the programs.”

Shelton comes to Alvord from Franklin where he has spent three seasons, compiling an 81-22 record. His team went 30-6, falling to Brock in the 2A semifinals.

It was Shelton’s third trip to Austin. He led Buffalo to a state crown in 2002 and the state semifinals in 2003.

He also coached at 5A Bryan, 4A Bryan Rudder and Grapeland and Princeton.

As he moves back to North Texas, the McKinney graduate hopes to bring his fast-pace system.

According to MaxPreps, his Franklin squad led the nation in 3-point attempts.

“We want to push the ball up and down the floor,” Shelton said. “We’ll play 10 to 12 kids and play an exciting brand of basketball. I’ve been running the same system for 20 years.

“I’ve watched the kids. We have good cross country and track kids that can run.”

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Cynthia Ann Hill

Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Hill

Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Hill, 73, a homemaker, died Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Alvord.

Funeral was June 17 at The Hills Church of Christ in North Richland Hills with Dr. Larry Calvin officiating. Pallbearers were Michael Thomas, Matt Luedtke, Kolton Hanisko, Kaalan Hanisko, Reagan Thomas and Ned Hanisko.

Cindy was born Nov. 14, 1940, in Hale Center to Charlie and Joan Hail Stringer. She married Kendall Wayne Hill Sept. 2, 1971, in Madill, Okla.

Cindy enjoyed taking care of her family. She was a member of The Hills Church of Christ and was a woman of great faith who loved reading her devotionals. She enjoyed traveling, playing bridge and spending time with her family, especially her precious grandchildren.

Cindy and Kendall shared 38 years of marriage prior to his passing in 2010. He was the true love of her life, and her family rejoices knowing that they are together again in heaven.

She was also preceded in death by her parents.

She is survived by her daughters, Lucinda Renee Hanisko of Paradise, Tiffany Hill Luedtke of Dallas and Lindsy Hill Thomas of Alvord; brother Don Stringer of San Angelo; sisters Gail Adams of Holly Lake Ranch and Linda Dabney of San Angelo; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many friends.

Memorials may be made to Mary’s Gift, an organization that provides mammograms for the underserved in Wise County. Donations can be made to Wise Regional Health Foundation/Mary’s Gift, 2000 S. FM 51, Decatur, TX 76234.

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Alvord School Board to elect new secretary

The Alvord ISD board of trustees will consider naming a new board secretary at a special called meeting Monday.

When the new board organized at their May 22 meeting, John Schedcik was named secretary, with Jimmy Looney serving as vice-president and Vic Czerniak president. Current secretary Kevin Wood was named assistant secretary.

After taking whatever action the board decides to take on that item, they will deal with two items that were also on the May 22 agenda: updating the appraisal forms for the superintendent, and amending the budget for roof work at the high school.

The roof repair is on the older portion of the high school building.

The board will also consider personnel recommendations.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the AISD Administration building, 100 Mosley Lane. It is open to the public.

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Summer reading programs kick off next week

Students may have put their school books away, but local libraries promise plenty of literary fun through their summer reading programs.

Alvord, Bridgeport, Chico and Decatur public libraries have programs that begin next week. They’re jam-packed with exciting entertainers, creative crafts and reading rewards.


Alvord Public Library’s summer reading program starts next week and is 10 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday June 11 through July 2.

Programs are aimed at students in kindergarten through sixth grade and will include:

  • June 11 – Magician
  • June 18 – Sea shells
  • June 25 – Rocks and minerals
  • July 2 – Picnic

All programs will be held at Alvord City Hall, 215 W. Elm, and with parents’ permission children will walk with staff to the library to check out books.

Rewards will be given for those who document what they read this summer.

For information, call 940-427-2842.


Bridgeport Public Library’s Summer Reading Club is 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday June 11 through July 30.

Director of library services Cindy B. Macon said the summer will be full of excitement and prizes with programs aimed at school-aged children.

The schedule is as follows:

  • June 11 – Cool School with Ms. Maria
  • June 18 – Storyteller Shelly Tucker of Denton (at community center)
  • June 25 – Musical storyteller and author Willy Welch of Dallas
  • July 2 – It’s a surprise!
  • July 9 – Snake Encounters with Daryl Sprout (at community center)
  • July 16 – Ms. Polly’s Music
  • July 23 – Secret Agent Magic with James Wand (at community center)
  • July 30 – Grand finale celebration

With the exception of those listed as being held at the community center (1102 Lawdwin Ave.), all other programs will be at the library (2159 10th St.).

Macon said this year, readers will keep track of minutes read to win prizes, and she hopes as a group they can read 1,000 hours this summer.

For information, call 940-683-4412.


Chico Public Library is offering a myriad of programs for all ages this summer.

The children’s summer reading program, Fizz, Boom, Read!, is 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday June 12 through July 17.

Programs will include:

  • June 12 – Be a Mad Scientist!
  • June 19 – Lava Launch (will run 30 minutes longer)
  • June 26 – Sense-ational!
  • July 3 – James Wand Magic Show
  • July 10 – Grossology!
  • July 17 – Gametastic

The teen summer reading program, Spark a Reaction, is 1 to 2 p.m. every Tuesday June 10 through July 15, and the schedule is as follows:

  • June 10 – Spark a Reaction: ZAP!
  • June 17 – Magic Class with James Wand (2 to 3 p.m.)
  • June 24 – Geologically Speaking!
  • July 1 – CSI: Evidence Collection
  • July 8 – Brush Bots
  • July 15 – Gametastic

Library Director Michelle Slonaker has also planned a book club for adults – Literary Elements, which will be held 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays June 9 through July 14.

Slonaker said the group will focus on reading books that have been turned into movies and discuss the differences in the stories in both mediums. Book club members will also learn about eBooks and databases available through the library.

Meetings will include light refreshments, and members will be given the opportunity to provide input about future library programming.

For information, call the library at 940-644-2330. Chico Public Library is at 106 W. Jacksboro St.


The Decatur Public Library will kick off its summer reading program with a carnival-style celebration 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 7.

Activities will include a craft with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension-Wise County and face painting. Jack, from Tales with Jack, a program in which students read books to a dog, will also be present, as well as Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins with a special police vehicle.

The carnival marks the start of the library’s summer reading program: Fizz, Boom, Read!, which is every Tuesday June 10 through July 29. Each day there will be two programs – 10:30 a.m. and noon.

The schedule, with programs aimed at pre-school and elementary students, is as follows:

  • June 10 – Dinosaur George
  • June 17 – James Wand, Spy Magic
  • June 24 – Critterman
  • July 1 – Whirled on a String yo-yo demonstration
  • July 8 – Zooniversity
  • July 15 – StoryTime Theater: “The Tortoise and the Hare”
  • July 22 – Dan Gibson, music and storytelling
  • July 29 – Mad Science

Special science programs for teens will be held at 4 p.m. every Friday June 13 through Aug. 1.

Youth Services Manager Kristin Nevin said readers of all ages can keep reading logs this summer to earn prizes.

Young readers can earn weekly awards by reading or being read to for 20 minutes, five days a week.

Teens and adults can also document the books they read this summer, and for every three books read, their name will be put in a drawing for a big prize to be given away at the end of the summer.

For information, call the library at 940-393-0290 or visit

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Brass, birds and smoke: Young shooter gets Olympic level training in Colorado

Brass, birds and smoke: Young shooter gets Olympic level training in Colorado

Josh Andresen cut away the green plastic wrap from the metal case on his dining room table.

He thumbed the locks until the combinations clicked and opened. He removed a long metal locking rod and unsnapped the latches. Inside was – home at last from Colorado – his Beretta 682 Gold E shotgun.

Aiming for Success

AIMING FOR SUCCESS – Josh Andresen looks past a shotgun shell. He hopes to make his love for shooting sports a lifelong obsession. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Josh has logged hundreds of hours making his mark as top-tier sport shooting athlete.

The Alvord teenager was one of only a dozen sport shooters nationwide chosen for training at the Junior Olympic Development Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was instructed by world-class competitors and college athletes, and slept and ate in the same place as America’s Olympic contenders.

“It was awesome. It was huge and I only got to see part of it,” Josh said. “We got up at 6 a.m. and ate. As soon as we got done eating, we got on the bus. We started shooting around 9 and did that until 4.”

Every day the coaches had at least one big thing they wanted the shooters – all between the ages of 15 and 17 – to focus on.

Back at Last

BACK AT LAST – After waiting nearly two weeks for its return from Colorado, Josh carefully inspects his shotgun. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

They worked on marksmanship, strategy and the mental game behind shooting sports. Josh learned several new techniques he believes have already improved his game, adding to his already impressive talent.

It was no fluke that he got to Colorado. He’s been training since he was about 10 years old. He puts at least 1,000 12-gauge rounds a month into the air, blasting clay birds into shards and puffs of orange and black dust.

Josh’s dad, Troy Andresen, has been his coach ever since they started.

Taking the Shot

TAKING THE SHOT – While at the Junior Olympic Development Camp in Colorado Springs, Josh shot about 1,000 rounds in three days recently. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Troy works with Josh and other kids as a part of 4-H’s sport shooting program. Josh has gotten additional training from the likes of Olympic medalist Bret Erickson, who was the coach of the U.S. Olympic trap shooting team.

“We mainly concentrate on sporting clays right now, because that’s what all the colleges look at,” Troy said. “We want to be on the radar of colleges.”

Troy said colleges with shooting teams realize clay shooters can shoot anything.

READY FOR COMPETITION – Nearly 800 shooters will try to outdo Josh in state competition at Fossil Pointe in September. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Josh is still shy of one of his goals – becoming a master level competitor, which is another way to stay on the collegiate radar.

Right now he’s AA, or at least really close. AA is one step below the master class. A young shooter starts out at D and moves up in class by winning tournaments and earning punches based on how many shooters he competes against, and how many shots he beat them by.

Each class requires more punches to move up.

“He should be master class now, but he hasn’t shot enough registered competitions,” Troy said. “Instead, he’s shot more fundraiser shoots because he wins money there, and also 4-H events.”

Josh is aiming at a couple of colleges that offer scholarships for shooting sports.

Lindenwood University in Missouri is where he hopes to go. Troy said it is the No. 1 shooting college in the nation.

“They don’t call it a shooting scholarship, but if your grades are good enough they’ll give you an academic scholarship if you shoot for them,” Troy said. “They offer $10,000 a year. Most colleges don’t offer financial assistance for shooting sports.”

At the Junior Olympic camp, two Florida State students were training Josh and the other shooters.

“They told us all about collegiate shooting. They said the training is a lot more in-depth, more like what we had up there,” Josh said. “In three days we shot close to 1,000 rounds. I was pretty sore.”

Since he was shooting as much in a couple of days as he usually does in a month, he found out some interesting things about his gun and others’.

“I learned my gun shoots really flat. I have my gun set up for sporting clays. People who trap shoot will have their stock set where their cheek is higher so the gun shoots at a higher angle,” Josh said. “That’s because you’re always moving up to the bird. I had to adjust.”

He said several of the other kids had the same shotgun, which proved the most reliable with so much wear and tear.

The Andresens had a hard time just getting Josh’s shotgun to Colorado.

“American Airlines didn’t want to let me take it,” Josh said.

His mom, Rhonda, had to list on the flight like she was on board.

“We had to list it as my baggage,” Rhonda said. “I didn’t know if it would work. The flight was full and oversold. The gun went because the baggage always goes. He got on. I had to wait for the next flight because I didn’t know if he could pick it up or not. I gave him my luggage ticket and told him to try and pick it up.”

Fortunately, she didn’t have to fly to Colorado, because by the time she would have had to board, Josh had already landed and was able to pick up the gun.

“They didn’t even look at my card,” Josh said. “I just walked in and said, ‘That’s mine,’ and walked out.”

The JODC shipped it back to Texas, two weeks after the competition.

Once he had gotten to Colorado Springs, Josh started shooting nearly right away, but instead of skeet or sporting clays, he would be shooting trap.

Troy said trap shooting is the easiest to learn, but difficult to master.

“In skeet, targets are always in the same place,” Troy said. “People have literally shot a perfect round of skeet with a blindfold on because they say, ‘Pull!’ and hear the machine go off and it’s all repetition.”

In trap, a shooter has 25 shots total divided into five shots per station. The birds, or clays pigeons, are thrown in a random order.

“My scores are usually about 23 to 25 out of 25,” Josh said. “It’s international trap and it’s a lot faster game and one of the hardest games in the world.”

The camp dealt in large part with physical shooting techniques, shooting stances and getting a feel for the sheer speed of the game – but they also trained the participants’ minds.

Josh said there is a heavy mental component to sports shooting. Any loss of concentration can lose a shooter their competition.

“Don’t let one missed target turn into four,” Josh said. “We’ve had some people who are great shooters who shoot 25 of 25 again and again and then miss one target and miss the rest on that station, just because they let themselves fall apart.

“You have to make a conscious effort not to think about the last target. You can’t think about the past or the future. You have to concentrate on what you’re doing.”

Troy tries to hammer that lesson home and often tells Josh and others a tournament isn’t a single 100-round match – it’s 100 one-round matches.

“Don’t let the small stuff bother you. Whatever is going to happen happens,” Josh said.

He said the JODC coaches stressed a couple of techniques in particular, including “quiet eye” – a way to clear a shooter’s mind before calling for his birds.

“They said to wait three seconds before calling for the bird. Those three seconds help your brain concentrate on one thing,” Josh said. “They said just like in basketball, if you concentrate on the goal for three seconds, you’re 75 percent more likely to make it.

“It took me a while to continuously do that. I saw a big improvement.”

The other major technique tied in with one of Josh’s other passions – music.

At home, his guitars hang alongside his shooting trophies and ribbons. When he’s not blasting away at clays, he’s working his frets and picking the chords of a new song or two.

Josh started playing piano when he was 7 or 8 and picked up the guitar at 12. He thinks his playing has always benefited his shooting by teaching him to be precise.

While playing his music, he can also forget the troubles of the day and lose himself in song. Strangely enough, this love for music helped him see his target better.

“They told us to go a half hour before you shoot and just take time to listen to your music,” he said. “Be away from everyone else, clear your mind of everything and focus.

“Listen to some kind of calming music and not anything that would put you on edge. Just listen to something that lets you forget about everything.”

Josh said he listens to a lot of 3 Doors Down in this time

“You’re trying to get focused on the bird,” Josh said. “What I would do is watch other people shoot and watch each bird as they came out of the house. They are going fast and you’re trying to see it as quick as you can.”

Josh has played in his church’s band some and has even thought about getting some people together for his own band, but knows he would have to give something up.

“Everything I do, I love,” Josh said.

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Summer will feature another hot item: meals

Summer will feature another hot item: meals

Hungry children in Decatur will have a new option for hot meals this summer.

And the best part is, it’s free.

The Decatur school district is offering free summer meals to anyone 18 and younger at Decatur High School and Young Elementary School during the month of June. The district is participating in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Meal Time

MEAL TIME – Decatur ISD will have cafeterias open at Young Elementary and Decatur High School during the month of June for students age 18 and under to eat breakfast and lunch for free. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Shelly Laaser, director of child nutrition at DISD, said schools who have at least half of their student population qualify for free or reduced price lunches based on income are required to offer a summer feeding program, unless they receive a waiver. Decatur has about 47 percent who qualify, but Laaser said the school felt it was important to offer the service even though it wasn’t required to offer the program.

“The reality is, kids are hungry,” Laaser said. “As much as an ugly thing that is to think about, it’s not sweet and pretty and nice, it’s just the reality of it.”

Laaser said cafeteria managers are able to see the need first-hand throughout the school year. That need becomes even greater during the summer months.

“They see the kids are hungry when they come back to school on Monday mornings,” she said. “That’s why we do the menu the way we do with serving protein for breakfast on Mondays for the kids who haven’t eaten over the weekend. At elementary, it’s pizza on Mondays. That’s probably one of our higher calorie items. We do more calories on our Monday menu because of those kids who come back from the weekend who are hungry and could use that.”

In previous years, the district has offered meals at the cafeterias during summer school, but it operated like a normal school year. Kids who qualified for free meals ate for free, those who qualified for reduced prices ate for a reduced price and those who didn’t qualify paid full price. This year, everyone will eat for free, regardless of income.

Although the food service will be located at the two summer school locations and follow the same dates, even those students who are not in summer school can come eat. Laaser said the district will not require any proof of age, residency or income.

“Anyone who appears under the age of 18, we’ll feed them,” she said.

Decatur will serve breakfast and lunch through June 27 at the following times and locations:

  • Young Elementary School: Breakfast, 7:30 to 8 a.m.; Lunch, 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (Monday through Friday)
  • Decatur High School: Breakfast, 7:30 to 8 a.m.; Lunch, 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. (Monday through Thursday)

Laaser said the school has been supportive of the program, and in fact, new athletic director Mike Fuller has even encouraged youth attending summer camps to eat breakfast at the school first.

Since this is the pilot year, the school district decided to operate the program only during the month of June, but next year they will possibly expand it through July and even look at offering meals at alternate locations.


Bridgeport ISD will offer a similar summer feeding program called Seamless Summer, also through the Texas Department of Agriculture. Suzana Hicks, child nutrition director at Bridgeport ISD, said this will be the third summer the school has offered the program.

Bridgeport will offer free lunches to anyone 18 or younger 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday June 9 through the end of July at the Bridgeport Elementary School cafeteria.

Hicks said that while the school district was required to offer at least one month of a summer feeding program since the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches is more than 60 percent in the district, school leaders felt it was important to offer two months of meals to students.

In addition to hot meal options for students, two other summer feeding programs that offer grocery items to qualifying families will return.

Families of Decatur ISD students who qualified for free or reduced lunches are eligible to participate in Decatur Cares. Each Tuesday, beginning June 10, families can pick up bags of groceries for food preparation at home. The program also features educational items from the Decatur Public Library and nutrition information and demonstrations by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Wise County. Distribution is 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays through Aug. 19.

Since the program does not receive state funding, it operates on donations. To make a donation, drop off a check at Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM) in Decatur and write “Decatur Cares” in the memo line.

A similar program, Alvord Cares, will also return for its third year. Food distribution is 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays June 17 through Aug. 19 at the First United Methodist Church in Alvord. Those in the Alvord school district who meet income eligibility requirements are asked to fill out an application. For an application for Alvord Cares, call Pam Harris at 940-393-3782 or Margaret Hunt at 940-389-7579.

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Schmucker heads to Panhandle

Schmucker heads to Panhandle

After guiding the Lady Bulldogs to five straight playoff appearances, including a pair of trips to the Class 2A Region II final, Rob Schmucker is leaving the Alvord bench.

Schmucker has accepted a head coaching job at Panhandle, which will compete in District 3-2A next year.

Charrting a New Course

CHARTING A NEW COURSE – After guiding the Alvord Lady Bulldogs to 151 wins in six seasons and two trips to the Class 2A Region II finals, Rob Schmucker is leaving to take the head girls coaching job at Panhandle. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“It was a very hard decision,” said Schmucker, who told his players last week. “The hardest moment was telling the girls.”

Schmucker, who is from Nazareth, will be just an hour-and-a-half from his family in his new post. His wife, Sheena, who is his assistant coach, is expecting their second boy in July.

“This move is for the family,” he said.

Mrs. Schmucker will coach cross country and lead the middle school program at Panhandle, while also serving as an assistant in basketball and track.

Schmucker came to Alvord in 2008-09 after serving as the head boys basketball coach at O’Donnell and Lockney for a combined five seasons. His Lady Bulldog teams went 151-53 in six seasons.

“We’ve been very fortunate with the athletes we’ve had here,” Schmucker said. “They are going to continue to have those type of athletes.”

After missing the playoffs Schmucker’s first year, the Lady Bulldogs returned to postseason in 2009-10, falling to Aubrey in bi-district.

The next year, the team lost its only senior, Sam Rogers, in a car accident in the first weeks of the season.

Schmucker helped guide them to a share of the District 9-2A title and the league’s top seed after winning a tiebreaker game. The Lady Bulldogs ended the year with a loss in the region quarterfinals to No. 1 Brock.

In 2011-12, Alvord started the season 20-0 and won the District 9-2A title. The Lady Bullogs were ranked No. 1 for part of the year before again falling to Brock in the 2A Region II final.

After losing their top player, Jordan Ward, to graduation, the Lady Bulldogs came back in 2012-13 with another stellar season, reaching the region final before being stopped by Brock again.

This past year, Alvord went 21-10 and reached the region quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 Sunnyvale.

“Coach Schmucker has done an outstanding job the entire time he has been at Alvord ISD,” said Superintendent Bill Branum. “He is both a great coach and classroom teacher. I believe that he is one of the very best basketball coaches in Texas and know he will continue to be very successful for the remainder of his career. We will miss him as a coach, teacher and person.”

Branum said he’s received numerous resumes for the opening.

“There’s been quite a bit of interest, which is a good thing,” he said. “We hope to start interviewing a few candidates soon. We want to move it along and get the best person.”

Branum added that he hopes to have a new coach hired by the end of June.

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Pair busted on gambling charges

Two people turned themselves in to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday on warrants related to a possible gambling operation at the Navigator Truck Stop in Alvord.

Dawood Kohistani, 51, of Dallas and Arian Yusufzai, 36, of Frisco were booked into the Wise County Jail for charges of possession of a gambling device, keeping a gambling place (both Class A misdemeanors) and possession of a controlled substance (a Class B misdemeanor).

Both men were released after posting a $6,000 bond.

Sheriff’s investigators seized 14 gaming devices and nearly $5,700 in cash believed to be tied to a gambling operation after executing a search warrant on the truck stop May 7.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said during the search of the truck stop, officers also found K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, at the store.

“They had K2 under the counter,” Walker said. “You had to know they had it and ask for it.”

K2 was added to the list of controlled substances banned by the state in 2011.

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Alvord School Board tables committee plan, hires principal

After swearing in two new members and electing officers, the Alvord school board spent about 45 minutes Thursday night discussing selection committees for hiring new faculty members and principals.

Then they tabled the items.

Then they hired a new middle school principal.

The committee recommendation, brought up by new board president Vic Czerniak, was for committees to screen applicants and make recommendations to the principal – operating “independent of management.”

“Each principal must approve each teacher or staff appointment to the campus,” he said. “Upon the final decision of the committee a signed recommendation will be forwarded to the superintendent for recommendation to the board of trustees.”

Board member Larry Nivens asked what was the purpose of the item.

“For the committees to be able to operate independent of anybody that doesn’t have anything to do with that committee,” Czerniak said.

Kevin Wood, another board member, asked if the principal still had the ability to choose who they want.

“No,” Czerniak said. “They approve the recommendations.”

Wood said such a requirement would be illegal. Czerniak disagreed, and the two had a brief, terse exchange with Czerniak citing the Texas Education Code and Wood citing local policy.

“You cannot bind those principals to what a committee wants,” Wood said. “That principal has sole authority to recommend, at their discretion, the employees of that campus. They are held responsible for what goes on at that campus.”

Ultimately, Czerniak agreed. After other members weighed in on the issue, the board turned to elementary principal Bridget Williams and high school principal Rhett King, asking about their procedures for screening applicants during the hiring process.

Williams and King both use committees – but each cited cases in which the recommended rules might conflict with current practice.

Williams uses counselors and aides on those committees from time to time, and King noted he has several teachers who work on more than one campus and likes to have all the campuses involved represented on the committee. Both of those practices would be prohibited under the proposed policy.

Board member John Schedcik said the goal of the proposal was not to remove principals from the loop or tie their hands, but to “fine-tune” the current system.

“I don’t think there’s a big difference from what’s going on now,” he said. “This is just putting it on paper so we all kind of know where we’re at.”

Wood suggested tabling the proposal until principals have a chance to go over it – noting the current system seems to be working.

Board member Jimmy Looney agreed.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said. “Look at our staff over here. We’re one of the highest-rated schools in the state of Texas. Leave it alone.”

Czerniak went along with the idea to table it so that the principals can go over it. He also moved to table a separate proposal for principals selection committees.

The board also tabled a motion to “update superintendent evaluation forms to current standards” until they can hold a workshop.


After a closed session, the board re-opened and voted unanimously to hire Michael Wayne Thurman as the new Alvord Middle School principal.

Thurman earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Oklahoma State University in 1993 and completed a master’s in educational administration at Tarleton State University in 2005.

He worked as a coach and teacher in the Norman, Okla., public schools 1993-99, then took a job in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD north of Fort Worth. He started there as a coach and teacher, then was named assistant principal at Creekview Middle School in 2004 – the position he is leaving to join Alvord ISD.

He replaces Janis Branum, who is retiring.


Dealing with a lengthy agenda, the board also:

  • authorized a public auction of two properties that had been struck off of the tax roll after being seized for back taxes;
  • moved the Walker Scholarship CD from Citi-bank – which is closing its Wise County branch – to Legend Bank;
  • changed out signatures on several accounts to reflect the board’s new membership;
  • approved a $189,543 bid to repair the roof over the original portion of the high school;
  • approved expenditures of $94,125 for a new special-needs bus with a lift, and $96,589 for a new 77-passenger bus;
  • approved a software contract with Region 11 Education Service Center for business software;
  • heard reports from each campus as well as a pitch from AHS teacher Sharon Sackett for a greenhouse.

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Landry Elizabeth Day

Kiefer and Kelsie Day of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Landry Elizabeth, on May 21, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

Her brother is Wyatt James, 15 months.

Grandparents are Mickie Collins of Decatur, Chris Parker of Alvord and Charles and Cathy Day of Decatur.

Great-grandparents are Carolyn and Nathan Roberts of Springtown, Rose Parker of Alvord, Gary and Linda Day of Ada, Okla., Bob and Wanda Welch of Kentucky, and Janice Calvert of North Richland Hills.

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Collins Elsie-Fayth Jackson

Clay and Chasen Jackson of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Collins Elsie-Fayth, on May 20, 2014 at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.

Her sister is Caddison, 2.

Grandparents are Larry and Bonnie Foreman of Alvord, Bruce Jackson of Van Horn and Kathy Jackson of Las Cruces.

Great-grandparents are Charles Brown and Bill and Virginia Foreman, all of Alvord.

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Hildey Adelle McEachern

David and Jesica McEachera of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Hildey Adelle, on May 19, 2014 at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

Her sister is Kinsley Jade, 2 1/2.

Grandparents are Jimmy and Nancy McEachern of Sunset and Doug and Cari Starosla of Granbury.

Great-grandparents are Barbara McEachern of Bedford, Jan Ebert of Arlington, and Hilda Graham of Euless.

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Alvord ISD board to welcome new members

After an election which saw one incumbent unseated and a vacant seat filled, the Alvord ISD board of trustees will swear in two new members Thursday evening.

Charlie Matthews defeated Jeannette Ward, who has held place 7 for two terms, and will take her seat on the board.

Lance Thweatt won a three-person race to fill place 6, vacated by Randy Hamilton last June.

After administering the oath, the board will reorganize and elect officers.

Principals will report, and Superintendent Bill Branum will update the board on the district’s investments and plans to build a greenhouse to be used in science classes.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • roof work at the high school, to be done with committed fund balance;
  • a contract with the Education Service Center for 2014-15;
  • purchase of two school buses, also with committed balance;
  • naming selection committees for faculty and principals;
  • authorizing a public auction for properties that have been struck off the tax rolls; and
  • moving the Walker Scholarship fund from CitiBank to Legend Bank;
  • updating the superintendent evaluation form;
  • changes in authorized signers for various bank accounts;
  • an executive session to discuss the vacancy at middle school principal.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the administration building at 100 Mosley Lane. It is open to the public.

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Students named to TWU Honor Roll

Several Wise County students made the Dean’s List during the fall 2013 semester at Texas Woman’s University. Those that also made the Chancellor’s List with a 4.0 grade point average are denoted with an (*).

Vanessa Alberts, sociology
Jordann Warren, nursing

Taylor Anderson, interdisciplinary studies
Michaela Calvert, dental hygiene
Kristina West*, nursing

Rebecca Grinnell, business administration
Angelica Reyes*, dental hygiene
Kristie Sandoval, interdisciplinary studies
Domenica Santoyo, social work
Erika Santoyo, social work

Kari Gage*, interdisciplinary studies
Megan Maxwell*, business administration
Rachel McGregor*, interdisciplinary studies
Mary Kathryn Olson, English
Steve Salinas, psychology
Kitara Wright, communication sciences

Taylor Blount, nutrition
Sarah Buell, undeclared
Saira Fernandez, undeclared

Bettina Davis, dance
Shiloh Hofacket, human resources
Natalie Klasek, psychology

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Reaford Wayne McDaniel

Reaford Wayne McDaniel

Reaford Wayne McDaniel, 75, died Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at his home in Alvord.

A private burial was held at Jim Ned Cemetery in Runaway Bay.

Reaford was born June 28, 1938, in Wise County to Reaford C. and Edith (Lawson) McDaniel. A graduate of Alvord High School, he was a heavy equipment operator and rancher. He was a former member of the Bowie Saddle Riding Club and enjoyed hunting, fishing and being around kids.

He is survived by his son, Andy Justice of Baytown; daughters Christine Hunt of Bridgeport, and Lori Painter; brothers Winford McDaniel of Chico, Harold McDaniel of Crafton and Corky McDaniel of Bridgeport; sisters Marie Cox of Bowie, Louise Throckmorton of Bowie, Lois Hunter of Chico and Joann Parker of Crafton; grandchildren Laramie and Rhett Justice, Cash Hunt, and Meredith Butler; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Reaford was preceded in death by his parents, brother Larkin McDaniel, and sister Joyce Mathews.

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Delylah Rayne Dyer

Felicia Haynes and James Dyer of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Delylah Rayne Dyer, on May 11, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 10 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches long.

She has one brother: Ashton Haynes, 3; and one sister: Lillyth Haynes, 5.

Grandparents are Victor and Patience Guinn of Decatur.

Great-grandmother is Felicity Spray.

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Charles Walker Scott Slaten

Carter and Jody Slaten of Alvord announce the birth of a son, Charles Walker Scott, on May 8, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 inches long.

He has one sister: Katie, 10.

Grandparents are John Gibbon and Harriet Gibbon, both of Decatur, Dwayne and Lucy Slaten of Lake Bridgeport and Rex and Cyndy Grove of Alvord.

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Sophia Jade Huggins

Morgan White and Austin Huggins of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Sophia Jade Huggins, on April 30, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Grandparents are Jim and Terri Brown of Conroe, Jimmy White of Decatur, Donald Bice and Teresa Bice of Decatur.

Great-grandparents are Katherine and Vincent Costilla and Robert and Sue Grantham.

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