Northwest school district launches online ‘Dashboard’

Northwest ISD now has an interactive website highlighting student achievement and other successes.

The website, launched earlier this month, has a link on the district’s homepage at www.nisdtx.org. It’s called the Community Dashboard.

The new page includes data on student performance on college entrance exams, scholarships, dual credit courses, volunteer and community outreach and more. All those were part of the community-based accountability measures of success approved by the school board in June 2013.

“There are 30 different areas we are reporting on,” said Robert Thornell, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “We’re going to use it as a bragging tool.”

The website also brings the district into compliance with House Bill 5’s evaluation of performance in the community and student engagement, according to Thornell.

Along with the academic achievements, the Community Dashboard has tabs showing the participation and success of students in fine arts and athletics.

“Throughout the year, our students achieve high levels set by the region, state and nation,” said NISD Superintendent Karen Rue in a press release. “That data is reflected and celebrated on the district’s online dashboard.”

Taxpayers can also find the budget and tax information on the dashboard.

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Northwest ISD issues another $75 million in bonds

Northwest ISD trustees Monday night approved the second issuance of bonds from the $255 million bond package approved by voters in August 2012.

The action paved the way for another $75 million in bonds to be issued.

“It moves us along nicely with Eaton High School,” said Northwest Superintendent Karen Rue.

NISD Chief Financial Officer Jon Graswich told the board the district will be working with financial adviser First Southwest Co. to get the bonds to market quickly.

“The yields are low right now,” Graswich said. “We’re going for 4 percent interest rates. I don’t know if we’ll get it, but it’ll be close.”

The bond sale will not affect the district’s tax rate of $1.4525 per $100 of valuation, which the board approved Monday night. Staff said the payment can be supported within the current debt service rate of 41.25 cents. The district has a debt service fund balance of $16.75 million.

The $75 million issuance, along with the previous $50 million, leaves $130 million in bonds left to be sold. The district also has $45 million left to be issued from a $260 million bond package approved in 2008.

The tax rate approved by the board Monday was the same as last year’s, with a maintenance and operations rate of $1.04. The district’s tax roll grew to $11.248 billion from $10.64 billion last year.

The average home value in the district grew from $189,511 to $205,419.

No one spoke at the public hearing on the tax rate before Monday’s meeting.

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Football: Texans start tenure under Poe

After back-to-back eight win seasons, the Northwest Texans are eyeing bigger things in 2014.

The first step for the program, under new head coach Bill Poe, comes Friday against Corsicana at Northwest ISD Stadium.

Poe, who was the offensive coordinator last year at Marble Falls, doesn’t deny the high emotions about Friday’s game.

“We’re excited to get going. We’ve got a good opponent coming in,” he said. “Myself included, I’m excited about the opportunity ahead of us.”

The Texans held their only scrimmage Friday. Poe said the team took some positives away from their first live action.

“We were able to execute on both sides of the ball,” Poe said. “We were able to see what we’ve been teaching put to good use.”

The Texan defense that returns just two starters will begin the year with the tough task of holding Corsicana back Trey Owens, who rushed for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns last year, in check.

“He’s very good and will tote the ball a lot,” Poe said. “Defensively, we have to hold up, up front.”

Offensively, the Texans bring back veteran quarterback Jesse Drummer and big weapons at receiver in Emmanuel Moore and running back in Quentin Thorpe.

“We feel good about what we’ve been able to do and the way we’ve moved the football,” Poe said.

In the opener, Poe pointed out that it will come down to winning third downs on both sides of the ball.

“We have to win the third-down percentage by offensively converting and defensively getting off the field,” he explained. “We also need to be able to win and control the turnover battle.”

CORSICANA (0-0) AT NORTHWEST (0-0)

7:30 p.m. at NISD Stadium

Corsicana: Harris Rating 212

Notable: Trey Owens rushed for 1,100 yards last year.

Northwest: Harris Rating 227

Notable: The Texans won eight games in ’12 and ’13.

Harris line: Northwest by 15

NEW DIRECTIONS FOR NORTHWEST

Texan Drive will be closed from the stadium entrance to the Durham Transportation office area.

For fans traveling westbound on Texas 114 from the Trophy Club or Roanoke areas: When entering from Texas 114, Texan Drive will be closed from the stadium entrance to the Durham Transportation office area. The traffic will be re-routed around Old Texan Stadium, and fans will be allowed to park in any of the parking areas along that route. If you are a VIP parking pass holder or a handicapped driver, you will proceed around the re-routed area to the VIP/Handicapped parking area as indicated on the map.

Traveling eastbound on Texas 114 from the Rhome/Newark area: When entering from Texas 114 West, you will enter at the traffic light in front of the NISD Facilities and Maintenance Building. From the traffic light at Texas 114, you will be directed to turn right around the NISD Facilities and Maintenance Building and continue past the fire department to the parking areas. If you are a VIP parking pass holder or a handicapped driver, you will proceed along this same route to the VIP/Handicapped parking areas as indicated on the map.

For fans traveling south or northbound on FM 156 from the Justin/Haslet areas: From FM 156, you will enter at Texan Drive to the designated parking areas. If you are a VIP parking pass holder or a handicapped driver, you will proceed along Texan Drive to the VIP/Handicapped parking areas as indicated on the map.

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Volleyball: Lady Eagles take second at NISD

Playing larger 5A and 6A schools, the 4A Decatur Lady Eagles went 6-2 over the weekend at the Northwest ISD Tournament.

The strong showing was not enough to keep the defending state champion atop the 4A rankings. Decatur (13-6) fell to second in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll released Monday. Bushland ascended to the top of the rankings.

Decatur brought home second in the silver bracket of the event after a loss to Rockwall Heath Saturday, 25-19, 25-12.

The Lady Eagles beat Frisco Wakeland, 25-18, 25-23, and Midway 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, to reach the bracket final.

A tight 25-21, 20-25, 25-23 loss Friday to Prosper sent Decatur to the silver bracket.

Decatur started the tournament with four straight wins. The Lady Eagles beat Hereford, 25-18, 20-25, 25-13. The Lady Eagles swept Birdville 25-18, 25-16, and Lamar 25-20, 25-20.

Caroline Lowery put down 81 kills over the course of the tournament. Makayla Mayfield recorded 67 kills, and Cooper Martin 50.

Setter Stormi Leonard doled out 194 assists.

Maclaine Lowery and Mayfield served up six aces each. Courtnie Roberts and Caroline Lowery recorded five aces.

Defensively, Mayfield made 82 digs. Caroline Lowery had 74, and Leonard 62.

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Volleyball Roundup for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets brought home second place from the Chico Tournament on Saturday.

Boyd fell to Collinsville 25-19, 25-16 in the tournament final. Maddy Busch put down 11 kills and blocked four shots in the final. Kayleigh Pappajohn added six kills.

Baylie Harris and Morgan Abbott handed out 10 assists each. Britney Howard made 15 digs.

With Howard serving six aces, Boyd beat Gold-Burg 25-5, 25-7. Busch had eight kills. Harris recorded 15 assists.

The Lady Yellowjackets took down Petrolia 25-18, 25-20. Busch finished with six kills, and Pappajohn five. Howard made 20 digs. Abbott doled out nine assists.

NISD GOES 2-4

The Northwest Lady Texans went 2-4 at their own tournament over the weekend.

The Lady Texans fell to Boswell, 26-24, 27-29, 25-20, and Cedar Park, 25-23, 25-20 on Saturday. Friday, Arlington Lamar tripped up Northwest 25-23, 21-25, 25-17. Southlake Carroll handled the Lady Texans 25-14, 25-12.

Over the six matches, Camryn Berryhill buried 67 kills. Tessa Harfield added 45 kills.

Morgan Baker doled out 89 assists, and Analise Lucio had 56.

SISSIES STRUGGLE AT BREWER

The Bridgeport Sissies pulled out one win in six matches during their weekend visit to the Fort Worth Brewer Tournament.

The Sissies (3-12) knocked off District 8-4A foe Castleberry in three games, 25-16, 17-25, 25-22. Kensley Turner put down nine kills and made 16 digs. Ryhan Read handed out seven assists. Mariah Leyva made 12 digs.

CHICO FALL IN FINAL

The Chico Lady Dragons fell in the consolation final of their tournament Saturday, losing to Forestburg 25-23, 25-27, 25-22.

In bracket play Saturday, Chico beat Prairie Valley twice, 29-27, 25-19 and 26-16, 25-16. The Lady Dragons fell to Bryson 25-15, 25-13 between the Prairie Valley matches.

PARADISE WIN TWO

The Paradise Lady Panthers went 2-3 over the weekend at the Graham Tournament.

After scoring wins over Jim Ned and Munday, Paradise lost to Jacksboro, Wichita Falls Rider and Nocona.

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Volleyball Roundup for Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Northwest Lady Texans couldn’t stay with Arlington Lamar Tuesday.

Lamar swept Northwest (4-8) 25-12, 25-15, 25-12.

Tessa Harfield led Northwest will six kills. Camryn Berryhill added three.

Tatum Talley made 16 digs. Christine Ruybalid made eight digs, and Berryhill six.

CHICO DEF. FORESTBURG

The Chico Lady Dragons outlasted Forestburg Tuesday in five games.

Chico won 25-23, 21-25, 30-28, 24-26, 17-15.

DENTON CALVARY DEF. PARADISE

Denton Calvary swept Paradise Tuesday, 25-16, 25-23, 25-16.

Lindsay also beat Paradise in three games, 25-12, 25-16, 25-19.

Paradise fell to 1-2 on the season.

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Volleyball: Northwest wins finale at tourney

The Northwest Lady Texans ended the Adidas Texas Volleyball Invitational Saturday with a sweep of Houston Episcopal.

The Lady Texans went 2-5 at the tournament in Pearland to fall to 3-5 on the season.

After going 1-2 in pool play Thursday, Northwest fell to Ursuline Academy in two games 25-10, 25-20. Magnolia then edged the Lady Texans in three games, 14-25, 27-25, 25-15.

Those two setbacks landed Northwest in the copper bracket. Lutheran South beat the Lady Texans 25-14, 21-25, 25-18. Northwest then picked up the closing win 25-23, 25-16.

Northwest returned to action Friday at Arlington Lamar.

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Lady Texans rallies to win Gaston’s debut

Career win No. 1 proved memorable for new Northwest coach Amy Gaston Monday night.

After winning the first two sets, Gaston’s Lady Texans dropped two straight to Birdville before rallying in the fifth set to take the match. Northwest won 25-13, 25-19, 20-25, 17-25, 15-12 at Texan Gym.

Chasing It Down

CHASING IT DOWN – Northwest’s Kassidi Kunz digs a ball during the Lady Texans’ five-set win over Birdville Monday. The victory gave Northwest coach Amy Gaston her first career win. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I’m proud of how we came out the fifth set,” Gaston said. “We pulled together and made plays. That’s not easy, to come back after losing two straight.”

Northwest fell behind 7-3 in the fifth game before stemming the tide to tie the set at 7. The Lady Texans took advantage of Birdville hitting errors to take the lead. Camryn Berryhill then buried a kill to put Northwest ahead for good at 12-11. She also knocked down match point at 14-12.

“Putting the ball down gets everyone going,” Berryhill said.

“We were all nervous, then the student section got into it and got us going.”

Berryhill finished with 10 kills – including the pair in the fifth set.

“Camryn is one of those kids who has more potential than she realizes. When she realizes it, she’ll be dangerous,” Gaston said.

After Berryhill put Northwest at match point, Ashley Holt delivered the final blow with one of her six kills.

Northwest looked like it would make Gaston’s debut a quick night through two games. Behind a strong offensive start by Tessa Harfield, the Lady Texans won game one by 12 points, ending on a 16-7 run. Harfield put down seven of her 15 kills in the opening game.

Northwest built a 13-6 lead in game two on a kill by Berryhill. Birdville rallied to get to within two, 20-18. Kills from Holt, sandwiched around one from Harfield, spurred a 5-1 run to end the set.

Down two sets, Birdville began aggressively blocking at the net with Gabby Nelson and McKenna Selby. Nelson made five blocks for kills. Selby added one.

Nelson led Birdville with 13 kills. Kyndall Brown added 10.

Birdville jumped out to a 9-5 lead in game three. Northwest fought back to tie it at 17 but Nelson’s pair of kills down the stretch spurred a 5-1 closing for Birdville.

Three kills from Selby around Nelson’s stuff block spurred a 7-0 run for Birdville to put them up 17-10 in game four. Birdville tied the match at two with the eight-point win.

Northwest managed only three kills in game four.

“Birdville played well. You have to give them credit. They made adjustments,” Gaston said. “We’re going to meet opponents that are going to make changes.”

But the Lady Texans were able to make the adjustments themselves in the fifth game to get the offense going and give Gaston her first win.

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Boy dies in motocross accident

A 13-year-old Rhome boy died Sunday, Aug. 3, in an accident while making a practice run at River Valley Motocross park in southern Wise County, near Boyd.

Tanner David Sims

The victim, Tanner David Sims, was a student in Northwest ISD.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the call came in at 1:29 p.m. Sunday from the park, which operates closed-circuit tracks for the sport of motocross on County Road 4757.

“It came in as a medical call, so EMS and the fire department were dispatched and Life Flite was put on standby,” Walker said. Two deputies also went to the scene.

The sheriff said the accident happened as several bikers were making a practice run.

“The victim jumped and wrecked, then someone else jumped behind him and landed on him,” Walker said. “They transported the victim to Texas Health Azle, where he was pronounced dead.”

River Valley Motorcross has an outdoor track, a super-cross track and a kids/beginner track.

The track was closed Thursday, when it is normally open for practice, for Sims’ funeral.

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Lady Texans get on track

During practice this week at Northwest, Amy Gaston’s staff tracked every pass and hit.

“It was a shock to the girls. They are not used to that,” Gaston said. “Some were shocked they were not where they thought they would be. It’s a way to hold each other accountable.”

By the end of the week, the Lady Texans were getting into the added accountability in workouts under their new head coach.

“It’s more intense and quicker,” said setter Morgan Baker.

The Lady Texans are working to replace a lot of firepower that left the squad with 10 graduating seniors. Middle blocker Tessa Harfield said she and the other hitters are getting up to speed quickly.

“We have some really powerful hitters outside and some other smart hitters,” Harfield said.

The Lady Texans hope to continue their playoff streak. But their main goal is to go deeper than before.

“This year we have a chance with a lot more dedication to get past the first round,” Harfield said.

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Texans, Poe set to open fall camp

Shortly after arriving on campus in April, Bill Poe got his first impression of his Northwest Texans during spring practice.

Going Back to Work

GOING BACK TO WORK – Northwest quarterback Jesse Drummer drops back to pass during the Texans’ spring game in May. Drummer and the Texans will hit the field Monday for their first workout of the fall. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I felt good coming out of the spring,” Poe said. “We got into the meat and potatoes of the new offense and defense. I was pleased with the progress.”

Monday, Poe will get a chance to see how much carried over from the spring with the start of fall workouts for the 6A school. The Texans will take the field at 7:25 a.m.

“We’re excited to get going. The kids are foaming at the mouth,” Poe said.

Poe, who was previously the offensive coordinator at Marble Falls, replaced Bill Patterson, who left this spring for the job at Sherman.

The Texans return quarterback Jesse Drummer, who threw for 2,400 yards and 24 touchdowns last year, along with receiver Emmanuel Moore, who caught 58 passes for 1,071 yards. Northwest also brings back three other starters from an offense that averaged 379 yards per outing.

“There’s a great foundation laid,” Poe said. “I’m fortunate and glad to work with the offensive weapons that they have been able to utilize the last few years. We’re ready to get out there and compete.”

On defense, the Texans lost 10 starters to graduation, including linebackers Jacob Parker and Duke Kicinski, who combined for 225 tackles.

Poe said he was impressed by the growth on the defensive side of the ball during spring practice but pointed out that the group is still short on game experience.

“With only one returning starter, there’s lots of shoes to fill,” Poe said. “We have some good athletes on that side of the ball. Their one deficiency is experience.”

The Texans will work out in shorts and helmets until Friday, when they can don the pads for the first time. Northwest opens the season Aug. 29 against Corsicana.

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Back to School: Northwest ISD

NEW HIRES

Chisholm Trail Middle School

  • Kayla Anderson
  • Mary Wilson
  • Christy Tate
  • Caitlin McCuaig
  • Tyler McIntosh
  • Garth McKinney
  • Shawn Pope
  • Helen Wright
  • Dorothy Rios
  • Ryan Russell
  • Maryann Shaft

Seven Hills Elementary School

  • Brenda Hladky
  • Kasey Pate
  • Paige Brittain
  • Laura Dial
  • Jennifer Gill
  • Spencer Wolf
  • Chelsea Thorpe

Prairie View Elementary School

  • Dannielle Kicinski
  • Karla Granillo

NORTHWEST ISD

Superintendent: Karen Rue

School board members: Mel Fuller, Josh Wright, Mark Schluter, Judy Copp, Devonna Holland, Anne Davis-Simpson, Lillian Rauch

BACK TO SCHOOL EVENTS

Meet the Teacher: Prairie View Elementary, Aug. 19 6-7:30 p.m.; Seven Hills, Aug. 21, Pre-K and kindergarten 5:30-6:30 p.m., first through fifth 6-6:30 p.m.

Open House: Chisholm Trail Middle School, Sept. 2 5:30-8 p.m.; Northwest, Sept. 18.

Elementary Document Review: Aug. 15,18-20, 9 a.m to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Aug 21, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Aug. 22, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Chisholm Trail Document Review: Aug. 12 Sixth grade schedule pick-up 9 a.m. to noon; new students from 1 to 7 p.m.; Aug. 13 Seventh grade schedule pick-up 9 a.m. to noon; Aug. 14 Eighth grade pick-up 9 a.m. to noon; Aug. 23 Pup Camp for sixth graders 9 a.m. to noon.

Northwest High School registration: New students Aug. 6, 8 a.m. to noon; Returning students: Aug. 12 1-3:30 p.m. for 12th grade; Aug. 13 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m. for 10th and 11th; Aug. 14 9-11:30 a.m. for ninth grade; 4-7 p.m. for all grades.

Northwest Freshman Camp: Aug. 21 3-6 p.m. Student Union; Parent Meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Northwest Calendar

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Feind named to technology post

Northwest ISD has named Adam Feind the district’s new chief technology officer.

Adam Feind

Feind comes to Northwest from Midway ISD, where he has led the district in strategic planning and one-to-one virtual desktop initiative for the past 16 years.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Feind to the Northwest ISD family,” said NISD Superintendent Karen Rue. “Mr. Feind brings a strong background in strategic planning, networking operations and instructional technology. I look forward to him sharing his expertise with NISD and assisting in the planning for future-ready learners.”

Feind will oversee technology, instructional technology and applications software at NISD. He will join the district this month.

Prior to a career in education, Feind served as a LAN manager for Providence Health Center and a computer operator for Brazos Electric Cooperative.

“I am excited to be a part of a school district that strongly aligns with my goals and vision for education,” Feind said. “I am eager to meet the staff and build upon the foundation already created in Northwest ISD.”

Feind received a bachelor’s of business administration in computer information systems from Baylor University. He is a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) and is one of 15 technology leaders to hold this certification in the state of Texas.

As a member of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional association for school district technology leaders, Feind strives to grow tomorrow’s leaders through engaging learning environments. Last year, he was instrumental in leading a team from Cisco, along with other school districts, to restore network, telephone, wireless and internet access to West ISD elementary campuses for staff and students after the April 2013 fertilizer explosion in the community.

“I look forward to touching the lives of students and enhancing the learning experience in NISD,” Feind said. “Technology should be ubiquitous, accessible and robust, and I look forward to bringing Northwest ISD to the next level.”

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Gaston starts first season with Lady Texans

When the Northwest Lady Texans take the floor Monday, new faces will abound.

The Lady Texans graduated 10 seniors from last year’s District 4-5A runnerup that went 29-14. Northwest also underwent a change on the bench as longtime Lady Texans coach Dayna Horak retired.

Even with the changes, expectations remain high for the Lady Texans as they try to continue their string of playoff appearances.

In her first season, Amy Gaston is looking to establish a strong work ethic built around improving every time her team touches the floor.

“My expectations are to get better every day,” she said. “I firmly believe you are getting 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. The girls are embracing that. They are also understanding what it looks like to work hard.

“The playoff expectations are still in the program. But winning playoff games is what we want. That starts with competing day-in and day-out.”

While working with several new faces, Gaston will have a trio of veterans to help.

In the critical role of setter, Morgan Baker returns to bring court experience for a team with several young hitters.

“She’s a great competitor and has done everything I’ve asked of her,” Gaston said.

At middle blocker, two-year starter Tessa Harfield is back. Gaston has high expectations for the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville commitment.

After a standout freshman year, Camryn Berryhill is expected to be one of Northwest’s leading attackers. She burst on the scene last year, putting down 257 kills and making 203 digs and 28 blocks.

“There’s a lot more than people have seen out of Camryn,” Gaston said. “As a sophomore, she should be more effective.”

The Lady Texans will face a heavy challenge in the new 5-6A from Byron Nelson, Keller Central, Keller and Denton Guyer and Ryan.

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Freier breaks own record

For her 18th birthday Thursday, Desiree Freier flew to another United States record.

The 2014 Northwest graduate cleared 14.72 feet in the girls pole vault at the International Association of Athletics Federation World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Freier brought home the silver medal with her vault of 4.45 meters. Russia’s Alena Lutkovskaya took gold, equaling the meet record of 4.5 meters.

Eliza McCartney of New Zealand finished third, also clearing 4.45 meters.

“I can honestly say this was the most amazing meet I’ve been to,” Freier said. “The crowd was amazing. All three of us were PR’ing every bar. It was intense and good competition.”

Freier made three attempts at 14-9.

“They said I was close to clearing and if I had one more grip I would have had it,” Freier said.

“I did pretty good. I didn’t get the height I wanted, but I broke the junior record and the high school national record.”

Freier, a three-time state champion in the 5A pole vault and the U.S. 2014 Junior Champion, broke her previous record of 14-3.25 from the Texas Relays. She also holds the indoor record at 14-2.75 from the New Balance Indoor meet.

It was the first time since the start of 2014 that Freier did not take gold at a meet.

She will be vaulting at the University of Arkansas in 2014-15.

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Kicinski takes top honors in game

Northwest 2014 graduate Duke Kicinski earned the Defensive MVP honor Tuesday at the Texas Coaches Association all-star game.

Kicinski made four tackles, including two and half for losses, in the North team’s 13-7 win.

He was also credited with one-and-a-half sacks.

“It was a lot of fun and a good experience,” Kicinski said. “It was weird for an all-star game for the defense to be so good. Everyone was doing their job, and we played well as a team.

“It was easy for me. Everyone was doing what they were supposed to do. The linemen did a good job and made it easy on the linebackers to do their job.”

Kicinski, who is headed to West Texas A&M, was a stalwart on the Texans’ defense last year. The linebacker made 125 tackles, including 60 solo stops. He recorded three sacks, picked off three passes and caused a fumble.

He is hoping to get on the field this fall for West Texas A&M.

“I’ll have a chance to play. I’ll have to do good,” Kicinski said.

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McCann accepts honor

McCann accepts honor

The Texas Girls Coaches Association honored Northwest graduate Kellee McCann Friday morning at halftime of its 1A-3A all-star basketball game.

McCann earned the TGCA’s Class 5A cross country all-star award.

Top Honor

TOP HONOR – Northwest’s Kellee McCann accepted the TGCA’s 5A cross country all-star honor Friday in Arlington. Submitted photo

The 2014 Northwest graduate is on her way to run at Syracuse in the fall.

Last year at Northwest, she finished seventh in the 5A girls race at the University Interscholastic League cross country championships in Round Rock. She ran the 5K in 18 minutes and 28 seconds.

She won the 5A Region II race in Lubbock, after claiming the 4-5A title.

Over her career, she ran in the state cross country meet four times.

She also qualified for the state track meet twice – as freshman and junior. An injury kept her from competing at district and beyond in track this spring.

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Flying to title: Freier adds national title, Gatorade award to resume

Flying to title: Freier adds national title, Gatorade award to resume

Three-time state champion Desiree Freier became a national champion Sunday.

The 2014 Northwest graduate won the women’s pole vault at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Junior Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Freier cleared 14-1.25 to win the title. Bonnie Draxler was second, clearing 13-11.25.

Up and Over

UP AND OVER – Northwest’s Desiree Freier clears the bar at the UIL track and field championships in May on her way to a 5A state title. She won the USA Track and Field Outdoor Junior Championships in Oregon Sunday, clearing 14-1.25. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“It was a good day,” Freier said via phone before flying home Monday. “They let us practice Friday and that helped. I cleared all my jumps on the first attempt until 14-1. I got it on the second try.”

Freier missed her three attempts at 14.5.

With the title, Freier reserved a spot on the USA team for the IAAF World Junior Championships July 22-27 on the same track in Oregon.

“It’s exciting. What makes it special is making the team for the world championships,” Freier said. “I’ll jump on my birthday.”

Freier won her third straight 5A title in the pole vault in May, clearing 13-6.

Earlier in the spring, she set the national outdoor and indoor high school records. She established the outdoor mark at the Texas Relays, clearing 14-3.25. Freier set the indoor record at 14-2.75 at the New Balance Indoor meet.

She cleared 14-6 at the Class 5A 4/5 Area Meet in Coppell in April.

Freier won every meet since the start of 2014. The University of Arkansas signee was named the Gatorade Texas Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

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Rue named regional Superintendent of the Year

Northwest ISD Superintendent Karen Rue received a thumbs-up from the school board last week when trustees voted unanimously to increase her salary by 3 percent.

Karen Rue

But the praise and recognition didn’t stop there.

Monday, the district announced its leader had been named the Education Service Center Region 11’s Superintendent of the Year.

“I am truly honored,” Rue said. “The NISD board of trustees is a visionary team. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a hardworking school board, dedicated staff members and talented students.

“I share this recognition with the students and staff in Northwest ISD – a district that believes in putting kids first.”

Rue was nominated by the NISD board for her strong leadership skills, dedication to improving educational quality, ability to build effective employee relations, student performance and commitment to public involvement in education.

Sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the Superintendent of the Year program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership since 1984.

Rue is one of 20 regional winners across the state.

She has served as superintendent of schools in Northwest ISD since 2005 and is leading a transformational change in education at NISD and Texas to ensure all students are prepared for the digital age in which we live.

In her tenure at NISD, Dr. Rue has managed three successful bond elections and led district initiatives such as Community-Based Accountability, the expansion of NISD academies, development of the district’s Outdoor Learning Center and a student tablet and netbook deployment.

Currently, she is president-elect of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), is vice president of the South Central States for Urban Superintendents Association of America (USAA) and serves on the executive committee for the Texas School Coalition.

ESC Region 11 serves 77 school districts and 55 charter schools in north central Texas.

This was a unique year for the award because a record number of women superintendents were nominated. Of the 77 traditional school districts in the region, 11 have female superintendents at the helm (14 percent). For the first time, the majority of candidates for the Region 11 award were female (80 percent).

The state committee will interview regional winners in Austin on Aug. 22 and 23 and select five finalists.

The Superintendent of the Year will be announced Sept. 26 at the TASA/TASB Convention in Dallas.

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Northwest ISD approves budget, makes hires

Moments before approving its general fund budget for the 2014-2015 school year, the Northwest school board filled two positions created in this year’s plan.

Budgeted expenses total $164 million, while revenue is tabbed at $161 million.

The $2.75 million difference will be made up with money from the fund balance.

“I believe the budget presented is one that is thoughtfully deliberated and one that is specific to meeting the goals of our strategic plan,” said NISD Superintendent Karen Rue.

Earlier in the meeting, the board held a public hearing on the tax rate, proposed to remain at $1.425 per $100 valuation. Final approval is set for the board’s meeting in August.

General fund expenditures increased by $11,924,681 from this last school year, reflecting a projected enrollment increase of 1,092 students.

Most of the general fund budget is for personnel – salaries and benefits.

This year’s plan includes two newly created positions.

Jamie Farber

The board named Northwest High School’s lead counselor, Jamie Farber, the district’s director of counseling.

In the new role, Farber will direct, implement, supervise and evaluate all aspects of the districtwide counseling programs and related services.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jamie Farber in this new role and look forward to seeing her perform in this new capacity,” Rue said. “She is talented, dedicated and focused on serving our students, families, staff and communities.”

Farber has 19 years of experience in education. She has served as a counselor at NHS since 2007.

Before joining NISD, she was a counselor and teacher at Arlington ISD.

She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Farber was recognized as a semi-finalist for the American School Counselor of the Year this year; the Texas School Counselor Association Secondary/High School Counselor of the Year in 2012; and Educator of the Year for Communities in Schools of North Texas in 2012.

She is a member of the American Schoool Counselor Association, Texas Counseling Association and the Texas School Counselor Association.

She will begin her new duties in July.

“I am honored to fulfill the new role of director of counseling for Northwest ISD,” Farber said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with amazing counselors throughout the district and to be able to serve all of our students, campuses and communities.”

Kyle Seipp

The board also hired Kyle Seipp as its director of college and career readiness.

Seipp taught math and coached at Northwest High School from 2005 to 2010 before taking a job with the University of Texas in Austin at the Institute of Public School Initiatives.

At the institute, he worked with school districts to “achieve college readiness goals and instill fidelity of implementation of the design principles of early college high school while building capacity and enhancing productivity.”

In his new position, Seipp will oversee the development, implementation, assessment and continuous improvement of programs aimed at increasing student access to post-secondary education and employment opportunities.

“I am beyond excited to return to the best team in the nation,” Seipp said. “I look forward to enhancing opportunities for the students at NISD. Northwest made it possible for me to be able to excel in my position at the university, and I am excited to be back.”

Seipp earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Texas State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.

He also has principal and superintendent certificates.

Like Farber, he will start in July.

“Mr. Seipp brings his exceptional educational leadership to Northwest ISD,” Rue said. “We are excited to have him re-join the NISD team to serve the students as they prepare for their future.”

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