Board Briefs
News from the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees

Summary of Meeting

Board Briefs Oct.27, 2014

Board of Trustees Regular Meeting Agenda

Board Agenda:


The Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees recognized 28 high school seniors, including 14 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists, 13 National Hispanic Recognition Program Finalists, and three National Achievement Scholars during its recent meeting.

Trustees also honored district employees and community volunteers, and a public hearing was held on SBISD’s outstanding performance on the 2014 School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). For the 12th consecutive year, SBISD has been awarded the highest possible rating of Superior Achievement after earning the highest score possible under the state’s FIRST financial rating system.

In separate action, Trustees voted unanimously to approve a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Superintendent Search Consultant Firm. SBISD Superintendent of Schools Duncan Klussmann, Ed.D., has announced publicly that he plans to retire next year.

Superintendent Search Process

During a Special Meeting, Trustees voted to approve a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Superintendent Search Consultant Firm. Dr. Klussmann announced on Oct. 10 that he will retire in August 2015 after 10 years as district Superintendent of Schools, and 18 years in SBISD. The Board of Trustees deeply values the progress made in our school system under Dr. Klussmann’s leadership.

At a recent Board Workshop Meeting, Trustees unanimously approved a Board resolution affirming its support for the district’s goal of doubling the number of students completing a technical certificate, military training, or a two-year or four-year degree (T-2-4). Under the RFP process, a consultant firm contract could be decided by the end of November.

Employee & Volunteer of the Month

SBISD Trustees recognized Vicki Louis, payroll lead in the district’s Financial Services Dept. as the October Employee of the Month. Vicki has worked in SBISD for 14 years in Financial Services, Human Resources and as a Spring Woods High School secretary.

She took the lead recently in making sure that her department performed well despite a vacancy in a payroll position. "Vicki truly typifies the work of SBISD employees who go the extra mile for the good of the whole," reports Associate Superintendent of Finance Karen Wilson. Colleagues cheer on her “superstar” personality, her winning smile and her patience with all. She attended Valley Oaks Elementary, Spring Branch Middle and Northbrook High schools as a student.
October’s Volunteer of the Month is Sophie Haci, whose soft-spoken, mild-mannered nature belies a workhorse reputation that is described by the Westchester Academy for International Studies PTA as “the Clark Kent of PTA Volunteers.” Sophie brings a range of talents to the WAIS community and her contributions are many. She was responsible for writing the WAIS PTA newsletter for a number of years, organizes PTA events, creates forms and implements new technology to ensure processes are streamlined and effective, recruits new PTA members, and fundraises for the school community. These activities reflect just a few of her volunteer accomplishments, said WAIS Director Jennifer Collier and others.

This month’s T-2-4 Spotlight Teacher Recognition was awarded to Spring Woods High School Librarian Dan Nagel. This honor shines a light on educators across our district who embrace the Spring Branch T-2-4 goal and who actively go above and beyond to demonstrate commitment to, and support of, this goal and the beliefs that undergird it.

Dan, who has taught in SBISD for 10 years, has transformed a quiet campus space into one of the more popular gathering spaces on campus -- before, during and after school. Before the bell rings each morning, this school library and its student-run coffee "shop" are popular stops for students and faculty. Dan teaches database skills to classes, and after the final bell rings at 3 p.m. many Tigers stream into the library to study, or to check out notebook computers and wireless Clear Hotspots so that they can connect and work online at home. Last year, Dan even rented a van to take students to the airport so that they could meet graphic novel writers and artists in person, and talk to them about their professions before a local book convention.

National Merit and Related Student Honors

Twenty-eight Spring Branch ISD high school seniors have been named as National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists, award recipients in the National Hispanic Recognition Program, or honorees in the National Achievement Scholar Program for African-American students.

This year’s Memorial High National Merit Semifinalists are Rebecca Grekin, Sean Gu, Yuyan Cheryl Mai, William McNulty, Preston Quine, Skyler Quine, Kaela Todd, and Joanna Yang. National Merit Semifinalist at Northbrook High is Bethany Holder. At Spring Woods High, this year’s National Merit Semifinalist is Christopher Matias Hivnor. Stratford High Semifinalists are Reese Davis, John Goss, David Humphrey and Sarah Nash.

Students become eligible for the national scholarship program when they take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors. Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of the high school graduating class in Texas and rank as the nation’s highest scoring elite. They may qualify for National Merit Finalist awards.

Thirteen student finalists were named in the annual National Hispanic Recognition program. They include Memorial High’s Presley Good, Rebecca Grekin, Daniel Jimenez, Saul Martinez, Sofia Morales-Bello, Miranda Ruzinsky and Conner Shrader. At Spring Woods High, Henry Aguilar and Christopher Matias Hivnor were named a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar finalists. At Stratford High, finalists are Julio Colby, Benjamin Fairchild, Javier Lehtinen, and Adrian Sanchez Lohff. Benjamin Fairchild graduated during the past summer as a three-year graduate.

To earn this highly regarded recognition, students must be of at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino descent, attain a high performance level on the PSAT, and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of their junior year. About 5,000 students nationally now earn this recognition each year.

Three seniors were named National Achievement Scholars. The National Achievement Scholarship Program recognizes academically talented African-American students. Memorial High students earning this recognition are Megan McMillon and Hellen Wainaina. At Westchester Academy, senior Dakota Ransom was also named a National Achievement Scholar.

About 1,600 semifinalists in this category were named nationally. They will compete for 800 scholarship awards worth more than $2.5 million that will be issued in the spring, according to the program. In addition to these honors, 43 district high school seniors have been awarded the National Merit Commended recognition this year.

No Place for Hate Resolution of Respect

SBISD continues to be a leader in the percentage of schools earning the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate Designation. In 2009, the SBISD Administration Building, or the Wayne F. Schaper, Sr. Leadership Center, became the first within any local school district to earn the No Place for Hate Designation through Houston’s Southwest Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). To earn this designation, employees take part in activities designed to increase understanding, appreciation and mutual respect for and among fellow staff members. After signing of a Resolution of Respect by the Board of Trustees, SBISD employees will kick off annual No Place for Hate programming. The designation has been granted to dozens of campuses for efforts to create an inclusive and respectful school environment for all students.

Superior “FIRST” Rating

For the 12th consecutive year, SBISD has earned a rating of Superior Achievement from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the 2013-2014 school year. The Texas Legislature created the School FIRST system in 2001 to recognize high quality performance in the management of financial resources by public school districts.

Once again, SBISD earned the highest possible rating of Superior Achievement with a top score of 70 possible points in the rating system. The district received a perfect “5” score in every category possible. In addition to a presentation by SBISD Controller David Bender, a public hearing was held on the district’s School FIRST rating. SBISD’s Financial Services Department is led by Associate Superintendent Karen Wilson.

In other action, the Board of Trustees...

  • Held a first reading on Local Policy on Academic Achievement, Homework
  • Adopted Local Policies involving TASB Policy Update 100 and FMG Student Activities, Travel
  • Approved routine Consent Agenda Action items, including an order to authorize up to $30.5 million in remaining bond sales from the district’s 2007 Bond program.
  • Discussed the schematic design and design development for the Memorial High School Field House project addition and a proposed recommendation to install a propane fueling center for buses and the initial purchase of new propane buses to help reduce annual district transportation fuel costs.
This publication is distributed by the SBISD Communications Office. If you have questions or input, please contact Steve Brunsman, Spring Branch ISD Communications Director.