Montgomery ISD announces district leadership changes

Montgomery ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison has announced changes to district leadership. 

Lincoln Elementary School Principal Courtney Dyer has been selected as the district’s Director of Community Services. 

In this role, Dyer will cultivate and promote positive partnerships between families, educators, and the community to ensure the district is improving student achievement by addressing the various non-academic and social and emotional needs of our students and families. She will serve as the district’s homeless and foster care liaison and coordinator of pregnancy-related services. Dyer will also oversee and coordinate services with campus counselors and lead the district’s mentor program.   

“We’re excited about adding this important role to our district,” Morrison said. “Educating the whole child by addressing needs they may have outside of the classroom has become a critical function as it relates to ensuring students have the necessary supports to excel academically.” 

Dyer has served as the principal of Lincoln ES for the previous three years. Before this, Dyer spent seven years as an assistant principal, six years as a school counselor and six years as a classroom teacher. Dyer holds a Bachelor of Science in Academic Studies and a Master of Education in School Counseling from Sam Houston State University.  

Dyer will begin her new role in July. A broad search for the next principal of Lincoln Elementary School begins immediately with a goal to name the next campus leader in July. 

“Serving as the principal of Lincoln Elementary School was an honor and I will dearly miss my Bear family,” Dyer said. “However, I am thrilled for the opportunity to expand my role to one that will allow me to support even more students and families across our district.”  

Jaimie McCallister has been named the district’s Elementary Instructional Coordinator and Megan Evans has been named the district’s Secondary Instructional Coordinator.  

The elementary and secondary curriculum coordinators will work with department directors and campus principals to develop instructional programs and curriculum guides and oversee testing programs and staff development. 

McCallister brings over 20 years of experience to the position, having most recently served as Elementary Instructional Coach at Madeley Ranch ES. She also has experience as an elementary school principal. Evans is joining the district from Katy ISD where she spent the previous six years as a high school instructional coach.

Ellisa Cross has been named the district’s Director of Transportation. Cross takes over as leader of the MISD Transportation Department from Mike Foster, who recently retired after 12 years of service to the district. Cross joins the district from Klein ISD where she most recently served as Operations Manager, directly supervising staff in the transportation department.  

Montgomery ISD trustees approve district strategic plan

Montgomery ISD trustees approved a new district strategic plan during their regular monthly board meeting for June. 

The strategic plan, named the “Pathway to Premier”, is the product of a six-month-long districtwide effort to collaborate with all district stakeholders and identify existing district strengths and areas for improvement. The strategic plan focuses on the Board of Trustees’ five district goals and contains measurable key performance indicators in targeted areas. The plan also lists initiatives and strategies the district will use to meet or exceed targets outlined in the key performance indicators. 

The board-approved district goals are: 1) Academic Achievement; 2) School Safety; 3) Finance and Operations; 4: Human Capital; and 5) Communication and Customer Service.

Dr. Heath Morrison, who is entering his second year as the superintendent of Montgomery ISD, emphasized the district’s intense focus on developing the strategic plan through collaboration with the community. 

“My time of entry as superintendent of Montgomery ISD was spent doing a significant amount listening and learning,” Morrison said. “Conversations with hundreds of district stakeholders identified many strengths we have as a district, but also opportunities to improve. It was a priority for us to ensure the development of the strategic plan authentically represented all voices in our community. Hundreds of voices were involved in this process.”

To develop the strategic plan, the district formed a large task force consisting of five committees, each focused on one of the goals. The task force committees were comprised of district leadership, principals, teachers, counselors, parents, students and community members. The task force committees spent several months examining district functions and developing key performance indicators and district initiatives and strategies to be included in the final strategic plan. The district also issued a communitywide survey and held three town hall meetings during the strategic plan development process to gather public input. 

“As a Board, our vision for the district is clear: We want Montgomery ISD to be the Premier School District in the state of Texas,” Board President Matt Fuller said. “We are excited about the direction of our district with this strategic plan as our guiding document. I would like to thank all staff, parents and community members who participated in this process.”

In total, the strategic plan consists of 66 key performance indicators addressing various areas within the five district goals. The task forces identified 121 initiatives and strategies during the development of the plan. Increasing and enhancing Career and Technical Education opportunities is a district initiative under district goal one.

“This strategic plan is comprehensive, starting with ensuring strong academic programs are in place for our youngest learners all the way up to our students ready to take on college, career or military opportunities,” Trustee Shawn Denison said. “I’m especially excited about the increased focus on expanding CTE options and programs for our secondary students.”

Beginning in the 2021-22 school year, the Board of Trustees will receive monthly updates from task force leaders and department directors regarding the district’s progress in various areas of the strategic plan.

“With the strategic plan, our board and community will have a clear understanding of where the district is excelling and where there are growth opportunities,” Trustee Linda Porten said. “This not only brings about greater transparency into district functions, but it also provides guidance on academic, operational and financial aspects of district decision-making.”

Morrison emphasized the district’s desire for the strategic plan to reflect the values, wishes, and desires of the entire Montgomery community. 

“Our Board of Trustees and community expect consistent greatness from Montgomery ISD, and our students deserve nothing less.” Morrison said. “We are a very good school district. However, we cannot let ‘good’ be the enemy of ‘great’. This strategic plan truly serves as our pathway to being the premier school district in Texas.”

The Pathway to Premier can be read here.

Montgomery HS Student Selected for Prestigious Internship

When Grace Tilley returns to campus this fall to kick off her junior year, the Montgomery High School student will have one incredible story to share about how she spent her summer. She has been selected for a STEM Enhancement in Earth and Space Science (SEES) internship at the University of Texas in Austin’s Center for Space Research.

The program, sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium, provides an opportunity for students to collaborate with scientists and engineers designing Mars habitats, conducting authentic research from information received from NASA’s Earth observing satellites, Lunar Exploration and robotics. The goal is for students to increase their STEM knowledge through Earth and space education.

“I’ve spent many hours doing research and reflection to prepare for this opportunity,” MHS student Grace Tilley said. “To have an opportunity to work alongside actual scientists and engineers as part of the SEES internship is nothing short of thrilling for me.”

Out of 700 applications, Grace was one of 300 selected to participate in the internship, which is virtual this year due to the pandemic.

“I’m excited for Grace to have this experience to research and work alongside professional scientists and engineers on projects that are current space exploration initiatives for NASA and other entities,” MHS Aerospace Engineering Teacher Jennifer Duffer said. “I know she will gain more than academic knowledge during her internship and will represent herself and Montgomery well.”

Robert “Bobby” Ingalls named new principal of Montgomery ES

Montgomery ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison has named Mr. Robert “Bobby” Ingalls as principal of Montgomery Elementary School.

Ingalls holds nearly 27 years of experience in public education, having served the previous 19 years as an elementary school principal in the Great Falls Public School District in Montana. Ingalls is currently the principal of Chief Joseph Elementary School in Great Falls Montana, a position he has served in for the previous 12 years.

“My family and I are excited and humbled for the opportunity to join the Montgomery Elementary School Bearcat family as the next leader of their amazing campus,” Ingalls said. “I look forward to working with our students, staff and families to build upon the foundation and culture of excellence that has been established at MES.”

During the interview process, Ingalls expressed a strong desire to focus on supporting the professional growth and development of the staff at MES and build strong relationships with school families and community supporters. He brings to Montgomery ISD extensive experience leading a Title I elementary campus and serving students with unique educational needs.

“Bobby’s experience and accomplishments as a campus leader are remarkable,” Morrison said. “We have found an outstanding leader for Montgomery Elementary School, and I have full confidence that he will lead MES to even greater academic heights and empower our staff to continue to meet the needs of students and families.”   

Ingalls will start his new role in July. Ingalls takes over as principal from Mrs. Carrie Fitzpatrick, who was named Montgomery ISD Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education in April.

“Mr. Ingall’s success in meeting the needs of early learners, using data to drive instructional practice, and supporting the professional growth of educators makes him a fantastic fit for this role,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m excited to see the dynamic leadership he will bring to MES.”

Ingalls holds a Masters in Administration from the University of Great Falls, a Master of Elementary Education from Montana State University-Northern, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Doane College.

The MISD Minute – May 28, 2021

2020-2021 school year comes to a close

Congratulations! We made it through one of the most challenging school years in recent history. From a pandemic, to a variety of weather events, you were determined to tackle unprecedented adversity while remaining focused in our commitment to serving Montgomery ISD students and families with excellence and grace. I could not be more proud of our MISD family for your successes during this school year!

Speaking of year-end celebrations, this week we saluted the class of 2021 as 363 graduates from Montgomery HS and 321 graduates from Lake Creek HS walked across the stage at the MISD Athletic Stadium. It was an honor to hand each of them a diploma and cheer them on as they prepared to embark on the next exciting chapter of their lives. We were pleased to have been able to host outdoor ceremonies for our graduates without restricting attendance. Thank you to all who attended the graduation ceremonies to celebrate and bid farewell to our class of 2021.

If you were unable to attend the ceremony in person, or would simply like to relive the excitement, both ceremonies can be viewed on the MISD YouTube channel.

Congratulations, graduates! We’re very proud of you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heath Morrison

June Board of Trustees Meetings

The Board of Trustees will hold three meetings in June to cover a number of important topics. In these meetings, the Board plans to finalize the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and discuss and adopt the district’s strategic plan.

On Tuesday, June 1, trustees will hold a Board Workshop to discuss the district strategic plan. Leaders from each of the strategic plan task force committees will present to trustees draft key performance indicators and district initiatives and strategies for each of the five district goals. The board will consider final adoption of the strategic plan when it holds its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 15.

On Tuesday, June 29, the Board will consider adoption of the 2021-22 fiscal year budget.

A conversation with Dr. Heath Morrison – Part IV

Dr. Steven Meeker and I recorded the fourth and final episode of the inaugural season of Conversations with Dr. Heath Morrison. We had a great time chatting about the past school year while looking ahead at all the exciting things to come. I enjoyed filmed three episodes with Dr. Meeker throughout this year and look forward to continuing this series into the 2021-22 school year.

You can watch the full episode of Part IV here.

The MISD Minute is going on Summer Break

As we move into the Summer, The MISD Minute will also go on break. We will continue to share the latest district news through the MISD Premier blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. Please continue to visit those outlets for updates. We will resume The MISD Minute weekly message just ahead of the 2021-2022 school year kickoff. In the meantime, we sincerely hope you have a wonderful break filled with great memories.

Have a safe and restful summer. We’ll see you in August!

Montgomery ISD Introduces the Class of 2021 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, Montgomery ISD proudly introduces the Valedictorians and Salutatorians for Montgomery and Lake Creek High Schools. These students have accomplished so much in their K through 12 educational career, ultimately earning the top two spots in their graduating classes. We are incredibly proud of them along with the entire MISD class of 2021!

Montgomery High School

Valedictorian, Nicholas Ensey

In addition to excelling in the classroom, Nicholas was involved in many organizations throughout his high school career. Some of his extracurricular accomplishments include National Honor Society President, Student Council Treasurer and playing on the MHS Bears football team. He was also named Mr. Montgomery High School and represented the bears at Texas Boys State. After graduation, Nicholas plans to attend The University of Texas in Austin, majoring in Computer Science. His career goals include software development and establishing a company.

“It’s truly an honor to be named the Montgomery High School 2021 valedictorian,” Nicholas said. “There have been some amazing teachers in my life who have shaped me into the person I am today.”

Salutatorian, Dustin Dillon

Although Dustin’s dream for his future has him looking to the stars, his history at Montgomery also had him looking skyward. He served on the team that built Purple Bearon, an RV-12 FAA certified airplane. He also served as the MHS Choir President and was a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and National Honor Society and VEX Robotics Team. Dustin plans to attend Texas A&M University to pursue an Aerospace Engineering degree. His career goal is to become a Flight Dynamics Officer for NASA.

“I’ve grown up in MISD and it is sad to say goodbye, but endings are just the start of something new,” Dustin said. “The most beautiful things come from new beginnings.”

Lake Creek High School

Valedictorian, Lyle Tobin

Lyle has a unique bragging right when it comes to his high school career, multiple state champion titles! In his senior year, he earned State Championship titles in Social Studies and Current Issues and Events as part of multiple University Interscholastic League academic teams. Lyle’s post-high school plans include attending the University of Mississippi in the pursuit of becoming an Oncologist.

Salutatorian, Isabel Harwood

Isabel’s high school career is an interesting mix of journalism and science. As part of the Lake Creek Journalism team, Isabel served as yearbook editor. She also competed on the UIL Science team, which may serve her well after graduation. She plans to attend The University of Texas as a Nursing major, with a career goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

“Something I have learned throughout high school is that there is not one true definition of success,” Isabel said. “It is a measurement of how much work you are willing to put in to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be. Everyone is successful in their own unique way.”

Conversations with Dr. Heath Morrison

As the 2020-2021 year comes to a close, so does the inaugural season of Conversations with Dr. Heath Morrison. In the latest installment, Montgomery Junior High teacher Dr. Steven Meeker sits down with Dr. Morrison to reflect on the many opportunities, challenges and celebrations we experienced during this past year.

The MISD Minute – May 21, 2021

MISD Trustees meet for Monthly Meeting

On Tuesday May 18, the MISD Board of Trustees held their regular monthly meeting.

At the meeting, trustees Trey Kirby and Linda Porten were sworn into office by Montgomery County Justice of the Peace, Judge Wayne Mack. Kirby and Porten were both re-elected earlier this month. Kirby and Porten will both serve three-year terms.

After the oaths of office, trustees voted to elect board leadership for the 2021-22 school year. Trustees selected Matt Fuller to continue serving as Board President. Gary Hammons will continue serving as Board Vice-President and Linda Porten will remain Board Secretary. 

Trustees also received updates on the development of the district strategic plan and 2021-22 budget. The three-year strategic plan is guided the Board of Trustees’ five adopted district goals. The district goals are Academic Achievement; School Safety; Finance & Operations; Human Capital; and Communications & Customer Service. 

The development of both the strategic plan and the 2021-22 district have included a significant amount of community and stakeholder input. For both, we have held numerous public meetings and town halls in an effort to gather as much stakeholder input as possible.

The final strategic plan will be adopted by the board on June 15, while the budget will be adopted on June 30.

The board also had the opportunity to recognize our outstanding school nurses for their service and dedication to students. Even during a “normal” school year, school nurses have the challenging task of ensuring our students are physically and emotionally ready to learn. This year they were required to take on additional duties due to health protocols and other unique circumstances associated with the pandemic. I cannot thank our school nurses enough for their hard work throughout this school year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heath Morrison

Recording of May 18 Board of Trustees Meeting

You can watch the full May Board meeting here:

MISD Welcomes New Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction

I’m excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Mark Weatherly as our district Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction.

In this role, Mark will support the continued development of curriculum and oversee the implementation of enhanced professional development throughout the district.

Mark is an exceptional leader with 28 years of experience in public education. He joins us from New Caney ISD where he served as the Director of Secondary Instruction. Mark has also served as a principal at the high school, junior high school and elementary levels. He was named Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Region 6 High School Principal of the Year in 2017.

Mark holds a BS in Kinesiology and English from Sul Ross State University, a MS in Educational Management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Welcome to Team Montgomery, Mark!

Masks optional beginning Monday, May 24

After much consideration and after reviewing changes to state and federal regulations, the use of masks and face coverings will be optional for all students and staff in Montgomery ISD schools and facilities beginning on Monday, May 24.

In March, the MISD Board of Trustees voted to make masks optional beginning May 31. By moving this date up one week to Monday, May 24, campuses can use the final two days of the 2020-21 school year to adjust for the 2021-22 school year, when masks will be optional.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and flexibility as it relates to the district’s health protocols this year.

Employee salary letters

I want to thank staff for their positive reaction and feedback regarding the salary letters we developed for the 2021-22 school year. Your input allows us to seek continuous improve in the future. Some of the feedback we received included detailing in the salary letters how an advanced degree increases an employee’s salary. This was an area that we communicated previously, and it will be reflected in future salary letters.

Important Information on Website

Over the summer, the district website will be updated. As part of the updated and associated migration, any employees with staff or teacher pages will need to backup information on their current pages. Information was shared in an email from the Technology Department earlier this week. You can find instructions on how to backup information from staff and teacher webpages here.

Our timeline is to have the new website in place for the start of the school year with trainings and hands-on labs to support our district with this transition.

Bears and Lions continue to shine on the diamond

It has been a historic season for our Lake Creek varsity softball season, who defeated Crosby High School 2-1 last night in the UIL regional semi finals! The Lions are now 38-0 headed into the regional finals next week!

On the baseball diamond, Lake Creek HS (24-11-1) and Montgomery HS (19-13-1) have both put together amazing seasons and advanced in the UIL quarterfinals. They’re currently matched up against each other in a best-of-3 series to advance to the regional semi-finals.

The Lions took Game 1 on Thursday by a score of 6-3. Game two will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at Sam Houston State University.

Congratulations on phenomenal seasons, Bears and Lions!

‘Seriously, Best Day Ever’: MISD Marvels Hosts First Ever Mission Possible Day

On a sunny spring day, a select group of Montgomery ISD students took the field at the MISD Athletic stadium to participate in the first ever “Mission Possible Day.” The event was hosted by the MISD Special Education department and featured a wide range of events designed to showcase their athletic skills while having fun.

“Students were able to participate in field events such as Races, Distance Throwing, Individual Skills Games of Kicking and Dribbling, Group Games of Giant Volleyball, Parachute Games, Giant Cup Stacking, Line Dancing,” Executive Director of Special Education Meredith Burg said. “All games and activities were modified to fit the individual needs of our fantastic athletes.”

Also in attendance were student volunteers, district employees and parents to cheer the athletes, making it a special day for everyone.

“As the mother of a child with special needs, my circle tends to be pretty small. Talking to other parents that day felt like a weight was being lifted, even if temporarily. We connected and were able to brag on our kids’ victories and have the other person truly understand that sometimes the little things are REALLY BIG to a special needs parent,” MISD Marvels parent Jessica Prosser said. “Seriously, best day ever!”

Video Production students from Montgomery High School captured the action, producing a video highlighting the day’s exciting events. You can watch the video below.