Montgomery ISD Trustees Approve SMART Tag Transportation Technology Purchase for 2023-24 School Year

Trustees recognize state-level accomplishments in athletic and Academic Decathlon competitions

During the March meeting of the Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees, the Board approved the purchase of the SMART tag bus monitoring system, designed to increase the safety and security of students who use school bus transportation and add efficiencies to MISD transportation operations. ID cards assigned to students will register when and where students get on and off their bus and provide bus arrival notifications for parents and school administrators.

The student ID cards are read via a passive radio-frequency chip containing a unique identification number. The card is read by the SMART tag on-board tablet as students enter and exit their bus. The latest cloud technology, encryption and security protocols ensure student information is secure.

“We are excited to adopt the SMART tag technology in Montgomery ISD,” Trustee Linda Porten said. “This technology will enhance communication between our transportation department and parents. In addition to providing real-time GPS information about where our buses are and the students on those buses, parents may subscribe to text notifications to know when the bus is preparing for pickup and drop off. This feature will be incredibly helpful for busy families, alerting them with a 10-15 minute window for when the bus will arrive at their child’s stop.”

The SMART tag alert system will go into effect next fall when MISD bus routes have been finalized. More information about the system will be communicated to families in advance of the 2023-24 school year.  

Trustees also recognized Lake Creek student athletes Lauren Matula and Julie Moons. Matula, a junior, captured a gold medal in the 500 freestyle and silver medal in 200 freestyle event at the UIL Class 5A State Swimming and Diving Championships in February.  Matula is the first swimmer from Lake Creek to win a state medal. Moons, a junior, became the second Lake Creek athlete to win a medal at the event, taking silver in the 1-meter diving category.  

Also during the meeting, trustees recognized Montgomery ISD’s Academic Decathlon teams for their recent success at the state tournament.  Individuals named as state champions from Lake Creek include Brett Harrington and Krystal Moons. From Montgomery High, Addison Hedges, Steven Szladewski and Peyton Lawson earned top honors.  Both schools had multiple individual medalists and strong showings in the team competitions.   

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our Academic Decathlon programs,” Board President Matt Fuller said.  “These bright students began preparing for the state competition at the beginning of the school year, and we are pleased that their efforts were recognized against other individual participants and teams. We are delighted to have Montgomery ISD represented so well at the state level.”

Academic Decathlon challenges students in a multidisciplinary format, with a new theme each year. This year’s theme, the American Revolution and the New Nation, required students to study the era via Art, Economics, Literature, Music, and Social Science of the time. Curriculum is developed according to national content standards, encouraging participants to become both subject-level experts and stronger all-around students. Montgomery ISD is pleased to offer Academic Decathlon courses at both high schools.  

Montgomery ISD Student Councils earn statewide recognition, named Sweepstakes Councils

For outstanding achievement in leadership, service, and activities that serve to improve the school and community, Lake Creek and Montgomery High Schools have been recognized by the Texas Association of Student Councils (TASC) as Sweepstakes Councils.  

Sweepstakes councils must be recognized as an Outstanding Student Council and receive outstanding recognition in Drugs, Alcohol, Safety and Health (DASH); Pride and Patriotism; and Energy and Environment as well as submitting a Community Service Report. TASC has 1,166 member schoolsOf those, Lake Creek and Montgomery High School are two of only 171 student councils statewide to receive this highly-esteemed honor.  

Student Council members develop proven skills in team building, problem solving, project planning and decision making.  Through their co-curricular activities, student council members serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.  

TASC is a non-profit serving high school and middle level student councils in Texas.  Sponsored by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, its purposes are to develop leadership abilities in students, promote democracy as a way of life, and uphold high standards for local councils.  TASC members work every day to make schools a place where students and staff want to be and to leave our world better than they found it.  With almost 1200 member schools, it is the largest state student council organization in the US. 

Montgomery ISD is very proud of these student organizations and the collaboration that is done between each campus’ sponsor to support the MISD community. Congratulations to these students and the teachers and administrators that support their success.

Lake Creek HS broadcasting student earns nickname “Mr. Interview” with weekly campus segment

Each Monday at Lake Creek HS, “This Week at Lake Creek” is shared with all students and staff across campus in place of the morning announcements. Senior Lion, Tyler Blyden, a member of the A/V Productions Program that creates the weekly announcements, has been a part of the ManeStream media team since his sophomore year.

During the fall semester of his junior year, Tyler was granted permission to begin an inquiry segment, interviewing students and staff around Lake Creek in October, asking them what they planned to do or be for Halloween. The popularity of this segment continued as he was coined Lake Creek HS’s “Mr. Interview” and has spent time each month asking students and staff to share their plans, thoughts or ideas on the Mr. Interview segment of the weekly news.

As the final semester of his high school days was beginning, Tyler returned from Winter Break with a segment idea he presented to ManeStream teacher and producer, Len Schendel.

“I wanted to share facts of black history with the students on campus,” Tyler said. “I just asked if I could and Mr. Schendel told me to research the facts I wanted to share and I could put the segment together.”

Tyler began in January, using his “Mr. Interview” segment to ask students trivia facts about Martin Luther King, Jr and by February, he had created a series for Black History month to be included in each week’s news.

“He set out on a mission to plan, write, film, edit and produce and publish this series all on his own,” Schendel said. “All from a kid who started in my class as quiet as a church mouse, but is really finding his voice and breaking out of his shell.”

Tyler created each segment of his Black History Month on a different category, including the foundation of black history month, the civil rights movement, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The series was well received around campus and Mr. Interview was now in front of the camera, instead of behind. Tyler plans to attend Voices Carey after high school, an online school for voice acting, though he says that his favorite part of A/V Production that he’s learned at Lake Creek is the editing of video and film.

“These classes with Mr. Schendel have given me a whole different way to see media,” Tyler said. “My perspective in watching film is totally different now, recognizing how shots were captured and edits were made. I’m thankful that I know how to edit film, a skill I can use in my future when working to be a voice actor.”

From a quiet and shy student that was new to Montgomery ISD, to hosting his own segments and having his own news title, it’s clear that Mr. Interview is making the most of his time in A/V Productions.

You can view all Mr. Interview and Tyler’s Black History segments on the Mr. Interview webpage. ManeStream media productions can be found on Lake Creek HS’s website under the News tab. A/V Productions courses are offered at both Montgomery ISD high schools for students beginning in 9th grade.

Montgomery High, Lake Creek High Choir Students Shine at UIL Solo & Ensemble Contest

Students from both Montgomery ISD high school choirs competed in the Region 9 UIL Solo & Ensemble Contest on Saturday, February 4, 2023.  Both schools had a fantastic showing, each boasting a large contingency of singers who will advance to the state Solo & Ensemble contest in May.

Montgomery High School students, directed by Heather Orr and Spencer Tripp, earned a total of 79 first division medals and will advance 32 soloists and five ensembles to the state contest.

MHS Choir – UIL Solo & Ensemble Participants

MHS Soloists – First Division Medalists, State Qualifiers:

Mason Ainsworth (11)

Aiden Anderson (11)

Benjamin Barajas (10)

Saida Bourque (9)

Selena Cuyun-Rios (10)

Mary Hoke (11)

Aniyah Holiday (12)

Kayla Johnson (12)

Jenna Kaaz (12)

Baron Lockridge (11) 

Jacqueline Lucas (11)

Catherine McCorquodale (10)

Jack McCorquodale (11)

Owen McWhirter (12)

Grayson Moore (11)  

Joel Morgan (10)

Emily Morris (12)

Riley Morton (12)

Reagan Mosier (10)

Robin Neill (12)

Tyler Perrine (12)

Adelyn Rabel (11)

Kaitlyn Reeves (12)

Kailey Rooney (11)

Bella Salsbury (10)

Alyssa Schelski (11)

Raegan Sells (11)

Alyssa Sharpe (11)

Sam Siemonsma (9)

Aaliya Torres (10)

Audey Wendele (12)

Kristen Wendele (12) 

MHS Soloists – First Division Medalists:

Selma Alanis (9)

Annemarie Alexander (10)

Hayden Armstrong (9)

Addison Bullinger (9)

Brailee Fuentes (9)    

Sarah Hoke (9)          

Miliena Karakeian (9) 

Ariana Moore (9)

Samantha Noyola (9)

Ella Grace Robertson (9)

Alex Sawyer (10)       

Jax Tweto (10)

Alexandria Wedd (9)  

Jackson Welsh (10)   

MHS Ensembles – First Division Medalists, State Qualifiers:

Tenor/Bass Small Ensemble 

Benjamin Barajas (10)

Baron Lockridge (11)

Jack McCorquodale (11)

Tyler Perrine (12)       

Madrigal Ensemble

Mason Ainsworth (11)

Aniyah Holiday (12)

Kayla Johnson (12)

Joel Morgan (10)

Robin Neill (12)

Kailey Rooney (11)

Sam Siemonsma (9)  

Madrigal Ensemble    

Aiden Anderson (11)

Zoe King (12)

Owen McWhirter (12)

Grayson Moore(11)

Braedyn Ritchie (11)

Raegan Sells (11)

Audrey Wendele (12)

Kristen Wendele (12) 

Madrigal Ensemble    

Saida Bourque (9)

Addison Bullinger (9)

Sarah Hoke (9)

Samantha Noyola (9)

Ella Grace Robertson (9)

Sahely Sanchez (9)   

Madrigal Ensemble    

Mary Hoke

Jacqueline Lucas (11)

Catherine McCorquodale (10)

Emily Morris (12)

Riley Morton (12)

Adelyn Rabel (11)

Kaitlyn Reeves (12)

Alyssa Schelski (11)

Lake Creek Choir students, directed by Cameron Carnley and Debra Moses earned a total of 73 first division medals and will advance 19 soloists and three ensembles to the state contest.

LCHS Choir – UIL Solo & Ensemble Participants

LCHS Soloists –  First Division Medalists, State Qualifiers:

Mariely Amaya (12)

Abby Carswell (11)

Kenneth Chalk (11)

Adrah Eales (11)

Tarian Espinoza (12)

Emma Gober (12)

Paige Keith (12)

Blayn Lusk (11)

Molly Marshall (11)

Calder McDonald (12)

Donovan Miller (10)

Hannah Morrow (11)

Madi Perry (10)

Macey Pool (12)

Zoe Powell (11)

Alexia Romo (10)

Lily Sample-Conley (12)

Jacob Silver (12)

Jennifer Whitlock (11)

LCHS Soloists – First Division Medalists:

Catelyn Allen (10)

Keaton Anderson (10)

Leah Castle (11)

Maria Chapman (9)

Kaylee Crowley (10)

Madeline Dixon (10)

Raegan Eichenberg (9)

Abigail Fabre (11)

Madelyn Fellman (10)

Loren Flood (9)

Juan Flores (9)

Jenna Fruge (9)

Trey Fuhrmann (9)

Logan Grace (10)

Isaac Green (10)

Taylor Hallmark (9)

Trinity Houston (9)

Briley Keith (9)

Walker Littlejohn (9)

Autumn Lue King (12)

Caden McDonald (10)

Payton Nichols (9)

Viana Patio (10)

Mia Pazderny (10)

Carlos Ramos (10)

Kaidence Ramsey (10)

Ivyance Ruiz (10)

Dalton Schany (10)

Madison Spinks (10)

Sarah Temple (9)

Averie Trimble (9)

Levi Turner (10)

Niko Villarde (9)

Jason Waller (10)

LCHS Ensemble – First Division Medalists, State Qualifiers:

Tenor/Bass Small Ensemble 

Keaton Anderson (10)

Caden McDonald (10)

Calder McDonald (12)

Donovan Miller (10)

Tenor/Bass Small Ensemble 

Kenneth Chalk (10)

Logan Grace (10)

Jacob Silver (12)

Levi Turner (10)

Madrigal Ensemble

Abby Carswell (11)

Molly Marshall (11)

Madi Perry (10)

Macey Pool (11)

Zoe Powell (10)

Alexia Romo (10)

LCHS Ensemble – First Division Medalists:

Treble Small Ensemble         

Kaylee Crowley (10)

Tarian Espinoza (10)

Paige Keith (12)

Kaidence Ramsey (11)

Madison Spinks (10)  

Evelyn Villarde (11)

Congratulations to these talented students and best of luck to those advancing to the next level of competition.  

Student FFA leaders in Montgomery ISD taking leadership and dependability skills to college, using CTE health science pathway as they aspire to be NICU nurses 

Two girls overcoming adversity and learning the lessons of loss and commitment 

A love of animals and caretaking, a desire to lead, and a family that believes in the life lessons that come from raising and showing animals: the common denominators between Lake Creek HS senior Shelby Winn and Montgomery HS senior Gussie Armatys, two MISD medical pathway students that have found great benefit from their involvement in FFA through high school.  

Gussie is a charming student-leader, serving as President of the Montgomery HS FFA chapter and Area 11 Vice-President. With a true passion for FFA, Gussie believes with full conviction that the experience she has received since starting FFA in third grade has been the most influential factor in the student she is today and what she plans to become. 

“FFA was nothing new to me – it’s a family thing and always has been,” Gussie said. “But I have never learned responsibility and dedication more than I have through FFA, my animals and my projects.”  

Gussie started raising and showing goats in third grade, learning the hard lessons that these animals are not pets. The time and commitment given to raising an animal throughout the year naturally creates a bond, one that brought tears the first time Gussie’s goat made the sale. She says you get used to it and you have to remind yourself that this isn’t a pet and there is a purpose to the work.  

“So many nights I do not want to go to the barn. I want to go home and go to bed,” Gussie said. “But they count on me every day, and I think that prepares me for future life lessons of loss, dedication, giving your heart and soul to something that isn’t going to stick with you for the rest of your life.”  

Lake Creek senior Shelby Winn also comes from an agricultural family, sharing that raising and showing animals isn’t a hobby, but a lifestyle. Shelby is the Secretary of the Lake Creek HS FFA, is a competitive softball player and a member of Lake Creek’s State and National Champion softball team. Participation in FFA and showing steers since third grade has created a work ethic that she believes touches every part of her life, and taking part in both softball and FFA means sometimes the animal comes first, before Shelby gets dinner or even gets changed out of her softball uniform.  

“Raising an animal requires time before school and after school, no matter the weather or whatever else I have going on,” Shelby said. “I’m accountable to these animals. They depend on me and I have to show up!” 

FFA is about more than animals 

Both student leaders participate in FFA beyond showing animals and share the belief that FFA has something to offer every student. Participating in Leadership Development Events (LDEs) and Career Development Events (CDEs) has given both girls the opportunities to develop public speaking and leadership skills through preparation and competition.  

“FFA has taught me how to study!” Gussie said. “I have participated in job interview events that included application, resumes, interviews, and follow up and I was never the kid that stood up in class to talk in front of people, but FFA has changed that!” 

These development events provide opportunities for MISD students to compete in many areas that interest them, including meat science, horticulture, horse judging, public relations, radio broadcasting, ag advocacy, and more. Both girls have participated in LDEs and CDEs and are thankful for the confidence they have developed and the opportunities that have been available to challenge them.  

“There’s something for everyone,” Shelby said.  

“Some people think FFA is cows, plows, and sows,” Gussie said. “But it’s so much more!” 

Life lessons when things don’t go as planned 

The life lessons that come from raising and showing animals has taught both Shelby and Gussie how to overcome adversity, deal with grief and move on when things don’t always go your way. 

Gussie’s freshman year, just two weeks before county fair, her goat began to fall ill, eventually dying of coccidia, a bacterial disease. She fought to use medication and any remedies that were recommended to help him survive, but eventually had to realize that she’d be left without a goat to show for the first time since age 8.  

“We bought out Brookshire Brothers on greek yogurt to do whatever we could to help him,” Gussie said. “I only commit to one goat a year because I want to be able to give all that I have to him, and I was heartbroken.” 

Gussie has won several reserve-champion belt buckles through the years, but says that’s not something she prides herself on.  

“Sometimes you have a great sale and sometimes you don’t,” she said. “But the life lessons make up for any money lost and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.” 

Last year Shelby watched as two steers died in the same season, one snake bit, the other suffering a bloat and dying as they were trying to release it. Knowing then that they were gone and she couldn’t do anything about it, she had to figure out what to do next as she learned the lesson of loss and grief.  

“It took me a minute to overcome,” Shelby said. “It was so hard to watch and it was really emotional because I truly create a bond that’s not like anything else I have in my life. I don’t have a bond like this with friends, I mean, it’s completely different.” 

In eighth grade, Shelby received Grand Champion at San Antonio. However, when her steer weighed-out, she was stripped of her title and disqualified from the show.  

“That was a tough time for me,” Shelby said. “Because I put in all that effort and showed him to the best of my ability, was so proud when I won and then it was just over. But God had other plans and I’ve learned to trust Him through the process each year.” 

Shelby took that same steer to Houston just a few weeks later and won her breed with the steer selling for $140k. Overcoming challenges has created great opportunity for success, as Shelby has won Grand Champion American Steer at Montgomery County six times, with her sister being named Reserve Grand Champion three of those.  

“When the judge slaps my steer (selecting him as the champion), the first thing I do is pet his head,” Shelby said. “It’s a team effort and after the work we’ve put in together, it’s a win for both of us!” 

From showing animals to the CTE Medical Pathway 

Both Gussie and Shelby are CTE students taking Ag Science classes throughout high school, while also taking classes in the CTE Health Science pathway. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, they both believe the experience in FFA and raising and showing animals has given them a deep desire to be a NICU nurse.  

“I love people and I think that came from my experience with animals,” Gussie said. “Bottle feeding baby calves in the freezing cold, knowing that they are counting on me to show up and make no excuses. People have always held a place in my heart and I know the two things are connected.” 

Gussie is completing her CTE coursework through Montgomery ISD’s Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) program. Students that participate in CCMA clinical rotations through local doctors’ offices including physical therapy, assisted living, obstetricians, chiropractic and more, and are tested to receive their Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate, allowing them to go directly into a career post-graduation. Gussie will attend Texas A&M University in the fall, participating in their bridgeway program with West Texas A&M’s Nursing school. 

“For me, the medical assistant certificate will be a bridge of knowledge that makes getting my nursing degree a little easier,” Gussie said. “The preparation that this CTE pathway has provided has given me the confidence I need to start my degree plan in college.” 

Shelby is not able to participate in MISD’s Health Science Practicum program because of her softball commitments, but she is attending The University of Central Arkansas in the fall to play softball and be a student in UCA’s nursing school, the number one ranked nursing school in Arkansas.  

“These health science classes have taught me so much including medical terminology and learning all about diseases in pathophysiology this year,” Shelby said. “Some years my medical classes made me most excited to go to school every day and I absolutely feel prepared for nursing school.” 

Shelby’s plan for being a NICU nurse touches close to home, as her family was touched by the support of NICU nurses when Shelby was a child. At the age of five, Shelby’s mother Alice gave birth to twins at just 27 weeks gestation. After weeks in the NICU, her sister Morgan came home from the hospital without her twin brother. Shelby remembers the impact that the nurses made for her family during that challenging time and feels the desire to do the same for others.  

“My mom still talks about the nurses and the difference they made for her during that terrible time,” Shelby said. “I truly didn’t understand the power of it then, but the nurses made a difference that I hope to be able to make one day.” 

The MISD Health Science and Agricultural Science CTE pathways are available at both Lake Creek and Montgomery HS and students can begin exploring their interest in this study with Principles of Health Science in 8th grade. Montgomery ISD will be opening the CTE and Ag-Science center in Fall 2025, serving all MISD students and providing barn space and a show arena for all students in FFA across the district.  

Montgomery ISD Approves 2023-24 Academic Calendar

Trustees approve purchase of three police vehicles with 2022 bond funds

During the February meeting of the Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees, the Board approved the academic calendar for 2023-24, and added an additional student holiday to the current 2022-23 calendar.    

Montgomery ISD sought community input on the 2023-24 calendar through a survey conducted October 2022.  The calendar was developed by a district advisory committee comprised of MISD staff, parents and community members who met several times to study survey feedback and recommend a version of the 2023-24 calendar to submit to the Board of Trustees for their approval.

“I am grateful to the members of our district advisory committee for their development of the 2023-24 academic calendar,” Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said. “The process began last September, and the committee members considered many options to reflect the calendar preferences shared by our MISD community along with the calendar requirements from the state of Texas.”

Montgomery ISD’s calendar is set well in advance so that families and staff members can plan their activities according to school schedules. 

“The district advisory committee members created a calendar that was responsive to the feedback we received from the survey and from the groups they represent,” Board Vice-President Laurie Turner said.  “We received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the fall and winter breaks in our current calendar, so we were excited to build those into next year’s calendar. We’re very pleased with the highly collaborative process that the district has initiated and used to develop our academic calendar.”

The first day of school for the 2023-24 school year is August 10, 2023.

Approved 2023-24 academic calendar.

Trustees also approved the administration’s recommendation to add an additional student holiday in the current school year, on Monday, March 20, extending Spring Break for students by one day. March 20 will be a workday for teachers and staff.

Revised 2022-23 academic calendar.

During the meeting, trustees also approved the purchase of three new police vehicles, with funding approved by voters in the district’s May 2022 bond referendum.

“We are excited to move forward with this investment in school safety,” Trustee Shawn Denison said.  “These additional police vehicles will increase the presence and efficiency of the district’s police department. They will also provide our community with improved coverage and quicker response times, in any event where officers are needed across the district. I am grateful for the community’s approval of the 2022 bond, particularly the funding for these valuable upgrades to school safety and security.”

Montgomery ISD takes CTE law enforcement pathway to practicum level, providing in-district mentoring opportunity through MISD Police Department

Montgomery High School senior Gage Cagle has known since he was in first grade that he wants to be a police officer when he grows up. Like most young kids, the bright lights and fast cars were exciting and the attraction to this career choice has never wavered.  

Gage moved to Montgomery ISD halfway through his junior year, coming from a technical school in Tulsa, OK. Having had law classes already on his transcript, he was thankful that MISD offered a CTE pathway to continue his studies and has since implemented a practicum level course, offering internship experience within the district, as he shadows and is mentored by officers right here in Montgomery ISD.  

“The officers in our district are providing an immense amount of wisdom with their experience,” Gage said. “From officers with HPD experience, former State Troopers, Edelman having worked with SWAT and Stewart having experience with K-9 units, I have a great group of officers to learn from.” 

Students in the law enforcement pathway that progress to the practicum level get to experience what being a police officer in the school district is like, not only gaining “boots on the ground” experience, but getting to talk through scenarios, see how decisions are made behind the scenes and gain knowledge that cannot be found in a textbook. Gage works with officers to complete safety checks, door checks, learn about community policing initiatives and their discussion time covers topics including law review, case law and report writing. He has even been able to shadow officers during lock-down and fire drills performed in the district.  

As Gage schedules his week, he is spending first through third period four days a week on elementary, junior high and high school campuses and gaining insight from Officers Reed Edelman, Stephen Countz, Don Spradlin and Montgomery HS’s Bruce Stewart and Marcus Bolden.  

“Students in this program have the fantastic opportunity to pick the minds of officers that have up to 40 years of experience in law enforcement,” Edelman said. “Obtaining first-hand knowledge from officers who do the job every day can provide invaluable insight into what it means to be a police officer.” 

Participating in the law enforcement pathway also provides a significant amount of time studying principles of law, law enforcement and court systems. Through the court systems class, Gage has learned and practiced how to testify in court as both a witness and a police officer, as well as the laws in place in a courtroom regarding legal questioning and evidence submission.  

“Court Systems has provided confidence in addition to the experience that the law enforcement internship has,” Gage said. “In competition, it’s a real courtroom experience and I had to memorize the deposition and become very familiar with the facts of our case. It truly prepared me for what a courtroom experience will be like when I’m the officer on the stand.”  

The MHS Mock Trial team, led by law enforcement teacher Valerie Krizan, advanced to Regionals this year and earned second place. Before becoming a teacher and starting this program in Montgomery ISD thirteen years ago, Krizan worked in the private sector for 25 years as a paralegal.  

“It was great to start this program with my husband, a former HPD officer, giving students experience in Mock Trial through the court systems and law enforcement classes” Krizan said. “But I’m so thankful for the work of Amy Vance and MISD’s growing CTE department in helping us expand this program and provide this internship opportunity for students like Gage.” 

Completing a CTE program of study in Montgomery ISD requires great commitment from students, with practicum opportunities often removing the option to have late arrival or early release in order to participate in the internship hours as a senior. Gage is a student that has made that commitment and feels like the benefits of building his resume and creating connections that will help him succeed in his goals are worth the effort and additional time at school.  

“I’m learning more than the law from this experience,” Gage said. “As I’m growing in my faith as a Christian, I don’t just want to be a police officer that sends people to jail. I want to help teach and educate and learning from these mentors as they lead and care about the kids in MISD is building confidence in me to do that.” 

Krizan has also made connections with the City of Montgomery PD to allow Gage and other law enforcement students to partner with their officers in an internship experience and says that although you have to be 21 to be a police officer, there are opportunities with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Department for Gage to receive delayed entry to work for the county.  

“He’s building his resume, will be a member of the MISD Citizen’s Police Academy and the county is offering an opportunity for our seniors to attend training,” Krizan said. “All these doors are really starting to open, and we’re just really excited about it.” 

Gage’s work ethic and enthusiasm for learning has really grabbed the attention of the MISD officers that are helping to provide the internship experience. 

“I truly believe that law enforcement is his calling,” Edelman said. “He enjoys learning and understands the concepts of what law enforcement is about. His initiative to expand this program shows his dedication to MISD and future law enforcement officers.” 

Gage hopes to attend Sam Houston State and major in Criminal Justice and would like to work with either the Sherriff’s Department or State PD. He’d love to start out working in the jail, sharing encouragement and learning, but if you ask him to dream big, he’d like to be Chief of the State Trooper Division.  

“I want to be a faithful steward of God and use my career to help people in the community at the same time,” Gage said.  

The MISD Law Enforcement and Legal Studies CTE Pathway is available at both Lake Creek and Montgomery HS and students can begin exploring their interest in this study with Principles of Law Enforcement their freshman year.   

MISD cosmetology students making plans for the future, taking their skills to district competition

Career and Technical Education opportunities at the high school level are meant to open doors for a student’s future, giving them necessary training and experience that can be used to either fuel a passion or meet a future need in a career of their choice. For MISD Cosmetology students, the training and experience is providing both – allowing these students to learn a lifelong skill that can provide a career opportunity immediately following graduation.  

Montgomery HS junior, Emily Miranda, began her CTE pathway in ROTC and really didn’t feel like that was the place for her to find success. When she heard that MISD was opening a Cosmetology program, she realized an opportunity was in front of her that she couldn’t resist.  

“When I learned that I’d be able to use my time in high school to get my license, I knew it would give me a foot to stand on when I go to college,” Emily said. “I want to go to school for Criminal Justice, but I will need this side hustle to help me pay for school.” 

Though all students in the Cosmetology program will learn skills including hair, skincare, makeup, nails and barber training, each student is finding that they are interested in focusing on one area that they can challenge themselves in through competition.  

“My focus is on barber – learning flat tops, fading, shaving and doing boy haircuts.” Emily said. “But my favorite thing I’ve learned that I never thought I’d be able to do is nails. Learning acrylics was super cool and easier than I thought it would be.” 

Rylee Wolfley is a junior at Lake Creek HS and spends her first three periods of each day in the MICA classroom and studios. She has always known that she wanted to do hair and after starting to ask her counselors in 8th grade what she could do to be in cosmetology in high school, she was so excited to learn that the district was opening a cosmetology program just in time for her to participate. Without a pathway for the program yet, Rylee began by taking Principles of Human Services and then a Hospitality class to gain the customer service part of owning her own business. Rylee has grown up watching her aunt do hair, running her own salon, and says she has always wanted to do the same. 

“This has always been my dream,” Rylee said. “I plan to start working right out of high school to support myself, but I really just feel like cosmetology is a life-long skill that will allow me to be a stay-at-home-mom and also have a way to support and serve my family one day.” 

Rylee is focusing on the cosmetology skills of haircuts and styling and says she really enjoys doing updos and testing her creative skills in that way.  

The cosmetology students have monthly opportunities to participate in salon nights, in which they open the salon to family and friends that schedule appointments for anything from an eyebrow wax to a hair style or manicure. The students really appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to gain experience.  

“Oh, salon nights are just so fun!” Rylee said. “When I had a five-year-old come in that had never gotten her haircut before, I got to help her enjoy the experience and her face just lit up when I turned her around to show her. I was just so happy to get to make her happy!”  

Montgomery HS junior, Kloye Morgan, began her high school studies on the medical pathway, believing she would study to be a plastic surgeon.  Having always had an interest in beauty and self-care, Kloye thought that might be the best idea.  

“When cosmetology became available I changed my pathway because I thought it was a great opportunity to be able to learn and work right out of high school,” Kloye said. “But I want to use my job to make money and pay for a degree in business, so one day I can open my own salon. I’ve fallen in love with doing nails!” 

Kloye enjoys salon night and the way it feels like she’s already in her career. She enjoys growing relationships with students that she is with for three periods each day and says that they’re all becoming such great friends.  

“I love Ms. Moyers!” Kloye said. “She’s a great teacher and she really cares about teaching us the right way to do things so we can be successful!” 

The MISD Cosmetology instructor, Mrs. Moyers, also got her cosmetology license in high school and started working at the age of 18. She then transitioned to teaching for beauty school companies and moved to the college level in 2003, opening the program at Navarro Junior College.  

“I teach this high school course just like my college program,” Moyers said. “It’s the same license and I have them start cutting hair on mannequins the second week of school.”  

Mrs. Moyer has planned the salon nights to give students the opportunity to not only test their skills and put what they’ve learned into practice, but also to overcome the nerves of having real clients. The money raised from these nights is used to purchase additional supplies and mannequins and support the needs of the program.  

“It’s like you’re actually doing a job and there’s all these people here so it can be stressful,” Emily said. “But it’s a great learning opportunity and we get to put our skills to the test.” 

Another Montgomery HS junior, Merlot Martin, has found a passion for skincare through her time in the Cosmetology pathway. Having no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up, thinking maybe she’d be a nurse or teacher, Merlot started her high school in the human services pathway. Then she got her first facial and loved it so much she wanted to explore a career as an esthetician.  

“I’ll be able to do anything in cosmetology with the license I receive,” Merlot said. “But I’m focusing on skincare and makeup and I want to be an esthetician. I find things like pimple popping so satisfying and I think it’s great that I can start a career right after high school doing something I really enjoy!” 

Starting high school in the human services pathway had Merlot taking a few health classes, in which she earned her CPR certification. Though all of her elective time now goes to Cosmetology, she is thankful for the CTE pathway opportunities that have prepared her for taking care of clients and having her own esthetic spa one day.  

“When I first went into this, I thought I knew a lot about hair and makeup,” Merlot said. “If you want to do hair or nails and makeup, Ms. Moyers gets stuff done and is making sure that we really know what we’re doing. The time she spends with each of us is building our confidence and helping us see a future from this work.” 

Students working for their cosmetology license are attending a skills contest in Galveston on Friday, February 17. This will be the first time that MISD has sent students to a cosmetology competition and each student has selected a category in which to compete. They will each have three timed rounds of skills on models and will be scored for their creativity and execution of skills.  

Emily will be competing in barber skills and Rylee will be doing cosmetology, including both a long and short haircut, as well as a fantasy hairstyle. Kloye will be doing three levels of nail skills including acrylics, gel and nail art, and Merlot will be doing esthetics which will include a facial, daily makeup and then an elaborate fantasy face creation.  

“These girls are better than any college level class I’ve ever had!” Moyers said. “They catch on so quickly and they are passionate about what they’re doing!” 

The MISD Cosmetology program is an opportunity for students at both Lake Creek and Montgomery HS. Though it is currently housed at the Montgomery HS East Campus, the program will be centralized at the new Career and Technical Education Center that was approved by voters in the May 2022 bond. 

Homegrown Talent Returns to MISD Classrooms for Education and Training Program

Lake Creek students complete practicum hours in former teachers’ classrooms

Montgomery ISD’s Practicum in Education and Training Program offers students in high school that are considering a career in education the opportunity to step to the front of the classroom and learn the role of teacher. Students are able to select the grade level they would like to teach and if the scheduling can be coordinated, they can even request their mentor teacher by name. At Lake Creek High School, four practicum students have done just that, requesting the opportunity to be mentored by someone they love and adore, that already made an impact on their education. One is even learning from her own mother, her very own elementary PE teacher.

Madi Wells, a junior, is one of Coach Bobbi Wells’ five daughters, and she’s getting to spend a little extra one-on-one time with her mom this school year, teaching fifth and first grade PE at Keenan ES.

“It’s so different to be on this side of the gym with her, to learn how she handles things, watching how the kids act and how she responds,” said Madi. “My mom loves her job and getting to assist her in teaching and coaching has really helped me learn how to work with kids.”

It’s a rare thing to get to teach your own child, but also being their mentor and having a front row seat to them stepping out of their comfort zone is something many parents don’t get to see when their kids are at school for the majority of the day.

“Madi loves kids, but I’m not sure I ever thought of teaching as her direct path,” said Coach Wells. “I was honored that she wanted to be with me and it’s led to some great conversations at home, making connections and discussing what the day is like and how teachers have to be flexible. I think she’s come to appreciate the job that teachers have.”

Keenan ES has a ‘Power Packs’ program for their first graders, in which students can take home a backpack on the weekend full of PE equipment to encourage them to spend time outside, playing games and sharing PE games with their families. Madi is in charge of organizing and completing the inventory on those backpacks each week, making sure they are ready to go home with students each Friday.

“Madi is a perfectionist, so I’ve been very impressed to see how confident she has been in taking on responsibilities and making connections with kids,” said Coach Wells. “We know how important it is to call a child by name, and she’s really piggy-backed off of that to make our students feel connected in class.”

Avery Bowers, a senior at Lake Creek HS, is completing her practicum time in Mrs. Roach’s second grade class, also at Keenan ES, and says that her experience with Mrs. Roach has grown her desire to be a teacher herself. Christine Roach was Avery’s fifth grade teacher in Montgomery ISD and has actually known Avery’s father since high school, when she worked at his family’s restaurant.

“The same little things that made her my all-time favorite teacher are the same things she still does today to connect with her students and make them feel like the most important kids in the room,” said Avery. “To this day, she’s still my favorite teacher, and I hope I can learn from her how to create a classroom that is fun and that students want to come to each day!”

Being on the mentor side of the Education in Training program, Mrs. Roach is getting to enjoy seeing the growth in her former student, feeling honored that Avery wanted to return to her classroom.

“Avery is very mature and her servant heart has been a wonderful thing to witness,” said Roach. “She takes initiative to help my students and gets right down on the floor to guide them in what they are doing. She is fantastic with the kids and is a natural teacher!”

Lake Creek junior, Grace Stadler, is completing her first year of practicum with Mrs. Wilson, her former fourth grade teacher at Stewart Creek ES. Grace’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and began her two-year battle for survival while Grace was in Mrs. Wilson’s class. Grace remembers how Mrs. Wilson supported her through that time, encouraging her to write about what she was feeling and being a motherly figure when her mother wasn’t able to be fully present.

“I truly cannot think of a better person to learn from after I think of the difference she made in my life that year,” said Grace. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to do teaching and actually started this year without this on my schedule, but when I found out I could learn from her and be in her room again, I knew it was the right choice. Although it’s been a lot to learn and it clearly has its challenges, getting to be able to make a difference in a child’s life, the way Mrs. Wilson was able to do for me, it’s just the coolest feeling.”

Mrs. Wilson fondly remembers Grace’s smile and her enthusiasm to always share what she had written. “I can close my eyes and see fourth grade Grace!” said Wilson. “She always had and still has a million dollar smile that ignites straight from the heart!”

Current students in Mrs. Wilson’s class truly love their “Miss Grace” and can see the connection, the love and respect that these two have for each other.

“Cancer chapters, as hard as they are, often become chapters filled with great blessing!” said Wilson. “That fourth-grade Grace was scared and at times at a loss of what to do or how to handle this huge frightening challenge. I got to be in Grace’s corner, sharing life and creating a connection that will always be there. Fast forward to today and I truly feel that my current students feel more valued and safe by seeing our teacher/student relationship that is still so strong.”

Junior Abby Carswell is the first practicum student at Lake Creek HS to do her training in choir, under the leadership of Oak Hills Choir Director Kristin Norris. Abby’s choir experience at Oak Hills JH really instilled a love and passion for music and Mrs. Norris’ positive energy has been the driving force in helping Abby decide if this is the direction she wants to go.

“Mrs. Norris is always so bubbly and it just makes me want to be that way too – it’s contagious!” said Abby. “I love getting to interact with the kids and work with students, getting to share our love of music and signing together. She’s just so good at it, so it’s easy to learn from her!”

Having taught her, her brother and knowing her family, it was an honor for Norris to have her return as a student-teacher, setting an example and being a leader for the girls

“Abby is incredible!” said Norris. “She is such a great leader, a phenomenal student and was a joy to have in junior high. She is teaching one of my sixth grade girls groups and they legitimately cheer when she walks in the room!”

Learning to teach music and manage classroom expectations with such a large group of students is preparing Abby for a future as a music teacher. She models both vocally and with hand signs, supports students vocally by section, leads warm-ups and works with small groups as the choir prepares for performances.

“I was questioning if this (being a teacher) is what I really want to do, and this experience of working with Ms. Norris has confirmed that I want to study Music Education! It’s what I know – it’s what I love – and if I can be like her then my job would be great!”

Taking part in CTE Practicum courses allows Montgomery ISD students to decide if the idea they have for their future is really something they want to pursue, something they know they’ll enjoy. Practicum in Education and Training is offered at both Lake Creek and Montgomery High Schools and is available to all MISD students interested in pursuing or considering a career in education.

“It’s easy to say you want to be a teacher,” said Coach Bobbi Wells. “But the opportunity that this program gives all students- the teaching, organization skills and learning how to constantly adjust – provides a real experience in what it takes to be a teacher, hopefully helping them decide if this is the path they really want to take.”

Montgomery ISD Musicians Earn All-State Honors

Ten Choir and Band Students to perform at TMEA State Convention

Montgomery ISD is excited to announce ten students have been named All-State musicians for the 2022-23 school year.  Each fall, over 70,000 high school students across the state audition in their TMEA Region. Individuals perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part. A select group of musicians advances to compete against musicians from other Regions in their TMEA Area. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in one of 18 Texas All-State ensembles.

Montgomery ISD All-State Choir honorees are as follows:

Ben Barajas, MHS

Mary Hoke, MHS

Tyler Perrine, MHS

Kaitlyn Reeves, MHS

Alyssa Schelski, MHS

Kenny Chalk, LCHS

Montgomery ISD All-State Band honorees are as follows:

Valentina Gomez, Clarinet, MHS

Anthony Kotinek, French Horn, MHS

DJ Haynes, Tuba, LCHS

Carter-Huget Hrupp, Trumpet, LCHS

“We are so thrilled for these students and all the students who auditioned this year,” Montgomery High School Choir Director Heather Orr said. “Auditioning for All State Coir and Band is an incredible journey that is full of growth, commitment to excellence and amazing memories. Congratulations to all these fine students and their families. “

All-state honorees from Montgomery ISD will travel to San Antonio to perform at the TMEA Convention February 8-11. In addition to All-State Ensemble performances, the TMEA Convention provides opportunities for professional development for current and future music educators at every level and discipline.