Montgomery ISD Trustees Nominate Dr. Heath Morrison for Texas Superintendent of the Year

During the Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees workshop last week, the Board approved their nomination of Dr. Heath Morrison for Texas Superintendent of the Year.

Dr. Morrison began the role of Montgomery ISD Superintendent in July 2020, just a few months into the pandemic when COVID-19 cases were rising, and education officials were grappling with how to re-open schools for in-person instruction. Under his leadership, Montgomery ISD was one of the first districts in Texas to resume in-person learning with 95% of students back in the classroom by October 2020. Drawing from many years of experience as an educator and leader in the private sector, Morrison enlisted community support to create the district’s Pathway to Premier strategic plan. Adopted in June 2021, the plan supports goals focused on five areas: Academic Achievement, School Safety, Operations and Finance, Human Capital, and Communications & Customer Service. The community’s level of engagement during the development of the bold but realistic Pathway to Premier Strategic Plan was unique for MISD. The collaboration during this process helped build community trust in the school district.

Morrison worked with MISD leadership to form a bond task force in early 2022. The task force evaluated the district budget, enrollment, and needs and desires of the community. In May 2022, the Montgomery, Texas community voted to approve a historic $326M bond initiative to benefit all students in Montgomery ISD, addressing the needs that come from significant growth in student enrollment, providing facility upgrades at campuses districtwide and enhancements to the MISD Career and Technical Education programs and facilities. Montgomery ISD’s bond, with three separate propositions, was one of only seven in the state that was passed in its entirety.

Montgomery ISD faces unique challenges funding challenges, receiving approximately $3,000 less per student than the state average. Additionally, Montgomery ISD is often subject to a law referred to as “Robin Hood” where it is required to send a portion of its local property tax revenues back to the state for redistribution. This disparity in per-student funding puts MISD at a significant disadvantage in terms of staff compensation levels and educational programming for students. Dr. Morrison and MISD trustees have worked to communicate this funding challenge to elected officials and adopted a legislative platform aimed at enacting impactful changes to state funding formulas for public schools. Last fall, Dr. Morrison initiated MISD’s Did You Know campaign, sharing information about public school funding in Texas and its impact on MISD. The campaign includes videos, graphics, and other information that was shared with the community in advance of the state’s January 2023 legislative session. The campaign helped the community understand the challenge, empowering them to stand with the district as it works to balance the budget while optimizing compensation and staffing levels and providing MISD students with the educational programming they deserve. Morrison and the MISD trustees have truly championed this initiative, demonstrating leadership and advocacy for the school district and community.

“Montgomery ISD has benefitted tremendously under Dr. Morrison’s leadership,” Board President Matt Fuller said. “During each of the three years of his tenure, he has tackled a critically important project – developing the Pathway to Premier Strategic Plan in 2021, passing the historic $326M bond in 2022, and addressing MISD’s funding challenges with our lawmakers in the current legislative session. He has met every challenge head-on, driven purely by a sense of doing what is best for our students and staff members.”

Morrison’s career has been marked by numerous accolades throughout his years of service. In 2004, he was selected as the Maryland Principal of the Year, he was named Nevada Superintendent of the Year in 2011 and he was the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year in 2012.

“We are happy to nominate Dr. Morrison for this honor because, under his leadership, Montgomery ISD has made incredible strides toward improving the district culture,” Board Vice President Laurie Turner said. “He cultivates a harmonious relationship between district leadership and the school board, encouraging us to always act in the best interests of our students and employees. His dedication to garnering community support has created a valuable alliance of folks willing to help the school district in every way possible. His collaborative, all-hands-on-deck approach is the key to helping our students learn and thrive in a safe environment filled with high-quality educators and the tools they need to succeed in Montgomery ISD and beyond.”

Dr. Morrison was humbled by the nomination.

“I tried to talk to the board into not doing this because I am more interested in pursuing recognition for our teachers, administrators, and support staff,” Morrison said. “I am honored to serve Montgomery ISD, doing this important work alongside our trustees and our employees. I am very grateful for this nomination.”

The 2023 Texas Superintendent of the Year will be announced in September.

Lake Creek Student Council to be named Top Video at State Conference

Lake Creek High School’s Student Council video will earn top honors at the Texas Association of Student Councils (TASC) Annual Conference.  Only ten high schools and five middle-level councils earn this honor in the state of Texas can earn this honor. 

TASC is the largest student council association in the world, and the videos recognized at its conference represent the most outstanding videos submitted from across the state.  Student Councils across Texas positively impact their communities, schools, and peers through the activities they host and the projects they complete.  The theme for video submissions was Lead with Heart.  Lake Creek’s video highlighting their school wide carnival planned by student council officers was a perfect example of ‘leading with heart.’   

You can view the video and learn about the Lake Creek Carnival here:

As student councils members across the state of Texas cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be moving on to college and careers with a commitment to public service, civic participation, and the knowledge that they make a difference in their communities and their lives through service to others and participation in the democratic process.  The contributions made by high school student council members under the guidance of exceptional Student Council advisors deserves to be celebrated!  Congratulations to Lake Creek’s StuCo for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their school and community. These students embody TASC’s dedication to student voice, engagement, and leadership. 

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.