Seven Montgomery ISD choir students named to Texas All-State Choir

All-State honor reflects students’ extraordinary commitment to musical excellence

Four Montgomery HS choir students and three Lake Creek HS choir students have each earned the prestigious honor of being named to the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Choir for 2022.

“The choir departments at both Montgomery and Lake Creek high schools are phenomenal programs full of extremely talented individuals,” Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said. “Receiving such high praise at the state level is highly commendable and Montgomery ISD is very proud of these students, their directors and the work they have put in to represent not only themselves, but all of Montgomery.”

Seniors Anna McKaughan, Landon Pate and Cassidy Ruda, and Junior Kaitlyn Reeves are members of the Montgomery HS Varsity Choir and the Montgomery Madrigals, under the direction of Heather Orr. This is the first time for Cassidy and Kaitlyn to perform as members of the TMEA All-State Choir, as Anna will be performing for her second time and Landon, his third.

“These students have shown so much dedication, focus and resilience in this competitive process and I am so proud of their work ethic,” Orr said. “Making the Texas All-State Choir is an individual honor that also brings honor and acclaim to the Fine Arts and Choir programs at Montgomery High School.”

Seniors Madison Berg, Patrick Hermes and Mary McCreary are members of the Lake Creek HS Choir Department, under the direction of Cameron Carnley. This is Madison and Patrick’s first time to perform as a member of a TMEA All-State organization and Mary’s second time.

“Making an All State Choir is the highest honor an individual choir student can achieve in the state of Texas,” Carnley said. “Mary, Madison, and Patrick have all grown into fine musicians over the past four years and I am beyond proud of their determination and pursuit of excellence. Our theme at Lake Creek High School this year is “Premier is Here,” and these students have proved that true.”

All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. These students were chosen for this prestigious honor through a competitive process held this year across the state at District, Region, Pre-Area, and Area levels. TMEA sponsors the Texas All-State audition process to promote students’ dedication to their musical knowledge and skill and to encourage educators to support their students in this development.

This competitive process begins throughout the state in auditions hosted by 33 TMEA Regions. Over 70,000 individual musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part. From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to compete against musicians from other areas in eight TMEA Area competitions. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to a TMEA All-State music group.

Texas Music Educators Association sponsors the Texas All-State competition. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State music group. Only the top 2.6% of musicians who initially audition become All-State musicians; 1,875 students selected to perform in one of 18 ensembles.

These All-State students participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally recognized conductors during the TMEA Clinic/Convention and will perform with the Texas All-State Choir in San Antonio, Saturday, February 12, 2022 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Their performances for thousands of attendees will bring this extraordinary process to a close.

For the All-State concert schedule and conductor information, go to the Performances section of http://www.tmea.org/convention.

Lake Creek Senior performing her way to the Grammy Ballot

Attend any Lake Creek HS choir or theater program and one special voice is going to stand out and impress. Lake Creek senior Lexi Delahoussaye has been performing and singing since she was just four years old, when her parents first realized she was made for the stage.

“Since she was little, her singing and confidence has always left people in awe,” Lexi’s father Todd Delahoussaye said. “It does me too, but I’m most impressed with the hard-working perfectionist that has the innate ability to sing directly to your heart and soul.”

After moving to Louisiana at age seven, Lexi started with a vocal coach and joined a singing group that performed at various venues, while also participating in Community Theater programs with her local church. Her father’s favorite performance was when Lexi was just seven, in which she sang the National Anthem, spur of the moment, at a company Clay Shoot in front of 2000 adults, leaving the audience speechless.

Coming back to Texas in sixth grade, Lexi began her journey as a choir student in Montgomery ISD and has worked under several MISD choir directors, having attended Montgomery Middle School, Montgomery JH, Oak Hills JH and Lake Creek HS. She is now a student in two varsity level choir classes and also serves one class period as assistant to LCHS Choir Director, Mr. Cameron Carnley. She says that her most influential person in her music career is Mr. Carnley and his slogan that “We Sing to Inspire” is something she will carry with her always.

“Lexi is talented, but beyond that she is extremely hard-working and humble,” Carnley said. “She wants our programs to truly be the best and loves to learn by accepting constructive criticism. She is kind and intelligent and it is truly a gift to be able to teach her.”

As a freshman at Lake Creek HS, Lexi was a member of the school’s first theater team, helping lead the team to State in UIL One Act Play and earning 5A State Best Performer for her lead role as Becca in Rabbit Hole, in which the team placed seventh. She has continued to lead the theater program with lead roles in other plays including Vintage Hitchcock and The Memory of Water, as well as playing the iconic role of Miss Scarlet in the fall production of Clue and The Ghost of Christmas Past in their current production, A Christmas Carol.

“Lexi is one of those students who is not only superbly talented, but she has the strong work ethic to match,” Lake Creek HS Theater Director Robert Ramirez said. “At the end of every rehearsal she asks if there is anything that needs to be done. She clearly has a deep love and respect for the theatrical process and that comes across in everything she does.”

In addition to school theater, Lexi has been with Main Stage Productions and Class-Act Productions, with roles in plays including Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast. When asked who her biggest fan is, she didn’t hesitate to say it is her dad, who is always encouraging her and challenging her to try new things.

“Lexi is an old soul,” Mr. Delahoussaye said. “Her ability to display emotion, whether singing or acting, blows my mind. I must have seen her in Rabbit Hole 20 times her freshman year, and it got me every time!”

Lexi Delahoussaye stars as Becca in Rabbit Hole, in which she was awarded 5A State of Texas Best Actress in a One Act Play. Pictured with her is co-star Samuel Irving in the role of Howie.

Last year, at just 17 years old, Lexi joined the Sarah Kelly music school and would participate in “Singing on the Lawn” in Market Street, performing for local crowds. Her father encouraged her to take a songwriting class and with the support of Kendal Mays, Lexi wrote the lyrics to her first solo, Watercolor Memories. It was produced by Jonas Ekman (Sweekman) and released on the school’s own record label, Sweekman Artists. The school submitted the song for consideration in the “Best Pop Solo Performance” category for the 2022 Grammy Awards and it appeared on the Grammy Ballot. Though it did not get an official nomination among the names Justin Beiber, Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande, it is a huge accomplishment for a young student trying out song-writing for the first time.

Lexi is looking forward to studying Musical Theater in college. She has been accepted to each school that she has applied to and is narrowing down her choices based on their Musical Theater programs, knowing that the stage is where her passion lies.

“Lexi is talented, yes. But she is also a pleasant individual with great ideas,” Ramirez continued. “Because of that, you just want to work with her, and I think that will serve her well as she begins her journey into the professional world of acting and performance.”

National Signing Day Spotlight Shines on Lion Athletes

It was an exciting day at Lake Creek High School as Lion athletes made their higher education intentions known as part of National Signing Day. In all, eight students signed letters of intent to the college of their choice. 

“This is an exciting day for our athletes, their families, and Lake Creek High School Athletics,” LCHS Campus Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach Pat Kennedy said. “It’s the reward after years of hard work and dedication to their chosen sport and academic studies as they take their next step in their educational journey and beyond. We’re incredibly proud.”

Caelee Clark                            Softball                       Texas Lutheran University

Anna Ertischek                     Volleyball                    Brandeis University

Rilynn Guynes                       Swim                           St. Mary University

Mikole Hogan                         Rifle                             Texas Christian University

Emma Little                            Track and Field           Texas A&M University

Madelyn Lopez                       Softball                        Syracuse University

Jaron Lyness                          Baseball                      Tyler Junior College

Shane Sdao                             Baseball                      Texas A&M University

Anna Ertischlek: Brandeis University, Volleyball
Jaron Lyness: Tyler Junior College, Baseball
Shane Sdao: Texas A&M University, Baseball
Mikole Hogan: Texas Christian University, Rifle
Caelee Clark: Texas Lutheran University, Softball
Madelynn Lopez: Syracuse University, Softball
Riylenn Guynes: St. Mary University, Swim
Emma Little: Texas A&M University, Track and Field

Duane McFadden named Acting Principal of Lake Creek High School  

25-year veteran of Montgomery ISD will lead campus through remainder of the school year before retiring in June  

Montgomery ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison has named Duane McFadden as Acting Principal of Lake Creek HS for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.   

In October, long-time Montgomery ISD administrator Phil Eaton announced his decision to retire from his position as Lake Creek High School Principal in December after 43 years in public education.  

McFadden, who is currently the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, has served in Montgomery ISD since 1996. He has been in his current role for the previous nine years. Prior to that, he served as the principal of Montgomery Junior High School for 13 years after 4 years as an assistant principal in the district.   

McFadden will officially transition to Acting Principal of Lake Creek High School when students return from Winter Break in January.  

“Duane has a deep understanding of the campus culture at Lake Creek High School, as well as the high learning expectations from both parents and staff,” Morrison said. “His experience in Montgomery ISD and existing relationship with the staff at Lake Creek will allow the campus to continue this school year with little interruption.”  

While McFadden will assume the role of leading the day-to-day operations of Lake Creek, he will continue some aspects of his current role, including supervision of Oak Hills Junior High School. During this time, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction with assume McFadden’s role of supervision over Montgomery High School and Montgomery Junior High School and the district’s Career and Technical Education department.  

Following the 2021-22 school year, Mr. McFadden will also retire from Montgomery ISD. McFadden will play a significant role to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the next permanent leader of Lake Creek High School.   

“There are amazing students and staff at Lake Creek, and I’m both excited and humbled for the opportunity to serve this high school community,” McFadden said. “Completing my career in Montgomery ISD in this role is a thrill for me, personally, and I’m looking forward to the remainder of what is certain to be a highly successful school year for the Lions.”  

Beginning in March, Montgomery ISD will conduct a broad process to search for the next principal of Lake Creek High School. This process will include meetings with students, staff and parents to receive input on the characteristics they desire in the next principal at Lake Creek High School. The next permanent principal of Lake Creek High School will be named during the Board of Trustees regular monthly meeting in April 2022.  

“Duane has provided 25 years of dedicated service to Montgomery ISD, and he is the ideal person to lead Lake Creek High School to a successful completion of the current school year and ensure a smooth transition for the next permanent leader,” Morrison said. “Completing his time in Montgomery ISD in this capacity is a fitting end to a remarkable career.”  

Lake Creek HS Principal Phil Eaton calling it a career after 43 years

Eaton widely known as an inspiring coach and educator; will retire in December

“It’s a Great Day to Be a Lake Creek Lion.” This is a phrase one will often hear Lake Creek High School Principal Phil Eaton say to his students and staff as they enter the school building, or as he starts his daily morning announcements on the campus loudspeaker. The simple statement quickly became the quote of positivity and optimism that brings the students, staff, parents and community together as Lake Creek High School Lions.

Eaton, now in his 43rd year in education, is calling it a career in December 2021. Montgomery ISD is thankful that he has given 13 of those years to the students and staff in our district.

According to Eaton, the celebration of one’s career as it comes to an end often reflects on the abundance of people, students, colleagues, and community members who propped up and gave support to the celebrant.

“I am a beneficiary of being surrounded by amazing people all throughout my career,” Eaton said. “For me, it’s always been about the people – the TEAM – and I have made life-long friends here in Montgomery and beyond.”

In 2009, after serving as an educator in school districts in the Greater Houston area, Eaton accepted the offer to become principal of Montgomery High School. Under his leadership at Montgomery High School, the Bears were consistently in the top ten of the Texas Lone Star Cup, repeatedly attained high ratings in state accountability, and were recognized as one of the top high schools in the country

In 2018, as Montgomery ISD was preparing to open a second high school campus, Eaton was selected to be the first principal of Lake Creek High School. The buzz and excitement associated with the opening of Lake Creek was loud and consistent, and according to Eaton, the 2018-19 school year had one great day after another.

“When we first opened in 2018 it was very rare to see any Lake Creek apparel around town,” Eaton said. “Today the ‘LC’ branding of Lake Creek is seen all throughout Montgomery County. Our vision from day one was to be the school that all other great schools want to be like. And that move to the top continues today.”

At the start of his career, Eaton was known as “Coach”. After just four years in education, teaching English in the classroom and basketball on the court, he became the youngest head basketball coach in the state’s largest division. While in Pasadena ISD, Eaton led his basketball teams to historic success following a formula of goal setting, hard work and determination. Coach Eaton earned a long list of honors, crediting all accolades to the mountainous efforts of his players, unrivaled support from district and campus leaders, and the willful understanding of the parents of his student athletes.

After a move to Humble High School, Eaton’s success as a coach grew as he led the school to five straight district championships, with deep playoff runs including a state championship tournament appearance. In 2020, Phil Eaton was named one of the Top 100 Coaches of Boys Basketball in the long history of Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL), an honor he says belongs to all of the players he had the opportunity to coach.

Campus “Hustle Projects” continue to be completed with support of local businesses

Montgomery ISD continues to be so very thankful for the commitment our local business partners have to supporting the students and staff in our district!

In April 2021, the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation hosted the first Together We Grow Community Fundraiser and presented each campus with the opportunity to win a campus grant to pay for a “hustle project” of the principal’s choice. A fun competition took place between the campuses selling hustle tickets to their campus families and community members in order to have their campus’ hustle project funded.

Oak Hills JH and Lone Star ES were the two grant winners at the event, earning grants from the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation to fund an outdoor learning space (OHJH) and a book vending machine (LSE). After attending the event and seeing each campus’ wish, local Montgomery businesses began to work with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce to help fund the wishes of other campuses. Six of the eight other hustle projects have been completed or funded by local area businesses.

A delivery of gravel to the garden at Stewart Creek ES happened over the summer, thanks to a generous donation of labor and supply from Hauser Land Services.

In August, Keenan ES and Montgomery ES both received donations for their hustle project wish. Woodmen Life Insurance donated beautiful benches for the garden at Keenan ES and Coco Phillips and Pat Prein with Coffee News gave a financial donation for a book vending machine at Montgomery ES.

This month two more campus hustle projects were completed at both Lake Creek HS and Lincoln ES. Dan and Debby Dykes of Network in Action donated a sonic-style ice machine to the faculty and staff of Lake Creek HS and Dr. Mariana Coconu of Lakeside Dental Practice donated money for the purchase of water bottle refilling stations around campus at Lincoln ES.

Montgomery JH has received a donation from Pam Westlake Realty to provide new computers for the students use and that photo will be shared when the computers arrive on campus.

Montgomery ISD wants to thank the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation for the start of the hustle project idea, as well as the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce for connecting our business partners with our schools and helping to get these gifts for our students and staff. Montgomery ISD is on #onepathtogether with our community partners!

Montgomery ISD Introduces the Class of 2021 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

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

Montgomery High School

Valedictorian, Nicholas Ensey

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

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

Salutatorian, Dustin Dillon

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

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

Lake Creek High School

Valedictorian, Lyle Tobin

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

Salutatorian, Isabel Harwood

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

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

Lake Creek Robotics Team Invited to Prestigious Competition

The Lake Creek High School robotics team 2854Y will soon take their talents to a global stage as qualifiers for the VEX Robotics World Championship. The team received the invitation to compete at the conclusion of the VEX Robotics Texas State competition and a year of virtual and in-person competitions.

“Lake Creek’s robotics teams began the school year with one goal in mind, return to the VEX Robotics World Championship,” Lake Creek Robotics Teacher Eric Moons said. “After each of these tournaments, teams would refine their robot and code to improve their world rankings.”

The competition consists of a challenge to build a robot for a game designed by the VEX Robotics Game Design Committee which allows students to use the engineering process to design, build and code competitive robots. The teams then compete in matchups with random teams at each tournament.

Competitors spend hours immersed in design, game theory along with pre and post-game analysis of their performance and their competitors in order to position themselves to be a dominant team in their competitive field.

“Being great at what they do is not the most impressive part to me,” Moons said. “Their willingness to share design ideas, strategies, tools and parts with random teams they compete with or against to help improve the robotics community and make the competition stronger, is what really sets them apart.”

The VEX Robotics World Championship will take place over the course of a week starting on Sunday, May 16th and running through Saturday, May 22nd.

The MISD Minute: Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

Dear Team MISD,

This week is National School Counseling Week!

Our school counselors play a critical role in both the academic and social and emotional well-being of our students. Each day, they push our students to achieve the goals and aspirations they’ve set for themselves, while ensuring that each of them receive the support they need to be successful. I could not be more thankful for the hard work and dedication our counselors have shown this year. They are truly making a tremendous impact on the lives of Montgomery ISD students, and the work they have contributed to our district’s collective efforts this year is without a doubt one of the reasons that nearly 95% of our students are currently participating in traditional, in-person instruction.

Showing appreciation for our counselors is especially important – even personal – to me. When I entered high school as a student, going to college was not an option I was considering. However, my high school guidance counselor not only inspired me to pursue college, but also helped me secure the scholarships I needed for financial support along the way. I would not have become the first person in my family to attend college and ultimately obtained my Master’s degree and Ph.D. without the guidance, support and inspiration of my counselor.

It has been a pleasure getting to know our dedicated counselors during my time as superintendent. Seeing their passion and dedication to our students is inspiring, and I’m excited about the work being performed in our district strategic plan to further strengthen the role of counselors in Montgomery ISD.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heath Morrison

MISD Strategic Planning Survey

As we continue our district strategic plan work, it’s important that we survey our employees, parents, students and community members on important issues encompassing the five Board of Trustee-adopted district goals, which are: Academics, Safety, Operations and Finance, Human Capital, and Communications and Customer Service.

Diverse community and stakeholder participation in the district strategic planning process is important to us as our strategic plan task force committees work on Key Performance Indicators and initiatives and strategies designed to meet our district goals.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey by clicking the link below. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.

We appreciate your time and feedback. The survey will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15.

Click here to access the MISD Strategic Planning Survey

Budget Town Hall Reminder

On Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., we will hold a Budget Town Hall meeting in the Board Room of the MISD Education Support Center.

At this Town Hall, Chief Financial Officer Kris Lynn and I will discuss our budgeting process and priorities for the 2021-22 school year and provide the community with an overview of district revenues and expenditures. As we work through our budget process, we are fully committed to transparency, active engagement and making meaningful improvements to employee salaries.

I look forward to the community’s participation in these discussions.

Student Leadership Council Meetings

It is always the highlight of my week when I have the pleasure of meeting with our student leaders. This week, I held my monthly meetings with my student leadership councils at Montgomery HS and Lake Creek HS.

These leaders never fail to impress me with their passion and insight on how we can improve the student experience in Montgomery ISD. During this meeting, students provided us with valuable input on our strategic planning survey, which was launched today. We also discussed their personal growth as leaders by reviewing one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: First seek to understand, then to be understood.

Communication Council Meetings

This week I met with my District Elementary and Secondary Communication Councils. These groups are comprised of a representative from each campus who each bring to me various issues, thoughts, concerns and suggestions raised by their colleagues. In addition to the issues brought forward by members of the councils, we discussed the district strategic plan process and also spent time talking about culture and morale across the district.

These conversations are not only important, but valuable to me as we seek constant improvement in how the district supports our teachers and other campus-level staff. I charge myself, and my leadership team, with responding to the issues raised by the communications councils in writing, which we always share districtwide to all staff.

Our goal is to provide written responses to issues raised by the communications councils within the next two weeks.

Superintendent Shout-Out: Jayson Kimberly

This week, I want to give a Superintendent Shout-out to Montgomery High School’s Jayson Kimberly, who was recently featured on KPRC Channel Houston Life for his fantastic work through his own non-profit organization, Leave it for the Pooch. As the proud owner of a rescue dog, I am especially moved by Jayson’s story and dedication to this outstanding cause.

You continue to make us all proud, Jayson!

You can watch Jayson’s segment on Houston Life here.

Bears and Lions Take Next Big Step as Part of National Signing Day

It was an exciting day at both Montgomery ISD high schools as Bears and Lions made their higher education intentions known as part of National Signing Day. In total, 20 MISD athletes, nine from Montgomery High School and 11 from Lake Creek High School, signed letters of intent to the college of their choice. 

“National Signing Day is very exciting not only for the athletes, but their families, teachers and coaches,” MISD Athletic Director Clint Heard said. “This is the reward of years of hard work and dedication in their chosen sport while excelling in their academic studies, as well. We’re incredibly proud.”

Montgomery High School

Ty AlaridBaseballLyon University
Lacy ChilekSoftballTufts University
KJ DanesBaseballLeTourneau University
Josiah GaetaniFootballMount Marty University
Tre HardenFootballBlinn College
Adavion JohnsonFootballEastern New Mexico University
Dalton MerrymanFootballTarleton State University
Cameron MiddletonFootballMount Marty University
Frankie WatsonBaseballTexas A&M University-Texarkana

Lake Creek High School

Alexis MackVolleyballEast Texas Baptist University
Madison BlaneVolleyballLiberty University
Jenney RobisonSoftballMcClennan College
Emiley KennedySoftballTexas A&M University
Bryce JonesBaseballNavarro College
Dayeton SweetingFootballBlinn College
Ty SextonBaseballTexas A&M University
Chance NiesnerFootballColgate University
Xavier GabelFootballMount Marty University
Zach DownsFootballConcordia University
John SpikermanBaseballThe University of Oklahoma