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.”

Montgomery HS Bears showcase engineering projects during annual expo

After months of hard work during a challenging school year, Montgomery High School engineering students proudly displayed their engineering skills as part of the fourth annual Montgomery ISD Engineering Design and Development Expo Night.

The event, held on Friday, April 30, was the culmination of nearly four years of learning engineering theory as well as hands-on work designing and building.

Participating students are enrolled in the Montgomery High School Engineering Design and Development course, which is the capstone course in the Project Lead the Way program. The research course provides students with an avenue to develop secondary-level knowledge and skills in math, science and technology. Throughout their senior year in the Engineering Design and Development course, students work in teams to identify and develop a solution to an open-ended technical problem using their engineering design process skills. After designing, building and testing, the student teams present and defend their solution to an outside panel.

“This event brings to fruition all of the hard work our students have accomplished over the last four years in our engineering pathway,” MHS Project Lead the Way Instructor Russell Reid said. “We have moved away from theory and now they have produced tangible products designed to serve as a solution to a real world challenge.”

The Engineering Design and Development course is designed to allow students maximum flexibility in how they structure their time while completing their work.  The project workload required a great amount of responsibility on the part of the student with some outside-the-classroom, research-based coursework. For example, students contacted outside professionals and obtained resources from around the United States to help complete their projects.

“An added benefit of this program is the development of valuable soft skills,” Reid said. “Throughout the design process students work with community mentors and engineering experts working not only on the actual design honing creative and problem-solving abilities, but also refining organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.”

Students participating in this year’s expo were Lain Morris, Daniel Chang, Kalani Hayden, Bradan Graham, Dustin Dillon, Ethan Reid, Samuel Cook, Robert Ackerly, Matt Rickman and Blaine Pavlock.

An overview of each project is below:

“Solo Spotter” – A safety device to aid a weightlifter while bench pressing without the support of a weightlifting spotter. (Daniel Chang, Matthew Rickman, Bradan Graham)

“Aegis Wear” – A belt buckle designed with built in GPS tracking and emergency alarm to protect and track the user. (Kalani Hayden, Robert Ackerly)

Gamers Gauntlet” – Dual purpose gaming/graphic artist glove. The glove allows the user to switch between playing video games and working with artist tablets. (Blaine Pavlock, Lain Morrison)

VaBox” – A unique design Shop-Vac that separates metal from waste. It has a built-in magnetic base that is easily removed for recycling.  (Ethan Reid, Dustin Dillon, Samuel Cook)

Montgomery HS choir program receives “Best Communities for Music Education” designation

The Montgomery High School Music Department has earned the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  Now in its 22nd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Montgomery High School representatives answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“It is an honor for our MHS Music Department to be recognized with this award. Involvement in Choir and Band are extremely important to developing the whole child,” Montgomery High School Choir Director Heather Orr said. “Our music programs have great kids, incredible parents, and we are fortunate to have an amazing administration. I am just thrilled about their unending support and dedication to the music programs.”

Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that in this time of a national pandemic, provides a valuable way to keep students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

“This program has shown me how to go above and beyond in all that I do,” Montgomery HS Senior Lydia Wilson said. “We could easily just stop at being “great”, but we’ve always had the mindset that we can constantly do better in all that we do, so I’ve learned that and implemented it in life outside of choir.”

Montgomery HS Choir Performs during National Conference

The Montgomery High School Chorale Women’s Choir was recently selected to perform at the National American Choral Directors Association’s 2021 Conference. They were one of only two women’s high school choirs in the country selected to perform for ACDA.

“Being invited to perform at a convention is the highest honor that a choir can receive,” MHS Choir Director Heather Orr said. “It is really awesome for these girls and the program.”

This year’s conference was virtual. A video of their performance was recorded for the event, which can be viewed below.

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.

Montgomery High School Choir Singers Earn Prestigious All-State Honors

Several members of the Montgomery High School Choir have earned spots on the Texas All-State Choir by the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). The distinction is a culmination of an audition process that began last fall, including District, Region and Area levels of competition. All-State is the highest honor a music student can receive in the state of Texas.

The performers named to the TMEA All-State Choir are Nick Craddock, Quinn McClendon, Anna McKaughan and Landon Pate. For Landon and Quinn, this is the second time to receive the distinction.

McClendon, a senior, auditioned every year of his high school career. Each time it became more important for him to make the All-State Choir. “I have worked so hard, practiced the details, and really put myself out there,” McClendon said. “I know it’s said several times, but hard work really does pay off.”

Competition aside, this school year proved even more challenging in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m so proud of these outstanding students being named to the Texas All-State Choir,” MHS Choir Director Heather Orr said. “Despite the many challenges we’ve faced throughout this school year, they remained committed to their personal musical development and demonstrated the very perseverance and dedication that ongoing participation in a choir program fosters.”

Over 50,000 choir students from across Texas began the journey to All-State last fall. As part of regional competition, they perform musical selections for a panel of judges who rank each student based on beauty of sound, musicality and over all nuance. Those selected to advance move on to the TMEA Area level of competition in the hopes of qualifying for the TMEA All-State honor.

“Ms. Orr and her students continue to amaze me,” Montgomery ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said. “To be recognized as one of the top performers in the state of Texas is an incredible accomplishment for these talented students. Our MHS Choir’s tradition of excellence is a point a pride for our school district community.”

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

MISD to host Strategic Plan Town Hall on Jan. 28 at Montgomery HS

The first MISD Strategic Plan Town Hall meeting will be held this Thursday, Jan. 28 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Montgomery HS. All individuals interested in participating in the Strategic Plan development process are encouraged to attend.

Following an introduction and overview of the Strategic Plan development process from Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison, Town Hall attendees will have an opportunity to participate in one of five interactive breakout sessions.

Each of the five breakout sessions will focus on one of the MISD Board of Trustees adopted district goals, which are:

  • Goal 1: Academic Achievement: MISD will provide a challenging curriculum, assess individual student achievement and support efforts to ensure excellent academic performance.
  • Goal 2: School Safety: MISD will vigorously enforce policies and procedures that promote a safe and orderly environment.
  • Goal 3: Operations and Finance: MISD will responsibly manage the use of financial and operational resources in order to sustain equitable funding to support academic excellence and to provide safe, efficient operations of the district.
  • Goal 4: Human Capital: MISD will recruit, support, develop and retain highly qualified and effective personnel.
  • Goal 5: Communications and Customer Service: MISD will provide proactive and frequent engagement with employees, parents, and community to ensure effective communication, superior customer service, and a strong culture within the district.

If you are unable to attend in person, there will be an opportunity to participate remotely via Zoom. Please see the agenda below, which contains instructions on how to participate remotely. (Please note that each agenda item and session has a different Zoom meeting link that you will need to use.)

MISD Strategic Plan Town Hall Meeting Agenda

I. 6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Introduction and Overview of Strategic Plan from Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison

Link to join Introduction and Overview Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84525544987?pwd=bTJLZ240UlZBQzRSM3paamNIYnByZz09

Meeting ID: 845 2554 4987

Passcode: MISD

II. 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Strategic Plan Breakout Sessions

Goal 1 Breakout Session – Academics (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Link to join Goal 1 Zoom Meeting:

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77600146084?pwd=Y0VBMW9VVXNRMFR6bmt5a3JBS2JHZz09

Meeting ID: 776 0014 6084

Passcode: MISD

Goal 2 Breakout Session – School Safety (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Link to join Goal 2 Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/73202097751?pwd=cms4THgrTWR0dVBDcGRsd3RGQ1J2UT09

Meeting ID: 732 0209 7751
Passcode: MISD

Goal 3 Breakout Session – Operations and Finance (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Link to join Goal 3 Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85003376103?pwd=TFRRdWczQlYvWXEzc2dhMzg5blVUZz09

Meeting ID: 850 0337 6103
Passcode: MISD

Goal 4 Breakout Session – Human Capital (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Link to join Goal 4 Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82286650851?pwd=VGdwU1BONnliNFk3dWgyTzhLYk1qQT09

Meeting ID: 822 8665 0851

Passcode: MISD

Goal 5 Breakout Session – Communications and Customer Service (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Link to join Goal 5 Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/94219098543?pwd=MzVRR2NmbEdRVnNGSTAvUldncW9lZz09

Meeting ID: 942 1909 8543
Passcode: MISD

Thank you for your interest in the Montgomery ISD Strategic Plan development process.

The MISD Minute: Friday, Jan. 8, 2021

Welcome Back!

Dear Team MISD,

Welcome back from Winter Break! I hope everyone had a chance to rest and recharge in preparation for an exciting second semester of the 2020-21 school year. I enjoyed my first Christmas in Montgomery with my family and had the opportunity to reflect on the incredible accomplishments you and our students achieved in 2020. I am truly blessed to lead such a talented and dedicated group of educators and I’m excited to take on the challenges ahead with you. Together, I know we’ll finish this school year strong!

As you’ve probably noticed, the MISD Minute looks a little different this week. Moving forward, I’ll share the MISD Minute here on the MISD Premier Blog, where we’ll also share stories, photos, and videos of the many amazing things happening on our campuses every day.

Thank you all for your continued flexibility, resilience, and dedication to our students and families during this unprecedented school year. Let’s all have a productive and safe second semester.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heath Morrison

School Board Recognition Month

January is School Board Recognition Month!

I would like to take a moment to recognize each of our seven elected members of the MISD Board of Trustees, Board President Trustee Matt Fuller, Vice-President Trustee Gary Hammons, Secretary Trustee Linda Porten, Trustee Trey Kirby, Trustee Shawn Denison, Trustee Mike Hopkins, and Trustee Laurie Turner, for their dedication to our students, families and staff.

Being a school board member is no easy task – it’s an unpaid role that requires individuals to volunteer personal time away from their own families and jobs to serve the community. Trustees spend countless hours reviewing district-related information prior to monthly board meetings and spend many evenings at district functions. It truly takes a dedicated public servant to be a school board member, and in MISD we are blessed to have seven trustees who truly care about students.

Please take a moment to recognize and thank our trustees on social media throughout January using the hashtag #ThankYouMISDTrustees.

On behalf of our entire district, I want to thank the MISD Board of Trustees for their service as we work to together to become the Premier School District in Texas.

Texas Legislative Session Begins Next Week

State lawmakers convene in Austin for the 87th Texas Legislature on Tuesday, January 12. In Texas, the State Legislature meets every other year for a 140-day regular legislative session. During the session, lawmakers will consider thousands of bills – many of them relating to public education.

It’s important that our lawmakers understand how legislation they are considering would impact school district operations, classroom instruction and, ultimately, student achievement. The MISD Board of Trustees has been working to develop a district legislative platform to present to state lawmakers this year, which will outline MISD’s policy priorities and position on the issues likely to be up for consideration at the state capitol this year. The Board is scheduled to formally adopt a legislative platform during its January meeting.

For MISD – and most school districts across the state – school finance is always at the top of the agenda. In 2019, Texas state lawmakers made significant improvements to the state’s school finance system in House Bill 3 by increasing state funding to public education. We are encouraging lawmakers to continue to make school funding their top priority and build on the momentum they achieved in 2019.

I urge you all to stay updated with what’s happening in Austin this year and remain engaged with our lawmakers. You can stay current on state legislation at Texas Legislature Online. If you don’t know who represents you in Austin, you can find out here.

Free Admission for Employees to MISD Athletic Events

I’m excited to announce that beginning January 9, 2021, all district staff may use their Employee Badge to gain admission to MISD home athletic events at no charge. This change will remain in place through the duration of the 2020-21 school year. Please note that with this change MISD remains in compliance with University Interscholastic League (UIL) COVID-19 Mitigation Guidelines.

A special thank you to our Director of Athletics Clint Heard and his team for making this available to MISD staff.

Montgomery High School FFA Meeting

I enjoyed my visit this week to the Montgomery High School FFA meeting!

It was a pleasure to see our FFA students in action displaying their leadership and service. I also had the privilege of attending the FFA Booster Club meeting. Without generous support from parents and community partners, the outstanding programs we have in our district would not be possible. I’m thankful for the strong community support for Montgomery ISD students.

Thank you Montgomery High School 2020-21 FFA sponsors!

Loop cleaners

Mel’s Sprinklers and Landscaping 

Dusty and Billy Norman

Hair By Edy

The Barbara Shop

C&J Electrical Construction

Raymond and Colleen Davis

David and Tabatha Mize

Tab’s Company

TexaSite

RCC Group 

Woodforest  

Bill Fick Ford  

Culver’s  

Miscellaneous Specialties Inc.

Jennifer and James Mallon 

Cristalle and Dustin Smith  

Tabatha and David Mize

Jamie and Chris Bohac

Husband Septic  

RCC Group

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Saturday, January 9 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Let’s take a moment to recognize and thank our women and men in the Montgomery ISD Police Department who selflessly serve our staff, students and families. I’m grateful for the work that Chief Stephen Phillips and his team are doing to ensure our campuses remain safe places where productive academic instruction can occur.

Our MISD Police Department is critical to our work to provide a high-quality education to the nearly 9,000 students in our district. You can learn more about the MISD Police Department here.

Thank you, MISD PD!

Montgomery HS Forensic Science Makes a Scene

Pounding sponges soaked in corn syrup, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and black cherry Kool-aid, Mrs. Elizabeth Hall’s Forensic Science classes analyze “blood” splatter.

“This is my favorite unit because what we did with it really helped up learn about it, plus it’s really interesting,” junior Chelsea Kohler said.

Students used a mallet and a screwdriver as their weapons to see the force of the objects.

“It’s fun because you get to smash a hammer into a sponge, but I didn’t enjoy getting my hands all sticky,” junior Alexcia Cleboski said.