Olney ISD School Board Recognizes Excellence
The Olney ISD School Board held a meeting Feb. 16 that began in the cafeteria to recognize staff members who had gone above and beyond the call of duty. Jake Bailey called the meeting to order and announced the presence of a quorum, and he discussed the school board’s desire to recognize the outstanding achievements of the students and the staff.
“We want to do a better job of telling our story. Do a better job of recognizing achievement, whether that be student achievement, staff achievement,” Bailey began. “We started off and said let’s recognize one staff member per campus per month, and the administrators said, no let’s recognize exceptional achievement. Let’s not just recognize someone for the sake of recognizing someone. Let’s identify those staff members who go above and beyond in the classroom, the sports field and the extra-curricular with the students. And so, I think that speaks testimony to the staff that is here tonight. This isn’t hey we had to pick someone, so we picked someone at each campus, this is administrators came to Dr. Roach saying these are teachers we want to recognize. So, I am glad we can do this. We appreciate all you do. I want to say we are incredibly proud of the Olney ISD and it is because of the administrators, and teachers like ya’ll that do all the hard work.”
Gunter Rodriguez took that stage to announce a teacher that he felt had gone above and beyond the call of duty. “Dr. Roach always talks about two things, he talks about boots on the ground which are our teachers, and we stand on their shoulders, and they carry this school district, and I agree with that,” Rodriguez stated. “And Dr. Roach also says that there is nothing more important in the world and perhaps the universe than the reading teacher, an elementary school reading teacher. If I’ve heard him say it once I’ve heard him say it a hundred times and it’s exactly right. I have an outstanding fourth-grade reading teacher that I would like to recognize tonight because she truly does go above and beyond. The reason she is here to be recognized is something that occurs after school hours. It is an after-school reading program that she started, Kathy Baxter.”
Next to take the stage was Matt Caffey to shine a spotlight on a teacher he feels does an extraordinary job. “For this teacher, I want to thank Jake Bailey because a couple of years ago I was anticipating retirement in the math department, pretty big shoes to fill and Jake had just hired this young engineer who was going to get married to somebody who happened to be a math teacher,” Caffey explained. “So, I got her email address and asked her if she wanted to come visit about teaching in Olney. She came to visit and right off the bat she said I want to be a calculus teacher. You know she is a good coach, but her career goal is to be a calculus teacher. That right there caught my attention. Since she has been here, it has been nothing but hard work. She has taken us into having an AP Calculus class, and those children are on track to do well on the calculus test. Especially for our first year of taking the calculus test. Also, last year we lost a teacher that moved to College Station. I said how about you take over Algebra I and with no hesitation, she took over the class. Then, there was a little more staff turnover, and the second-year teacher was suddenly the veteran. I asked her to mentor two brand-new rookie teachers and again no hesitation, she took that on. She is an incredibly hard worker. Two weeks ago, to give you an example, I got an email from her asking how about if we had an Algebra I boot camp sort of thing right before the test. I didn’t ask her to put together anything like that. She asked do you think we could get some pizza if I have children come up on a Saturday to prepare before the test? I said yeah, I’ll get you some pizza. I hadn’t even thought about doing that. If we need her to drive a fan bus, she drives a fan bus. She not only coaches three sports, but she also coaches UIL Math. Anything we ask her to do, she does. I worry about pushing her too far. I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize her and put a spotlight on her because the things that coach Ballard does that are extraordinary to me, are things the public does not get to see. So, I wanted to shine the light on that.”
After the recognition, the meeting was recessed, and the board resumed their meeting in the administration building to discuss their vision and mission statements. The next school board meeting will be March 18 in the administration building at noon.