From the desk of Dr. Kirk Lewis

Updates from the Superintendent

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Exiting the Ivory Tower

When you spend most of your career in school administration as I have, there is an ever-present danger of settling into an ivory tower existence. If you’re not careful, you look out your window and tend to see the world with a skewed perspective. Though I make an effort to avoid this trap, I’m sure there are times I fail.

It seems to me that the best way to keep from losing perspective is to listen. I enjoy my conversations with community members, parents and staff. The conversations are not always easy, but most are relevant, thought-provoking and instructive.

I also take great joy in visiting with our students. The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC), meets three times a year and is composed of eight students from each of the district’s five high schools. That organization has operated for more than 25 years. I’ve attended almost every meeting for the past quarter century. The format is a simple one: We engage in conversation.

The students are polite, respectful, engaged, funny and brutally honest. Some topics never change with the passage of time. We always talk about dress codes, school start times and cafeteria food.

Sometimes, we ask for their input on ideas we have for new programs or policies. They have a way of cutting through the rhetoric and seeing the flaws in what we thought was a perfect plan. Their suggestions typically improve the educational experience in our district. They push us. Some of our most recent strategic initiatives in technology, counseling and college readiness evolved as a result of this group of young people.

These students make a difference in our district as representatives of the entire student population. I have grown to value their input and deeply enjoy the relationships we build. They represent all that is good about our young people.

I’m grateful that the conversations I share with these students draw me out of the ivory tower and into their world.

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9/11 Thoughts

September 11 will never pass without reflecting on the horror and the heroism manifested that day. There were many conversations this week in classrooms across our district about all those amazing attributes that define us as Americans. Patriotism still burns brightly in the hearts of our young people. Since 9/11, enrollment in our JROTC programs is at an all-time high. We have the Marines at Pasadena, the Army at Rayburn, the Navy at South Houston and Air Force at Dobie. Each has won awards over the years and the ARMY JROTC at Rayburn is one of the top programs in the state and nation. I am thrilled each year at the number of graduates who voluntarily serve our country by entering the military. 

Our JROTC students are great campus leaders and wonderful representatives of our entire student body. They make us proud every day. It’s great to be an American!