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Superintendent Talk: District leadership

Webster’s dictionary defines leadership as, “One that leads; a guiding head.” This definition clearly describes the leaders of PAISD. Bi-monthly, the administrators, principals and supervisors meet to discuss the business of the District in order to ensure that our students receive the best education possible.

The leadership committee met on Tuesday, April 12. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Johnny E. Brown, began by discussing the state of Texas budget status and its affect on the District. The government is looking into strict cuts in the educational budget and those cuts could potentially affect our District.

However, no matter the outcome, our first priority is our children and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that the budgetary issues going on in our state will not affect our students. Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Mark Porterie, discussed the career awareness topic of the month: science. Science is extremely important, especially in our area where the largest refinery in the world is being built. By exposing our students to careers in the science industry, we are making them more aware of the world around them. Our TAKS testing season is off to a great start. The next round of testing will be held April 25-29th for grades 3-10. The subjects covered will be: reading, math, English, science and social studies. We continue to encourage our students to do their best on the TAKS test. The campus highlights the principals gave truly motivated the audience. The principals of PAISD are truly a team and when they are able to get together to collaborate on ideas, they are truly at their best. The same goes for our administrators and supervisors. In PAISD, we believe in teamwork. We are all branches on the same tree and the more we work together to solve our problems, the better our District, our children and our community will be.

    Wheatley School of Early Childhood Education held their “Week of the Young Child” activities during the second week of April. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children website, naeyc.org, “The Week of the Young Child, now in its 40th year, is an annual celebration sponsored by NAEYC. The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.” Wheatley celebrated the Week of the Young Child with a family literacy night, fun night, campus presentations and culminated with a reception held at the home of Wheatley principal, MaDeline Savoy. We applaud Wheatley and their efforts to give our little ones the best education possible. They teach our children in their formative years and prepare them to be acclimated into primary school and for that, we are truly grateful.

The Memorial High PTSA plays a large part in the lives of our high school students. It is through the many projects the PTSA holds throughout the school year that our students are able to receive scholarships to attend college. On April 9th, the Memorial PTSA held a golf tournament at the Babe Zaharias golf course in Port Arthur. District employees and public supporters came out in large numbers to support our students. The golf course was filled with beginner and advanced golfers, but all were there because they wanted to invest in the future of our students. The event was truly a success. On Saturday, April 16th, the Memorial PTSA held another major event; this time at Applebees Neighborhood Grill and Bar in Port Arthur. The group held the Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser breakfast from 8-10 a.m. at the restaurant. Cars filled with hungry supporters came to help raise money for our high school students. The monies raised will be used to support Memorial High School PTSA scholarships. We are truly thankful for Memorial PTSA president, Dr. Ella Williams, Memorial PTSA members, Memorial principal, Ramona Lee and every person that continues to support these activities. The parental involvement and community support are what make these events so successful and we are truly thankful to the citizens of Port Arthur.

The Sam Houston and Booker T. Washington Elementary choirs participated in the 10th annual Children’s Music Festival of Houston on Saturday, April 16th. Lee Elementary choir director, Renee Sprayberry, served as the piano accompanist for both choirs. This competition is very similar to the Texas UIL Solo and Ensemble contest that our secondary students participate in. By allowing our students to participate in this festival, we are giving them the experience they will need to compete on a larger level when they enter middle school. We thank Mrs. Arceneaux, Mrs. Houston and Mrs. Sprayberry for their diligence in preparing our children for the festival and congratulate our students on a job well done.

Dr. Johnny E. Brown is the Superintendent of Schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District.