By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
The administration at Commerce Independent School District will have new but familiar faces this semester.
Four new members to the staff were either students, teachers, former principals or have family working in the district.
Blake Cooper, superintendent of CISD, said the positions were filled by people who love to teach and help students grow.
“We get to hopefully make a difference in the lives of parent’s most precious commodity; their children,” he said.
Cooper said that Heather Kilgore, instructional technologist at CISD, has a distinct passion to help students and teachers alike embrace technology as a positive tool in education.
“We wanted someone who was excited about tech and who was fresh from the classroom. You’re not going to find a more passionate person for technology than Heather,” he said. “We’re excited about what she is bringing to the table.”
According to Kilgore, she will take a more hands-on approach to technology than before.
“I will be visiting every classroom to feel their comfort with technology,” she said, adding that she will help teachers make the proper adjustments and find each teacher’s strengths when in comes to technology.
Curriculum Director Charles Alderman is bringing skills he received as principal of Sulphur Springs High School with him in his new role.
Although he wants to make more changes to the curriculum in the future, Alderman said he wants to begin with making one important change, implementing what he calls a professional learning community.
“We can get teachers talking about what they are doing with their students with other teachers,” he said, adding that after a teacher performs student teaching, the teacher rarely sees another teacher in the classroom environment. “We want to have more collaboration between teachers.”
Alderman said he will also work to increase the amount of dual-credit hours and certificates students can receive after graduating from high school.
According to Carie Sturch, coordinator of elementary education, she and Alderman are on the same page with collaboration among teachers.
“We both have a strong focus on bringing professional learning communities to Commerce,” she said. “We are going to streamline the tools our teachers need to make students successful.”
Sturch came from Wylie ISD, where she served as the math director for 10 schools.
Sturch said coming from 10 campuses to two will allow her to focus on all of the subjects for only two.
“I am excited to work very closely with the elementary schools,” she said. “I’m excited to extend from one subject area to more.”
David Welch, principal of Commerce High School, is inheriting a school that has had two principals in the last year.
The first, Adam Rupert, was charged with a DUI and left shortly after, and former CHS Principal and Curriculum Director Julia Robinson left this summer to take a position as curriculum director for Royse City ISD.
Welch said he wants to bring a more stable learning environment for the students at CHS.
“The key to building stability is consistency,” he said. “Students need to be able to see the same people in place every day and teaching rigor in instruction.”
Welch said he will do that by focusing on developing and maturing students from their freshmen to their senior years.
“We have got some great teachers in this high school, and some of the best students,” he said, adding he wants to see a higher level of communication from teachers and students. “The goal is to be here long enough to see that happen.”