Board governs school district through servant leadership

In three sentences read aloud at the beginning of its meetings, the CFISD Board of Trustees expresses its roles and function as it relates to the district and its operations.

“As the Cypress-Fairbanks Board of Trustees, we are here to set goals, listen to reports, approve budgets, contracts and personnel appointments, and make policy for the district,” reads the president, which is currently Dr. John Ogletree following the two-year term of fellow trustee Darcy Mingoia. “It is not the role of the board to make day-to-day operational decisions. The management and day-to-day operations of the district are the responsibility of the superintendent.”

But for the seven Board members, all who have lived within the district’s boundaries for at least 20 years and in some cases, have more longstanding ties, their duties as trustees go deeper than just those three sentences.

“We are there to oversee the big picture,” said Christine Hartley, a trustee since 2011. “There are normal things like we can hire the superintendent and those types of things, but I really see it as being a voice for people in our community – they can come to me, I can ask the question maybe that they don’t always get to ask and I can represent them.

“But I also do the opposite where I can share information with the people in the community that might help them understand why the district made a certain decision.”

DSC_5791The current Board of Trustees includes, from left, Debbie Blackshear, Tom Jackson, Hartley, Dr. Ogletree, Bob Covey, Don Ryan and Mingoia.

To be eligible to serve on the Board of Trustees, candidates must be a U.S. citizen at least 18 years old and be a registered voter who resides within CFISD for at least six months prior to the regular filing deadline.

Members of the seven-member Board serve three-year terms, with elections held annually. The terms of approximately one-third of Board members expire each year. Members serve without compensation, though travel for Board business may be reimbursed.

Trustees attend orientation and receive training and continuing education, as well as also participating in team-building sessions.

The Board of Trustees has final authority to determine and interpret policies that govern the schools and district, doing so only by a majority vote of members present at a committee-of-the-whole meeting, which are held every month from August through June.

But there are numerous other occasions where CFISD students and community members will see trustees, who pride themselves on being representatives of the district and being out at events and functions. Members routinely visit campuses and attend district events ranging from athletic contests to graduations to musical and theatrical performances.

“And we don’t have to do that – we’re not required to do that and I don’t know of very many school boards that do the campus visits like we do,” Hartley said. “That’s just something that we wanted to do to get to know each school and let them see that we care and we’re invested in them.”

Ryan, a trustee for 17 years, credits the board’s at-large model in helping public education be the great equalizer for students. And while every board has deep ties to CFISD, Ryan and Hartley are both graduates of CFISD, making their service even more personal.

“It may sound cheesy but I take it personal to protect the legacy and tradition of Cy-Fair ISD,” Ryan said. “We’ve had people who served who had no desire to protect the students or protect the tradition that we have here in Cy-Fair ISD. That infuriated me.

“I’ll continue to serve as long as we continue to do what’s best for every student in the district.”

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Senior citizen discounts for residents 60 and over

In keeping with its slogan “Opportunity for All,” CFISD offers a senior discount program, aka the “Super Senior” Card, which is made available to CFISD residents and former district employees who are 60 years and older as a show of appreciation for their support to the district.

The Super Senior Card offers services within CFISD at no charge to the cardholder and one adult guest, and is good for life. Among the services available are:

  • free admission to any CFISD athletic event at any district facility, excluding the postseason;
  • free admission to student fine arts performances at any district facility, excluding fundraisers;
  • access to high school libraries for book check-out only;
  • eligible participation in “Seniors and Technology” (SAT) classes;
  • access to automotive technology education program services; and
  • access to cosmetology program discounts.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Carrie Bowman, a community member with generational ties to Cy-Fair High School. “I go to the football games. I get to go see the plays. My grandson is wrestling at Cy-Fair. Why not get in for free?”

super-senior

To obtain a Super Senior Card, eligible candidates can visit the communication office (10300 Jones Road, Suite 428) during business hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to fill out a brief application form. A valid identification card and proof of address indicating residency within CFISD is required. Former employees will also need to bring proof of employment in CFISD.

“I think it’s an awesome opportunity and I’ve been telling my friends who have retired all about it,” said Diana Henderson, a former employee who retired from Langham Creek High School in 2017. “I came right over and got my Super Senior Card and here we go.”

Call 281-897-4053 or email communication@cfisd.net for more information. A link for the program is also available on the CFISD homepage (www.cfisd.net) under the “Community Involvement” link.

CFISD Classroom Cheerleader Spotlight: Tim Goode

Tim Goode-cheerleader-horz
As the third-largest school district in Texas and the largest employer in Northwest Harris County, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District impacts the lives of far more than the 115,000 students and thousands of teachers, employees and administrators across 88 elementary, middle and high school campuses and special program facilities that study and work within our walls. In fact, we’re proud that as a top-rated school district, the work we do within our school system extends beyond the schools and permeates within our neighborhoods and businesses, making the greater Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play. The Cypress-Fairbanks community excels because of our CFISD cheerleaders; the individuals and businesses that invest in and support our students and community at large.

Today, we highlight Tim Goode, a licensed irrigator in Texas who has worked in maintenance for CFISD’s grounds department since March 2010.

How long have you lived/worked in Cypress-Fairbanks?

My wife and I decided to move to Cypress from Kerrville, Texas, in March of 2010 to be close to our family.

Why are you so passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community?

I enjoy doing what I do for CFISD and particularly I value the relationships with CFISD people. For me, carrying out my responsibilities as an irrigator as best as I can for the CFISD community at large and specifically with those I work with daily is a personal requirement.

How has Cypress-Fairbanks ISD impacted you, your family or your business?

My wife and I have benefited by being a part of CFISD in two areas. First, directly, I am employed by CFISD. Secondly, indirectly, our two grandchildren attend CFISD schools — Ryan Andrew at Cypress Woods High School and Tyler Matthew at Spillane Middle School.

What piece of advice would you like to give to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students?

Do not forget to be kind and polite, say “thank you,” “yes sir” and “no sir,” “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.” Respect your teachers and yourself, read the Bible daily, put others before yourself, pick up after yourself and spend less time with your electronic devices and more time with your parents.

What’s your favorite thing to do, see, eat or experience in our community?

Without any doubt, my most enjoyable activity is centered with my wife and family while (to mention a few) worshiping, eating together and after-school activities with our grandsons. Being with family makes the most important memories.


Interested in getting involved, being featured as an upcoming Cheerleader (or featuring someone who you think makes our district great) or in learning more about how Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District makes the larger Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play for all of us? Visit CFISDSpirit.com to cheer along with our team!