Millsap Independent School District trustee voted Monday to hire former assistant former superintendent Deann Lee as superintendent.
“It’s the greatest honor and privilege of my life and that’s sincere,” Lee said. “This is such an outstanding school district, it’s nothing short of humbling to represent Millsap ISD and to have the responsibility of making the best decision possible for each student and staff member.”
Revamping the way in which students are taught will be a priority, Lee said.
“One of the biggest goals we will develop is for each student to become an innovative thinker,” she said.
A major part of that innovation is a shift to problem-based learning, Lee said.
“It’s not the traditional learning that most are used to,” she said. “Instead of being teacher-centered, it’s student-centered, so we’re are partnering with the Region 11 Service Center and training throughout the year. We will have a cohort of teachers and staff that are training and then they will train the staff.”
The Region 11 Education Service Center provides educational services and workshops to 10 counties in north Texas, including Parker County.
“Actual implementation is next year ... it’s such a different way of teaching and learning we wanted to take the entire year,” Lee said of the plan’s timeline.
Waiting a year so teachers could get more in-depth training is the wisest decision, Lee said.
“You don’t get the best results if you do a day or two,” she said.
“Problem based learning is also using the knowledge and creativity of students and it doesn’t always have to be in a group,” she said. “It can be a student who is pursuing an interest of their own.”
Students taking a more autonomous approach while teachers set objectives within a responsible environment is a sign a changing educational landscape, Lee said.
“Instead of the teacher giving all the info, students discover and learn in a safe environment as they investigate new avenues,” she said. “In the 21st century it’s not the teacher being the holder of all knowledge, it’s the student discovering knowledge with direction from the teacher. The teacher keeps the student focused within parameters and objectives. They give the student flexibility to pursue what’s in those parameters.”
Millsap ISD passed a budget proposal during the meeting as well and approved an unchanged 2016-17 tax rate of $1.665 with $1.17 in Maintenance and Operations and $0.495 in Interest and Sinking (Debt Service).
The ISD also decided to commit $1 million to construction in anticipation of future district needs.
“The $1 million in committed funds to construction doesn’t specify what construction. We know with growth that certain areas need to be addressed, but there could be other needs as well,” Lee said.