Oak Point new home to Plano TX Parks – Recreation offices

The Plano Parks and Recreation administrative offices will be moving to a new location at the Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve on Friday, July 3.

The new administrative offices will be located at 5901 Los Rios Blvd., Plano, TX 75074 and will open at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 6. The telephone numbers and post office box for the department will remain the same.

New in town? Try these places recommended by our readers

By Brian Bearden

Have guests arriving for the Fourth of July? Our readers say they would definitely take out-of-town guests to these places:

1. Rick’s Chophouse, downtown square, 107 North Kentucky Street, McKinney TX

2. Bob’s Steak and Chophouse, The Shops at Legacy, 5760 Legacy Drive, Plano

3. Tony’s Cafe – Alma and Spring Creek Parkway – Plano TX

4. Hutchins BBQ, 1301 North Tennessee Street – McKinney TX

and 9225 Preston Road, Frisco TX

5. Bill Smith’s Cafe, Hwy. 380 east of 75 at 1500 W. University Drive in McKinney TX

Readers also recommend:

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House – Frisco TX

Baker’s Drive in – McKinney TX

Bonnie Ruths French Bristro Patisserie – Allen TX – Frisco TX

Cadillac Pizza Pub – McKinney TX

Covino’s Pasta and Pizza – Plano TX

The Depot Cafe – Frisco TX

Dodies Place Cajun Bar and Grill – Frisco TX

Durkin’s Pizza – McKinney TX

Eddy’s Pizza – Plano TX

Elkes Market Cafe – Allen TX

Estilo Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse – Frisco TX

Fishmongers Seafood Market and Cafe – Plano TX

Fish Shack – Plano TX

Gloria’s Latin Cuisine – Frisco TX

Harry’s at the Harbor – McKinney TX

Harvest – McKinney TX

Hedary’s Mediterranean Restaurant – Allen TX

Hirsch’s Meat Market – Plano TX

Jasper’s – Plano TX

Jorge’s Cafe Vienna – Plano TX

Local Yocal Farm to Market – McKinney TX

Lockhart Smokehouse – Plano TX

Louisiana Street Grill – McKinney TX

Marinara Pizza – Plano TX

Max’s Donut Shop – Allen TX

The MOM and POPcorn Company – McKinney TX

Noodle Wave – McKinney TX

Norma’s Cafe – Frisco TX

Patina Green Home and Market – McKinney TX

Perry’s Steakhouse – Frisco TX

Pie Five Pizza Company – Allen TX – Frisco TX

Poor Richard’s Cafe – Plano TX

POParella’s Gourmet Popcorn – Frisco TX

Pride Burger – McKinney TX

Roy’s – Plano TX

Salsa Tex Mex – Frisco TX – Plano TX

Sicily’s Pizza & Pasta – McKinney

Silver Fox Steakhouse – Frisco TX

Spoon’s Cafe – McKinney TX

Square Burger – McKinney TX

3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House, Frisco TX

Restaurants must have given us good service on all visits to make the list.

State Rep. Scott Turner elects not to run again

State Rep. and former House Speaker candidate Scott Turner announced he will not seek election next time.

Scott Turner
Scott Turner

Scott Turner said: Dear friends,

Serving in the Texas House has been a tremendous honor, blessing, and privilege, and I am truly grateful for the trust and support of the great citizens of Collin and Rockwall Counties. Your prayers, encouragement, and steady involvement in the process are greatly appreciated.

As the Word says, there is a time and a season for everything. Today, I am announcing my plans not to seek re-election to the Texas House. In this new season for my family and me, I look forward to impacting our community, state, and nation through exciting opportunities in business, community service, ministry, and whatever path the Lord directs.

As one who loves people, serving as your State Representative has been one of the greatest honors in my life. From Rockwall, Heath, Royse City, McLendon-Chisholm, Rowlett and Fate … to Frisco, Anna, Farmersville, Josephine, Blue Ridge, Prosper, Wylie, and Celina, we have worked together to ensure that our conservative principles are well-represented in Austin. This district is blessed with so many wonderful people who represent the best of Texas and love their communities and state. What a privilege to be your voice!

Jeff Leach, Scott Turner, Ken Paxton, Van Taylor and Scott Sanford serve as local representatives in Austin.
Jeff Leach, Scott Turner, Ken Paxton, Van Taylor and Scott Sanford serve as local representatives in Austin.

I had the honor of serving with many good men and women in the Texas Legislature. And I especially want to thank my friends and colleagues who stood with me in January during my campaign for Speaker. I am also grateful for my staff who have faithfully and tirelessly served this district.

Scott Turner's day as Speaker
Scott Turner’s day serving as Speaker with local officials in front of him. 

My wife Robin is my rock, a steadfast and faithful encourager during every moment of my public service. I am also very proud of Solomon and appreciate how supportive he has been during my time away as I have served Texas. Solomon is a tremendous young man, and I look forward to investing even more time in his life as he enters high school this fall.

One chapter is closing for now, and I am beginning new chapters that I believe hold great promise and potential. Though my service as a state representative comes to an end, you can count on me to use my voice to remain involved and champion our shared conservative values. My term does not conclude until January of 2017, and I look forward to fully serving this district until that time.

Scott Turner
Scott Turner

Thank you again for the confidence you placed in me and for choosing me to serve as your State Representative. I’ll always be grateful.

Scott Turner

What do local officials have to say?

Jeff Leach: “Today my colleague, brother and friend, Scott Turner, announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016. A man of great faith, integrity and courage, Scott and his wife Robin and their son Solomon have become very special to the Leach family. It was the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Texas alongside a man of his caliber and he will be immensely missed in the Texas Legislature.”

Susan Hayes Fletcher said: “This is a bitter sweet moment, as I treasure my friendship with Scott Turner and appreciate his service. … As I ponder this news, I can’t help but think that Frisco City Councilman John Keating would be an excellent State Representative!”

Patrick Fallon said: “Rep. Scott Turner just announced that he’s not seeking re-election. While I am sad to hear the news I want to thank him for his service to our state. And I can’t think of a better person to continue Scott’s work in Austin than Mayor Pro Tem of Frisco John Keating! John’s a proven conservative leader and would be a welcomed addition to our North Texas delegation!”

Photos of Scott Turner courtesy of State Rep. Scott Turner

Collin County Magazine is an independent news source read by thousands in the Dallas-Fort Worth area every day. Follow on Facebook and Twitter @CollinCountyMag

Congressman Sam Johnson wants workers to pay less for health insurance, with Small Business Health Fairness Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) reintroduced his Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 2868), a health care solution that would allow small business employers to band together through association health plans (AHPs) in order to purchase quality health care at a lower cost.

Republican Congressman Johnson stated:

“Right now hardworking Americans are struggling due to Obamacare, and it’s becoming harder for employers, especially small businesses, to provide their employees with affordable coverage. I hear from folks all the time who have experienced sharp increases with out-of-pocket costs and premiums due to this bad law. I also hear from small business owners who want to offer health insurance but simply can’t afford it. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. And let me tell you, I think that’s wrong. That’s why I’m offering a solution with my Small Business Health Fairness Act – a bill to help Americans by enabling employers to provide affordable coverage to workers and their families.

“You know, people like to accuse Republicans of not having alternative solutions for health care, but that really couldn’t be further from the truth. There have been several plans offered over the years, and the Small Business Health Fairness Act has been a key component of almost every one of those plans. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this bill is enacted not if but when we repeal and replace Obamacare!”

Local small business owners have lauded Johnson’s bill, including Jeff Scheumack of Plano.

Scheumack said: “With not being able to pool small companies together to get a break on insurance policies and prices, small businesses like my own are at a competitive disadvantage in hiring employees since large employers can offer lower premiums and therefore higher take-home pay. At present, since my insurance has gone up so much, offering an employee a 3-5 percent raise does not even cover the increased cost of their insurance premium, even after I pay 75 percent of my employee’s premiums. I need the ability to pool together with other small businesses so that we have the bargaining power to get better policies and at lower costs.”

Collin County Magazine is an independent news source read by thousands in the Dallas-Fort Worth area every day. Follow on Facebook and Twitter @CollinCountyMag

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Woodard, Sanderson join McKinney ISD administrative team

McKinney ISD has chosen Suzy Woodard and Geoff Sanderson for two recently vacated high-level administrative positions. Woodard has been named Assistant Superintendent for Learner Support, and Sanderson will serve as Chief Program Evaluation Officer. The Board of Trustees approved both decisions on Tuesday night.

As Assistant Superintendent for Learner Support, Woodard will be primarily responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the district’s elementary curriculum and providing administrative leadership and support to the district’s elementary school principals.

Sanderson, as Chief Program Evaluation Officer, will take charge of state and federal assessment implementation and accountability as well as evaluation of district programs.

Suzy Woodard, Assistant Superintendent for Learner Support
Woodard is a veteran administrator with more than 20 years in education, 13 of those in MISD. She has spent the past eight years as principal of Reuben Johnson Elementary, and prior to that, she served as principal of Vega Elementary and then Minshew Elementary. But, Woodard’s influence and leadership extend well beyond the walls of any one campus.

“Suzy brings a wide variety of experiences from within our district,” MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel said. “Her knowledge of curriculum and instruction at the elementary level truly sets her apart from many of the other candidates that we interviewed. More importantly, the respect she has earned among her peers is the number one characteristic that really led us to believe that she is the hands-down choice for this position. Her character has proven to be exceptional over the years, and that has garnered the respect of her peers at every turn.”

Woodard began her career in Bryan ISD where she served four years as a 5th grade classroom teacher. After a hiatus from teaching, she returned to education in 1996 with a master’s degree from the University of North Texas, and when she accepted a job as principal of Little Elm Middle School in Little Elm ISD, she began what would become a 19 year journey as a campus principal. After two years as principal at King Elementary in Little Elm, Woodard moved to McKinney where she has served over the last 13 years.

Now, even as Woodard looks ahead to the next step in her journey, it is with fondness that she pauses to look back on her years at Johnson.

“Reuben Johnson Elementary is an exceptional school community, and it has been my pleasure to serve as the principal for the past eight years,” Woodard said. “While I will miss working directly with RJE’s students, staff and parents, I am honored to have the opportunity to accept this new role and appreciate the confidence Dr. McDaniel and the School Board have in me. I am looking forward to doing the best work of my career to promote the success of MISD.”

Woodard holds a Bachelor of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with Specialization in Reading from Texas A&M University and a Master of Education Administration Mid-Management from the University of North Texas.

Geoff Sanderson, Chief Program Evaluation Officer
Geoff Sanderson is no stranger to Texas public schools, state assessment or MISD. He began his career more than 18 years ago as a Special Education Counselor in Southside ISD in San Antonio, spent a year in Dallas ISD and then came to McKinney in 2000 to serve as a school psychologist.

Since then, Sanderson has logged 12 years of leadership in MISD, and over the course of that time, he has transitioned from special education to assessment and accountability, taking on greater leadership roles every couple of years. In 2004, he was the District Test Coordinator. In 2005, he became Executive Director of School Improvement and Accountability. Then, he served as Senior Director of Compliance and Standards. In 2011, he was named Chief Accountability Officer for the district.

After two years serving as Associate Superintendent of Shared Accountability with Montgomery County Schools in Rockville, Maryland, Sanderson is pleased to return to McKinney and continue the mission of MISD.

“The opportunity to rejoin the McKinney ISD family is one I am extremely grateful for, and I’m privileged to be a part of Dr. McDaniel’s leadership team,” Sanderson said. “As I learned more about his vision for this system and the expectations he shared, I knew I wanted to be a part of this work. Public education continues to be a complex enterprise, and if done well, creates multiple pathways for students to succeed in the lives they choose to lead. I believe MISD sets the standard for others to model and I’m proud to be able to call it home both professionally and personally.”

McDaniel is pleased with the opportunity to welcome Sanderson back.

“I had the opportunity to work with Geoff Sanderson when I served as a principal in this district, and I know firsthand his work ethic and knowledge of state and federal assessment,” McDaniel said. “That knowledge base will serve our district extremely well. The good thing about hiring Geoff Sanderson back to our district is that he has a proven track record, and his work ethic and expertise are respected among the other professionals in our organization.”

McDaniel noted that the responsibilities Sanderson took on while away, will benefit MISD. “His work involved program evaluation, which is also what he will be doing for our district,” McDaniel said. “The job is different from when he left. It has some new things attached to it. The good news is that is exactly what he was doing in Maryland. His knowledge of assessment, federal programs and program evaluation are what really sold us on bringing him back.”

Sanderson earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas Christian University, a Master of Arts in School Psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.

Pastor Protection Act passed with push from local leaders

Attorney General Ken Paxton and State Rep. Scott Sanford (on left) support Gov. Greg Abbott on the Pastor Protection Act.
Attorney General Ken Paxton and State Rep. Scott Sanford (on left) support Gov. Greg Abbott on the Pastor Protection Act.

By Brian Bearden
AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and State. Rep. Scott Sanford of McKinney (left) joined Gov. Greg Abbott (center) as he signed the Pastor Protection Act in Austin.

AG Ken Paxton (on left next to Pastor Scott Sanford) stated: “Texas took a small but important step to further protect the religious freedom of clergy in the face of increasing hostility toward people of faith in all walks of life. No Pastor, Priest, Rabbi or other religious leader should be forced to perform or recognize a marriage that contradicts his or her sincere religious belief.”

Pastor Scott Sanford is encouraged as Gov. Greg Abbott is about to sign the Pastor Protection Act.
Pastor Scott Sanford is encouraged as Gov. Greg Abbott is about to sign the Pastor Protection Act.

Gov. Greg Abbott said: “Freedom of religion is the most sacred of our rights and our freedom to worship is secured by the Constitution. Religious leaders in the State of Texas must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that religious freedom is beyond the reach of government or coercion by the courts. Today I am proud to sign into law SB 2065 – the Pastor Protection Act – to ensure that clergy in Texas cannot be forced to violate their religious beliefs.”

Pastor Protection Act signed

State Rep. Sanford said: “Thank you to Gov. Abbott for signing ‪#‎SB2065‬ this morning, and thank you to the pastors, grassroots organizations, and dedicated Texans who testified in committee hearings and made phone calls to your elected officials – your support made this bill possible. — with Ken Paxton.”

Photos courtesy of Scott Sanford.

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