Waldrip family saw education as door to success; new Frisco ISD Superintendent ready to know every student by name and need as he guides fast-growing school district

mikewaldrip

Get to know Frisco ISD’s new Superintendent

SET COLLEGE AS A STEPPING STONE: Growing up in a small town in West Texas, there was never any doubt that Frisco ISD Supt. Mike Waldrip and his younger brother would go to college.

“It was a non-negotiable as far as my father was concerned,” Waldrip said. “He didn’t really care what we did or where we studied, but we were going to college because he always felt like it was going to do things for us that he and my Mom never had the ability to do because they lacked that kind of education.”

The Waldrip family viewed education as a gateway to success – a philosophy Mike Waldrip carried with him and has shared with thousands of students over the course of his 35-year career as a school teacher, coach and administrator.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, CREATING CAREERS: Now as new Superintendent of schools at Frisco ISD, many of the lessons he learned as a young person, such as the importance of hard work and personal relationships, have shaped the leader and educator he is today.

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CWPostAs a student in Post in northwest Texas – a rural community (pop. 3,800, 2,600 elevation) founded by C.W. Post, who launched Post Cereals – Waldrip played every sport available, including football, basketball and track. He says his coaches, along with his fourth grade teacher, inspired him to pursue a career in education.

“I made that decision very early on that that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I just remember thinking in middle school, it would be really cool to teach and coach because these guys look like they’re having a lot of fun doing what they’re doing.”

 

COLLEGE DAYS FOR WALDRIP

AngeloState
Angelo State – San Angelo Texas

At a towering 6 feet-6 inches, Waldrip played basketball for a year after high school at Angelo State University.

Waldrip earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech, where he studied physical education and biology.

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After graduation, he put Lubbock, Texas, in his rear view mirror to take on his first teaching and coaching job in in the South Texas community of Victoria, before moving on to Goliad and then west to Seminole. In all, he spent 16 years as a biology teacher and basketball coach.

“I always liked trying to create a situation in the classroom where kids could involve themselves in the learning and they could be inquisitive and ask questions and learn some things for themselves,” Waldrip said.

Sul Ross State University
Sul Ross State – Alpine Texas

He went on to serve as assistant principal at Seminole High School and earned his master’s degree from Sul Ross State University in 2000.

BOUNCING TO FRISCO, TEXAS

In 2002, a one-time rival on the basketball court – former Centennial High School and Clark Middle School Principal Randy Spain – recruited Waldrip to Frisco ISD.

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Waldrip served first as principal at Clark Middle School; and then as the District’s first-ever director of secondary instruction.

Waldrip opened Liberty High School as principal in 2006, something he says was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of his career.

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“Just being able to put a complete staff together, open a high school brand new and set the vision and course for what the school was going to be like,” Waldrip said. “I always said I wanted Liberty to be a place where kids enjoyed coming to school and teachers enjoyed coming to work, and that’s what we tried to focus on to create that type of environment for everyone.”

 

BECOMING DR. WALDRIP

UNT
North Texas – Denton Texas

Waldrip earned his Doctor of Education from The University of North Texas in 2008 and  in 2010 he move to central administration, where he oversaw data systems, program evaluation and various Frisco ISD departments.

“I have always believed that you can’t make informed decisions unless you have some things to inform your decisions,” Waldrip said. “Data doesn’t necessarily give you all the answers, but it certainly helps narrow the areas where you need to look to find those answers.”

BECOMING A SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT

In 2014, Waldrip accepted the position of superintendent of schools in nearby Coppell ISD. He says the experience prepared him for the job in Frisco ISD, which now has more than 56,000 students. Frisco ISD is poised to soon become the third largest school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“I think being the leader of any school district, you see the importance of engaging the community in what you’re doing and telling your story,” Waldrip said. “It’s important to solicit the community’s input because it is their school district and you want to provide the kind of education that they want for their kids.”

HOME IN FRISCO TEXAS

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Frisco ISD is home for Waldrip and his wife Lisa, who have two sons who graduated from Frisco ISD schools. Waldrip said he’s inspired by the school district’s mission statement to know every student by name and need

“I think they [Frisco families] think, ‘Well that’s a place that I would like for my kids to go to school, if those people are really focused on knowing my child by name and knowing what their needs are,’” he said. “I think that’s a huge unifying factor for the school district, even though people come from different communities, areas and backgrounds.

“Frisco ISD has a long legacy of providing a quality education and there is no reason for this not to continue,” he said. “We have educators up for the task and a community that desires and supports this type of education for their kids.

“I am very blessed to be able to lead Frisco ISD in that work,” he said. “My wife and I couldn’t be happier to be moving back to the place we call home.”

Dr. Waldrip succeeds Dr. Jeremy Lyon, who retired in June after more than four years as Frisco ISD superintendent and 31 years in public education. The selection of Dr. Waldrip as lone finalist concluded a two-month search for Dr. Lyon’s replacement. With the assistance of Jenny Preston Consulting, the Board garnered public input from community members as well as FISD staff to develop a wish list of qualities the District desired in a new superintendent.

During the almost 60-day process, applications were received from across the country.

Frisco ISD School Board President Anne McCausland said: “Hiring a superintendent is the most far-reaching decision a school board will ever make. This Board focused its energies to find the best fit for our students, staff, parents and community. We are thrilled to have Dr. Mike Waldrip continue our commitment to student achievement and keep Frisco ISD a destination district.”

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Frisco ISD school superintendent search update; Jeremy Lyons’ last day will be June 30 before joining Cooper

Current Frisco ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Lyon announced his retirement on March 17 after 31 years in public education, four in Frisco schools. His last day with the Frisco school district is June 30. The Frisco ISD Board of Trustees met Monday morning in special session to discuss the process for selecting a new superintendent of schools.

Trustees formally accepted a letter of retirement and resignation from Lyon at the Board meeting on March 20.

Dr. Lyon, who joined FISD in 2013, has been named the first president of Cooper Youth, a division of The Cooper Institute, and will lead a national effort to advance preventive health practices for children.

“I can’t say enough great things about your leadership, your vision and the steps that you have taken to help keep Frisco ISD a destination district,” said school board president Anne McCausland. “We keep striving for the academic success, but more importantly, something that you have highlighted and brought to this Board is the focus on the whole child.”

Dr. Lyon briefly reflected on his tenure as superintendent, noting rapid change and growing pains in the District.

“We’ve got to work together,” Lyon said. “As we move forward as a community and a school district, I sincerely know working with these seven individuals that they only have one interest and that is to protect and grow the greatest school district in this nation, Frisco ISD.

“I just have the greatest, utmost respect for Frisco ISD and will continue to support and cheerlead on this new venture, because this is something worth fighting for, Frisco ISD, it is amazing.”

Frisco ISD Trustees called the special Board workshop Monday to assist with planning for the superintendent search. Trustees participated in a Reform Governance® in Action training led by Cathy Mincberg, president and CEO of the Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS), which focused on tips and best practices for hiring a new leader.

Mincberg led a School Board member discussion regarding qualities desired in the next superintendent, as well opportunities and challenges facing the District.

She provided information regarding the role an executive search consulting firm could play in the selection process, and addressed issues Board members should consider when choosing a group to facilitate the search. These included the scope of a firm’s experience, recruiting strategies, reputation, references and more.

Mincberg also made suggestions about what questions trustees should ask search firms, as well as superintendent candidates during the interview process.

She also addressed missteps School Boards can make during the superintendent hiring process, and offered tips to ensure a smooth and successful search, “onboarding” process and transition.

The Frisco ISD School Board announced it is committed to staff and citizen involvement in the search for a new leader, and expressed its desire to host community meetings and/or distribute a survey to gather input regarding characteristics desired in the next superintendent.

Trustees are receiving proposals from several executive search consulting firms and plan to meet again in special session on Tuesday, April 4 to review the proposals and narrow down their choices. 

Interviews of the top search firms are tentatively scheduled for April 10.

 

Frisco ISD honors long-time swimming coach at natatorium

FriscoISDBruceEubanks

Frisco ISD – Getting Coach Bruce Eubanks to Frisco ISD in 2001 was more than a stroke of luck.

At the time, Eubanks was a popular swim coach in Tyler and coordinator of an aquatic center there. Frisco ISD was without a natatorium and had been utilizing a pool at the Collin College Preston Ridge Campus.

Eubanks quickly made a splash in his new role as swim coach at Frisco High School and helped build Frisco ISD’s young swim program into the large and successful program it is today.

Coach Eubanks’ teams won 37 District titles, 16 Region titles and four State championships.

School Board President Anne McCausland told Eubanks at an official dedication ceremony for the Bruce Eubanks Natatorium: “We are all about the opportunity for students here in Frisco ISD and the program that you built here has been a stellar example of what hard work and dedication can mean in terms of personal excellence.”

Former students, parents and colleagues joined Frisco ISD officials in honoring Eubanks for his contributions to the District this past Saturday, Dec. 5 at the natatorium, 7411 First Street in Frisco TX.

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Eubanks played a key role in planning for the natatorium and its operations. The swim facility, which opened in 2003, serves FISD students and local residents who swim competitively, and also offers lessons to those who wish to learn to swim.

Frisco Natatorium manager John Janak said: “Today is indeed a special day in which we not only recognize the achievements of Bruce Eubanks, but a day in which we are given a chance to give back to someone who has given so much to this community.”

As coach at Frisco High, Eubanks strived to teach his students how to compete and be responsible both in and out of the water. Thirty-four years as a coach resulted in numerous awards both for Eubanks’ student athletes, as well as numerous accolades for Eubanks himself.

Frisco ISD Athletic Director David Kuykendall said: “Bruce has a quality that all great coaches have and that is the ability to touch lives and get the most out of kids and I would say that that would be the definition of Bruce – touching lives and getting the most out of kids.”

Individually, he was named Region Coach of the Year 20 times and State Coach of the Year six times. In 2007, Eubanks was given the Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Theron Pickle Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also honored as the 2013-2014 National Federation of High School Coaches Association Boys State Swimming Coach of the Year.

(Photos courtesy of Frisco ISD)

 

 

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