Special to the Journal
Less than two months since the start of school, Belton ISD Board of Trustees had the opportunity to see and hear more about how the District has already made noteworthy progress in addressing one of its top priorities for the 2017-2018 school year.
Advancing the highest performing academic students was among the District’s priorities adopted by the Board in August 2017 and tonight they honored five Belton High School seniors, including National Merit Semifinalist and Top ACT Score student, Serena Shedore, and received an update on the progress of their increased support for the Advanced Academics program.
“Belton ISD has a reputation for high academic rigor and achievement, but we can do more. I am proud that we have chosen to continue to look for ways to improve,” superintendent Susan Kincannon said. “Shining the spotlight on exceptional top achieving students like Serena sets the tone for why additional efforts to support and stretch our highest achieving students accomplishes the District’s mission to provide an education that challenges all of our students to excel.”
Overall, Belton ISD’s composite ACT and SAT test scores continue to exceed both state and national averages and continued growth or expansion of advanced placement courses and dual credit offerings are just a few of the ways the District’s Advanced Academics program shared their success. High school students enrolled in Belton ISD have their choice of taking all 24 advanced placement courses recognized by the College Board, along with 22 dual credit courses available through partnerships with Temple College, University of Mary Hardin Baylor and the University of Texas at the Permian Basin.
The district’s schools have 11,547 students enrolled, which is an increase of 431 students or 3.7% over last year. Enrollment growth has been the greatest at the high school level where there are currently 3,382 students.
With approximately, 5% growth already noted this year in high school enrollment alone, Board President Randy Pittenger set the stage for the much-anticipated board decision on the name, mascot and colors for the second comprehensive high school opening in the fall of 2020.
“We remain grateful for all the input and public interest on this compelling public issue but it comes down to a decision.” stated Pittenger, prior to leading the Board voting to approve the choices of Lake Belton High School for the name, Broncos as the mascot and the colors of red and silver.
“I am excited to cheer for our kids and watch our supportive community rally around our new high school. Go Broncos!” said Pittenger.
For the 6th year in a row, Belton ISD received a perfect score on the 2017 Schools FIRST Financial Accountability Rating System and have been awarded an A for “Superior Achievement.” This annual review, required by the state legislature, is overseen by the Texas Education Agency and requires that the District submit staff, student and financial data to assess quality performance in the management of school districts’ financial resources.
During the meeting, trustees also approved the superintendent’s selection of Jennifer Land to be the District’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Timothy Goodridge as assistant principal at Belton High School.
Land brings more than 16 years of public school district finance experience to Belton ISD, most recently serving as Manor ISD CFO. A frequent speaker or presenter for the Texas Association of School Board Officials, Land spent 14 years working for Round Rock ISD where she was the Director of Internal Audits. Land completed both a bachelors and master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Registered Texas School Business Administrator (RTSBA).
Goodridge served as a science teacher at Belton High School for the past five years. He has eight years of experience in education having previously taught high school in McGregor. During his time at Belton High School, Goodridge was promoted from Physics Team Leader to Science Department Content Lead and achieved recognition as Belton High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2016. He has a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and a master’s degree in education technology leadership from Lamar University.