By Jane Krzysiak
The Argyle ISD Education Foundation (AEF) kicked off the new school year with a dinner at the home of Robert Burns, Board President, and his wife, Jennifer. Joining the Foundation Board this year are new members Jason Horany, Amanda Payne, Jennifer Sanberg, Cheryl Slaton, Jodi Womble, and Joelle Zavzavadjian.
Long time AEF supporter and former Board member, Kelly Dunham, was awarded the Adele Foster Award for her significant contributions to the Board, AISD and the community over the years. Robert Burns, Board president, stated, “Kelly has always tirelessly worked on behalf of the Foundation, whether with her chairmanship of past Back the Red & Black campaigns or by offering her strategic insight. Over the years, she and her husband, George, have been staunch advocates. Their unwavering support enables the Foundation to continue our commitments to the Argyle Independent School District students and staff in our mission of Investing in Educational Excellence. We thank Kelly for her many contributions and wisdom – always having a heart for the Foundation!”
In other Foundation news, the 2014-2015 Back the Red & Black annual appeal campaign raised over $133,809 against a goal of $125,000. Lisa White, campaign chair and board member reports that the number of donors doubled versus prior year and many first time donors participated. As well, 2014-2015 Golden Eagle Teacher Excellence awards were revealed at the end of year banquet to campus winners Amy Young, Hilltop Elementary, Kelly Dillaman, Argyle Intermediate, Kori Eubanks, Argyle Middle School and Jeanna Sutton, Argyle High school. Sutton was the Secondary winner, while Kelly Dillaman, the Primary winner went on to win the overall district Golden Eagle Lisa MZ Teacher of the year award.
Judson Clark, Vice President Development was pleased to announce that the Black Diamond Affair (BDA) gala would be returning in 2015-2016. Mr. Clark noted, “Board Member, Laura Chaney, along with BDA Chair, Monica Pruner, have been working hard along with the Development team to bring back the BDA in a fresh and exciting way. You’ll want to save the date for April 9, 2016 as this will be our primary fundraiser for the year with a goal of $250,000. We’re looking for underwriting sponsors for this unique, Argyle event that will raise important resources for our district. Corporate sponsorships are also available and many opportunities to volunteer. BDA is a great way to get your name out there in the community and a terrific way to meet people as a volunteer. Please contact [email protected] for more information.”
Zach Rozell, Vice President, Programming announced that AEF has made a significant change in how the Foundation supports the district. According to Mr. Rozell, “For many years AEF has provided teacher enrichment grants and training to the tune of $810,000 to date. However, after careful deliberation the past 18 months, the Board has made the decision to focus on funding teachers in order to close the gap and help Argyle reach higher standards of academic excellence. Placing teachers in the classroom – whether providing above and beyond curriculum opportunities, or making sure class sizes remain smaller – is a top priority for Argyle ISD. The district did not achieve the status we enjoy by being complacent and willing to settle for the state mandated staff. We want our kids exposed to excellence and placed in the best possible situations to achieve their individual success. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that for 2015-2016, we’ve committed $110,000 to AISD to hire two new teachers. One teacher is allocated to Hilltop Elementary to aid in keeping classroom size below state mandates. The other teacher at Argyle High School teaches computer programming as well as other subjects. The addition of this staff member will allow Argyle High School to offer curriculum for all five endorsements under House Bill 5 on our local campus. For 2015-2016 our goal will be to fund even more teacher positions. We’d love to see one teacher per campus funded.”
Robert Burns, President, noted, “This is an exciting time to be in Argyle – the growth is explosive and the Argyle community’s commitment to excellence continues to grow exponentially, as well. While growth is exciting, it can also lead to strain on a District if it happens quickly. We want to ensure that we work closely with the District to help provide above and beyond teacher resources – always looking for ways to raise the bar and achieve educational excellence. Adequate is not a word we like to hear! More than ever, this is critical for a successful outcome with our current and future students. By supporting the Argyle ISD Education Foundation you impact students and teachers on a daily basis and directly enable Argyle to maintain our district leadership position.” For more information about the Argyle Education Foundation, or to make a donation or volunteer, please contact Amy Williams at [email protected]