Written by Phil Cerroni
The Irving Police Department made an arrest this week (Dec. 9-13) in a series of residential burglaries that occurred in the Valley Ranch area in late October. The burglars in those offenses targeted high end jewelry and small electronics and usually made entry into the homes by breaking out a window in a rear door of the residence.
The suspect, Jefferson Nunez-Suarez (22) of Houston, was arrested at his residence by the Houston Police Department on a warrant for burglary of a habitation issued by Irving Police. Upon his arrest, Irving investigators traveled to Houston and executed a search warrant at his residence and were able to recover electronics that had been reported stolen from Irving, Plano, Carrollton, University Park and Austin. They were also able to recover a large amount of jewelry that is believed to have been stolen and are working to try and determine where it was taken from.
This arrest is a major accomplishment in a very lengthy investigation and it could not have occurred without the assistance of residents who came forward and provided information about what they saw in the areas where the offenses occurred. The assistance the Houston Police Department provided was invaluable and, because of their help and the hard work of the Irving investigators, this arrest and property recovery was possible.
Jefferson Nunez-Suarez is still in custody in the Harris County Jail on a $100,000 bond awaiting transfer to Dallas County.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:06
Written by Phil Cerroni
Principals of west side Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD update parents, business leaders
By Sissy Courtney
Principals from Las Colinas Elementary, Barbara Bush Middle School and Ranchview High School held a breakfast meeting for parents and business leaders to bring them up to date on accomplishments, future events and to discuss the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) continuum between the schools.
Las Colinas Elementary
Principal Ahveance Jones talked about the IB reauthorization of Las Colinas Elementary.
“We will not find out until the end of the school year, but we are thrilled with some of the comments made, so we are not worried at all about that,” Jones said.
Jones told the group that construction on a new school building for the elementary will begin soon.
“Tom Bell who is over the construction of the building is trying to hold a meeting before Christmas break, but if not, we’ll do it after the first semester,” Jones said.
The new building will open with the 2014-2015 school year, and the old building will be torn down.
“For kids to be successful, they’ve got to find a place in the school,” Principal Matt Warnock said. “We present a tremendous amount of opportunities through clubs, organizations, athletics, and fine arts for kids to get involved in and get hooked at school.
“Our top orchestra got to take a trip down to Baylor University to attend a workshop with a college professor. These are seventh and eighth grade kids that are learning from a collegiate professor that teaches orchestra. They got to hear the Baylor Orchestra perform and a guest performance from an orchestra in Japan. An important aspect of the trip is that they got to spend a day on a college campus.”
“There are four fall sports: seventh grade football, eighth grade football, seventh grade volleyball and eighth grade volleyball,” Warnock said. “We were district champs in three out of the four. Success on the volleyball court brings success to the classroom, and I want a school that kids can be proud of.”
Warnock talked about the caring aspect of IB.
“Our kids are so philanthropic,” he said. “We donated $400 through Red Ribbon Week to MADD and $300 to Tuesday’s Children the week of 9/11. This benefits the children and families who were victims of 9/11. These things are brought to us by kids.
“We just did our canned food drive for the holidays, and we had almost 400 items of nonperishable items brought in by the kids, so we’ve got a caring group of kids that continues from the IB portion of Las Colinas,” Warnock said. “We are one of the few feeder programs in the area that can offer K-12 IB. I was not always a believer, but I have come to truly believe in the IB Program and the things that it brings.
“If (students) can think cross curricular, if they can make those connections, they will be successful no matter their career or what the world looks like.”
Ranchview High School
Principal Sherie Skruch is new to the school.
“This fall we had four national merit semi-finalists,” Skruch said. “That’s the largest percentage of students in the district. Creekview had six students, but they have two and a half times the number of students we have. That translates into lots and lots of money for college and that’s exciting for the parents and the kids. We had a national merit achievement scholar, and we had four national merit commended scholars and one national merit participant.
“Ranchview was recognized by the Texas ACT Council for a college readiness award. We are showing that we are getting our kids ready for college after high school.”
She agreed with the Bush MS principal about the IB Program.
“It teaches kids to think critically, not just to analysis the information but to think deeply about where they are going with the information, why it is important and how they will use it in the future. The skills that we are teaching in the classroom are making a difference.
“The community service projects they are creating, designing and putting together amazes me,” Skruch said.“It is not the classroom that you or I sat in years ago
“We also have successes in all avenues. Athletics is improving. We’re excited that all those district champions are going to be coming to Ranchview next year. Two of our cross country runners made it to Regional.
“The band received straight 1’s at UIL and went on to the Area competition. We have band, orchestra, choir and theatre programs and that is almost unheard of in a 3A high school to have all four fine arts programs.
“We had four students selected for the future leaders of Irving Program,” Skruch said. “That is a great opportunity for students to get out into the community to see how business leaders run their businesses.”
“Ranchview collected $1,000 to donate of Muscular Dystrophy. Our kids really care. The amount of service projects that we have on our campus is amazing. Through the IB Program, the Theory of Knowledge Program and the CASP Project, every student designs their own community service action that directly impacts something in their community.”
Some of the projects include: mentoring programs at Bush Elementary; mentors for middle school band members as they make the transition to high school; collect and donate athletic equipment for underprivileged students in the community.
“Ms. Henderson, one of our geography teachers was selected by TEA this fall to sit on the Review Committee for the upcoming STAAR Test,” Skruch said. “That’s a huge honor.
“Liz Mahaffey, one of our special Education teachers, received the grant this fall. Her students have opened the Wolf Pack Coffee Shop. In her classroom every morning from 7:30 to 8:15, she and her students make coffee and hot chocolate for the staff and students. Monday, they made over 120 cups.
“They go to Sam’s and purchase supplies; they bring it back and prepare it and serve it. They are learning customer service. They count the money at the end. The life-skills that they (are learning) in a real world situation is amazing.
All of our kids have embraced it,” Skruch said. “They love going and hanging out in the classroom with Ms. Mahaffey’s kids. They interact; they talk; they laugh. They are friends, and they have a great time.”
“Next year, I will have students in all three of these schools,” one parent said. “My first year at Bush was (the principal’s) first year at Bush, and every year there have been improvements because of transparency and listening to the parents. We could not pay a private school for what our kids are getting in this district and at these schools.”
Come on down
All three principals welcome parents to visit the schools. They said to look for the Westside Feeder Pattern Newsletter.
Did you know?
Barbara Bush Middle School Principal Matt Warnock was named 2012 Texas Public Schools Ambassador of the Year at a dinner at Frontiers of Flight Museum Dec. 5.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:05
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Sissy Courtney
Friends of Texas Public Schools honored Principal Matt Warnock of Barbara Bush Middle School as its Ambassador of the year at its eighth annual fundraising dinner on Dec. 5 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas. Bush is part of the Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD.
“Matt Warnock is an incredible ambassador not only for his campus, but for all Texas public schools,” said Scott Milder, President and CEO of Friends of Texas Public Schools, which he and his wife Leslie started in 2004. “Matt has figured out that the self-appointed critics and malcontents are intentionally undermining public confidence in their schools with misinformation and half-truths. People are not aware and have no reason to be aware that our public schools are actually performing better today than ever in history. Few are telling the story.”
Friend of the Year, ice cream businessman and author of Schools Cannot Do It Alone Jamie Vollmer of Ohio, was also honored at the dinner.
“Educators today must understand their role as ambassadors for their profession and the necessity of sharing what’s really going on in the public schools,” Vollmer said.
Warnock echoes that sentiment.
“We’re getting killed in this war over public opinion,” Warnock said. “We’ve got to step up and defend our honor. Our students are incredibly gifted and are achieving extraordinary results in our schools. It’s truly a shame that Texans don’t know their public schools are effective and efficient.”
The U.S. Department of Education recently confirmed that Texas public schools are outperforming other states with their release of state-by-state high school graduation rates. African-American students in the Class of 2011 tied for first in the nation with Montana for the highest graduation rate among their peers at 81 percent. Hispanic students finished second nationally among their peers behind only Maine with a graduation rate of 82 percent. White students ranked first in the nation with a graduation rate of 92 percent.
“Any honor I receive is because of the people that I’m surrounded by,” Warnock said. “I’m honored to represent public education in this way, but I also recognize there are a lot of people working just as hard as I am.
“Our district is partnered with Friends of Texas Public Schools, and I represent the Ambassador Program where this organization started by Scott and Leslie Milder, who are just amazing people, is training community members and arming them with information about public schools to combat the misinformation and negativity out there about public schools and to get the word out about all the good things that we’re doing. We’re doing a lot of really good things – a lot of magic, a lot of miracles are going on in every classroom in public education.”
Barbara Bush MS has a group of parents, teachers, administrators and community members going through Friends of Texas Public Schools ambassador training led by the Milders. It is three, two-hour trainings where community members learn talking points so that they can in turn talk about the good things that our public schools are doing.
“It’s the old fashioned word of mouth,” Warnock said. “We know a lot of conversations occur about public schools, teachers, students, and what’s going on, and we just want to make sure that people are armed with the truth. Our charge is to engage anyone and everyone in any way that we can: social media, Facebook, sitting in the stands at a little league soccer game; the opportunities are everywhere.
“We started (Friends of Texas Public Schools) because we were tired of the public beating public school educators were taking every day in media and politics, and it was disrespectful and mean-spirited,” Scott Milder said. “There really wasn’t anybody stepping up and getting the backs of our educators. There are a lot of really great people working in public education on the behalf of our children, and if we’re going to have conversations about how we’re going to continue to improve, let’s step back and celebrate the achievements that they’ve made and wrap our arms around them and work with them in areas where they need to improve.
“Historically, it’s been ‘We’ll beat them up, and then we’ll demand improvement,’ and that’s no way to relate to people.”
Milder’s wife Leslie was a Texas classroom teacher for 10 years before the demands of their organization required she quit teaching to devote her time fully to their mission. Nine of her family members, including her mom, are teachers.
“I grew up listening to those ladies tell all their awesome, fun stories that they had and how they talked about education. Once I got in the business, I became very aware of how people outside my family talk about education, and it’s not the same,” Leslie Milder said. “I wanted everybody to have that inside glimpse of just how amazing it is in public schools and what all we’re doing. We’re not taught as educators how to do those things.
“Our mission is twofold,” she said. “We want to change Texas and get out some of the good things about our public schools. In addition, we work inside our public schools training our educators in how to get those things out and heard.
“I am so honored to represent public education in this way; it’s not what I do, it’s who I am,” Warnock said. “The teachers and staff at Barbara Bush Middle School in Farmers/Branch ISD work tirelessly for the good of our students. In no way would I be here if not for your dedication and tireless efforts.
“Raise your hands if you can read.”
Every hand in the audience, except for Warnock’s four-year-old son’s, went up.
“Halleluiah for public education, if not only for the magic of reading, because that is what happens in our public schools – magic and miracles,” Warnock said. “It happens every day in schools everywhere. Magic and miracles – we need to celebrate. I know I am preaching to the choir, but Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to sing louder and figure out how to get more voices in this choir of ours. We’re not blind; we know we make mistakes and have room to grow, but our good far outweighs our bad. Come to our schools; come and see for yourselves. Life is so much more enjoyable when we look at the good rather than the bad.”
Warnock has been principal at Barbara Bush Middle School since 2009. He started his career in C-FB ISD teaching science at Creekview High School in 1998. He served as an assistant principal and then associate principal at Ranchview High School before taking over at Barbara Bush Middle School. He is married to Georgeanne Warnock, principal at RL Turner High School in C-FB ISD. They have four boys ages 11 through 4. Warnock earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and geology from Stephen F. Austin State University and his master’s degree in education from University of North Texas.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:05
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Conservatives from Irving gathered at Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s house on Dec. 10 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Irving Republican Women’s Club.
Chartered in 1962, the club is a political action committee that works to actively support conservative candidates and encourage Republican women to run for office.
Such was the case with Van Duyne, the City’s first female mayor and former Republican Women’s Club president.
“I want to thank this group, because you also recognize the local level,” Van Duyne said. “We don’t run necessarily as Republican and Democrat at that level, but this group definitely gets involved in all of our local politics and not just at campaign time. I’m looking around, and I see women who are a staple at our council meetings and who help to set us straight when we need it.”
The 50th anniversary celebration was a chance for the club to honor past presidents and to commemorate past achievements.
“You all have played a vital role in advancing Republican goals and this club has been instrumental in electing local, county and state leaders,” said Annette Ratliff, district administrative director for Sen. John Carona.
“It’s truly fitting that this club be recognized for its leadership and many outstanding achievements,” Ratliff said, after reading a proclamation from the Senator’s office. “What you do is immeasurable, so thank you.”
Congressman Kenny Marchant also attended the dinner and meeting, presenting the club with a certificate of congressional recognition.
“Thank you for your years of service and commitment to conservative principles,” Marchant said. “The first piece of political advice I got about Irving was you better get to know the IrvingRepublican Women’s club,” he added, as attendees applauded.
Also during the 50th anniversary event, new officers were sworn in for next year.
Officers for 2013 include president Elena Blake; vice presidents Joyce Howard, who oversees finance; Barbara Hull, programs; Norma Gonzales, records; Lucia Rottenberg, membership; Heather Stroup, communications; Marcella Porter and Pam Grimes, campaign activities and education; Linda Lee, historian and photographer; Doris Booth, webmaster.
“We’ve got to really grow because in 2014 we have to take back the Senate,” Blake, club president, said. “We work to get new council people, but we also do the same for school board members and in May we’ve got some voting to do.
“We’re going to have to get out and hit the road, and this is a good team we have in place for 2013,” she said.
The club meets the second Monday of each month at IHOP, 900 Market, Irving TX. Visitors are welcome. For more information call 972-255-7727.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:04
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Six firefighters from Fire Station No. 3 were honored at the Dec. 11 Coppell City Council meeting.
Capt. Michael McDowell, engineer Sam Thomason, and paramedics Chris Leech,
Jarrod Dean, John Knight and Preston Nickelson were awarded the Life Saving Award from the City after the men saved a Coppell man who suffered cardiac arrest.
On Aug. 16, Thomas Morgan went to sit down, and when his wife went to check on him, Morgan was unresponsive, Fire Chief Kevin Richardson said.
Firefighters arrived and started life support procedures. Morgan was not breathing and did not have a pulse. He was revived and taken to the hospital.
“Because of their actions, Morgan was successfully revived from cardiac arrest and made a full recovery,” Richardson said. “This is an extremely proud day for me to present this award.”
At the Council meeting, Morgan’s son called the firefighters “heroes” and thanked them for their help.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about cardiac arrest, and how critical it is when it happens and what you do,” he said. “Because of their efforts, my dad stands here today with no side effects. He’s as ornery as he’s ever been.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Morgan’s family also donated $2,500 to the Fill the Boot program, which supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“We are honored every day to have such great people that work for the City and care so much about our citizens,” Mayor Karen Hunt said.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:03
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