Historic bond, teacher raises boost moral for Nacogdoches teachers ahead of school year

Updated: Aug. 13, 2019 at 2:10 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Independent School District welcomed more than 400 educators back to school Tuesday at the district’s annual convocation.

Pay raises provided through state legislation, the earlier passage of the largest school bond in NISD history, and praised school leadership has created a turnaround in moral, according to the interim superintendent Alton Frailey.

“What’s important is that people do feel they play a key role in what we do,” said Frailey. "We have a quality team to work with, and I’m just happy to be back home with folks I’ve known and folks I’m getting to meet.

We have folks who are good, who are trying to do the best things for our boys and girls. So, I’m just trying to give them the space to work and support they need to get the job done."

Then there's a tangible result of teacher pay raises led by state legislators. Morale starts to improve.

"We don't spend money on education. We invest money on education," State Representative Travis Clardy told those in attendance.

NISD taxpayers are investing close to $78-million following the passage of the largest school bond election ever presented to NISD voters. Welcomed results when much smaller amounts failed miserably.

"And we thank our community. Our community has been unbelievably supportive and we thank them for the bond proposal they passed that's going to help our kids for years to years to come," said NISD board president, G.W. Neal,

Those kids will be helped by teachers such as Helen Huffty. She won a door prize today, but her biggest win is returning to the district after leaving it last year.

"I came back to Nacogdoches ISD because I missed being with an administrator that believed in me and supported me and that's what I have," said Huffty.

NISD Board Vice-president James Montoya said, "A lot of the teachers that are coming back love this district. They have their heart here, but were concerned of some of the things that happened in the past. Our school board is trying to go in the right direction and I think they see that."

Challenges remain. There will be restructuring of 10 campuses, construction inconveniences and the school ranking is nowhere near the top in the state. Leadership must have faculty and staff on board to meet the goals for a highly effective district.

"And they realize that they are respected and trusted and we need them and I think they see that now," said Frailey.

Teachers will have the next few days on a normal schedule getting classrooms ready for students’ return on Aug. 26.

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