Tyler ISD’s picks for its two high school principal positions are proven leaders with a history of improving academic performance, district officials said.
Gary Brown, of Wylie High School, will be the new Robert E. Lee High School principal while Michael Timms, John Tyler High School’s associate principal of curriculum and instruction, will serve as John Tyler principal.
The TISD board of trustees approved the hires as well as one more for a district-level administrator on Thursday, the last day of school, during a special-called meeting.
Brown comes to the district with seven years of high school principal experience most recently at Wylie High School.
He also implemented Rachel’s Challenge, a program that promotes positive character and student interaction.
In 2008, the school was named the Rachel’s Challenge National High School of the Year.
Brown started his education career in 1988 as a social studies teacher and coach at Longview’s Pine Tree High School.
He became Wylie High School assistant principal in 2002 after more than a decade teaching and coaching, according to TISD. He also worked as Burnett Junior High School principal.
“We look forward to Mr. Brown joining our team of educators at Robert E. Lee High School,” Reid said in a news release. “Mr. Brown is dedicated to raising the bar for student achievement. He will be an asset to Robert E. Lee and the district as a whole.”
Timms comes to the John Tyler position with 27 years of education experience, the past two at the school.
He came to the campus in 2010 as Freshman Academy dean. One year later, then-principal Shon Joseph moved him into the associate principal of curriculum and instruction position where he built on the changes made at the freshman level.
Timms has worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at several Texas schools, according to TISD.
As principal of Turner Middle School in Waxahachie ISD, he moved the low-performing campus to recognized status for the first time in the school’s history.
John Tyler and Lee received academically unacceptable ratings from the Texas Education Agency last year.
Under the prior accountability system, Texas rated schools based primarily on students’ standardized test performance. If a school had a certain number of students in specific demographic groups (African-American, Hispanic, white and economically disadvantaged) then performance among the student body as a whole as well as each group individually was considered for the rating.
At John Tyler, African-American student performance in math caused the unacceptable rating. At Lee, African-American and economically disadvantaged student performance prompted the unacceptable rating.
In addition to the rating, John Tyler is in Stage 4 of federal sanctions after failing to meet academic standards in math for five consecutive years.
Improving in this area is a must if the campus wants to get out from under the sanctions.
Reid said the well-rounded experience Timms brings to the table along with his role in building some of the systems at John Tyler — such as the Freshman Academy — were a positive in the eyes of the district.
He said staff members expressed confidence that with Timms the campus can continue moving in a positive direction.
In addition to hiring the principals, the board also approved the hiring of Dr. Christy Hanson as the next executive director of secondary education. Dr. Hanson will replace Jeff Collum, who is moving to Arkansas to become a superintendent.
In this position, Dr. Hanson will lead and manage the district’s secondary instructional programs and oversee operations of the discipline services department, according to TISD.
Dr. Hanson comes from Grand Prairie ISD where she was in a similar position as director of secondary schools.
Reid said that district has demographics similar to TISD’s. It also has a new career and technology education center, which TISD is hoping to get in the future. Reid said she has worked with schools that have academic challenges, which will help her coming into TISD.
“Dr. Hanson will play a critical role as part of our district’s executive staff,” Reid said, according to a news release. “With her leadership, we look forward to continued educational progress in each of our secondary schools.”
All three will begin their new roles by July, if not sooner.