Kyle Heath mug

School is out for the summer! Our teachers were busy this past week engaged in professional development in preparation for the 2021-22 school year, while also packing up their rooms for a much-deserved summer break. 

It is such a joy, as the superintendent of Cleburne ISD, to have a front row seat at commencement exercises for graduates of TEAM School and Cleburne High School. I enjoyed presenting diplomas to the 53 members of the TEAM School Class of 2021 and to hear the plans of each of the graduates as they continue on to college or go straight into the workforce. A number of these students achieved industry-level certifications through our Career and Technical Education program and will be entering the job market above entry level. 

For the second year, we hosted Cleburne High School graduation ceremonies at Globe Life Field. This is a wonderful facility, and provided everyone in attendance with a great view of the celebration taking place on the field as each of the 396 graduates crossed home plate to receive their diplomas. Not every parent gets to see their child’s smiling face on the Jumbotron at a major sports venue — but ours did! 

Much like our 2020 graduating class, we will remember the Class of 2021 for their courage, their perseverance and their resilience in the face of COVID and its impact on their lives and learning. These seniors, along with their younger classmates, were amazing and inspiring as they successfully navigated through a school year like no other. These same things can also be said about their teachers. 

The speeches delivered by CHS Valedictorian Brenda Zamora-Chavez and Salutatorian Carson Harris no doubt reflected the thoughts of their classmates. Both spoke with gratitude for their teachers, administrators and counselors, their parents, their friends — those who helped and encouraged them in their journey to reach this very important milestone. 

From Carson’s reminder to “always be grateful” to Brenda’s challenge to “look above our differences that separate us, and lead with compassion and understanding towards others,” were messages were for all of us. 

As we close the book on the 2020-21 school year, we are now hard at work preparing for a new season of learning. We have begun reviewing the academic growth in our students, from their start to the year, to mid-year to the end of school. We are very encouraged by their progress in what has been a very challenging instructional year. 

We are proud to have two CISD educators among the regional candidates in the Texas Teacher of the Year competition. Jennifer Gaston, who serves as a reading and language arts specialist at Adams, is representing Cleburne ISD as our Elementary Teacher of the Year. Chef Adair Smith, who oversees our advanced culinary arts program at Cleburne High School including the Sting Bistro, is also among the candidates as our Secondary Teacher of the Year. 

The end of the school year signals the closing of one chapter and the starting of a new one for all of us, but most especially for those on our CISD team who are retiring from service. Among our retirees is Cleburne High School English teacher Robin Fort, who has been shaping and challenging young minds for 37 years. Friday was Robin Fort Day by proclamation of the Mayor, in honor of this remarkable master teacher and longtime Beta Club sponsor who has loved her students, loved her high school and loved her community. 

We wish all our students, their families, and our staff a safe, restful — and wonderful summer. Parents, if you are already hearing the words “I’m bored” in your household, our series of summer sports camps for students of all ages is now underway. These programs, offered in June and July, are coordinated by members of our Cleburne High School coaching staff. Information, including online registration, is posted on the homepage of our website, c-isd.com. 

Superintendent Kyle Heath has been the administrative leader of Cleburne ISD since 2014 and has more than 30 years of service in education as a secondary teacher, campus principal and district administrator. He can be reached at kheath@c-isd.com.

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