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4 Leaders, 2 Cities, 1 Purpose

photo by Brian Jones
With the days of summer drawing to a close, there is an all-too familiar anticipation growing. The start of school triggers different emotions for everyone, but hopes are high for the upcoming academic year. … Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all said we are ready to “get back to normal.” But what is “normal?” What will the 2021-2022 school experience be like for our students and teachers? … These Texarkana Superintendents explained their views of the educational excellence in our community and shared their hopes for the days ahead:

Jonathan Weaver

Jonathan Weaver, Associate Director at ESPN … Jonathan’s Emmy’s… … 2018 Sports Emmy Award for “Outstanding Sports News/Feature Anthology” for “E:60” Associate Director … 2020 Sports Emmy Award for “Outstanding Studio Show-Daily” for “SportCenter” Associate Director … 2020 Sports Emmy Award for “Outstanding Technical Team Studio” for “College GameDay” Associate Director … Jonathan Weaver grew up in Texarkana and is a 2007 graduate of Pleasant Grove High School.

A Sarine Thought… or Two

photo by Matt Cornelius
And They’re Off…It is hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. The school supplies have been purchased and soon, students and parents will meet the new teacher(s) who will be the main educational influence in their lives for the next nine months. It is thrilling for some, terrifying for others, but good for all. It’s time to go back to school. … When Jack started kindergarten, my focus was solely on him throughout each day. Would he love school? Would he hate it? Would he make sweet friends? Would he be able to make it for seven whole hours without seeing my face?

The Aesthetics of Academics

photo by Matt Cornelius
Have you ever wondered why a community our size would need three separate colleges? … That answer is quickly settled when you learn just how unique each campus is. For instance, did you know that University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) is on the verge of installing Arkansas’ first ever college solar training lab? Were you aware the students at Texas A&M University-Texarkana ( TAMU-T) have access to their own Starbucks? What about the cutting-edge, industry standard equipment used in the trade courses at Texarkana College (TC)?

The Team of Eight

photo by Matt Cornelius
“Who in their right mind would ever want to serve on a public school board?” … I was asked that question in 1997 when I first sought election to the Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees. Twenty-four years later, 14 of which I spent as a TISD Trustee (1997 to 2003 and 2013 to the present), I can happily report that I have never found a more rewarding experience. … School board members (or trustees) are elected by voters in the school districts they serve to make important decisions about their local schools.

A Perfect Fit

Head of School, Susannah Joyce, with parent Morgan Bennett, watch students Reed Thane, Maxwell Bennett, Wren Thane and Madge Bennett,on campus at St. James Day School.  photo by Matt Cornelius
Choosing a school is one of the biggest decisions you make for your child. A very reasonable fear many parents have is the transition a child makes from the gentle world of home to a large, busy schooling environment. Fortunately, we are blessed in Texarkana with wonderful options, making this transition easier. A smaller campus is a good option for some families because they are often more conducive to individual care while still achieving excellent academic outcomes. When a child has access to a smaller school environment, some find that in education, bigger is not always better!

Getting Technical

Auto Body Technology program at Texarkana College. photo by Michael Ulmer
Our nation has focused heavily in the past two decades on the importance of a bachelor’s degree and has equated that with success. As a result, we are now seeing a shortage in skilled laborers. A career and technical education (CTE) pathway, once considered a “back-up plan,” currently has a starting salary equivalent to, or more than, masters graduates. It has become normal to see ads and marketing initiatives across social media platforms targeting people who have received CTE.

Cassy and John Henry Meisenheimer. photo by Matt Cornelius
I’ll never forget the day John Henry entered the world. As most new parents are, we were nervous and excited about meeting our newborn son. John Henry’s arrival was anxiously awaited, as our arms had been left empty almost exactly one year prior. August 27, 2009, Fred and I thought we were going to be first-time parents to a healthy baby boy. Unfortunately, life took a different route after a long 39 weeks, and instead of leaving the hospital with a healthy baby, we left to attend our son’s funeral. … Reflecting twelve years later, it is surreal how his birthday unfolded.

Back to School

As someone who has basically been in school their entire life minus two years, I have a love-hate relationship with back to school time. I love it because the fresh new year full of possibilities has always excited me as a student-turned-teacher. I love meeting my new students each year! Summer is my favorite season because I love being outdoors and spending time in the sun! I’m always hesitant to give that up plus getting back into a routine each day is always difficult. Although, by the end of July I’m almost always starting to get bored and am ready to get back into the swing of things.

Good Evening TXK

photo by Matt Cornelius
You remember the drop in your stomach you felt as a child when you were walking next to your mom’s buggy in Walmart on a lazy mid summer afternoon and you stumbled upon the dreaded sight of the terrifying school supply section that seemingly pops up out of nowhere? Yeah, that’s how I feel walking past Great American Cookie Company in the mall now that I’m trying to eat healthier. You think to yourself, “NOOOOOO! It’s MID-JULY. Why would Walmart place this blasphemy right in front of our faces like this?” Not cool, Walmart!

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