Category Archives: Coppell

Wilson Elementary Principal Cooper Hilton selected as Region 10 “TEPSAN” of the Year


(L-R): CISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt; TEPSA Region 10 Board Member Amanda Borowczak Schmitter, Cooper Hilton, Board Members Alisha Crumley and Maggie Garcia and CISD Board Trustee David Caviness. Photo credit: Naveen Boppana with CISD

When Wilson Elementary Principal Cooper Hilton was called outside from his Coppell ISD school on Friday, Feb. 5, he had no idea the surprise that awaited him. There in the parking lot of his school were his family, school colleagues, Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt, CISD Trustee David Caviness and representatives from the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). 

This group gathered to inform Hilton that he was selected as the 2020-2021 “TEPSAN” of the Year for Region 10 of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA).  Out of more than 600 members of TEPSA Region 10, Hilton was chosen by his peers for this recognition because of his dedication and service to all school children in Texas. 

“Cooper Hilton is the kind of leader who inspires everyone,” said Amanda Borowczak Schmitter, TEPSA Region 10 Board Member and principal of Rayburn Elementary STEAM Academy in Grand Prairie ISD.  “He collaborates with principals and supervisors in the state to positively impact the decisions being made for students.”

She continued, “He is kind, driven, and has a great love for his teachers, students, and school families. Cooper is a difference maker.” 

In addition to the surprise announcement, students, teachers and staff at Wilson Elementary honored Hilton with a parade to celebrate this achievement and his leadership of the school. 

“[Hilton] leads by example and motivates his team to be the best we can be each and every day,” said Jordan Muse, assistant principal of Wilson Elementary. “Especially this year, he has shown us how to be compassionate and caring and to work hard every day to show our love for our students and our school.” 

This sentiment is shared by CISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt.   

“I am so proud of Cooper,  for not only this recognition, but for what he does every day to serve our children, our educators, our families and our community,” Dr. Hunt said. “He  is a true advocate for public education and his dedication to our profession shines through in all that he does.”

For Hilton, receiving recognition from his peers in this surprise fashion truly astonished him. 

“I was rendered speechless by this, and those who know me know that never happens,” Hilton said. “To have my own family join my school family and my district family and my TEPSA family in sharing this with me was truly special.”

He added, “To be recognized by my peers for doing what I feel is my calling, which is advocating for public education in Texas, means so much to me.”

Hilton has almost 20 years of experience in education as a teacher, leader and principal.  He has worked in Coppell ISD for 11 years, serving as an assistant principal and principal. He is the former principal of Austin Elementary School and has led Wilson Elementary since 2017.  In 2020, he was elected as the 2020-2021 Member-At-Large for TEPSA.  In this elected position, Hilton is one of five voting members of TEPSA’s Executive Committee, which consists of the president, president-elect, 1st vice president, 2nd vice president and an at-large member leading the almost 6,000 members of the organization.

Soul Line-Dancing Provides Freedom of Expression, Local Studio Provides Much More

I was fortunate enough to meet Flower Mound resident Isha “Boomerang” Hutchinson today at the Grapevine Middle School track on Pony Parkway. He is the proprietor of 410 Line Dancers, which is based in Coppell.

They offer soul line-dancing lessons, ranging from the easiest to most complex dances. They provide soul line-dance lessons to all, regardless of age or dance skill level, in a safe dance studio environment. There are no partners needed to learn the line dances to favorite Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Zydeco, House, Dance, and Pop music. 

“We teach beginner, intermediate and advanced soul line dancing,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is called “Boomerang” because that was his pledge name in the fraternity Omega Psi Phi. While Hutchinson pledged in 2004, his former business partner, Jerry, pledged in 2010. As a result, the name 410 was born.

“Soul line dancing is similar to Country Line Dancing, but it’s set to more soul music, R&B (Rhythm and Blues), Jazz, Zydeco music – all these different types of music,” Boomerang explained. “Really a lot of the movements are the same, but it’s a whole different culture. You don’t have to wear cowboy boots. And it’s a whole national culture as well.

“With our group, we travel. There’s always line dancing conferences when we are not limited by something like COVID. Normally, we travel to other parts of the country. We don’t compete – it’s just for fun. [Conferences are] more networking and socializing and camaraderie and just to have fun. You get to meet the people you’ve seen on YouTube. People create dances and put them online. We watch them and then meet up at conferences to get to know each other,” Hutchinson said.

Soul-line dancing has become a popular sensation recently.

“For me, I started this because I used to go to clubs here in Dallas and I would do ‘The Wobble’ [dance] and stuff like that – the same dances that everybody does,” said Hutchinson. “At this club, every once in a while, they’d throw a new [dance] in there that I hadn’t seen. I think the fun is when you get to get out there with everybody and you get to do your own thing. You take the dance and learn the steps, but then you can make it your dance. You have to put your own flavor to it.

“With this group [at the club], they didn’t really want me to be a part of what they were doing. It seemed a lot more personal at the time,” said Hutchinson. “I felt that they were being exclusive. Looking back now, I can see that wasn’t necessarily true. But I decided to start my own [dance business] that’s not exclusive.”

Boomerang’s former club is no longer in business.

“If they hadn’t gone out of business, I wouldn’t be where I am now. My [business] was really built on being inclusive – no inner circles, no cliques, no special treatment, no nothing. I do not want any of that. Then we started realizing pretty fast that there are people there for a lot of reasons that aren’t dance-related,” Boomerang said.

“Some are there because they are new to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and want to make friends, or they’re going through a mental, physical or emotional injury that they’re recovering from, so that inclusiveness became a lot more important. We fancy ourselves as a place to come in and be part of a family, and we care about them, and we really try to work on building their self-confidence and self-esteem, and it just happens to be through dancing,” Boomerang explained.

Boomerang himself has gotten a lot out of this endeavor and has also helped many people.

“First of all, [establishing this business] has enabled me to be creative because I can create dances and I can be creative in how to build a business from ‘ground zero’ to whatever it is. And I am also creative with designing clothes. I design head-to-toe, and that’s created some opportunities for us and what we’ve been able to do.

“We’ve had some movies companies come and ask us, ‘Would you like to design stuff for us?’ so we try to include our students in that, so they can really build their confidence. We do a lot of TV production. On one of my YouTube channels, we interview the other line dance choreographers and instructors, and that thing has gotten so popular.

“Initially we let our students do that and PSAs [public service announcements] as a confidence-builder. We do a lot of commercials because I’m good at Adobe After Effects and I’m a professional photographer and videographer. We do photo shoots and that builds [students’] confidence up. We do all kinds of different stuff,” Boomerang said.

“Now with COVID, we had to take it virtual, and that’s expanded our reach. So now, we have students all over the country. We get together virtually to celebrate birthdays, and I do an annual awards program where they get awarded [for their accomplishments] and then we throw our conference. So, we have that coming up. We keep a lot of things going on that help build [students] up,” said Boomerang.

However, 410 does a lot more than offer dance lessons.

“We also do public relations and help students who own their own businesses learn how to write press releases and things like that. This year, I have been mentoring my students about a lot of political science stuff,” Boomerang said.

“I’ve been telling them, as bipartisan as I can, about the difference between the two parties. A lot of people don’t know the differences between Republican and Democrat. I try to be matter of fact. I tell them, ‘This is what Democrats believe and this is what Republicans believe. Whatever matches up best with your own beliefs is probably the party you need to look at most, and it might be a little of one and a little of the other.’ [My students] need to know what [people] are saying when they say things like: Left wing, right wing, middle wing, conservative, liberal, socialist, and all of that so they can make an educated choice. I am really trying to help them to vote wisely,” Boomerang said.

Boomerang’s classes meet twice a week. For more information, visit https://www.410linedancers.com, call 469-464-9104 or email 410linedancers@gmail.com.

“No Cliques, No Drama…Just GREAT Dancing!!!”

CHS Theatre presents ‘Terrifying Texas Tales’ Halloween drive-in movie experience

The Coppell High School Cowboy Theatre Company will showcase the talent and creativity of students in “Terrifying Texas Tales: A Halloween Drive-In Movie Experience” on Oct. 29, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in the parking lot of CHS9.

CHS Theatre students wrote and filmed their own short horror films, based on true Texas horror and paranormal stories.  These films will be streamed as drive-in movies over Halloween weekend.  Shows are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, Saturday Oct. 31 and Sunday Nov. 1, in the parking lot of CHS9 located at 1301 Wrangler Circle Drive in Coppell.  Recommended audience age is middle school students and up. Tickets can be purchased for $15 per car at www.coppellhstheatre.com. Contactless concession purchases will be available on site. 


“This is a great opportunity to showcase the incredible talent and creativity of our theatre students,” said CHS Theatre Director Karen Ruth.  “Opportunities to perform before audiences in COVID-19 are limited, so we came up with an alternative venue to share scary stories that also offers our community an alternative safe Halloween experience.” 

Ruth added that there will be bonus, super-scary stories shared after a late intermission for those interested in truly terrifying tales.

Visit www.coppellhstheatre.com for details and to purchase tickets. 

The Coppell ISD Education Foundation Give for Grants Program Continues Integral Support for Classrooms

The Coppell ISD Education Foundation (CEF), which launched the Give for Grants initiative last school year, provides donors a means to give funds directly to teacher grants of their choice. The Give for Grants program offers flexibility, ease of use and will increase funding given directly to classrooms in Coppell ISD (CISD).

The CEF supports the educators in CISD through their annual grant program. The Classroom Grant Program is designed to encourage, facilitate, recognize, and reward effective, innovative, and creative, instructional approaches that directly impact students while transforming classroom learning. For example, during the 2019-20 school year, the CEF awarded more than $63,000 in classroom grants. The Give for Grants program will allow parents, educators, and community members to donate at any giving amount directly to a specific grant of their choosing. Whether a donor would like to support a specific campus, specific educator or a specific project, the Give for Grants program gives donors the flexibility of choice.

Donors can select specific grants to support financially through the www.Give4GrantsCISD.org website. Additionally, a donor can select to give to the Give for Grants campaign in general and not to a specific grant here. The donation window will be open from October 1 through October 31. The donation process is simple:

  1. Choose the campus
  2. Select the grant to support (or give to the general Give for Grants campaign here)
  3. Donate at any giving amount and make an impact

This year, 12 grants were submitted by educators totaling more than $29,000. The goal of the Give for Grants program is to make a lasting impact in the classrooms in CISD. Together with individual donations and the funds raised by the CEF, more grants will be funded transforming the learning in CISD. The CEF will continue to financially support the grants as in years past through donations raised in other fundraising efforts.

Donors can choose the specific grant to support at www.Give4GrantsCISD.org website from October 15-November 15.

Gerry Miller selected as CISD Coordinator of Fine Arts

The Coppell ISD Board of Trustees approved Coppell High School Band Director Gerry Miller as the district’s Coordinator of Fine Arts during their meeting Sept. 28 

“For the past five years, I have seen firsthand Mr. Miller’s dedication to our student performers and the fine arts program at CHS, as well as his instilling a passion for instrumental music in our middle schools,” CISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt said. “He has elevated our high school band to achieve at the highest levels, while demonstrating a commitment to all of our fine arts’ disciplines.

In his new role, he will continue to help ensure the creativity of our students can flourish and thrive allowing them to demonstrate success in a variety of ways.  I am excited to see the impact Mr. Miller’s leadership will have on our fine arts program in CISD, which will include helping to spearhead our future orchestra program.”

Miller begins his new duties on Oct. 1. For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, he will continue to serve as the CHS Band Director, in addition to his new duties.  The hiring process for a new CHS Band Director will begin in the spring. 

“It is my distinct honor to have been selected to serve as Coppell ISD’s Coordinator of Fine Arts,” Miller said. “The arts play a vital role in the well-rounded education of every child in CISD, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue to grow our already superb fine Arts programs into the very best for our staff and students.”

Miller joined CISD as the Coppell High School Director of Bands and the school’s Fine Arts Department Chair in 2016. Prior to joining CISD, Miller served as the founding Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chair at Wakeland High School in Frisco ISD. 

He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Loyola University New Orleans. He currently serves as an Area Band Chair for the Texas Music Educators Association, the Marching Band Vice President for the Texas Music Adjudicators Association and as a music judge for Drum Corps International.

Miller and his wife, Lori, live in Frisco. They have two sons, Gerry, who attends the University of North Texas, and Benjamin, who attends Griffin Middle School in Frisco ISD. 

CISD’s Brad Hunt Selected as a National ‘Superintendent to Watch’

Coppell ISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt is one of the “2020 Superintendents to Watch” selected by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). He is among only 24 district leaders in the nation and only three in Texas, who NSPRA chose for this recognition, because of how these superintendents use communication in innovative and effective ways. 

“It is an honor and privilege to receive this recognition  and be among this group of superintendents who prioritize strong communication with their communities,” Dr. Hunt said. “Transparent and interactive communication is essential to the work my team and I do each day, as we work to build authentic relationships and collective engagement with internal and external stakeholders through consistent communication in a variety of channels. 

According to NSPRA, “Superintendents to Watch” engage and inform their school communities with new communication technology tools combined with tried-and-true techniques.  Honorees have fewer than five years of experience as a superintendent and possess dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core. For a complete list of “Superintendents to Watch,” visit www.nspra.org/superintendents-watch

Dr. Hunt’s effective and innovative communication tools include his weekly “Catch Up with Hunt” video messages to the CISD Community, his “Hobbies with Hunt” interactive videos with students during the district’s closure due to COVID-19, Facebook Live events to engage directly with the community in a two-way forum, consistent email messages to the community about district happenings and Interacting with staff, families and the community on social media. 

“Whether it’s expanding the lines of communication with our business community, leading the charge with the district’s strategic design to identify new core values, or reaching across our community to increase engagement, Dr. Hunt doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk,” said Kevin Nevels, chairman of the Board of the Coppell Chamber of Commerce and owner of Coppell Taekwondo Academy. “As the demographic make-up of CISD has changed, Dr. Hunt has been very intentional about making sure that all stakeholders and cohorts are represented and given a voice.”

Prior to the Coppell ISD Board of Trustees naming him the district’s superintendent in July 2017, Dr. Hunt served CISD for almost 30 years as a teacher at Coppell High School, assistant principal at Coppell Middle School West, Director of Human Resources, principal of Coppell High School and as the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services. Dr. Hunt has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler and his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from the University of North Texas.

ITServe Alliance Dallas Chapter and U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW donates $9,000 check to Coppell ISD for hotspot internet connections for students

ITServe Alliance Dallas Chapter, through a connection with the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW, is donating $9,000 for hotspot internet connections for Coppell ISD students without reliable internet connections, as the district has approximately 70 percent of its students participating in distance learning for the first grading period.  This donation will provide approximately 25 hotspots for CISD students. 

The IT Alliance and U.S. India Chamber of Commerce want to ensure that those who need reliable internet access and service during distance learning have access.  They are donating these funds to CISD to help the district provide hotspots to those families who need it. 

The check presentation was Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 10am outside of the Coppell ISD Administration building. 

CISD Board Secretary Nichole Bentley earns Master Trustee designation

Nichole_Bentley

Nichole Bentley

Coppell ISD Board Trustee Nichole Bentley has earned the designation of Master Trustee upon completion of the Leadership TASB program, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

“Participating In this program has helped me grow and thrive as a leader and as a Trustee,” Bentley said. “I was able to learn from my Trustee peers across Texas, as well as gain an enhanced knowledge of how to continue to be an engaged advocate for public education in my district and beyond.”  

Trustee Bentley, who serves as the Board Secretary, joins CISD Trustees Leigh Walker, Tracy Fisher and Anthony Hill, as well as Board President Thom Hulme, as Master Trustees. CISD is one of only a few School Boards in Texas to have five Master Trustees. 

Bentley is the CEO of Prio Consulting, LLC, and the co-owner of Cruise Planners. She and her husband, Brett Schneider, have four children, all boys, who have graduated from Coppell High School and New Tech High @ Coppell. She was elected to the CISD School Board in 2018. 

She participated in a virtual graduation hosted by TASB Aug. 9-18. School board members in the 2019–20 Leadership TASB class gathered for their unique traveling tailgate graduation. At seven parking lots in seven different locations — Kingsville, Uvalde, Channelview, Cypress, Georgetown, Allen and Coppell, portions of the class of 36 participants met to receive their graduation honors.

Upon graduating, Leadership TASB participants joined the ranks of more than 900 school board members statewide who are Leadership TASB alumni.The 2020 Leadership TASB class represents Texas school districts of all sizes and property wealth. Participants who completed all required elements of the study program earned Master Trustee status, the highest designation recognized by TASB. Leadership TASB is sponsored in part by H-E-B.

TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.43 million public school students. Learn more at www.tasb.org

Coppell ISD announces Lorie Squalls as new CMS North Principal 

PRESS RELEASE

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Squalls (Photo courtesy of CISD)

Coppell ISD announces that Lorie Squalls, current principal at Austin Elementary, is the new principal of Coppell Middle School North in the district.  

“I am thrilled to have Mrs. Squalls lead CMS North.  She is an experienced school leader who focuses on authentic relationships and collective engagement, which will serve her well in this new role,” said CISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt. 

Squalls has served as the principal at Austin Elementary for the last three years.  She also has extensive experience as an administrator in her 21 years in education, having served as a principal, assistant principal, curriculum coordinator, digital learning coordinator, and as a general and special education teacher.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of CMS North and will work diligently to support its educators, learners and families,” Squalls said. “I look forward to becoming part of the ‘village’ at North and working together at this outstanding school.” 

Squalls received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas Southwestern and her Master’s Degree from the University of Phoenix. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Education at Dallas Baptist University.  

She replaces former CMS North principal Dr. Greg Axelson, who was named the district’s Chief Operating Officer in May.

Brief guide of what’s been cancelled, postponed and what’s still going on

According to The Rambler Newspapers, here’s what’s cancelled, what’s been rescheduled and what’s still going on: