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  • COCISD Supt steps down

    COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland R. MooreCOURTESY PHOTO COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland Moore will resign from his post effective Dec. 31, 2020.

    Special to the News-Times

    Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD will be looking for a new leader.

    After serving as COCISD superintendent for nearly five years, Dr. Leland Moore has tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 31. Moore’s resignation was accepted by the board at the December meeting, which took place during the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Dec. 14, at the Jones Auditorium.

    “As I begin a new season in my life, I am ready to pursue new opportunities. I have given five years of service to the COCISD and every day of that time has been rewarding for me. My heart tells me it’s time for a change,” wrote Moore in a message to staff. “I have been privileged to serve with a great team of educators and staff who are loyal and dedicated to the children of the COCISD. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to have worked with trustees who are on a vibrant and exciting mission.”

    The Board of Trustees held its regular December meeting a week earlier than usual due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

    After formally accepting Moore’s resignation, the board approved the appointment of education consultant and former San Augustine superintendent Walter Key to serve as interim superintendent. Also approved was the engagement of Haglund Law Firm, P.C. to perform the superintendent search.

    In other business, the meeting opened with a public hearing to present the 2019-20 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Vikki Curry gave the presentation, explaining that due to the TEA response to COVID-19, the report was essentially the same as the previous year. There were no public comments. The TAPR may be viewed on the district website at cocisd.org > District > Accountability.

    Under New Business, the board discussed and approved the following:

    Renewal of a legal services agreement with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle P.C. 

    Extension of additional COVID-related leave to COCISD employees. 

    Adoption of a formal board resolution urging TEA to cancel the STAAR tests for the 2020-21 school year.

    A Verizon operation connectivity contract.

    The next regular meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees will be held at the Jones Auditorium on Monday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Coldspring FFA Member Awarded National American FFA Degree

    Rylee American PictureColdspring-Oakhurst alumnus and Southwestern University sophomore Rylee Rudloff earned her FFA American Degree last week.

    INDIANAPOLIS – Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year 4,136 American Degrees were awarded. Rylee Rudloff of Coldspring, who is a member of the Coldspring FFA chapter, was awarded the American FFA Degree at the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 27-29, which was held virtually.

    Rudloff was a Coldspring FFA member for four years during high school. She served as an officer of Coldspring FFA for two years, as the Vice President for 2017-2018 and President for 2018-2019. 

    Rudloff showed Market Goats and Breeding Heifers at the San Jacinto County Fair. She also showed registered Brahman heifers at Fort Worth Livestock Show, San Antonio Livestock Show, Houston Livestock Show, and the Star of Texas Livestock Show in Austin. 

    Rudloff competed in Livestock Judging for 4 years and Public Relations for three years and Greenhand Quiz one year. She received her Lone Star FFA Degree from Texas FFA in 2018. 

    Rudloff has continued her involvement in Agriculture after high school through her registered Brahman Heifers. She is currently attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, where she is studying to become a physical therapist and playing outfield for the softball team.

    Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee.

    Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

    Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized at the national convention.

    About National FFA Organization
    The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org and on Facebook and Twitter.


    The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. A separately registered nonprofit organization, the foundation is governed by a board of trustees that includes the national FFA president, educators, business leaders and individual donors. For more, visit FFA.org/Give.

     

  • Coldspring runs past Shepherd, 73-51

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Coldspring-Oakhurst guard Duke Lawniczak (with ball) puts up a shot in traffic against a host of Shepherd defenders.

    By JASON CHLAPEK

    COLDSPRING — It was nothing new for the Coldspring-Oakhurst and Shepherd boys basketball teams when they faced each other last week in Coldspring.

    The Pirates operated out of a half-court set and got the ball inside to 6-foot-11 post Bradley Davis, while the Trojans ran and pressed. In the end, Coldspring’s full-court press proved to be too much for Shepherd as the Trojans forced 42 turnovers, including 33 steals, to run past the Pirates, 73-51, on Dec. 1.

    “We always press,” Coldspring coach Greg Devers said. “That’s our thing since we’ve always been here. Two years ago, we averaged about 99 points a game in district. Last year in the state semifinal, we pressed the No. 1 team in the state (Dallas Madison). That’s our bread and butter. We don’t like to get in a half-court game. We like to play up-tempo and take as many shots as we can.”

    Shepherd coach Jeremy Bennett knew what to expect as well. He also said last week’s game wasn’t the first time his team saw the full-court press.

    “They’ve been pressing since forever and it’s nothing we haven’t seen,” Bennett said. “Every team we’ve seen has pressed us.”

    The presence of Davis is one of the main reasons why teams press the Pirates. Nonetheless, the senior post still recorded a triple-double — 24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 blocks.

    The main culprit for Shepherd’s turnovers may not have been Coldspring’s full-court press, however. It may have been the absence of point guard Trey Stacey.

    “One thing that hurt us is we didn’t have our starting point guard,” Bennett said. “That hurt us with turnovers. He was in close contact with someone who tested positive. Trase Thiessen has handled the ball for us. It hurt a lot not having him. We got after them, but not having our full roster hurt us. I’d love to play them again with my full roster. It might be a different story.”

    The Pirates led once in the contest, 13-12, late in the first quarter. But the Trojans closed out the quarter on a 6-2 run, which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Luke Monroe, to take an 18-15 lead after one frame of play.

    Monroe’s 3-pointer was the start of a 13-0 run for Coldspring (4-0), who built a 28-15 lead that would not be relinquished. The Trojans led 34-23 at the half and 54-41 after three quarters.

    Duke Lawniczak led all scorers with 37 points for Coldspring. Cameron Shaw-Rucker had a double-double with 11 points and 10 steals to go with seven assists, while Dante Eldridge chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds.

    “Practice makes perfect and I watch Trae Young a lot and the way he flicks his wrist,” Lawniczak said. “Just pray that it goes in. I like to go in the paint, but I like to take the shot when I feel like I have it. We need to play with the same energy. We’ve won district every year since I was a freshman. We haven’t lost a game in district and I pray that we can do it again.”

    Shepherd (5-2) also received 8 points and 10 rebounds from Dillen Johnson. Carlos Renovato and Christian Castillo also contributed with 8 and 7 points, respectively.

    The Pirates bounced back from their loss at Coldspring with a 56-40 victory at Madisonville last Saturday. Davis led the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Johnson and Renovato had 13 and 10 points, respectively.

    Prior to last week’s loss, Shepherd’s only other defeat was a 64-53 setback at the hands of Class 5A Kingwood Park. The Pirates also have victories against defending 2A state champion Shelbyville; 5A teams Montgomery and Cleveland; and fellow 4A West Orange-Stark.

    Coldspring followed up its double-digit win with a pair of nail biting victories against 4A programs Bridge City and Orangefield last week. The Trojans defeated BC, 65-59, last Thursday and edged Orangefield, 64-62, last Saturday.

    In the win against BC, Lawniczak led with 28 points, while Eldridge recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Statistics were not available from the win at Orangefield.

    “This is my sixth year at Coldspring,” Devers said. “I like to press — 32 minutes of full-court pressing. We pressed when I was at Manvel and Stafford. I learned it from Earl Berry at Channelview. There was a year where we scored 100 points 14 times in a season.”

    After qualifying for the state tournament a year ago, the Trojans seem to be in reloading mode as opposed to rebuilding.

    “Our record the last two years is 71-9 and my junior varsity’s record is 40-3,” Devers said. “I have four returnees — all four of them start. I also have three move-ins that have helped us out as well. I have 11 guys who I can put on the court and they’re going to give 120 percent.”

    The biggest obstacle isn’t an opponent on Coldspring’s schedule, according to Devers, who’s team hosts 2A No. 1 Martins Mill at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. It’s Covid-19.

    “Our schedule changes every day and every time I receive a phone call from a coach, I think he’s going to cancel,” Devers said. “Anytime an administrator comes into my classroom, I think one of my players has Covid. We’re playing it day-by-day right now.”

  • Coldspring schools going back to on-site learning

                                   PHOTO BY JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Coldspring-Oakhurst High School is one of two COCISD campuses that will do away with distance learning on Monday. Lincoln Junior High is the other.

    By Jason Chlapek

    COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD trustees voted to remove distance learning from Coldspring-Oakhurst High School and Lincoln Junior High during a special meeting on Nov. 2.

    While students at the high school and junior high in COCISD will no longer have distance learning beginning Monday, students at Coldspring Intermediate and James Street Elementary schools will still have the option of participating in distance learning. Students at the high school or junior high with underlying health conditions will still be eligible for distance learning.

    “The board met and heard input from the community, parents and teachers,” COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland Moore. “We ultimately decided to go back to face-to-face in the high school and junior high, but leave it up to the parents for the intermediate and elementary. After talking with the principals and campus representatives, the board felt like some campuses needed to go back to face-to-face, while others were doing fine. We did this to maximize the learning process.”

    Moore said combating Covid-19 is, “an everyday job.” But, he believes the district has a great person in charge of health services — department director Kristi Benestante.

    “There’s something happening with Covid every day. It’s a struggle and we are experiencing some positive cases, but we have a very thorough process. Kristi has a process that keeps the kids healthy and safe. We listen to her. We had several kids identified as positive and she runs down the close contacts.”

    During October’s monthly meeting, COCISD trustees approved the holiday and vacation schedule. According to Moore, “TASB suggests that employees who work 240 days get paid holidays and vacations.”

    COCISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

  • Did you know?

    did you knoePHOTO BY YVONNE CONES The Coldspring community center is open for operation.

    By Yvonne Cones

    Did you know that Coldspring Community Center is open for business? This is the center at 101 E. Cedar Ave. near the courthouse and not the community shelter recentlybuilt.The Coldspring Center was created by a small group of residents who saw the need for a meeting place for the community. It is 65 years old.

    Beside it, a piece of land was developed into a beautiful garden by San Jacinto County Master Gardeners. It is the perfect place for small weddings (80 guests approx.), parties, events, anniversaries, and meetings.The Garden Club has been meeting there for two months or so, socially distanced and masked, and it is very affordable. For a full day, the cost is $150; $90 for half a day with a deposit of $250.

    This is fully refundable after leaving the premises in good condition. Call 936-433-6783 or go to Facebook.

    Things are moving along even with the pandemic. Workforce Solutions will hold a virtualjob fair on Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are looking for employers who want to hire people and also people who will host sites for applicants.

    Some will be able to use library computers, but some do not own a computer and cannot get to a library and will need help. Call Misty Spears at 936-327-5421 ext 5634.

    I wrote before about the webinars and courses run by the Small Business Development Center. They held a webinar for business owners this week on “Cyber Security For YourBusiness.”

    These subjects come round on a regular basis, so call and ask for details. On Oct. 28 the title is “Restaurant Reality - Digital Age of Marketing.” These webinars are free. Go to their website to register.

    K & C Fleur - Creative Cooking are based in Shepherd and deliver delicious meals to your home in the area. Their Facebook pages show some tempting photos of the meals they serve, they specialize in Cajun cuisine and salads.

    Courtney Taylor who runs the business with her husband is very community-minded and will hold a Cancer Awareness Benefit at Shepherd Gazebo Square next to the Fire Station on Oct. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. You can order on line or call 936-252-2736.

    Saturday, Dec. 5, will be Shepherd's Christmas Event. This year we hope to make it the best ever with the help of the community and Children’s Impact Center, Pastor Branch, and his church, and Shepherd ISD.

    The Impact Center will kick off the day with a Chili Cook-Off and will hold various contests for Best Dressed Pets, as well as adults, in Best Christmas Dress-Up, Best Sunday Best, and Children’s Dress ups. There is a lot more being planned.

    Contests for Best Decorated Business and Vehicle are also on the list. Call 936-499-2632 or 936-628-6397.

    Entry forms are available at the Impact Center Resale Shop and from Shepherd Chamber.

  • Eagles fly past Trojans, 41-28

    KentreveyionPOP28p2COURTESY PHOTO The Trojans’ season came to an end last Thursday with a 41-28 playoff loss to Woodville.

    By Jason Chlapek

    CROCKETT – Ken Stanley had a hunch that the Coldspring-Oakhurst football team would have its hands full with Woodville last Thursday.

    The head coach of the Trojans proved to be right. The Eagles used a balanced offensive attack and took advantage of a handful of Coldspring turnovers as they soared past the Trojans, 41-28, in a Class 3A-Division I bi-district contest at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium in Crockett.

    “It was one of those tough nights where once we would get something going, we couldn’t get a stop or something wouldn’t go our way,” Stanley said. “It is what it is. We have to make plays and they made more than we did.”

    Coldspring finished the season 8-3. Woodville (8-2) advanced to the area round where it faces Columbus at 7 p.m. Friday at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan.

    Last week’s playoff contest was a role reversal from two years ago albeit with the same end result. In 2018, the Eagles were the champions of District 12-3A-DI and defeated the Trojans, 34-7, in the bi-district round.

    Coldspring was the fourth-place team out of 11-3A-DI and operated out of the spread offensively. Woodville ran the double-wing offense in 2018.

    This season, the Trojans ran the double-wing and won 9-3A-DI, while the Eagles operate out of the spread and were the No. 4 seed out of 10-3A-DI. However, Woodville was in a three-way tie for second with Anahuac and Buna, but was the No. 4 seed because of a points tiebreaker.

    “We knew they were pretty good and we had a pretty good game plan going in, but we didn’t anticipate a three-and-out or fumbling the ball,” Stanley said. “We were doing what we wanted to do, we were running the ball and moving the chains, but when we put the ball on the ground, we had to get in the spread and we were able to get some big plays out of that.”

    A three-and-out and a lost fumble on Coldspring’s first two offensive drives led to a pair of Darrius Bean-to-Jaylen Kibble touchdown passes that put the Eagles up 13-0 midway through the first quarter. A second lost fumble on the Trojans’ third drive had Woodville smelling blood and gunning for a bigger lead, but Luke Monroe intercepted a Bean pass in the endzone on the opening play of the second quarter to give Coldspring possession at its own 20-yard line.

    The Trojans needed just six plays to get on the scoreboard. Contavious Parker-Harden received a pitch from quarterback Duke Lawniczak, cut to his right and ran through a hole made by the offensive line for a 61-yard touchdown run that cut the Eagles’ lead to 13-7.

    But Woodville answered. Bean connected with Jacory Hyder for a touchdown pass and Pop Prejean added the two-point conversion run to increase the Eagles’ lead to 21-7. Coldspring drove to the Woodville 8 as time expired on the first half behind Lawniczak completing passes to Tavaress Chambers and Dante Eldridge.

    After blocking a punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, the Trojans set up shop at the Eagles’ 27. Lawniczak connected with Parker-Harden for 18 yards before the senior running back had an 8-yard run to the 1, the drive-capping 1-yard score and the two-point conversion run to trim the Coldspring deficit to 21-15.

    The Trojans appeared to have caught a huge break when Bean threw his second interception of the night. But a fumble during the interception return was recovered by Woodville, and the Eagles responded with the first of Prejean’s three touchdown runs to increase their lead to 28-15.

    Woodville struck again following a Coldspring interception as Prejean added a second touchdown run to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the night, 35-15, midway through the third quarter. Lawniczak scored on a 27-yard run to trim the Trojans’ deficit to 35-22.

    Following a Woodville punt early in the fourth quarter, Lawniczak threw a pass that was deflected twice before being hauled in by Eldridge in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown that pulled Coldspring within seven, 35-28, with less than nine minutes in the contest. But Prejean took over from there.

    The Woodville junior ran the ball 10 times on the 12-play drive, including the drive-capping 7-yard touchdown run. Prejean ran for 138 yards in the second half.

    “They kept moving the chains, picking up first downs and scoring,” Stanley said of Woodville. “Tip your hat to them.”

    Parker-Harden ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, while Lawniczak completed six passes for 122 yards and a score, while rushing for a touchdown. Eldridge caught two passes for 54 yards and a touchdown, while Greg Terry ran for 48 yards and caught a 35-yard pass.

    “We had 10 seniors and they all played,” Stanley said. “They’re good kids and we’re going to miss them. We hope to get some of them to sign.” 

    Eldridge, Lawniczak, Parker-Harden and Terry were four of the 10 seniors who suited up on the gridiron for Coldspring for the last time. The others were Bobby Bishop, Joseph Lemon, Matt Martinez, Caleb Monroe, Reagan Roberts and Trevor Vaughn.