Special to the News-Times
COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst ISD School Board met the districts newest administrators at its regular meeting on July 26.
Dr. Terra Smith is the new COCISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Smith has served as a high school social studies teacher, dean of instruction, a secondary assistant principal, an associate principal, a middle school principal, and a central office administrator within the Houston area.
During the 2020-2021 school year, she worked as an independent education consultant with Houston-area school districts.
"Professionally I have been in the field of education for 17 years," Smith said. "I earned a bachelor’s degree in History and master’s degree in Teaching from Trinity University in San Antonio. I earned my doctorate in Education from the University of Houston, and my dissertation topic was the importance of the campus principal as an instructional leader in building instructional capacity in teachers."
Smith will be bringing an increased focus on support and leadership to ensure teachers have the resources they need to help students thrive at high levels in the learning environment.
"My passion is instructional leadership and servant leadership to ensure that school leaders and teachers are well-supported so they are able to meet the needs of all students," Smith said, which includes a particular focus on making sure students can read at grade level and beyond.
"We will be working on crafting a district-wide literacy plan to focus on increasing literacy performance at all grade levels this year," she said.
Married to her college sweetheart, Jarrod, Smith said they will celebrate 12 years of marriage in November, but they have been together as a couple for 20 years in October.
"We have two boys, Drew (11) and Dylan (6)," Smith said. "Drew will be in fifth grade this year and Dylan will be in first grade."
Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Principal Dr. Matthew Bess is a former COHS assistant principal and athletics coach, and served most recently in administration at Montgomery ISD.
"I am honored to be afforded the opportunity to serve the students, staff and community of Coldspring Oakhurst High School,” Bess said. “Coldspring has always been a destination I could see myself serving in long-term, and when presented the opportunity to serve as Principal at COHS, the decision was easy.
"Looking ahead to the 2021-22 school year, we are so excited to welcome back our students,” he said. “A clear, purposeful and intentional initiative to facilitate student success with an emphasis on campus culture will be our direct focus. I look forward to creating community partnerships, as well as meaningful relationships with students and staff members alike."
Bess and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 10 years, and have two children, Avery (7) and Ty (4).
"We love to attend school/community events as a family when possible, so if you see me or my family at an event, please say hi and introduce yourself,” he said.
Lincoln Junior High Principal Sara "Nikki" Henderson is also a former COCISD staff member.
"I am starting my 12th year in education with a background of high school math, middle school interventions, and elementary administration,” she said. “I received my bachelor's from University of Houston-Clear Lake, master's from Lamar University, and I am wrapping up my doctorate from Lamar University," Henderson said. "Besides working in the suburbs of Houston, COCISD was my first ‘East Texas’ rural school district to work in and I am so excited to be back! I look forward to returning to LJH!"
The COCISD Board of Trustees welcomed the new administrators at the regular school board meeting on Monday, July 26.
In other business, the COCISD Board approved:
- the 2021-22 board meeting dates;
- the board operating procedures;
- ESC 6 service contracts for the 2021-22 school year;
- an agreement for the purchase of attendance credit and to delegate contractual authority to the superintendent;
- the TASB insurance proposal;
- the T-TESS appraisal calendar and appraisers for the 2021-22 academic year;
- the revision of the high school student parking permit fee; and
- The 2021-22 Student Code of Conduct.
A public hearing was also held for comment on the COCISD Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan. This plan is posted on the district website at www.cocisd.org > About Us.