All Posts By

Jennifer Wilson

Uvalde CISD Foundation

By | News

As the nation continues to mourn the 21 innocent lives that were lost at Robb Elementary School, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District has announced it has secured support from donors for the construction of a new elementary school.

We stand with other generous donors who are also committed to helping Uvalde move forward. To join our efforts, donations can be made to the Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation, a nonprofit charitable foundation established to raise funds for this meaningful project. Learn more at UvaldeCISDMovingForward.org.

Among the donors leading the way for this project are the Butt family and H-E-B. Huckabee and Joeris General Contractors are donating our services for this effort and would like to thank our consulting partners who are doing the same:

  • Alpha Testing
  • Baird, Hampton & Brown
  • Crux Technologies
  • Engineered Exteriors
  • FDP
  • Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc.
  • Studio 16:19
  • Waddell | Serafino

Huckabee’s Future Vision

By | News

For 55 years, Huckabee has solely focused on serving educational clients in Texas through the design of innovative learning environments. Our team passionately believes you can change the world through education, and we have continually evolved to find new ways to support our clients in this incredibly important mission.

At our core, Huckabee is a design firm, but as teaching and learning continues to evolve, so too have our services. The phrase “More Than Architects” isn’t just a slogan—it’s our commitment to provide our clients with the diverse range of services needed to prepare students for the future. This approach has been the catalyst of our sustained growth into one of the largest educational firms in the nation, without ever leaving the State of Texas.

For the past several years, Huckabee’s leadership team has been strategically focused on growing our impact and is excited to announce two new partnerships that will launch our next phase of growth.

Huckabee is welcoming a new investment partner, Godspeed Capital, to bring strategic relationships, substantial investment capital and impressive experience in building premier professional services companies. In partnership with Godspeed, Huckabee has acquired the California-based firm, Rachlin Partners, who is aligned with Huckabee’s educational focus and our commitment to being MORE for our clients.

Rachlin is a fully-integrated architecture, planning, interior design, program management and construction management firm that was established in 1982 in Los Angeles. Since its inception, the firm has grown and established a reputation for imaginative and innovative solutions for education and government clients.

“I couldn’t be more proud or more excited. My father founded this firm in 1967 with a single focus on education; we have built upon his legacy and are now poised to impact students, educators and communities across the country,” said Christopher M. Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer of Huckabee. Chris will maintain his current position as CEO, and the firm’s leadership team will remain in place. “Now, we can have an even greater impact with our new partners. The future is incredibly bright for our clients and employees, and I look forward to sharing our continued story of success.”

The OC Breaks Ground

By | Clients

The Keith Bell Opportunity Central is a 350,000 sf building that will bring career, college and community opportunities together in Forney ISD. Huckabee joined FISD and its partners to celebrate the groundbreaking in January 2022.

Nicknamed “The OC,” the building offers a new concept for career and college instruction that also engages the community through life-long learning, special events, wellness activities, business partnerships, innovative programs and so much more. The OC will serve Forney ISD students during school hours and remain open into the evening and weekends for college coursework, community activities and special events.

Huckabee helped Forney ISD imagine how this first-of-its-kind facility could accomplish a high degree of adaptability to meet the programmatic needs of its intended users. The opportunity to provide students with real-world experiences led to the inclusion of amenities such as eateries, retail and services that are supported by students. Flexible and technology-rich learning space supports a range of career and technical education programs, dual-credit programs and college coursework. FISD worked diligently with business and college partners—including Dallas College and Texas Tech University—to ensure the highest quality programs for its students.

Career and technology programs will include: automotive, construction technology, computer coding and e-sports, fine arts, entrepreneurship, fashion design, horticulture / floral design, digital arts and communication, marketing, health sciences, emergency services, cosmetology, early childhood education, hospitality, event planning, theater, visual and performing arts and music production, with more on the horizon.

Co-working space is located on the first floor while the second and third floors feature classrooms, labs and multi-purpose instructional space. An arena is located at the heart of the facility and features retractable seating on the first and second floors, along with instructional space on the third floor that overlooks the venue. It can be used for tournaments and sporting events, special events and banquets, and a range of academically-focused activities. A black box theater offers similar flexibility and converts into a small or large lecture hall.

Several spaces within The OC overlook or lead into the “front yard,” a green space that features a paved plaza, rolling hills and an outdoor event venue that spans across the road as part of a plaza that is shared with the nearby intermediate and middle school.

The OC will open in 2023. To learn more about the vision of this exciting new campus, click here.

2021 Achievement Awards

By | News

During our annual Christmas presentation, the Huckabee team took a moment to pause and reflect on the blessings and accomplishments of the past year. This included recognizing our colleagues as part of the 2021 Huckabee Achievement and Service Awards.

“Every day I wake-up feeling blessed to work with incredible people. Each of the individuals we recognized today have made an impact on Huckabee from the moment they stepped through our doors. It’s my pleasure to celebrate their commitment to our mission, clients and the entire Huckabee family.” —Christopher M. Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer

Achievement Awards

Huckabee presents two achievement awards each year: the WHOA Award and the Huckabee Achievement Award.

The WHOA Award is a special distinction that recognizes an individual who “took hold of the reins” and expertly guided the team with wisdom, integrity and spirit. It is presented each year in memory of our friend and colleague, Jerry Hammerlun, who passed away in 2017. This year’s award was presented to Corrie Hood, a Principal in our Fort Worth office. 

The Huckabee Achievement Award recognizes an individual who is characterized by their commitment to excellence and dedication to our clients and to our team. It is the pinnacle recognition that can be achieved at Huckabee. LaShae Baskin, Principal and Director of Austin, was nominated by her peers as this year’s Achievement Award recipient.

Service Awards

Employees are recognized for years of service at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years and beyond. This year, we had the chance to celebrate 33 Huckabee-ans, in addition to celebrating the retirement of our longest-tenured employee, Mike King, who has impacted education for the last 41 years at Huckabee.

5 Year Service Awards

  • Bryan Acomb, Project Architect
  • Andria Barton, Interior Designer
  • Paul Bienvenu, Director of Information Technology
  • Alex Bowman, Architectural Associate
  • Joshua Cogburn, Principal
  • Amber Davis, Accounting Administrator
  • Dianna Freeman, Architectural Associate
  • Jose Galindo, Director of Digital Practice
  • Nathan Geier, Project Architect
  • Charles Griffiths, Construction Manager
  • Bergen Hashemian, Marketing and Business Development Manager
  • Andrew Huckabee, Chief Financial Officer
  • Kelsey Huckabee, Employee Development Manager
  • Zephyr Hudgins, Project Leader
  • Greg Louviere, Director of Design
  • Gigi Morgan, Project Architect
  • Ross Morgan, Project Architect
  • Caitlin Munch, Project Architect
  • Fay Perez, Project Architect
  • Markita Richardson, Architectural Associate
  • Jason Scott, Senior Architect
  • Marie Sheen, Project Leader

10 Year Service Awards

  • Kim Hopper, Chief Administrative Officer
  • Benchmark Harris, Vice President of Engineering
  • Eric Ramirez, Structural Construction Administrator

15 Year Service Awards

  • Aubrey Slaybaugh, Principal
  • Jesus Rodriguez, Architectural Associate
  • Jason Stevenson, Senior Architect

20 Year Service Awards

  • Casey Casstevens, Director of Design
  • Brad Freas, Senior Construction Observer
  • Jaime Hughes, Project Accounting Specialist

25 Year Service Awards

  • Tom Lueck, Chief Operations Officer
  • Tracy Hardcastle, Senior Construction Observer

Huckabee is exclusively dedicated to education; and each of our team members share a passion for this meaningful work. It is our pleasure to take a moment and recognize those whose contributions impact education year after year.

#3 K-12 Design Firm in Nation

By | News

Huckabee was named the #3 K-12 design firm in the nation by Building Design + Construction in the Giants 400 Report. Education is all that we do, and our clients have put their trust in our team for more than 54 years. We are grateful for their partnership and for our shared commitment to the success of all students.

The Giants 400 Report tracks the largest architecture, engineering and construction firms in the United States. Huckabee ranked #24 in the overall Top Architecture / Engineering Firms and #3 in the more targeted K-12 School Sector Architecture and A/E Firms list. We are one of the only firms represented that focuses exclusively on education. Because of our partners, we have sustained a presence in the top five since 2015 when Huckabee started expanding our team and services to further invest in public education.

To view the list of K-12 design firms in the K-12 School Sector ranking, click here.

Huckabee Honored by KISD

By | News

Huckabee is proud to be recognized by Killeen ISD as part of the Texas Association of School Boards “Stand-up for Texas Public Schools” initiative. The Killeen ISD Education Foundation recognized Huckabee and other business partners in November for our investment and commitment to their district, students and public education. The initiative allows school districts to recognize the partners that have made a difference in their ability to serve students. Our firm has partnered with Killeen ISD for nearly 20 years and has served Texas public schools for 54 years. Education is our sole focus, and we are committed to investing in the success of all students.

Read the press release from Killeen ISD for more information: Click here.

Campus Redevelopment

By | Higher Education

Huckabee had the pleasure of attending the groundbreaking for the redevelopment of a community college campus in northwest Tarrant County. The $350 million project includes the design of four new buildings and renovations to existing facilities that will create modern, flexible and student-ready environments. The campus opened in 1976 and has become integral to the community and region through its high-quality programs for students and professionals of all ages.

The planning process for the redevelopment ensured the continuation of the college’s legacy while building toward a bright and vibrant future. Through a series of charrettes, the team used the college’s goals and principles to guide conversation and shape the design in service to students, faculty and community. The resulting design includes four multi-level buildings that form a park-like plaza at the core of the campus.

Building 1 will be home to the early college high school as well as science labs. Building 2 features general-purpose classrooms, testing rooms, administrative and faculty offices and multipurpose space for events and student development services. The core feature of Building 2 is a large atrium and learning stair that can be used for student gatherings. Building 3 houses art, music and general-purpose classrooms and will connect via an enclosed bridge to Building 4 where students can access the learning commons that overlooks the nearby lake. Building 4 also includes a bookstore, a multipurpose center and food services. It also connects to Building 2, creating ease of access to student-focused amenities.

Building 1 and Building 2 are under construction, with Building 3 and Building 4 to follow in 2023. The project will be complete in December 2025. Huckabee is the Prime Firm and Gensler is our design consultant.

TEA Facility Standards

By | News

Revisions to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Facility Standards have been published in the October 8, 2021 issue of the Texas Register. They will go into effect on Monday with an implementation date of November 1, 2021. Revisions can be read here (start on page 313) and are intended to give school districts more local control as well as guidance and flexibility in the design of 21st-century schools. Key updates include:

  • (1) the inclusion of all projects requiring the hiring of a licensed architect or engineer in Texas,
  • (2) an increase in the space minimum of middle school science laboratories,
  • (3) two methods of compliance,
  • (4) a change to campus-based aggregate square footage compliance, and
  • (5) new safety and security requirements stemming from the passage of Senate Bill 11.

The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) developed a committee to explore the existing standards and make recommendations to the TEA for revisions. Kerri Brady, Huckabee’s Vice President of Educational Practice, and Dawson Orr, Clinical Professor of Education Policy at Southern Methodist University, co-chaired the years-long engagement with a committee made up of 22 members and 95 subcommittee members. Their committee was charged with evaluating and recommending changes to the TEA School Facilities Standards. The process Kerri designed involved proactively evaluating topics related to 21st-century learning and school design, including school safety and security.

As school districts navigate these changes, Huckabee is committed to ensuring a smooth transition for our partners. We have always been, and will continue to be, an advocate for Texas public schools.

Overview of the TASA School Facilities Committee Process

Top 5 Educational Design Firm

By | News

Huckabee was named to the Top 5 Educational Architecture firms in the nation by Engineering News-Record. The 2021 Sourcebook follows the growth and success of architecture and engineering firms within the United States and abroad. Huckabee exclusively serves education and has for 54 years. It’s an honor to be recognized nationally for our service to Texas public schools. This recognition also represents the resiliency and innovation found within our public school systems, who continually focus on what matters most, the success of all students, educators and the communities that embrace them. It’s their innovative spirit that inspires us to do more and be more every day.

For the full list, click here.

Our recent projects

Killeen Elementary School

December 11, 2020

Wolf Ranch Elementary School

November 21, 2020

Jarrell High School

November 21, 2020

Brenda Norwood Elementary School

June 12, 2020

C.E. King High School

May 1, 2020

Early Childhood Center

April 20, 2020

J.R. Irvin Elementary School

January 30, 2020

Rock Hill High School

January 3, 2020

Jackie Fuller Elementary School

December 6, 2019

Josh Brown Named President

By | News

Huckabee, a 54-year-old firm exclusively committed to educational planning and design, is excited to announce a new President to help lead the company into the future.

Josh Brown, AIA, was named President in April. He has provided 18 years of leadership and innovation to Huckabee, helping position the firm as a trailblazer in educational design. Josh joined Huckabee in 2003 as an Intern Architect, later serving as a Project Leader, Associate Principal, Principal and Office Director. His experience provided him a well-rounded perspective of the people, industry and clients we serve; and it is complemented by his deep belief in the firm’s mission and commitment to the success of all students.

“On many occasions, Josh stepped up and answered the call to do very difficult work in the company,” said Christopher M. Huckabee, AIA, Chief Executive Officer. “Moving Josh into the role of President recognizes his contributions and represents an exciting transition toward the next generation of Huckabee’s leadership group.”

Among his accomplishments, Josh has designed and managed more than a billion dollars in educational projects for the firm, he has provided mentorship to many current and future leaders, and he has supported strategic growth as a Shareholder of Huckabee. Notably, Josh played a critical role in the development of Huckabee’s educational research lab, LEx Labs at Baylor University, a facility where clients explore the connection between the learning environment and student engagement. He also opened Huckabee’s Dallas office and has led the team to increase its client base in a rapidly-growing market. Most recently, Josh served as Office Director for the Dallas and Fort Worth offices, leading the development of solid relationship with clients, new business opportunities for the firm, and the growth of internal team members.

“Integrity is the foundational principle of this organization,” said Josh. “And, it will continue to drive us into the future, along with our commitments to ‘collective wisdom,’ empowerment, mentorship and continuous improvement. I am humbled and excited to lead this next chapter of the Huckabee story.”

Josh graduated from Texas Tech University in 2003 with a Master’s in Architecture and has spent his entire career at Huckabee. He and his family live in Prosper, Texas. He currently serves on the PISD Education Foundation Board and is an active member of the Prosper community.

Huckabee Announces Promotions

By | News

Huckabee announced the appointment of five new Associate Shareholders, two new Office Directors and seven new Principals to the leadership team. These moves represent our commitment to best serve our clients, to continue our pattern of growth and to develop the next generation of Huckabee leaders.

“Huckabee’s culture is one of empowerment, mentorship and service,” said Josh Brown, President of Huckabee. “We are excited to recognize the expertise these individuals bring to their clients and our company, and we look forward to seeing the many ways in which they will realize success and empower others through their work.”

Huckabee’s newest Associate Shareholders join a team of 12 employee Shareholders and two current Associate Shareholders. In their role they support the strategic vision of the firm. The newest Associates include:

  • LaShae Baskin, RID, Principal and Office Director of Austin
  • Andre Brackens, Principal and Office Director of Dallas
  • Mike Hall, AIA, Austin Director of Design
  • Brendon Hoffman, AIA, Principal in our Houston office
  • Paul Thompson, AIA, Principal and Office Director of Fort Worth

Paul Thompson has also been named the Office Director of Fort Worth, and Andre Brackens has been named the Office Director of Dallas. Paul and Andre joined Huckabee in 2014 and currently serve as Principals.

Huckabee’s newest Principals include:

  • Alex Araujo, AIA, LEED AP, in our San Antonio office
  • Dan Luttrell, AIA, LEED AP, in our San Antonio office
  • Shannon Bearden, AIA, in our Fort Worth office
  • Dave Gustaf, AIA, LEED AP, in our Fort Worth office
  • Corrie Hood, RA, LEED AP, in our Fort Worth office
  • Joe Tremblay, RA, in our Dallas office
  • Tim Barnes, AIA, in our Houston office

Huckabee is a full-service architecture and engineering firm that is exclusively committed to educational planning and design. We have served our clients for over 54 years.

Confirmed to TxSSC Board

By | News

Kerri Brady’s second appointment to the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) Board was confirmed by the Texas Senate this week. She remains the first and sole architect on the 17-member board. The TxSSC Board reports to the Governor, the legislature, the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency regarding school safety and security. They also advise the Texas School Safety Center on its function, budget and strategic planning initiatives. 

Kerri was first appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Board in 2019, and re-appointed to her second term in 2020 pending Senate confirmation. She brings expertise in the areas of school architecture, safety and security, planning and research. 

At Huckabee, Kerri serves as Vice President of Educational Practice; leads our educational research efforts at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative; led efforts to rewrite the school facility standards for the state of Texas (including school safety revisions); and has participated in several working groups focused on school safety and security. Her passion to create positive changes in education through her work motivates all that she does.

MORE Momentum: Wichita Falls

By | News

Wichita Falls ISD is in the midst of consolidating their three high school campuses into two new facilities. The new high schools are designed to embrace the district’s bold vision for online learning. They feature a unique configuration of spaces that reflect a new approach to “classroom” capacity and utilization. While the district’s vision for online learning started well before 2020, the schools were designed almost entirely through virtual charrettes during the height of the pandemic. This perspective helped inform the design solution in creative ways. Huckabee’s latest MORE Momentum explores the district’s approach to onsite, online learning and how to plan for the types of spaces needed to support a shift in student interaction within a high school campus. 

Our guests include:

  • Michael Kuhrt, Superintendent, Wichita Falls ISD
  • Tom Lueck, AIA, Chief Operating Officer, Huckabee
  • Greg Louviere, AIA, Director of Design, Huckabee
  • Mike Vermeeren, AIA, Director of Planning, Huckabee

We’ve broken out each question for MORE Momentum #8: Educational Transformation below.

Introduction

Huckabee and our partners at BYSP Architects had the privilege of working with Wichita Falls ISD to design a prototype for two new high school campuses. The schools are being constructed at the same time and will replace the district’s three existing high schools when complete. 

Question 1—To kick us off, I’d like to ask Michael about your district and why your community opted to build two high schools at one time.    

Wichita Falls ISD’s oldest high school is a 1922 building. Their two “new” high schools were built in 1961 and 1962. At that point, people anticipated growth but it never came. Today, the high schools range from 900 to 1,600 students and don’t offer parity. The district wouldn’t be able to rebuild three new high schools, and the community didn’t want to consolidate into one large high school. The solution was to design two equal high schools (based on a prototype), that would offer parity in all aspects. 

Preparing for the Bond

Question 2—What process did you take your community through to set the groundwork for today?  

Wichita Falls ISD had a failed bond in 2014 to address the high schools. From that process, the community realized its support of a career tech center. A bond passed in 2015 for a new CTE building, but it didn’t address major facility issues at the high schools. After a facilities study, the district realized that each high school needed over $20 million each to simply fix major problems, but that didn’t account for new or updated items to improve the learning environment or create equity and opportunity. 

In preparation for a 2020 bond election, the district worked with the community and found the right solution that would address the high school needs. The momentum started with the opening of the new career tech center from the 2015 bond. The community saw that building and wanted the same experience for all of their kids at all of their high schools. The bond passed in November 2020 to replace the three high schools with two and start a new era for Wichita Falls ISD.

Guiding Vision

Question 3—What was your guiding vision for these schools?   

Wichita Falls ISD tends to keep buildings for 100 years. The district has seven campuses that are about to be 100 years old. They knew the high schools needed to retain relevance well into the future. They wanted buildings that were flexible and adaptable. The district believed that the way brick and mortar buildings are used today may become obsolete in the future. The design of the high schools integrates spaces for online learning but also emphasizes the value fine arts and athletics brings to a student’s experience. 

Space and Needs for Online Learning

Question 4—Related to online learning, what were your projected needs?   

COVID-19 was an unplanned pilot for the district. Freshman and sophomores struggled more with virtual learning than juniors and seniors. The same is true for online learning outside of a pandemic. The goal of the design is to create a college atmosphere where students have choice in how they take a class (in-person or online) and when (buildings open from 7 AM to 7 PM to accommodate student needs). There are flex spaces designed into the building that support online learning; a student can take a class online while on the campus and still be a part of the culture of learning. 

Planning

Question 5—How did the conversation evolve to address Wichita Falls ISD’s vision?   

As the program was developed, the team realized it would be an innovative approach. They considered the total number of students (a capacity of 1,900) against where they would be at any given moment: in a classroom, at the CTE center, in fine arts or athletics. The total capacity for general ed classrooms was then pared down to about 700 students at a single moment, of which a large percentage could be online learning outside of the classroom. As a result, the team was able to decrease the total number of general ed classrooms and transition that space into flexible environments within classroom wings and the commons. The result was improved efficiency of space and space that was adaptable in a number of ways. The district also removed classroom ownership with the idea that teachers wouldn’t be losing a classroom, they would be gaining a building. This further improved utilization.

Notably, designing in a virtual setting helped the team better understand the holistic needs of students and educators related to the integration of online learning within the campus. The district’s unique approach introduces 9th graders to online learning within the classroom and slowly engages them in online learning outside of the classroom (but within the campus) through 10th grade. By 11th and 12th grade, students have a higher comfort level and more autonomy to take full advantage of the blended environment created through the design of their high school. 

Design Response

Question 6—What was BYSP + Huckabee’s design response to Wichita Falls ISD’s needs?

With blended learning, the team understood that space needed to be engaging and that it wasn’t a static element. The team looked at the design as a way to create a dynamic continuity of choices that could be made. This meant understanding the tools needed by students and educators for face-to-face or online learning, intermixed with individual or group work. The design offers a great deal of flexible learning space. 

The Commons

Question 7—How do you forsee students using the commons?

BYSP + Huckabee worked with Wichita Falls ISD to identify the tools, spaces, activities and zones students needed within this blended environment. The team created spaces that could transform over time or in the next few minutes in response to student needs. The commons became the core of the building and created a gradation of space from the private, individual learning space to places that allowed students to congregate on soft seating and into an active dining zone. The design team used the term “structured flexibility” to define the commons.  

Takeaways

Question 8—What can other districts take away from this approach?

First, we have a better understanding of online learning. As a result, we know that a blended environment that incorporates online learning (on campus and off) can work. Second, the concept of structured flexibility related to utilization applies to all spaces. Wichita Falls used the concept not only in the commons but in the design of their auditorium. They didn’t want a single space in the school that couldn’t be used in multiple ways; the auditorium can be split into small or large group space and used throughout the day for instruction. Finally, the district wanted students to be prepared for the future and to know their value through the investment of the community. The consolidation of three schools into two will give all students better opportunity. 

Bonus Content: Safety and Security

Bonus content—How do you address safety and security within a large, open environment?

The existing high schools in Wichita Falls ISD have 10-12 entrances, yet the two replacement high schools will only have four controlled entrances. Additionally, while the commons was designed to provide a large, open space, the design team embedded short distances to secure locations. With an open and transparent environment, school resource officers can also stand at a single point and observe student behavior; the dark hallways found in the aging high schools are a thing of the past. 

Notably, the compact nature of the building will allow the district to keep the 4-5 minute passing period as opposed to expanding to a 7-8 minute passing period as they move into the larger campus. 

Two New High Schools for Wichita Falls ISD

About MORE Momentum

Huckabee’s MORE Momentum series started as an exploration of how school districts were investing their time, energy and focus to keep the momentum going during the pandemic. In 2021, we are transitioning the series to highlight school planning and design and the unique ways our clients are building toward the future. Follow us @HuckabeeInc on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In for the latest MORE Momentum webinars. 

2021 Caudill Class

By | Clients

Huckabee is excited to celebrate with our partners, Georgetown ISD and Northwest ISD, in receiving the highest honor for educational design in Texas – the Caudill Award! The TASA/TASB Exhibit of School Architecture competition showcases new and renovated Texas schools and celebrates excellence in planning and design of the learning environment. We are thrilled to have two Caudill award-winning projects in each of the past two years. It is in large part to our partnership with visionary districts who continue to influence school design and pursue the best environments for their students. Read more about the 2020-21 Caudill Award winners by clicking here.

The winning projects received at least four stars from six areas of distinction, making them eligible for the Caudill Award, which is named after Texas architect William Wayne Caudill (1914–1983), whose progressive concepts continue to influence school design.

Georgetown ISD won for the retrofitting of Tippit Middle School. This is the second Caudill Award for Georgetown ISD (Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning) and its third project to receive consideration (Wagner Middle School). Click here to learn more about the project. Northwest ISD won for the reimagining of its elementary prototype, Lance Thompson Elementary School. Click here to learn more about the project. 

Power Supers Blog

By | Clients

Superintendents have innumerable superpowers—mentoring and guiding aspirational leaders is one many of them share. Huckabee is excited to launch a new blog, Power Supers, that focuses on stories of fortitude, growth and inspiration. Dr. Jim Vaszauskas, a life-long educator and administrator, is helping us “travel” the state to visit with educational leaders and share their stories in hopes of uplifting others.

The first stories in the series feature Dr. Brad Lancaster, former superintendent of Lake Travis ISD, who shares about the importance of relationship building; and Dr. Marc Smith, whose focus on simplification and anticipation has helped him realize success as superintendent of Duncanville ISD. To read these, and follow along as new stories are posted, visit the blog at PowerSupers.com. 

2020 TASA / TASB Awards

By | Clients

Northwest ISD, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Georgetown ISD have been recognized by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) for their design and instructional vision. Their school designs received Stars of Distinction in this year’s TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture; two of the schools, Lance Thompson Elementary School (Northwest ISD) and James Tippit Middle School (Georgetown ISD), also qualified for the prestigious Caudill Class.

The Exhibit of School Architecture awards are given at the discretion of a 12-member jury, which includes: four school board members, four school administrators, and four members from the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) Southern Region. The juried exhibit awarded Stars of Distinction for Excellence to 25 projects in one or more of the following six areas: design, value, sustainability, community, planning, and school transformation. Click below to view the submissions.

Stars of Distinction for each campus include:

Channelview Campus Branding

By | Clients

Huckabee worked with Channelview ISD on a district-wide rebranding process. By looking at the current brand and discussing what messages were important for the district to share, we helped create new logos and branding for each campus. Many stakeholders helped bring life to Channelview’s vision. Those involved felt that school pride, campus involvement and tradition were just a few of the positive results the new brands will foster. For more information on Huckabee’s environmental graphics and branding services, click here.

Student Engagement Research

By | Research

The LEx Collaborative’s research was published in Learning Environments Research and continues to explore the impact of flexible furniture in elementary classrooms. In this study, we investigated the various impacts of flexible furniture paired with teacher professional development in 10 elementary classrooms. It’s critical work as educators look to the physical learning environment as an additional resource in meeting learning outcomes. The findings from our research has helped inform design of both space and professional development for our clients.

To access the paper, click here.

MORE Momentum: Technology

By | News

Our latest MORE momentum webinar focuses on technology, instruction and virtual learning in 2020 and beyond. We discuss the tangible aspects like infrastructure and devices, the instructional aspects like designing learning and the tools to do that well, and the relational aspects like student engagement and teacher support. Each guest offers a unique perspective as we explore the past, present and future of these new waters we are charting.

Our guests include:

  • Jesse Garn, Executive Director of Technology, Midway ISD
  • Dr. Becky Odajima, Director of Innovation and Learning, Midway ISD
  • Wes Kanawyer, Principal at Woodgate Intermediate School, Midway ISD
  • Russ Johnson, CEO, True North Consulting Group
  • Kerri Ranney, Vice President of Educational Practice, Huckabee

We’ve broken out each question for MORE Momentum #7: Technology + Instruction below. You can view the webinar in its entirety by clicking here.

Introduction + Past

Let’s start by looking back at March 2020 when schools closed for the school year. School districts had about a week to prepare amidst significant change. What did that look like in Midway ISD and what did your teams do to solve the challenges you faced?

One of the first things we had to do was mobilize technology to each student in the district and address connectivity (which remains one of the biggest challenges). We also had to support staff, students, devices and services from a remote location to homes across the district. Being a district with an existing 1-to-1 technology initiative helped us deliver instruction. We also focused on professional development to help teachers understand the online tools, resources and learning management systems they’d be using on a daily basis. We released about 100 hours of PD. Our curriculum and instruction team simplified instructional requirements, which helped teachers and parents in this situation.

At the campus level, our number one priority was student wellbeing and ensuring fundamental needs were met. We know that when anxiety goes up, performance goes down—that is true for adults and students. The goal was to lighten anxiety levels, simplify the process and then push out content.

Across the state we saw a lot of innovation in district technology teams. Districts fully embraced collaborative tools so they could maintain engagement with students and staff, but they also had to create new ways to support these tools in remote environments. Districts knew they still had the job of delivering instruction and delivering it to high expectations; this led to exploration of asynchronous PD as well as the #bettertogether movement that opened up new partnerships between school districts and business organizations.

Present

Let’s look at summer 2020. School districts are working feverishly to develop plans to open schools safely in the fall while meeting the needs of families while they deal with this pandemic. What are some of the solutions from the spring that you’re carrying forward into fall?

Instructionally, we are looking at the essential curriculum standards and the best way to deliver them to students. We are implementing a hybrid learning model for students who cannot return to school and supporting the transition for students, teachers and families whose delivery method for learning could change throughout the year. Student interaction is still important, even if learning is taking place remotely. We are re-formulating our approach to interaction and even assessment.

We are also utilizing technology to keep students connected to their peers and developing methods for synchronous instruction that can occur with virtual and at-home students concurrently. At the same time, we are looking to maintain virtual collaboration between teachers and across campuses. Professional development will never be the same, and we are looking at ways to evolve our efforts. 

At the site level, we will have to work to build rapport with new students and families across the district. We will front-load the year with tech proficiency and relationship building.

On the technology side, we have realized more flexibility within our support model. We have also become more comfortable with being uncomfortable and are more flexible mentally. School districts state-wide are remaining focused on connectivity and filling the gaps where needed. We are also seeing the success of content capture in higher ed trickling down into K-12 as school districts incorporate asynchronous learning into curriculum.

Future

Let’s look to the future. What are some of the challenges you already foresee that you’re just now beginning to tackle?

Even once we overcome this virus, we will likely see hybrid learning remain for many different reasons. Some of the main challenges of this environment will be: improving accessibility to fiber networks and community WiFi; cybersecurity threats; and our ability to secure devices and data in an environment that we don’t always control.

We also have to prepare teachers for this hybrid model of learning and set a new standard for best practices in pedagogy. While we hope we never have to close schools so unexpectedly like we did this year, we’ve learned that we need to create a contingency plan in case we ever need to move to a fully virtual learning model again while maintaining consistency.

#InnovationRevolution and the Power in Collaboration

In education, we preach the power of collaboration, and this crisis has continued to show us the importance of collaborating with our colleagues, students and communities. We have found collaborating with different districts in the area to be beneficial as we are able to give one another encouragement and best practices. Our district began using the term #InnovationRevolution to publicly share ways we can all be innovative during this time.

About MORE Momentum

Huckabee’s MORE Momentum series highlights how our educational partners are investing their time, energy and focus to keep the momentum going during this unprecedented “pause.” We will explore themes related to bonds, planning, design and safety and security, among other topics that impact Texas public education. Follow us @HuckabeeInc on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In, or complete the form below to get a first look as new content is released. 

For the full webinar, click below

To learn more about True North Consulting Group, click here.

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Sending

Reappointed to TxSSC Board

By | News

Kerri Ranney was reappointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas School Safety Center Board, remaining the sole architect on the 15-member board. The committee focuses on school safety and security and their voices have been key in discussions involving reopening schools amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about recent appointees and sitting board members, click here.

The Texas School Safety Center’s mission is to “serve schools and communities to create safe, secure, and healthy environments.” Kerri serves as our Vice President of Educational Practice; leads our educational research efforts at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative; led efforts to rewrite the school facility standards for the state of Texas (including school safety revisions); and has participated in several working groups focused on school safety and security. Her passion to create positive changes in education through her work motivates all that she does and is crucial now more than ever.

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