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Jennifer Wilson

Kerri Ranney Named POY

By | News

The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) named Kerri Ranney, AIA, Esq., REFP, the 2019 Southern Region Planner of the Year (POY) at the annual conference in April. A surprise to Kerri, but no surprise to her colleagues and clients at Huckabee! Kerri’s Huckabee family joined her to celebrate the honor. 

Planner of the Year (POY) recognizes dedication and commitment to the growth and overall success of the region and industry. Kerri was nominated by her peers, followed by a committee review of her body of work, personal accomplishments and contributions. With the honor, Kerri will be considered for the International Lifetime Achievement Award competition in 2020.

“Besides being an incredible person, Kerri is the most genuine advocate I know for the planning process. She truly cares about helping clients get to the root of their needs. This diligence has delivered amazing outcomes for school districts time and time again. We are so proud of Kerri.”

Chris Huckabee, AIA, Chief Executive Officer

Kerri has a deep affection for Texas public schools and for the people who make them work day-in and day-out. She believes that the world’s toughest problems can be solved through education, and for Kerri, this means a commitment to help teachers and administrators think differently about how education is delivered and how space is designed. During her time at Huckabee, Kerri has been instrumental in establishing a meaningful and comprehensive planning process; in creating a research lab and subsequent studies focused on education; in working with clients to imagine the impossible; and in being a trusted advisor, mentor and friend to many people across the globe.

ABOUT KERRI

Kerri is Vice President of Educational Practice at Huckabee. She helps clients delve into educational planning, change management, instructional delivery and professional development. Kerri also leads Huckabee’s educational research initiative in partnership with Region 12 ESC and Baylor University.

Kerri joined Huckabee in 2013, bringing 13 years of experience in educational design. She was asked to lead the planning team and crafted the department around providing services that would help schools evolve the learning experience. Kerri’s work with school districts led to incredible innovation not just in the learning environment, but in how school districts approached professional development for educators.

When Huckabee opened an educational research lab, LEx Labs, at Baylor University in 2015, Kerri was instrumental in the long-term planning of the project. Since its opening, Kerri has worked with Huckabee’s research partners to complete four pilot studies and begin a longitudinal study focused on elementary education, flexible furniture and professional learning. Additionally, Kerri brings clients to LEx Labs to facilitate conversations about the future of education. She is a thought-leader in this discipline, and her contribution has allowed Huckabee to combine research, data and outcomes into school planning and design.

In 2016, Kerri joined Huckabee’s shareholder group, taking on an even greater role in establishing the firm’s direction for the future. She joined a team of shareholders that provide leadership to nearly 300 employees across six offices in Texas.

Today, Kerri continues to work with clients while also sharing her expertise with local, national and international audiences. She is actively involved in many professional organizations, including A4LE, and sits on and leads committees focused on school safety / security and educational standards. On a personal level, Kerri is actively involved in her local non-profit sector. She has a passion for organic farming and broadening access to nutritious and fresh options in “food deserts.” She currently serves as the Board Chair of Farmshare Austin, a non-profit organization focused on land preservation, food access and growing the next generation of organic farmers. In addition, she is the proud parent of Cash (10) and Tatum (9), and in her free time, enjoys earning Spartan trifectas.

It All Starts Here

By | Industry

“It All Starts Here” emphasizes the critical role public education plays in the future of Texas. Produced in partnership with TASA, the message stresses the importance of a shared commitment to education, along with focus on key issues such as full-day pre-K, better pay for all school employees, safety and security, and innovative programs. It is a reminder that an investment in education is an investment in the future of Texas. To learn more, click here.

C. Huckabee Elected TTUS Chairman

By | Higher Education

Christopher M. Huckabee, AIA, Chief Executive Officer of Huckabee, was elected Chairman of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents on March 21. Chris, a graduate of the Texas Tech College of Architecture, was appointed to the board in 2015 by Gov. Greg Abbott. He was named Vice Chairman in October 2018 and previously served on the Facilities and Investment Advisory committees.

He is joined by the new Vice Chairman of the Board of Regents, J. Michael Lewis, in addition to three new appointees (Ginger Kerrick, Mark Griffin and Dusty Womble).

“Congratulations to Chairman Huckabee and Vice Chairman Lewis on being elected by their fellow board members,” Texas Tech University System Chancellor and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell said. “I look forward to working closely with these outstanding leaders as we advance the Texas Tech System and each of our institutions. I would also like to thank Regent Tim Lancaster for his leadership and service to the board as chairman. I am grateful for all of our regents’ commitment to serving their alma maters.”

Both personally and professionally, Chris is an advocate for all students. He has served on multiple boards and committees to help further initiatives focused on education and youth. Prior to being named a regent, Chris was twice appointed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board by Gov. Rick Perry, where he chaired the Agency Operations Committee. He also served as a board member of Cook Children’s Health Foundation and Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. Currently, he is Chair Emeritus of the Board of the North Texas Community Foundation.

As CEO of Huckabee, an architecture / engineering firm, Chris further imparts a deep commitment to education. Under his leadership, Huckabee has become one of the top educational design firms in the nation. The firm focuses exclusively on learning environments and serves clients in the areas of early childhood, K-12, higher education and community-based education.

Chris will begin his work as Chairman of the Board of Regents immediately. Of his appointment, Chris said: “There’s a lot of work left to do, and we need to put our heads down and do that. I’d like to say thank you to the governor for naming three great regents that are going to add to us immediately and excel us down the road.”

Hammerlun Center Dedication

By | Client News

February 5 was a celebratory day for Georgetown ISD as they officially “opened” their new administration and training center in one of the district’s historic buildings. Huckabee team members joined the Georgetown community for a ribbon cutting, tours of the campus and one very special dedication.

GISD’s administration center is named after Jerry Hammerlun—an icon in the Georgetown community, a beloved former colleague of the Huckabee team and a fierce advocate for education. Jerry was passionate about mentoring future leaders and ensuring his community embraced the future while honoring the past. He played a critical role in the vision of the new administration building before his passing in June 2017.

Photo credit Jerrod Wittman, “The Bearded Wonder”

The Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning serves as home-base for more than 100 district employees. It is a collaborative and innovative learning space for educators, featuring office space plus a state-of-the-art professional development center that emphasizes flexibility, choice and collaboration. District employees have access to maker spaces, professional learning labs, planning rooms and more. Their space mimics those that are found in their schools.

From the start, GISD wanted to preserve the history of the building. The Hammerlun Center was built in 1924 and was the original home to Georgetown High School, later serving as the district’s middle school, and most recently, Williams Elementary School. Huckabee worked diligently to pay respect to the architecture of the period while reflecting the current culture of learning in GISD. The exterior remains largely unchanged while the interior blends a more industrial and professional aesthetic.

The opening of the Hammerlun Center represents the culmination of a years-long effort to redefine learning in Georgetown ISD. It’s a one-of-a-kind campus that is truly reflective of the way GISD wishes to engage students, educators and administrators within an exciting and supportive learning culture.

Photo credit Jerrod Wittman, “The Bearded Wonder”

Wagner MS Caudill Class

By | News

George Wagner Middle School in Georgetown ISD was named a finalist for the Caudill Class, the highest honor awarded as part of the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture competition. The school received four Stars of Distinction in Design, Community, Planning and School Transformation. Within the same district, Purl Elementary School received three Stars of Distinction, situating GISD as the only school district with two recognitions for 2018-2019.

Wagner Middle School opened in 2017. It’s a beautiful and exciting campus that is playing a critical role in Georgetown ISD’s evolution toward choice, customization and innovation in instruction. The design was the result of a comprehensive planning process that unified ideas from school leaders, community members, students and educators. Huckabee is honored to share this incredible recognition with the many people who imagined what Wagner could become.

The configuration of the school emphasizes choice and shared learning. Academics are split into “dens” for 6th grade, STEM and humanities. Each den features classrooms, labs, flex space, a teacher design lab and outdoor patio. The district removed classroom ownership to support more collaborative and customized instruction, requiring the dens to be highly adaptable and suitable for use by multiple teachers with a variety of curriculum needs and student learning styles.

Dens surround a 2-story commons that brings learning, socialization, assembly and collaboration together into one space. The team prioritized transparency as a way to promote personal responsibility for students and passive supervision for teachers. They adopted a use for all common areas and corridors by using furniture to maximize space for learning.

Wagner Middle School is progressive not just in design, but in how educators approach instruction. The learning environment supports autonomy, trust, responsibility and a more project-based approach. The enthusiasm for learning is noticeable in the way students buzz around the building, accessing every nook and cranny to design their learning experience.

About the Exhibit of School Architecture

Wagner Middle School is one of four Huckabee projects to be recognized in the Exhibit of School Architecture competition. GISD’s Purl Elementary School also received multiple Stars of Distinction in the categories of Community, Planning and School Transformation. Fort Bend ISD’s James Patterson Elementary School and Kaufman ISD’s Kaufman High School received recognition for School Transformation.

The Exhibit of School Architecture awards are given at the discretion of a 12-member jury, which includes: four school board members, four administrators, two representatives from the Texas Society of Architects and two representatives from the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). To be eligible for consideration for the 2018 Exhibit of School Architecture, projects had to be newly constructed or renovated public education facilities completed in the past five years.

About the Caudill Class

The Caudill Class is reserved for projects that received four or more Stars of Distinction. It is the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture’s highest recognition and is named after Texas architect William Wayne Caudill (1914–1983), whose progressive concepts continue to influence school design. Winners will be announced in January.

Exhibit of School Architecture

By | News

Huckabee is excited to announce that Fort Bend ISD’s James Patterson Elementary School, Kaufman ISD’s Kaufman High School, Georgetown ISD’s Annie Purl Elementary School and Georgetown ISD’s George Wagner Middle School received Stars of Distinction for the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture competition. It’s a recognition we are proud to share with our incredible partners! The awards highlight excellence in planning and design of learning environments.

Patterson Elementary School and Kaufman High School received recognition for School Transformation. Purl Elementary School received Stars of Distinction for Community, Planning and School Transformation. Wagner Middle School received the highest honor, being noted in the categories of Design, Community, Planning and School Transformation and qualifying for the prestigious Caudill Class. Notably, Georgetown ISD was the only school district to receive honors for multiple schools.

Finalists in the Caudill Class are selected based on receiving four or more Stars of Distinction. The award is the highest level of recognition for the competition and is named after influential Texas architect William Wayne Caudill (1914-1983). The winner will be announced in January.

About the Award-Winning Projects

Each of these schools was the result of a thoughtful planning and design process, and each feature unique attributes that inspire, excite and influence learning.

Patterson Elementary School in Fort Bend ISD is a LEED certified campus. The design creates a more engaging and collaborative space, where students and teachers break out of the classroom for instruction. “Learning pockets” are found throughout, from the 2-story library with flexible furniture, to bench seating in corridors, collab space in classroom wings and an outdoor garden and patio.

Kaufman High School underwent a complete transformation. Multiple buildings were brought under a single roof with unifying elements such as an open and collaborative bistro / library / commons. A new performing arts center, competition gymnasium and CTE wing established a more comprehensive campus. Notably, CTE programs were elevated with the inclusion of a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen, robotics labs and television studio.

The design of Purl Elementary School is inspired by the nearby town square. Classroom wings surround a high-volume commons in the same way storefronts surround the county courthouse, creating a central hub of activity. While interior finishes, furniture and function take a modern form, exterior detailing borrows from the aesthetic of the community’s historic buildings. This community-driven school also features a unique volunteer lab in the secure entry vestibule.

At Wagner Middle School, the configuration emphasizes choice and shared learning. Students have a home base in one of three “dens” for STEM, humanities and 6th grade. They have the ability to spill out from dens into collaborative workspace, outdoor space, the commons, corridors, a maker space and the library. Transparency is critical to the model, and the design of classrooms, teacher design labs and common areas emphasize sightlines and connectivity.

The award-winning projects, along with other projects submitted, will be displayed at the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture at the annual convention on Sept. 28-30 in Austin. To learn more, visit www.texasschoolarchitecture.org.

About the Exhibit of School Architecture

The Exhibit of School Architecture awards are given at the discretion of a 12-member jury, which includes: four school board members, four administrators, two representatives from the Texas Society of Architects and two representatives from the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). To be eligible for consideration for the 2018 Exhibit of School Architecture, projects had to be newly constructed or renovated public education facilities completed in the past five years.

Huckabee Profiled by AIA

By | News

AIA National featured Huckabee in its most recent newsletter, interviewing our CEO, Chris Huckabee, about how our focus on education led to record growth over the past couple of decades. In the article entitled, “This Texas firm survived a downturn by solving problems beyond design,” Chris shares about Huckabee’s culture of learning, our commitment to Texas education and how innovation in our service offerings led to more opportunity. Read the article, here.

Huckabee Opens New Office

By | News

We’re excited to announce the re-opening of our Huckabee Dallas office, located in Granite Park in Plano, a vibrant live, work, play community. The location is near the epicenter of booming development in North Dallas and provides easy access to our clients across the region. It is the latest of our office spaces to be redesigned and relocated to meet the needs of our team and our partners. Our new base provides us with more space to grow, more space to collaborate, more space to engage with clients and more space to gather and enjoy a cup of coffee.

“The opportunity to grow in this way, to offer these environments to our team and our clients is a direct result of their shared work and commitment to Texas education,” said Josh Brown, Vice President and Director of Dallas. “We practice what we preach. Schools today are more collaborative and more personalized than ever. Our efforts to re-think our work environments embrace the same ideals we talk to our clients about—shared experiences, flexibility, opportunity and a holistic approach.”

In true Huckabee style, the design embraces our brand in form and function. From the signature neon “More Than Architects” sign and pops of red to an open work environment, sit-to-stand desks and a custom crit bar. A coffee bar sits up front, leading into a large workspace with floor to ceiling views. A premium is placed on shareable spaces that feature writable surfaces, technology and comfortable seating. Environmental graphics, signage and design touches elevate the space. Reflective film lines the glass of each conference room, creating a spectrum of colors that change as you move.

Above all, the space represents Huckabee’s commitment to creative and engaging work environments; places where Huckabee-ans and our partners can be inspired.

“Our workspaces are important to us,” said Josh. “They are places for our team and our clients to bring their ideas to life. We have a very connected and collaborative culture; it’s one of the first things you recognize when you walk into any one of our offices.”

Huckabee has offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, in addition to an educational research facility at Baylor University. The Dallas office is located at Granite Park Building 5, 5830 Granite Parkway, Suite 750 in Plano, Texas.

Inaugural WHOA Award Presented

By | News

At this year’s Christmas party, our leadership team presented the inaugural WHOA Award, a recognition created in memory of our friend and colleague, Jerry Hammerlun. Jerry joined Huckabee in 2001 and served our firm, our team and our clients with integrity, focus and enthusiasm. He was an incredible man whose legacy lives on in so many ways.

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—in the same way that Jerry guided our team throughout his tenure at Huckabee. The honor was bestowed on Larry Cousin in our Fort Worth office. Larry was critical to our team this year, and we were pleased to recognize his contribution, commitment and wisdom.

The award was originally presented to Jerry many years ago by Chris Huckabee in the form of actual reins. Our founder, Tommie Huckabee, felt the reins needed a place to rest, aptly, a horse. Tommie, a skilled woodworker, sculpted the piece as a gift to Jerry. The reins were a perfect fit, and the award became a legacy, referred to as others at Huckabee exhibited similar fortitude and ingenuity. Its resurgence is one of the many ways that Jerry continues to touch our lives.

Huckabee Achievement Awards

By | News

As our 50th year came to a close, we took one more opportunity to celebrate as a family at our annual Christmas party. More than 350 people gathered for the celebration, which brought together employees and their loved ones from each of our five offices. It’s one of our favorite events of the year, a time when we reflect on the incredible people we’ve met, projects we’ve embarked on and experiences we’ve shared. 

During the event, our team honored employees for years of service and achievement. Notably, Huckabee recognized Daren Kirbo for 20 years of service. Daren joined the firm in the summer of 1997, working first in Stephenville and later in Fort Worth before opening our Austin office in 2011. He is beloved by our team and clients, and he is known for his spirit and deep care for each of the communities he serves.

Congratulations to Daren and all of our colleagues who were recognized for their years of service!

  • Erin Evans, five years of service
  • Courtney Foster, five years of service
  • Brian Green, five years of service
  • Lauren Hoyle, five years of service
  • Laura McCollum, five years of service
  • Megan Smith, five years of service
  • Levi Swinney, five years of service
  • Roberto Zuniga, five years of service
  • Jay Graham, 10 years of service
  • Pam Riley, 10 years of service
  • Daren Kirbo, 20 years of service

During the event, our team had the privilege of recognizing a dear colleague and friend who left us too early in 2017. In memory of Jerry Hammerlun, we established the WHOA Award, a special distinction that recognizes an individual who “took hold of the reins” and expertly guided the team with wisdom, integrity and spirit—in the same way that Jerry guided our team throughout his tenure at Huckabee. The honor was bestowed on Larry Cousin in our Fort Worth office. Larry was critical to our team this year, and we were pleased to recognize his commitment and wisdom.

Other employees were honored with the Huckabee Achievement Award and the Best Practices Award. The prestigious Achievement Award recognizes an individual who is characterized by their commitment to excellence and dedication to our clients and to our team. It was presented to Les Reddin from our Austin office, an individual who represents all of these attributes and more. The Best Practices Award was given to Javier Rosero in Houston for taking an innovative approach to establishing new ideas and processes.