Year in Review

Public education

Leander ISD

• Effective Jan. 1, Leander ISD made videos of its board meetings available on its website. The passage of House Bill 283 requires Texas school districts with 10,000 or more students to record regularly scheduled meetings and make the video available online within seven days after the meeting occurs.

• In the fall, LISD staff began training for suicide prevention as a result of new state legislation passed in 2015. The training includes how to identify students who may be contemplating suicide. For the 2015-16 school year, LISD also hired seven additional counselors who support students with academic needs as well as offer mental health guidance.

• On Aug. 24, Christine Camacho Elementary School opened at 501 Municipal Drive in Leander. Principal Terri Breaux leads the campus that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. There are 42 classrooms at CCES, all of which include collaboration tables instead of individual desks.   

• Voters elected Trish Bode and re-elected trustee Don Hisle to LISD’s board of trustees May 9.

• In the 2015-16 school year, the district began the implementation of Mobile Leander ISD, an initiative to help students learn digitally by making devices—including laptops, tablets and desktop computers—available in classrooms.

Round Rock ISD

• The board of trustees adopted a Freeport Tax exemption in June. Before the exemption, RRISD applied the tax to companies with inventory that was brought into Texas for manufacturing and exported out of the state within 175 days.

• On Dec. 8, RRISD announced its direct-to-college enrollment for the class of 2015 increased 1 percent compared with the class of 2014.

• On Dec. 17, trustees approved a name and attendance boundaries for RRISD’s 34th elementary school: Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School.

Higher Education

Austin Community College

• Trustee Gigi Edwards Bryant was sworn into office Jan. 20, joining newcomer Mark Williams on the board following successful 2014 election campaigns. Victor Villarreal was also voted board chairman during the same meeting, replacing former board president and trustee Jeffrey Richard.

• On Feb. 2 and 16, the board approved members of a 13-person Bond Oversight Advisory Committee to oversee the nearly $386 million in bond projects approved by voters in November 2014.

• Second lady Jill Biden visited the ACC Highland campus March 9 to explore the school’s new ACCelerator math lab, which debuted in fall 2014.

• Highland Mall, the city’s first regional indoor shopping center, closed April 30 after 44 years to make room for the next phase of ACC Highland, a $152.8 million makeover of the mall’s central area slated to open by
summer 2019.

• On July 6, trustees picked Pfluger Architects to lead ACC’s Leander campus design efforts. The $60 million project is slated to be complete by summer 2018.

• The board agreed Oct. 19 to purchase land in Southeast Travis County for a future Travis County Workforce Training Center.

• During its Nov. 2 meeting, ACC trustees picked American Constructors to lead construction management duties at the future ACC Leander campus.

Concordia University Texas

• Concordia University Texas’ new executive leadership team began operating in July and includes President/CEO Don Christian; Provost/Chief Academic Officer Erik Ankerberg; Beth Atherton, vice president of external relations/chief advancement officer; Brad Johnston, vice president of operations/Chief Financial Officer; Kristi Kirk, executive vice president/chief mission officer; and Chief Strategy Officer Shane Sokoll.

• Ronda Seagraves, a former Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and athletic director for Southwestern University in Georgetown, was named Athletic Director for Concordia University Texas Nov. 2.

• Construction of Concordia’s $4 million softball field was completed in late 2015 and is ready for the first game Feb. 12. The softball field is the first phase of a development that will include a 12,000-square-foot athletic facility.

• Concordia added men’s and women’s NCAA Division III tennis programs to its 2015-16 sports offerings. The tennis programs resumed at the college following a seven-year absence and are headed by coach Daniel Whitehead.

By Lyndsey Taylor
After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lyndsey began working as a reporter for the Northwest Austin edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2012. During her time as a reporter, she has covered Round Rock ISD, health care in the Austin metro area and Austin Community College. She was promoted to editor of the Cedar Park| Leander edition in 2015 and covers city and education news, including Leander ISD.


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