New ECISD superintendent starts July 1

Muri’s base salary will be $295,000 a year. He officially starts July 1.

Muri will also receive a $1,000 per month car allowance; a $3,000 one-time technology stipend this summer; a $300 per month technology allowance; contributions to health insurance, life insurance, and long-term care insurance, the board recap said.

Muri said he stands on the shoulders of Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson. He added that he looks forward to working with the board and becoming a part of the team of eight.

Muri said he appreciates all the work that is going on in the district and he can’t wait to dive in and do good work for the students.

“Thank you for this honor and I can’t wait to get started,” Muri said.

Looking at current data, Muri said, it is clear that some children in ECISD have good academic experiences every day, but that’s not every child. As an organization, the district believes every student deserves that, Muri said.

“So I’m excited to partner with the community and the employees of this district to make that happen for our kids,” he said.

In response to a question about the superintendent being the most important hire a school board makes, Muri said he thinks the most important people you hire are classroom teachers.

“I have an opportunity as the superintendent in the district to oversee the education of 33,000 students, but it really goes back to the teacher in the classroom that fundamentally is the most important employee in our organization. For a trustee to say that the superintendent is the most important person, I would liken that to our teachers are the most important people in our systems. The superintendent is a teacher. I teach children; I teach adults; I teach and partner with our community. We are all teachers in this organization, so I consider it an honor (for a trustee) to have said that, but I’m a teacher and will come here and work with the adults and the children in this community to create great things for them,” he added.

The data point that stuck out to Muri about ECISD is the 265 teacher vacancies.

“… That statistic, more than any other that I’ve looked at, it shocks me. Our kids, each and every one of them, deserve a great teacher in the classroom and today we’re not providing that. And so our opportunity tomorrow is to figure out how we will do that. …,” Muri said.

He added that when children don’t have quality academic experiences, it creates academic gaps for students.

And whether it’s boom times or a bust, Muri said ECISD students deserve a high quality academic experience.

Muri added that his first 100 days on the job will include a lot of looking, listening and learning.

“That is a challenge for us today, but we have to figure that out because these kids, their academic career can’t be contingent upon boom or bust. They deserve greatness every day,” Muri said.

The board also voted to extend Nelson’s contract by 30 days through the end of June to help the district transition to Muri’s start, the recap said.

Board President Doyle Woodall said Position 6 trustee Ray Beaty requested to be part of the vote for Muri because he was part of the search process. Beaty did not run for reelection.

Tammy Hawkins was sworn in as the new Position 6 trustee by Municipal Judge Dennis Jones.

Vice President Donna Smith, position 3, and board member Carol Gregg, position 1, also were sworn in by Jones.

Amy Russell, currently instructional services director at Bonham Middle School, will be principal at Travis.

Amanda Montelongo, currently assistant principal at DeZavala Elementary School in Midland, will be principal at Cavazos; and Mitch Gerig, who is currently associate principal at Ector College Prep Success Academy will be principal at Bonham Middle School.

Judi Tarleton was approved as the Bonham Principal last month, but withdrew and is staying with Midland ISD.

In its 7-0 approval of purchases of more than $50,000, items included recruiting services for teachers from India, international teacher recruitment and J-1 Visa Services, and external auditor services.

Trustees voted 7-0 to approve out-of-state travel for students from Nimitz Middle School, OCTECHS, and Falcon Early College High School. During this trip, the students will attend and present at a Mission 13 Students Spaceflight Experiments Program Conference. The conference will be held at the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia July 1 to July 2. An excursion around Washington, D.C. is included.

The trip provides students the opportunity to present their research in front of a national audience.

The board also voted 7-0 to approve out-of-state travel for New Tech Odessa students to participate in Odyssey of the Mind competition in East Lansing, Mich., from May 21 through May 26.

In Odyssey of the Mind, team members work together at length to solve a predefined long-term problem and present their solution to that problem.

Under special presentations, the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council was recognized.

Each year a group of high school juniors and seniors, selected by the schools, meets regularly with the superintendent and members of his leadership team.

It includes from Permian High School, Kylee Corbell, Maryam Rajput, Joshua Smiley and Roberto Garcia.

And from Odessa High School, Parker Cherry, Carlos Garcia, Evette McClure and Mary Fox.

From George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa, Ethan Baeza, Emilia Gutierrez, Auden Salazar and Andrea Liette Ruiz.

From Falcon Early College High School, Angel Benavides, Faith Eleby, Jocelyn Hernandez and Caleb Kirby.

And from OCTECHS, Wyate Coston, Courtnee Dunn, Jherman Morales and Sara Ryan.

Cristian Rodriguez from OCTECHS is the recipient of a scholarship from the Mexican American School Boards Association.

MASBA’s mission is to close learning gaps for all students in Texas public schools, especially for Latino students who comprise the majority of Texas public school students. MASBA awarded 93 scholarship winners this year — including OCTECHS senior Rodriguez.

As an honoree he is receiving a $250 check; a green, white and red cord to wear at graduation; and a certificate from MASBA.

He was recently recognized through ECISD’s Awards for Excellence. He walked the stage at Odessa College last Saturday after earning an Associate’s degree in Business Leadership. He plans to continue his education at Odessa College and the University of Texas Permian Basin to become an engineer.

At the beginning of the school year, the Geo Group Foundation called ECISD’s Communications Department and wanted to make a donation for a scholarship for students with attendance for 12 years.

The students are Colton Roemisch and Bryson White, both from Permian High School.

Each was offered $1,500 apiece toward their college education.

Top 10 students also were presented.

From OCTECHS, they are:

1. Jherman Morales; 2. Alecia Jade Mabry; 3. Destiny McGinnis; 4. Eilene Najera; 5. Fe Gypsy Joyce Quimbo; 6. Makayla Allison Welch; 7. Chantelle Jolie Vallejo; 8.Taryn Brown; 9. Brittney Kathleen Lucero; and 10. Leigha Grijalva.

Falcon Early College High School’s top 10 are:

1. Haley Lavergne;  2. Ashley Faith Tolentino; 3. Kiara Villagonzalo; 4. Angel Benavides; 5. Portia Ameyaw; 6. Alexis Castillo; 7. Jasmine Alolong; 8. Abigail Galvan; 9. Guadalupe Nabarrette; and 10. Glenn Diana Marie De La Peña.

George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa’s top 10 include:

1. Morena Leyva; 2. Cesar Montano; 3. Emilia Gutierrez; 4. Jesus Rodriguez Carrasco; 5. Annalisa Iniguez; 6. Hailie Zundt; 7. Brianna Amparan; 8. Sara Bolton; 9. Nelson Nabua; 10. Auden Salazar.

Odessa High School’s top 10 are:

1. Carlos Garcia; 2. Kathryn Spickermann; 3. Iris Ramirez; 4. Nicholas Arenivas; 5. Jiovanni Jimenez; 6. Sydney Velasquez; 7. Alejandro Hernandez; 8. Jazmin Grijalva; 9. Aldo Silva; and 10. Jazmine Arenivas.

The Permian High School top 10 are:

1. Marshall Wemmer; 2. Colton Higgins; 3. Brianna Dunston; 4. Sydnie Stewart; 5. Ryan Dominguez; 6. Christian Tschauner; 7. Criselle Velasco; 8. Haley Carrasco; 9. Bryson White; and  10. Minji Ko.