Joining the team - Odessa American: News

Joining the team

BY ELAINE MARSILIO | Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2007 12:00 am

Steve Brown said he spells success “ t-e-a-m.”

The 55-year-old longtime educator and Odessa native has worked in the Ector County Independent School District for almost 32 years.

Brown, recently-appointed assistant superintendent for secondary operations, left his principal position at Bonham Junior High to join the ECISD administration on Monday.

Brown said his primary goal continues to be meeting the needs of the students, and he plans to work with his new colleagues to make changes.

“It’s a team effort — it’s not just one individual,” Brown said. “You have to have a team relationship to be successful.”

It’s important to work as a team to reach success, Brown said, and that includes every aspect of the “puzzle” from administrators to bus drivers to cafeteria workers.

To help the district excel, Brown said he’ll use his broader scope as an administrator to stay involved with campus happenings and the individuals impacted by them.

“You can impact more administrators, teachers and students in this role,” Brown said.

ECISD temporary interim superintendent Hector Mendez said he chose Brown for the assistant superintendent position because Brown has been successful in his previous campus administrative roles and Brown’s well-respected by his colleagues.

“It just made sense to me that he would add value to the team, in terms of the carrying out of our assignments,” Mendez said.

Along with adding Brown to the administration, Mendez said he reviewed his staff’s backgrounds and skills and decided to move area superintendents to different leadership roles to better serve the district’s students.

Brown started in ECISD in 1976 as a history and math teacher at the Ector County Youth Center School.

Along the way to his assistant superintendent spot, Brown was reassigned from his principal position at Permian to principal at Bonham in June 2006.

At the time, former superintendent Wendell Sollis said he felt Brown would be the best fit at the junior high since the former Bonham principal Bill Garcia had retired.

Although Brown said he doesn’t look at the Odessa American’s online message boards, many community members suggested Brown be named interim superintendent after trustees voted Sollis out July 2.

In addition, many in the community also mentioned Brown’s effective leadership.

Before being moved to Permian by former superintendent Roy Benavides, Brown was the principal at Nimitz Junior High.

During his eight-year tenure at Nimitz, Brown established a required reading and comprehension program for all seventh-graders regardless of what reading level they’d achieved.

The program, which Nimitz continues, works on raising students’ grade level reading comprehension while also improving their Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores.

Brown has been viewed by some as being a strict campus administrator, but the educator said his disciplinary approach works to provide young students, particularly junior high age, with a structure to adhere to.

“They need to know what the boundaries are,” Brown said.

Rachel Shintani Dobbs, whose 15-year-old son, Garrett, graduated from Bonham in May, said Brown’s students knew what their limits were and as a parent, she appreciated his strict but fair approach.

“He’s such a good example through leadership in my opinion,” Dobbs said. “He’s an excellent leader. He’s a class act.”

Dobbs said while she worked with Brown on Bonham’s campus improvement team this year she noticed what a broad vision Brown has for ECISD secondary schools.

Now, as an administrator, Brown just needs the necessary resources and appropriate backing to achieve the district’s goals, Dobbs said.

“He won’t settle for second best,” she said. “He will expect great things.”

Brown said he’ll work with administrators to visit more campuses and to provide instructional support for teachers.

And even though he’s in the administration building, Brown said he never takes his focus off the children and their needs.

“If it weren’t for the students, (ECISD) wouldn’t need Steve Brown,” he said.


>> 2007-present ECISD administration, assistant superintendent for secondary operations

>> 2006-’07 Bonham Junior High principal

>> 2004-’06 Permian High principal

>> 1996-’04 Nimitz principal

>> 1982-’96 Ector Junior High assistant principal and principal

>> 1980-’82 Bonham assistant principal

>> 1976-’80 Ector County Youth Center School.

>> Before that, he taught in Abernathy Independent School District schools as a social studies teacher.