At TCEA, we have members in all roles of education. Any educator who embraces learning without limits is welcome in our ranks. Each month, we like to spotlight one of our members because it may help you, our readers, to hear great ideas that you might be able to apply to your own districts and schools. It also gives us the opportunity to showcase some outstanding educators. This month, our member spotlight is on the superintendent of Cleburne ISD, Dr. Kyle Heath.
A Long Career in Education
Dr. Heath is not new to the field of education. He has been superintendent of Cleburne for four years and, in total, has spent an incredible 31 years in education. He started out as a social studies teacher in Perry, Oklahoma. He speaks fondly of those times: “Some of my most favorite memories are from those years as a government teacher, working with students in the final leg of their journey to graduation, then watching them move on to college or career.”
Collaborating with Other Educators for Student Success
Dr. Heath’s job involves working with many different educators and stakeholders. He fills his calendar with meetings with administrators across the district. He also makes time to meet with government and community leaders. Cleburne ISD is a high-profile district. Dr. Heath appreciates the involvement so many parents and community members take to ensure the district’s success. “I love collaborating with those who are passionate about education, teaching, learning, and having a shared vision, and then, through the efforts of many, seeing that vision become a reality, knowing it will make a positive difference in the life of a child.”
Student-Centered Changes for Cleburne
Cleburne ISD is a great example of what can happen with leadership–and a community–focused on innovation. The district is working on building a new high school. Cleburne High School will include a Career and Technology Education and Fine Arts facility. Dr. Heath speaks enthusiastically about the potential for this new center, which was made possible by a 2016 landmark bond referendum. “It is so exciting to know the major impact this new high school will have on the programs and opportunities we can provide to students, now and in the future.”
One way the district seeks to make changes to benefit students is by involving student voices. Dr. Heath explains one example of this: “A component of our last bond election provided mobile devices for all secondary students to use at school and home. We had sixth through twelfth grade members of our Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee pilot the devices we were considering for this initiative. Their feedback was invaluable and ultimately determined what was chosen with great results!”
Dr. Heath encourages his teachers and staff to seek out resources to keep current and improve their knowledge and skills. This includes the resources and events provided by TCEA. “We will be including micro-credentialing in our staff development opportunities in the upcoming school year and I know TCEA has been, and will continue to be, a great source in helping us help our teachers develop and grow in their use of technology.”
He was proud to see many of the Cleburne team present at the 2018 TCEA Convention & Exposition. And of course, the Cleburne Board of Trustees was honored with the 2018 School Board of the Year Award (one of TCEA’s Educator Awards). “Our board is so deserving of this recognition, and I commend TCEA for recognizing educators, administrators, and trustees for their commitment to making technology a vital part of the learning process.”
Advice for Leadership
Dr. Heath encourages other school leaders to stay well-informed about technology. He also emphasizes the importance of involving many different perspectives to guide leadership. “I encourage those new to the role of superintendent to learn all they can about technology and to collaborate regularly with their district’s technology professionals. Input and feedback from those who will use it most—the teachers and students—is essential.”
And of course, we had to ask what Dr. Heath considers to be the most exciting ed tech tools out there right now: “Virtual reality and augmented reality are quickly becoming among my favorite educational technology tools used to enhance instruction and student learning. How wonderful and amazing to be taken anywhere in the world and to view anything, from a human heart to a hippopotamus, from the inside out. These platforms have taken learning, and learners, to a whole new level. When Dr. Suess wrote about ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go,’ he had no idea where instructional technology would take us in education.” Certainly, no one can say that the students, teachers, and staff of Cleburne ISD aren’t going to some pretty exciting places.
We hope you enjoyed this look into the professional life of Dr. Kyle Heath. To learn about other innovative educators transforming teaching and learning, you can read some of our previous member spotlight posts here, here, and here. Do you know a TCEA member who needs to be in the spotlight? You can always email me your suggestions at [email protected].