News Roundup: New Leadership Institute Aims To Train Texas Educators

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 8, 2018 2:07 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Construction on a leadership institute for Texas educators is underway. Earlier this year, HEB Chairman and CEO Charles Butt pledged more than $100 million to launch The Holdsworth Center. He broke ground on the project in Austin a week ago, Thursday.

Kate Rogers is president of The Holdsworth Center. She explains the work of their nonprofit is focused on grooming current and future leaders in the public school system.

“And that’s really the mission of The Holdsworth Center is to help really provide a stellar education to all 5.3 million children in Texas by making sure every teacher has the opportunity to work under an inspired leader on the campus level,” Rogers says.

And how exactly will this group achieve that?

“So we work with school districts from around the state of Texas over about a five-year period, really focusing on their entire approach to talent management, helping them build the leadership pipeline, so that they have a bench of leaders who are ready to take on the very important role of leading campuses within the district,” Rogers says.

Even though the Austin campus won’t open its doors until 2020, The Holdsworth Center is already working with school districts that applied for programs. Rogers says the first cohort of their campus leadership program has 163 participants.

“One of our big theories is that change on a campus or within a district is not dependent upon one superhero leader,” Rogers says. “It’s usually done by teams of people, working cooperatively, making shared decisions, to move the campus or the district forward.”

In total, they’re already working with seven districts, including Arlington ISD, Klein ISD and Round Rock ISD. They’re in the process of selecting another 6 districts for the summer of 2019.

Texas pecan harvests fell below average the last two years, but things were looking up in 2018.

Growers were poised to rake in a 50 million-pound haul of pecans, after above-average rains, leading into the fall, kept trees healthy. But the native Texas nut may have gotten too much of a good thing as recent rains caused flooding at orchards throughout the state.

Larry Stein with the Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center says he expects the harsh weather to impact the pounds harvested.

“Not only that, there were a lot of nuts were washed away from the floods…were already on the ground,” Stein says.

Stein says they won’t know the exact impact until next month.

But he says not to worry in the meantime. There are plenty of pecans for Texas consumers.

In the battle royale that was the 2018 midterm election, one newcomer to the Texas State Senate already has a claim to fame. Democrat Nathan Johnson, who defeated GOP State Senator Don Huffines of Dallas to represent Senate District 16, was once a composer for the hit anime series “Dragon Ball Z.”

That 1990s opening theme song is not one of Johnson’s compositions. GuideLive, the entertainment website from The Dallas Morning News, reports that Johnson’s music production business had scored 67 episodes of the “Ultimate Uncut Special Edition” of “Dragon Ball Z.”