School Times Now!
RISD Schools Recognized for Academic Achievements
Watch Out Longhorns?
Parkhill Hurricane Relief
Symphony Days
BHS & LHHS Make the Playoffs
Pepperoni Taste Test
Berkner Fine Arts
Superintendent Jim Nelson announced today that Richardson High School Principal Bob DeVoll has been promoted to Assistant Superintendent Secondary Schools. He will take the place previously held by Randy Reid who left in September to become superintendent of Celina ISD.

Mr. Nelson has appointed Richardson North Junior High Principal Charles Pickitt as principal at RHS. Melissa Gassman, current assistant principal at North will become principal at North.

Mr. DeVoll has been principal of RHS since 2000, and is a product of Richardson schools, graduating from RHS in 1973. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1977 in physical education, and a master’s in educational administration from East Texas State University.
He began his career with RISD in 1978 at North Junior High as a history teacher and coach. He has also been assigned to Richardson West Junior High, Pearce High School, and Berkner High School where he was named assistant principal. He moved to Lake Highlands Junior High as assistant principal and then principal. He became principal of RHS in 2000.

His wife Pam teaches at Pearce High School and their children are RISD students and/or graduates.

Superintendent Nelson said, “His experience in all four quadrants in the district and his success as a high school principal made him the best choice for us. We look forward to having him lead all our secondary schools to great achievements.”

Charles Pickitt earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and English from ETSU in 1970. His master’s is in public school administration from North Texas State. He began his career with RISD in 1970 as a teacher/coach at Richardson Junior High, served as assistant principal at North Junior High from 1981-90, and became an assistant principal first at RJH, and then Berkner High School. He was named principal at North in 1995. His wife is a retired RISD teacher.

Melissa Gassman graduated in 1992 from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Her master’s in education was earned from National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on ESL bilingual. Her second master’s is from the University of Texas at Dallas in interdisciplinary studies. She joined RISD in 2000 as a Spanish teacher at Lake Highlands Freshman Center and North Junior High. She interned at NJH and then became assistant principal.

Staff at both schools were informed of the changes yesterday afternoon, and the transition process will begin immediately. >Top

National Merit Semifinalists Announced
RISD Seniors Earn Coveted Academic Recognition

Sixteen seniors have been named National Merit Semifinalists for the 2005-06 academic year, making them each eligible for consideration to receive a National Merit Scholarship.

The students represent some of the top academic performers in the United States.

“These outstanding students have earned our congratulations for a job well done, and our gratitude for such exemplary representation of RISD,” said district Superintendent Jim Nelson. “Their dedication, sacrifice and ability has led to this richly deserved national recognition.”

Students enter the National Merit competition by scoring well on PSAT tests, usually taken junior year, and advance in the program based on their skills, accomplishments and subsequent SAT scores. This year’s National Merit Finalists are expected to be announced in February of 2006.

Richardson ISD’s 2005-2006 National Merit Semifinalists

  • Osman Ahmed, Pearce
  • Leila Alderman, Lake Highlands
  • Andrew Brookshire, Pearce
  • Alexander Frolov, Richardson
  • Judy Huang, Berkner
  • Hannah Jones, Richardson
  • Mark Kao, Pearce
  • Andrew Kreighbaum, Lake Highlands
  • Nicholas Luchsinger, Richardson
  • Alexander Lue, Berkner
  • Reese Mathieu, Pearce
  • Katherine Noble, Pearce
  • Jefferson Timmins, Lake Highlands
  • William Vijverberg, Richardson
  • Kathryn Wingate, Richardson
  • Samuel Wu, Berkner
For additional information on the National Merit Scholarship Program, please visit

National Hispanic Recognition Recipients Announced
Three RISD Seniors Earn National Academic Status

Three RISD seniors have been recognized by the National Hispanic Recognition Program for the 2005-06 academic year.

“This honor places these excellent students in the top three percent academically among Hispanic high school students around our nation, and identifies them to colleges and universities as especially well-prepared for post-secondary education,” said RISD Superintendent Jim Nelson. “As they move forward through their senior year and beyond, we know they will continue to make us proud.”

Students enter the National Hispanic Recognition Program by scoring well on PSAT tests, usually taken junior year, and must maintain a strong grade point average throughout their junior and senior years.

Richardson ISD’s 2005-2006 National Hispanic Recognition Recipients

  • Joseph Decosta, Lake Highlands High School
  • Clayton Juarez, Richardson High School
  • Eduardo Olazaran, Pearce High School

National Achievement Scholarship Semi-finalists Announced

RISD announced that Richardson High School senior Livia Kessler and Lake Highlands High School senior Habben Berhane have been named National Achievement Scholarship Program semi-finalists for the 2005-06 school year.

Students advancing to the semi-finalist level are among the top African-American academic performers in the United States.

“We are extremely proud of these outstanding students,” said district Superintendent Jim Nelson. “This national recognition is richly deserved, and they are representing their school and district extremely well.”

To become a National Achievement Scholarship Program finalist, students must demonstrate superior performance in a number of categories, including school grades, recommendations, SAT-I scores, academic courses, leadership abilities, and educational goals.

National Achievement Scholarship Program winners for the 2005-06 school year will be announced in February of 2006. >Top

The LHHS Wildcat Wranglers dance team is New York bound!

The Wranglers will be featured performers at the 79th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  An American holiday tradition since 1924, the Parade starts at Central Park and winds 2.5 miles through the heart of the city.

Join the Wranglers for a celebration as they thank the community for supporting their efforts to make this dream a reality.  Come see why the Wranglers are “best in class” on Sunday, November 13 from 2:00 p.m. at the LHHS gym.

The Wranglers also invite you to their send-off on Sunday, November 20 at 8:00 a.m. as they depart LHHS for the “Big Apple.”
The Wranglers are one of just 10 large performance groups selected to participate in this year’s Parade and one of four dance groups that will be showcased as the Parade route passes through historic Herald Square.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC-TV (channel 5), Thursday November 24 at 9:00am CST.

Selected by a rigorous tryout process in the spring, the Wranglers are an elite country and western dance and stunt team at Lake Highlands High School.  The team consists of 46 junior and senior students, and they have danced at presidential and gubernatorial inaugural balls and parades, civic and school functions, and corporate events. This past January, the Wranglers were honored to perform at the Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots Inauguration Gala in Washington, DC. For more information about the Wranglers, please visit: >Top

Just for the Kids

Four Richardson ISD schools have been named to the Just For the Kids Honor Roll for academic achievement from the Texas Business and Education Coalition and the Just For The Kids organization.

The recognition stems from each school’s “sustained high academic performance” in core subjects.

The following RISD schools were recognized:

  • Brentfield Elementary
  • Canyon Creek Elementary
  • White Rock Elementary
  • Lake Highlands Freshman Center

Honor roll schools are deemed the most consistent performers in educating all student groups, and over a three-year period rank highest in their individual peer groups, which are schools across Texas that most closely approximate their size and student population makeup.

For additional information, please visit or RISD’s award-winning Web site at

Ninety-Two Percent of RISD Schools Receive Gold Performance Status

Richardson Independent School District announced that 48 of its 52 eligible campuses have received at least one “Gold Performance Acknowledgement” from the Texas Education Agency for 2005, including all 39 of its eligible elementary schools. Click here to view the full press release. >Top
Liberty Junior High seventh-grader Rachel Calloway doesn't consider herself a crusader, just another member of the team.

While many of her classmates engage in other activities after school, she straps on her pads and heads outside - to football practice.

Rachel is the starting kicker for the Patriot's seventh-grade team, and has been so since she beat several boys in a mid-season tryout.

"She earned it," said Liberty Seventh-grade football coach Kevin Rogers. "She kicked far better than the others. Her teammates have really been accepting of her - she's just another player to them."
"When I first tried out, I was nervous, because everyone was staring at me," said Rachel. "Now the only time I get nervous is when I might have to tackle someone on a kickoff. I don't mind getting lit up, I just don't want to miss the tackle." (Editor note: Rachel explains that "lit up" is football vernacular for a particularly hard hit.)

Rachel, an office aide at Liberty, is also a standout soccer player, currently playing for a select team.

Does Rachel hope to kick for Berkner someday?

"Berkner's kicker right now is very good," she says. "He sets a high standard. My coach and teachers tell me to keep working hard to improve, and who knows what I'll be able to do in a few years." >Top
Parkhill JH students creatively raised more than $2200.00 to donate to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.

Students split up into teams and competed in fundraising for the right to Parkhill's Spirit Stick, with the team raising the most winning the Spirit Stick. Congratulations and thanks to all Parkhill students who gave their time and effort to help others. >Top

On Thursday, November 3, all RISD third-graders attended Symphony Days at the Eisemann Center.  The students, many dressed in their finest, were introduced to the sounds of a symphony orchestra through recognizable songs from various cartoons.  Above, students are shown filing up the stairs to enter the balcony of the Al and Margaret Hill Performance Hall. >Top
The first-round play-off game for The Berkner Football Team is Friday, 11/11, 7:30pm, against Skyline at Ram-Wildcat Stadium. The Lake Highlands Football Team game has not been scheduled yet. Please visit for the latest schedule information on upcoming games. >Top

Instead of academic tests, this week student representatives at Brentfield Elementary tested three different brands of pizza for the district's Child Nutrition Department. The students gave an A+ to the brand already being served at RISD schools. This is one pop-quiz that the students seemed to really enjoy! >Top
The Texas Music Educators Association has held its annual High School String Honor Orchestra competition. Every year, the best orchestras from across the state of Texas submit recordings for this competition and this year there were 33 entries.

The Berkner Symphony Orchestra placed second in the state and will be honored at the TMEA convention in February, 2006, as this year's Honor Orchestra Runner-up. Congratulations!

The Mighty Ram Band also competed, at the Sam Houston State University Marching Competition in Huntsville. At the preliminary competition, they won an award for Best Drum Majors and placed second in their class. During finals, they placed second out of 23 bands. Congratulations! >Top
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