On Oct. 16, Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath visited Austin Academy for Excellence, walking the same Garland ISD halls he did decades ago. The campus greeted him with a string quartet and receiving line of cheerleaders and student ambassadors. In addition to meeting students and staff, Morath also toured several classrooms, witnessing the rigorous instruction that takes place all across GISD.
“We start every year with the goal of growing each student by at least one year regardless of current level,” said Austin Academy Principal John Fishpaw.
Leading the Commissioner to English, math, science and special education classes, Fishpaw showed him how the district is preparing all students for college, careers and life. He also let him know that his alma mater would implement the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in 2020-21.
But perhaps the most interesting sight Morath saw during his visit was his sixth grade science teacher, Debra Montague. After reconnecting, the Texas Education Agency tweeted that Morath “would like to thank Ms. Montague for not only her years of dedication to students, but also for helping him become the person he is today!”
Montague said she also appreciated the visit.
“I was so thrilled to see a former a student. I could tell from the brief few minutes we got to chat that my former student had become a man who takes his responsibilities concerning the children of this state very seriously. He wants the best for our children and will do what he needs to in order to make that happen,” she said.
GISD Superintendent Ricardo López culminated the visit with a special gift. He presented the Commissioner a custom pin that celebrates Austin’s A rating and seven Distinction Designation, as well as district and campus swag.