Tarkington ISD the focus of November chamber luncheon in Cleveland

Tarkington ISD administrators were at the Nov. 1 noon luncheon of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the district is faring. Pictured left to right are Renee Pagent, Dr. Mary Jane Moore, Tarkington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marc Keith and Deanna McKay.

The state of Tarkington ISD is great, according to Superintendent Dr. Marc Keith, the guest speaker at the Nov. 1 membership luncheon of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce at the Cleveland Civic Center.

Just as it was envisioned by founders when the district was formed in 1931, Tarkington ISD continues to be the centerpoint of a close-knit community, Keith said.

“Our mission hasn’t changed. Education is part of our legacy. Tarkington ISD is still leading the community,” he said.

Keith, a 1978 graduate of Tarkington High School, says the Tarkington Prairie has changed in the last half-century. In the 1950s, dairy farms, rice farms and ranches dotted the community. As a young boy, Keith recalls seeing dairy trucks traveling around the community as they hauled milk to market. Today, there are no commercial dairies in Tarkington.

“It’s a different place today, but being made up of the descendants of farmers and ranchers, it is a close-knit community,” he said.

Chelsi Yorick (left) was selected as the Ambassador of the Month for November for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. Presenting the award was Lanora Purvis, who chairs the Ambassador committee.

Keith pointed to the creation of Tarkington Education Foundation as proof that the community supports its students as they pursue a vocational or college education after high school.

“The Tarkington Education Foundation provides every high school graduate with $1,000 for their advancing education. That is tremendous,” Keith said.

Tarkington ISD currently has 1,810 students, 522 in high school. Roughly 16 percent of all high school juniors and seniors are enrolled in dual-credit courses that allow them to fulfill their high school class requirements while also completing some of the basic college classes. The district offers 23 dual-credit courses and 37 career and technical education (CTE) courses.

“The role of education in a child’s life today is probably more important than ever,” he said. “Our kids today have to be well-prepared … they have to be flexible. Companies fold, jobs change. Technology doubles every two years.”

Keith also introduced some of the Tarkington ISD Central Office staff who keep the district on the right path, including Deanna McKay, the superintendent’s administrative assistant, Renee Pagent, who oversees state testing, and Dr. Mary Jane Moore, assistant superintendent of curriculum and student services.

Earlier in the meeting, Victoria Good, who steers the Chamber’s Education Committee, shared results of the Principal for a Day event held on Oct. 25 at Cleveland ISD schools.

Good said the feedback she has received has been encouraging and she plans to make the event bigger next year.

“It was good to see what principals deal with on a daily basis,” Good said.

Kem Kirkham-Arnold with Texas Elite Hospice accepts the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Month award for November from Chamber Board Chairman Melissa Lanier. Two businesses are selected each month for the award.
Sharon Anderson accepts the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Month award for November from Chamber Board Chairman Melissa Lanier. Two businesses are picked every month for the award.






By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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