November 2012, Edition

Dear Education Partner:

Dr Wanda Bamberg, Superintendent of SchoolsOn Oct. 28, we officially dedicated General Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. High School. On Nov. 8, we held a Founders’ Breakfast to kick off the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF).

Both events were well received by the community and we are grateful for the support of sponsors who helped make them possible.

The presence of a number of Tuskegee Airmen, many of whom served under General Davis, made the dedication memorable. Several of the Airmen spent the week leading up to the dedication sharing their stories with our students, encouraging them to embrace academic achievement and to seek higher education after graduation.

We were honored to have members of General Davis’ family attend the dedication. His great niece, Danielle Burns, gave remarks on behalf of the family, shared insights into her great uncle’s life, and thanked the district for naming a school in his honor.

She also thanked United Airlines for providing airfare so the Airmen could attend the event, as well as pointed out the major contributions the Airmen made to bring equality to the United States military.

A number of special guests also attended the dedication ceremony including U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, (Ret.) Major General Thomas Spooner and (Ret.) Brigadier General J.T. Boddie. Former Trustees A.W. Jones and Leonard Marcella also attended, as well as our current Board members, our administrative team, the Davis faculty and staff and community members.

The Founders’ Breakfast was another significant district celebration to announce the formation of the Aldine Education Foundation, which continues the great work of the Aldine Scholarship Foundation. Co-Presidents Seth Sharr and Terry Williams served as masters of ceremony and each spoke of the importance of the community getting involved and supporting our first-ever complete education foundation.

Our public information department produced a seven-minute video about Aldine ISD, but the highlight of the event was the testimonials of teachers and former students whose lives were changed by the grants and scholarships they received.

So far, donors have given more than $70,000 to the foundation. Contributions support grants for innovative classroom projects and scholarships for students to attend Lone Star College and other colleges and universities. The AEF will announce its first grant winners in December.

For more information on the Foundation and how to donate, please contact Ben Wilson at (281) 985-6078 or visit At the website you will find a list of major foundation donors.

It’s been a busy couple of months and we are all looking forward to the Thanksgiving break. Our offices and schools will be closed Nov. 19-23 and will re-open on Monday, Nov. 26. I wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Even in these challenging times, we all have much to be thankful for. I hope you will take the time to enjoy your family and friends during the holiday!

Wanda Bamberg Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

District Highlights

• All five of Aldine ISD’s varsity bands (Aldine High, Davis High, Eisenhower High, MacArthur High and Nimitz High) earned Division 1 ratings this fall at the district marching contest.

• Three Aldine ISD student-artists will have their work displayed at Houston Northwest Medical Center’s pediatric wing for a year. The three are Jasilyn Anderson of Nimitz High School, Som-Mai Nguyen of Eisenhower High School and Lilian Zelaya of Houston Academy. Their work was selected by the hospital in a recent competition against other area art students.

• For the 10th consecutive year, Aldine ISD has received a rating of “Superior Achievement” under Texas’ Schools FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas), the state’s financial accountability rating system. The “Superior Achievement” rating is the state’s highest, demonstrating the quality of Aldine’s financial management and reporting system.

• Aldine received a $1,084,372 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to re-fit buses with special filters to reduce emissions. The filters will reduce more than 98 tons of emission pollution over the life of the project. Our transportation department submitted the grant.

• Carroll Elementary School dedicated its Spark Park on Nov. 14. The Carroll Spark Park was a cooperative venture of Harris County, the City of Houston, Carroll parents and students and the district.

• The MacArthur High boys’ and girls’ cross country teams won first place at the District 18-5A meet, held Oct. 25 at Lone Star College-North Harris. The teams are under the direction of head coach Kelly Silha and assistant coach Xang Chareunsab.

• The MacArthur High and Nimitz High volleyball teams each earned playoff spots this season. The Lady Generals, under the direction of head coach Lynda Eastman, finished second in District 18-5A play, while the Lady Cougars, under the direction of head coach Lea Sims, finished fourth in league play.

• The Eisenhower Eagles and Nimitz Cougars football teams earned playoff spots this season. The Cougars, under the direction of head coach Robert Toomer, finished third in District 18-5A play, while the Eagles, under the direction of head coach Dre’ Thompson, finished fourth in district play.

• Eisenhower High senior linebacker Aaron Petry was one of 25 finalists for the 2012 Houston Touchdown Club’s Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. Petry and the 24 other finalists were honored at a luncheon on Nov. 7 at the JW Marriott Hotel. Petry received a $500 college scholarship for being named a finalist.

The Nation’s Best!

MacArthur High School cross country coach Kelly Silha has continued the tradition of having his boys’ and girls’ cross country teams compete each year at the Midwest Invitational, the oldest high school cross country meet in the nation. The event is held in Janesville, Wisconsin, Silha’s hometown. The tradition of attending the meet began 17 years ago by former head coach Larry Gnatzig, who is also a Wisconsin native, but Silha has added a personal touch to it since taking over the program three years ago. Silha’s mother and a number of brothers live in Janesville and they happily put team members up in their houses each year during their weekend stay. He also sets up visits to local colleges, so our students can see that there is a world outside of Houston. Over the last three years, MacArthur runners have visited Lake Forest College, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the University of Wisconsin and the state capitol in Madison. When the district had to make budget cuts over the last few years, Silha took it upon himself to find funding for the airfare and other essentials his student-athletes would need while away from home. He secured a grant from the East Aldine District so the tradition of competing at the Midwest Invitation continued. The grant has allowed Silha to expand the number of students who attend the meet, and for many of them, this is the first time they have ever flown. Even during difficult economic times, Kelly Silha has gone the extra mile to ensure that the tradition of attending the Midwest Invitational continues for future cross country runners at MacArthur High. Kelly is definitely one of the Nation’s Best!

Upcoming Events

Monday, Nov. 19-Friday, Nov. 23
District offices and schools closed for Thanksgiving break

Wednesday, Nov. 28
ACC Meeting, M.O. Campbell Teaching Theater, 9:30 a.m.

Monday, Dec. 17
Board Study Session, Board Room, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 18
Board Meeting, Board Room, 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 24-Friday, Jan. 4
Mid-Winter Break, District offices and schools closed

Monday, Jan. 7
Classes resume