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Business in Fort Bend June 2017


Harvest Green is releasing 254 homesites in the coming months to keep up with buyer demand. First-quarter home sales are up 46 percent over the previous year.

Harvest Green is releasing 254 homesites in the coming months to keep up with buyer demand. First-quarter home sales are up 46 percent over the previous year.

RECORD-BREAKING SALES SPROUT NEW NEIGHBORHOODS IN HARVEST GREEN

New neighborhoods are sprouting up in Harvest Green as 254 homesites will be relased in response to record-breaking home sales. The Fort Bend community will release the first 71 homesites in May with an additional 183 to follow in the summer. The new neighborhoods will feature 50-, 60- and 65-foot properties.

The release is in response to a 46 percent increase in Harvest Green home sales this year, with 98 homes sold during the first quarter of 2017. “The continued success of our community has been gratifying,” said Shay Shafie, general manager of Harvest Green.

Home sales in the unique community, which is centered on a working farm, have always been strong. Builders sold 85 homes within three months of beginning presales when Harvest Green opened nearly two years ago. An additional 262 properties were released when the community was less than a year old.

Eleven builders offer homes in Harvest Green with designs priced from the $240,000s. Builders include D.R. Horton, Darling Homes, David Weekley Homes, Highland Homes, Lennar, Meritage Homes, Newmark Homes, Perry Homes, Plantation Homes, Trendmaker Homes and Westin Homes.

Harvest Green’s suite of amenities include The Farmhouse, a recreation center featuring a pool, fitness center, splash pad, event lawn, playground and lakeside amphitheater. Resi­dents also enjoy a weekly on-site farmers market and a community service agriculture program by Loam Agronomics that delivers farm-fresh produce to their doors. A new school, James C. Neill Elementary, will join on-site Bowie Middle School and Travis High School in August. For more information visit harvestgreentexas.com.

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(Front row, l-r): Delimar Martinez, Ahlauna Jackson, Ashley Clopton, Parvathy Nair, Skylar Mann, Niharika Pakala, Victoria Chan, Alex Sepulveda; (back row): Austin Epps, Priscilla Macias, Reed Manske, RC Rodriguez, Andy Bui and Malik Sadruddin.

(Front row, l-r): Delimar Martinez, Ahlauna Jackson, Ashley Clopton, Parvathy Nair, Skylar Mann, Niharika Pakala, Victoria Chan, Alex Sepulveda; (back row): Austin Epps, Priscilla Macias, Reed Manske, RC Rodriguez, Andy Bui and Malik Sadruddin.

FORT BEND EDUCATION FOUNDATION SHLUMBERGER EDUCATION EXPEDITION RAISES $32,700

The Fort Bend Education Founda­tion held its 14th Annual Schlumberger Educa­tion Expedition bike ride on April 1. As a result of this successful BP MS 150 recommended ride, the Foundation raised over $32,700 benefiting the Foundation’s programs, which provide opportunities to enrich and enhance the quality of education for all Fort Bend ISD students through its Grants to Teachers and Schools programs.

Rest Stops and Lunch were staffed by volunteers including teachers and students from FBISD schools. They were vying for the Best Rest Stop award. Dulles High School Student Council won the award.

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Ruthanne Mefford

Ruthanne Mefford

MEFFORD ELECTED TO THE GEORGE FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES

The Trustees of The George Foundation recently elected Ruthanne Mefford of Sugar Land to serve as trustee for a special seven-year term. Mefford replaces outgoing Trustee Pat McDonald, who was appointed to the board in 2008 and served a total of nine years including the role of Chairman from 2012-2014. “The Board of Trustees is excited to bring Ruthanne’s leadership and hands-on experience from both the nonprofit and private sectors to help continue the Foundation’s mission” stated John Null, Chairman of the Board. Mefford is the second woman to serve as trustee following only Mamie George, the visionary and co-founder of the Foundation, in this strategic role.

Mefford is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, and was raised in California, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and communications from Stanford University followed by an MBA at the Anderson Gradu­ate School of Business at UCLA. Upon graduation, Mefford worked as the business unit manager for Ocean Spray Cranberries followed by senior marketing roles with the Marriott Corporation where she led the growth of the company’s food and beverage division. In 1994, Mefford relocated to Fort Bend County to lead the marketing and sales strategies for several early-stage private equity backed companies focused on the human capital and information technology industries. She later founded a marketing consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, branding, and consumer research working with many local and national organizations across a broad spectrum of services and products including healthcare, energy, and home goods. In 2009, Mefford became CEO of Child Advocates of Fort Bend.

In addition to her professional experience, Mefford has a long history of service to the community. She currently serves on the board of directors for OakBend Medical Center and the Center for Houston’s Future as well as Chair of the Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has also served as Chair of the board of directors for Greater Houston Healthconnect, Honorary Chair for Boy Scouts of America’s Friends of Scouting Campaign, and Fundraising Chair for the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.

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April Marsters

April Marsters

Christina Simpson

Christina Simpson

FORT BEND ISD ANNOUNCES NEW ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS

The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees has approved April Marsters as assistant principal for Drabek Elementary School and Christina Simpson as assistant principal for Leonetti Elementary School.

Marsters previously served as a teacher at Walker Station Elementary, and before that was a program coordinator and lead teacher at Hodges Bend Middle School. During her tenure with FBISD, she has been an Elemen­tary Rookie of the Year (2007-08) and Teacher of the Year (2012-13).

Marsters has a master’s degree of educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas-Arlington, and a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston-Downtown.

An educator for 17 years, Simpson most recently taught at Commonwealth Elementary where she also served as the fourth-grade team leader. Prior to that, she worked at a Title I campus in Houston ISD. Simpson holds numerous certifications and honors.

She obtained her Master of Education in administration and supervision at the University of Houston-Victoria and a Bach­elor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from the Univer­sity of Houston.

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(L-R): Eric Robins, City of Sugar Land PD and Fort Bend Seniors Board Chairman Ray Aguilar, Classic Chevy Sugar Land.

(L-R): Eric Robins, City of Sugar Land PD and Fort Bend Seniors Board Chairman Ray Aguilar, Classic Chevy Sugar Land.

FORT BEND COUNTY AND CENTRAL FORT BEND CHAMBER HOST FORT BEND SENIORS MEALS ON WHEELS

Fort Bend County and the Central Fort Bend Chamber hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for Fort Bend Seniors (FBS) Meals on Wheels, on March 30. Fort Bend County elected officials, local business owners, community leaders, Central Fort Bend Chamber board mem­­bers and ambassadors joined in celebrating the dedication of the Capital Campaign Building, the Bud Community Center Reno­vation, the New Meals on Wheels Distribution Kitchen and the New Administration Building.

Speakers included Fort Bend County Judge Bob Herbert, Former Commissioner Richard Morrison, Commissioner Precinct One Vincent Morales, FBS Board Chairman Ray Aguilar, FBS Vice Chairman Eric Robins and CEO Manuela Arroyos.

Judge Hebert welcomed guests and spoke on the history of FBS sharing, “Fort Bend Seniors Meals and Fort Bend County began its partnership in 1974 and today we are helping seniors remain independent by enhancing their quality of life.” Former Commis­sioner Morrison added, “This is the home for our seniors and we are thankful that FBS is going to stay here in its home base to continue to offer its services.” Aguilar shared his passion for the vision of the FBS organization along with Robins. Both encouraged attendees to give more to local seniors and patrons and continued to extend a helping hand.

To donate to FBS by visiting fortbendseniors.org or via text message by texting FBFCC to 41444.

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FBISD BOARD APPROVES NEW CHIEF OF SCHOOLS AND OTHER SENIOR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approved several senior leadership positions at its April 17 Board meeting.

Dr. Joe Rodriguez

Dr. Joe Rodriguez

Dr. Joe Rodriguez was named Chief of Schools after serving as Interim Chief for the past several months. Before coming to FBISD as an Assistant Superintendent, Rodriguez served as Administrator for Secondary Education at Harlingen Conso­lidated ISD. Prior to that, he was a principal at Harlingen High School South and Travis Elementary, both in HCISD. He began his career as a grade-school teacher. Dr. Rodriguez earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and his master’s degree in educational administration and his doctorate in educational leadership at Texas A&M Univer­sity-­ Kingsville.

 

 

Stephanie Williams

Stephanie Williams

Stephanie Williams was named Execu­tive Director, Teaching and Learning. Williams has served as FBISD’s Director of Teacher Development for the past two years, and had previously served as the District’s Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics. An educator of 21 years, Williams joined FBISD in 2001 as a geometry teacher at Bush High School, where she served for five years before accepting a position as a math instructional specialist at Travis High School. She obtained her master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University and her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Texas.

 

 

Troy Byrne

Troy Byrne

Troy Byrne was named Executive Director, Transformational Learning. Most recently, Byrne was the Interim Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction at El Paso ISD. Prior to that, he served as a School Improvement Officer for Socorro ISD, as well as a high school principal. Byrne began his career as a science teacher in Ysleta ISD in 1991. He earned his master’s degree in educational administration and bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Texas-El Paso.

 

 

Mary Brewster

Mary Brewster

Mary Brewster was named Executive Director, Assessment and Accountability and has been principal of FBISD’s McAuliffe Middle School for the past three years. Prior to that, Brewster served as an elementary school principal, assistant principal and teacher in Fort Bend ISD. She received her master’s degree in educational administration & supervision from the University of Houston and her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Southern University.

 

 

John Montelongo

John Montelongo

John Montelongo was named Principal of Hightower High School. Montelongo previously served as Assistant Superintendent of School Support Services for Comal ISD, where he also served as Executive Director of Secondary Schools and as a high school principal during his career. Montelongo began his career as a teacher and coach, and then as an assistant principal and principal for several high schools. He was an assistant principal at FBISD’s Bush High School from 2001-2003. He obtained his master’s degree in education administration from Texas Southern University and a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin University.

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Lamar CISD Board President James Steenbergen and Lamar CISD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Randle.

Lamar CISD Board President James Steenbergen and Lamar CISD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Randle.

STATE EDUCATORS GROUP NAMES AWARD IN HONOR OF LAMAR CISD SUPERINTENDENT

After years of demonstrating his passion for learning, his commitment to children and his leadership on the state level, Lamar CISD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Randle will now have an annual statewide award carry his name.

The Texas Alliance of Black School Educators (TABSE) has created the Dr. Thomas Randle Demonstration District Spot­light and Award program. Each year, school districts from across Texas will vie for the award and the chance to be a “Randle Demonstration District” and receive the award at the state’s annual conference.

“TABSE and NABSE (National Alliance of Black School Educators) have recognized Demonstration Schools for years,” said TABSE’s Financial Secretary, Dr. Chris Pichon. “However, 2017 was the first year of the TABSE Demonstration District Spotlight. I shared this idea with TABSE President Michael McFarland, and we collaborated with Dr. Randle to spearhead the first spotlight presentation.”

Lamar CISD and three other school districts were selected to present their success regarding school improvement, student achievement and district innovations.

“As a result of his dedication to TABSE and his continuous success as a district leader, we decided to name the honor after Dr. Randle for all future recipients,” Dr. Pichon said.

Dr. Randle was a founding member of TABSE, which received its charter in 1986.

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Jocelyn Aventurado was named a ProStart National Educator of Excellence.

Jocelyn Aventurado was named a ProStart National Educator of Excellence.

FOSTER CULINARY ARTS TEACHER HONORED AS NATIONAL EDUCATOR OF EXCELLENCE

Foster High School’s Jocelyn Aventurado is a National Restaurant Association Educa­tional Foundation (NRAEF) ProStart National Educator of Excellence.

The state ProStart Coordinator nominated Aventurado, who teaches Culinary Arts at Foster. She was selected by NRAEF “because you demonstrate excellence
in the classroom and passion, commitment and creativity in all components of the ProStart program.”

ProStart brings together the restaurant industry and schools, giving students a platform to discover new interests and talents to open doors for fulfilling careers. It provides a curriculum that includes all facets of the industry and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry.

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TERRY HIGH SCHOOL NAMED 2017 NATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH SCHOOL

Every year, the National Association of Secondary Schools Principal’s (NASSP) Breakthrough Schools program identifies, recognizes and showcases middle level and high schools that serve large numbers of students living in poverty and are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement. Dr. Andree Osagie is the first-year principal at Terry.

As part of the honor, Dr. Osagie will participate in the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders, a premier leadership development program exclusively for NASSP valued at nearly $5,000. Participants are part of a nationwide community of school leaders – sharing ideas and solutions in course forums and building relationships through group projects. Community for Education Foundation, nonprofit publisher of the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Education Program, is a NASSP partner and will cover the cost of participation in the full three-course program, which begins in November 2017 and runs through July 2018.

Osagie will also attend the first-ever National Principals Conference (NPC) will take place July 9-11 in Philadelphia. This is actually a “redesignation” for Terry, which was first a Breakthrough School in 2011.

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FBISD BOARD VP JASON BURDINE APPOINTED TO STATE’S TEXAS SCHOOL SAFETY CENTER BOARD

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Jason Burdine, FBISD board vice president, to the Texas School Safety Center Board (TxSSC) for a two-year term. The ten-member board reports to the governor, the legislature, the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency regarding school safety and security, and advises the center on its function, budget and strategic planning initiatives.

“I am so honored to be appointed to
this board and continuing its mission of ensuring safe and secure schools in our state,” said Burdine. “I look forward to
working with my fellow board members, the governor’s office, and other state leaders on these important issues – and then bringing that insight back to FBISD to benefit our students and community.”

The TxSSC is tasked in Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code and the Gover­nor’s Homeland Security Strategic Plan with key school safety initiatives and mandates. The TxSSC mission is to serve schools and communities to create safe, secure and healthy environments for K-12 schools and junior colleges throughout Texas. In addition, the TxSSC also builds partnerships among youth, adults, schools, law enforcement officers, and community stakeholders to reduce the impact of tobacco through prevention, training and enforcement initiatives.

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Aliana is one of the largest and fastest growing master-planned communities in Fort Bend County.

Aliana is one of the largest and fastest growing master-planned communities in Fort Bend County.

ALIANA MAINTAINS RANKING AMONG TOP-SELLING COMMUNITIES IN U.S.

The Fort Bend master-planned community of Aliana once again maintained its ranking among the nation’s top sellers in 2016, due in large part to the introduction of luxury lifestyle patio homes, courtyard-style homes and highly amenitized garden homes.

Aliana ranked #19 among the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities last year, according to RCLCO, an independent real estate advisory firm. The community also ranked third on the list of Houston’s most active real estate developments in 2016 based on new home starts, as reported by MetroStudy, later published in the Houston Business Journal.

In addition to new lifestyle homes by Trendmaker Homes, Perry Homes and Sitterle Homes, Aliana debuted custom homes on 90-foot homesites by Partners in Building; all four builders also opened new lifestyle model homes in the community. Visit AlianaHouston.com for more information.

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Dr. Thomas Randle displays the inaugural announcement from the Holdsworth Center.

Dr. Thomas Randle displays the inaugural announcement from the Holdsworth Center.

LAMAR CISD SELECTED FOR FIRST COHORT AT STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

The Holdsworth Center, a new leadership institute based in Austin, has announced Lamar CISD is one of the first seven public school districts that will participate in the center’s inaugural cohort beginning in June.

Founded by H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt, the Holdsworth Center has the goal of supporting and developing public school leaders in order to improve the quality of education offered to every child in every classroom in Texas.

“We are so honored to be selected for this inaugural cohort,” said Lamar CISD Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Randle. “We believe this premier leadership institute will offer new strategies to manage the challenges that come with fast growth, while also enhancing the great things already taking place in Lamar CISD.”

The seven districts are: Arlington ISD – Arlington; Grand Prairie ISD – Grand Prairie; Klein ISD – Klein; Lamar CISD – Rosenberg; Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD – Pharr, ; Round Rock ISD – Round Rock; and Southwest ISD – San Antonio.

Thirteen districts were named finalists, including Alief ISD, Austin ISD, Brownsville ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, El Paso ISD, Frenship ISD, Harlingen CISD, Killeen ISD, Lubbock ISD, San Antonio ISD, Spring Branch ISD and Victoria ISD.

The selected districts and finalists demonstrated an existing commitment to human capital and talent development and alignment of vision among the superintendent, key leadership team members and the board of trustees.

“We are excited to begin our first program with a strong group of districts who have dynamic leaders at the helm,” said Kate Rogers, executive vice president of The Holdsworth Center. “Though all seven are doing great work, they’ve identified areas where they can improve and are open to creative solutions. Our staff is eager to help. In the end, the work we will do together benefits students by ensuring that every school has a great leader.”

The intensive five-year program will kick off in June at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort outside of Austin, followed by a trip to Singa­pore in July to learn about the country’s methods for cultivating great leadership in its educational system. The seven superintendents and leadership team members will participate in a two-year program and the first cohort of school leaders will launch in the summer of 2018, with subsequent cohorts launching annually.

Participants at The Holds­worth Center will explore their personal leadership in a setting that promotes reflection, thought and dialogue. Classes and team projects will focus on critical topics such as change management, effective teaming and best practices in talent management.

The Holdsworth Center will operate as a nonprofit organization and Charles Butt has pledged to invest more than $100 million in its creation. The Center is governed by a 17-member board chaired by Dr. Ruth Simmons, former president of Smith College and Brown University. For more information, visit holdsworthcenter.org

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(L-R: Davis Phillip, president and CEO of Phillips Entertainment; Star Gilani, Tourism and Marketing manager for Visit Sugar Land; Joan Henderson, director of Travel Information Division at the Texas Department of Transportation; and Bob Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Improving Your Success.

(L-R: Davis Phillip, president and CEO of Phillips Entertainment; Star Gilani, Tourism and Marketing manager for Visit Sugar Land; Joan Henderson, director of Travel Information Division at the Texas Department of Transportation; and Bob Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Improving Your Success.

SUGAR LAND RECEIVES ‘BEST CITY’ AWARD FOR TOURISM

The Texas Travel Counselors awarded the city of Sugar Land with the “Best City” award, tying with popular tourist destination Galveston in a vote of top cities along the upper coastal region of Texas on April 11 during the Texas Travel Counselors Conference in Amarillo.

Texas Travel Counselors, an organization of industry professionals from the Texas Travel Industry Association and the Texas Department of Transportation, selected Sugar Land and Galveston, after a five-day tour of 12 Texas cities along the upper Gulf Coast.

The tourism and travel professionals made their award choice after action-packed visits to Sugar Land’s historic locations – the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, Constellation Field and a behind-the-scenes tour of Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land. The attendees also enjoyed Sugar Land’s local eateries like Jupiter Pizza & Waffle in Sugar Land Town Square.

For more information, call 281-275-2045 or email toursim@sugarlandtx.gov.

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FBISD Child Nutrition staff members are recognized by the FBISD Board of Trustees and Dr. Charles Dupre.

FBISD Child Nutrition staff members are recognized by the FBISD Board of Trustees and Dr. Charles Dupre.

FBISD’S CHILD NUTRITION DEPARTMENT RECOGNIZED BY TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The FBISD Child Nutrition Department was recently honored with the Best of the Bunch Award by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). The department was recognized for its achievement in Commissioner Sid Miller’s 2016 Local Products Challenge, for successfully incorporating local ingredients from Texas in at least three meal components. Only 77 participating districts earned the distinction in 2016.

Child Nutrition was recognized specifically for its “Harvest of the Month” program, which focuses on educating the District’s elementary students about local vegetables and fruit. What began as a simple newsletter has now blossomed into a monthly celebration of a particular food item, including games, quizzes and trading cards. Staff also include recipe suggestions for students and parents to create together at home.

The Farm to School Initiatives, which is part of the Local Products Challenge, includes several ways for school districts to implement the commissioner’s push to include more local ingredients, among them gardening on school campuses and taking field trips to local farms, ranches and farmer’s markets.

“Teaching children about healthy lifestyles and the importance of agriculture by introducing them to nutritious, Texas-grown foods is a top priority at TDA,” Commissioner Miller said.

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(L-R): FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute Deputy Superintendent Paul Butki congratulates Nathan Green, UH Sugar Land Fire Marshal.

(L-R): FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute Deputy Superintendent Paul Butki congratulates Nathan Green, UH Sugar Land Fire Marshal.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGE­MENT INSTITUTE GRADUATES UH SUGAR LAND FIRE MARSHAL

Nathan Green, University of Houston at Sugar Land Fire Marshal, graduated from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Emergency Management Advanced Academy at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, MD. A ceremony was held in April after he and 45 colleagues from around the country completed the curriculum providing the strategic-level training and education and the essential skills needed for emergency management professionals to manage dynamic and resilient emergency management programs. Green completed the four one-week resident courses in the Advanced Academy. A law enforcement veteran for more than 30 years, Green has been the UH Sugar Land Fire Marshal for three years.


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