Campuses across the Killeen Independent School District opened their doors and welcomed back students Monday for the first day of the 2013-2014 school year.

“We really had a great start,” said Robert Muller, the district’s superintendent. “Things went very smoothly. There were a lot of happy faces out there today.”

Tens of thousands of students showed up for classes at the district’s 52 campuses for the first day of school. This year, the district has projected a peak enrollment of nearly 42,000 students.

This year, Muller said the district would continue to focus on creating a supportive learning environment for students while moving forward with a number of construction projects to accommodate its growing enrollment.

“The conditions are just right for student learning,” said Muller.

One student returning to school Monday was 9-year-old Kayla Banks.

“I was a little nervous at first, but we did some fun stuff and I am happy,” said Kayla, a fourth-grade student at Trimmier Elementary. “My favorite part of the first day of school was show and tell, and recess.”

Kayla is one of 856 students who attended school at Trimmier on Monday. The school’s principal, Penny Batts, said her campus’ first day was busy but well organized.

“It’s going very smoothly,” Batts said. “The staff and the students are all very excited to be back.”

The students at Trimmier weren’t the only ones ready to return to their classes. Killeen High School senior Tatiana Young said she was ready to begin what will be the last year of her high school career.

“I’m excited to come back, and I’m ready for another year of adventures,” said Young, who is a member of the student council and a cross-country runner. “I really think it’s going to be a really great year.”

While Young enters her final year of high school, 14-year-old Brendon Maldonado is just starting his. Brendon said he planned to focus on academic achievement during his freshman year at KHS.

“I really want to try and pass with a GPA that’s above average,” he said.

Brendon, and the rest of the school’s 700 freshmen, weren’t the only new faces at KHS this year. The school also has a new principal, former KISD director of secondary curriculum and professional development Susan Buckley.

“I want to create a positive environment for everyone,” said Buckley, who replaced longtime KHS principal Mike Sibberson. “We want to build relationships with our students, and work together as a team. I want us to feel like a family.”

Like others, Buckley said the first day of classes at her campus was running smoothly. She credited the school’s teachers and staff with helping to start the new school year on the right track.

“They are eager and ready to work,” said Buckley. “They are doing an excellent job, and I really look forward to working with them.”

One of those teachers was Mark Shifflett, who teaches geometry and pre-calculus at KHS. He spent the first day getting to know his new students and setting expectations.

“I try to show up with a smile everyday,” said Shifflett, now in his third year teaching at the school. “You want to be that first smile that they see when they come into class.”

The academic year for Killeen Independent School District students will run through June 5, according to the district’s official calendar.


Local Killeen Independent School District students share their goals for the year and advice on how to have a successful 2013-2014 school year:

DeAngelo Thompson Jr., senior, Killeen High School

  • 2013-2014 goal: “I want to make sure that everyone has a great time. I want to make sure it feels like a family (at KHS).”
  • Advice: “Make a friend. Find a person that will stick with you and help you out. If you can find a good friend, they will stay with you through all four years of high school.”

Searcy Petyon, junior, Killeen High School

  • 2013-2014 goal: “It want to raise my GPA.”
  • Advice: “Have fun, and make friends. Find people who like the same things you do. Also, walk fast in the hallways.”

Teresa Edwards, fourth grade, Trimmier Elementary School

  • 2013-2014 Goal: “To do good work in class.”
  • Advice: “Never say ‘I can’t do this’. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know something. Make sure that you always try your hardest.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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