By Hillary S. Meeks

Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen Independent School District Superintendent Jim Hawkins said the first part of the board's meeting Tuesday night was dedicated to "a time of celebration."

People spilled out of the board room's doors as they waited for seven new principals to be introduced, and for several grant checks to be awarded to various schools for achievements.

Before the board meeting, the district threw a reception for the seven principals, which include: Traci Smith, Saegert Elementary School, Killeen; Diana Miller, Skipcha Elementary School, Harker Heights; Marie Davis, Duncan Elementary School, Fort Hood; Linda Olson, Willow Springs Elementary, Killeen; Ron Gray, Shoemaker High School, Killeen; Susan Buckley, Clifton Park Elementary School; and Robin Champagne, Union Grove Middle School, Harker Heights.

Four of the seven are new to principal positions; Ron Gray, Diana Miller and Traci Smith moved from other principal posts in the district.

Olson took on the Talented and Gifted pilot program at Willow Springs when she left her post as assistant principal at Reeces Creek Elementary School.

"It's a big change and a different job, but I can't tell you how much I appreciate Dr. Hawkins and KISD for providing this opportunity for me," Olson said.

Duncan Elementary's new leader, Davis, said she felt prepared for this position due to those who led her.

"I was trained by some of the finest principals KISD has, and I need to give them a big thank you," she said.

While Buckley, Clifton Park's principal, has spent some time teaching, most of her time in the district has been in administrative positions, priming her for this move.

"After so many years in administration, you kind of grow into that position," she said.

Champagne, Union Grove's principal, cites her experience with Dr. Susan Holley, assistant superintendent for education services, as guiding her toward becoming a principal.

"This is my 20th year in the district, and I have always wanted to lead a campus," she said.

After the principals were introduced at the meeting, several checks were handed out by board President Brenda Coley and by Hawkins.

The first checks were given to schools with "Recognized" and "Exemplary" ratings for their TAKS scores.

Three elementary schools met "Exemplary" ratings, and were each given $3,000. Those were: Cedar Village Elementary School, Nolanville Elementary School and Venable Village Elementary School.

Eighteen elementary schools were given a "Recognized" rating, and received a $2,000 check. Those schools were: Bellaire Elementary School, Brookhaven Elementary School, Clarke Elementary School, Clifton Park Elementary School, Duncan Elementary School, Fowler Elementary School, Hay Branch Elementary School, Haynes Elementary School, Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary School, Meadows Elementary School, Iduma Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School, Peebles Elementary School, Pershing Park Elementary School, Reeces Creek Elementary School, Timber Ridge Elementary School, West Ward Elementary School and Willow Springs Elementary School.

Liberty Hill Middle School was given $2,200 for its "Recognized" rating.

Checks in the amount of $80,000 were given to Killeen High School, Harker Heights High School and Shoemaker High School for the Texas High School Completion and Success Grant Program. Pathways Learning Center was given $30,000 for the same program, which seeks to positively impact student performance.

Awards were given to four high schools in support of the Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Program. The schools and the amounts awarded were: Ellison High School, $8,424; Harker Heights High School, $12,182.40; Killeen High School, $8,812.80; and Shoemaker High School, $10,108.80.

Two schools were given certificates for grants from the Governor's Educator Excellence Award, which is given based on the percentage of economically disadvantaged students and high levels of achievement.

Clear Creek Elementary School, which is at a 74 percent economic disadvantage, was given $120,000. West Ward Elementary School, which is at a 79 percent economic disadvantage, was given $90,000.

Contact Hillary S. Meeks at

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