Neighbors packed the cafeteria at James W. Fannin Elementary last month for a PTA meeting honoring Dallas school board member Kathleen Leos.

Leos received the community leadership award from Altrusa International Inc. for service to Fannin, 4800 Ross. The award is given to one recipient selected world-wide from Altrusa chapters.

Leos cried as she thanked Fannin parents and faculty in both English and Spanish for their support.

“I don’t get to cry at the school board because they’ll kick me out, but I do get to cry in my elementary school where my children attend,” Leos said during her acceptance speech.

“Thank you. This is my home.”

Altrusa is a women’s community service group that was founded when Rotary clubs only admitted men. The Dallas chapter, which nominated Leos for the award, has adopted Fannin for its service projects.

Leos, a single mother with five children, was Fannin’s PTA president from 1991-95. Last May, she was elected to the Dallas Board of Education.

As PTA President, Leos spearheaded the effort to build the John F. Kennedy learning center at Ross and Henderson. The center will teach grades four through six and is scheduled to open this fall.

A learning center is a school with enrichment programs, before- and after-school care, longer school days and master’s level teachers, Leos says. The Kennedy learning center will have computer rooms and band and choir programs, she says.

The Learning center will end 17 years of busing in the Fannin area, Leos says. Since Fannin only teaches pre-school through third grade, students currently are bused outside their neighborhood for upper grade levels. The busing will stop next year, Leos says.

Leos received $500 from Altrusa for the charity of her choice and has donated the money to the new learning center to help start the school’s PTA.

“She’s very persistent,” says neighborhood parent Sharon Kristensen, Fannin’s cureent PTA president. “She keeps going and doesn’t stop.

“She’s meant a whole lot for the Hispanic community, for education and for the children.”

Kress Decides to Step Down from School Board

Dallas School Board President Sandy Kress announced recently that he will not seek re-election this spring.

It’s time for him to focus on his family and law career, he says.

“It’s really no surprise to my family and my close friends,” Kress says. “I want to spend a lot more time with my baby.”

Kress, 46, lives in our neighborhood with wife Camille and 19-month-old son Caleb. He was elected to the Dallas Board of Education in 1992 to represent District 2 and became president in 1994. His current term expires in May.

“I think I’ve done most of what I’ve come here to do,” Kress says. “It’s time to hand the torch to someone else.”

Kress first became involved with the school district 1990, when the school board asked him to head its Commission for Educational Excellence.

The commission advocated more accountability in the school district, less bureaucracy and the return of power to teachers and parents. Kress says he ran for the school board to help implement these changes.

Several racial controversies arose in the district during Kress’ leadership, but he says that isn’t why he’s leaving.

“Whoever runs for District 2 or for the presidency needs to understand that it’s a tough job,” Kress says. “It requires a fair amount of time and energy. You almost have to see it as a mission.

“I hope whoever it is will be dedicated to high standards and accountability. I think it’s what the citizens expect and the youngsters require.”

Kress says he will write a book about ethics and has no plans to run for political office. He will stay involved in education reform as a citizen, he says.

“I would have given this district an “F” back in the 70s,” Kress says. “I’m a very tough grader. Now I’d give it a ‘C+’.

“There isn’t any reason why we can’t be a ‘B’ or ‘B+’ in the next two to three years. I think we can be the best big school district in the country by the year 2,000 if we keep on the path were going.”

Annual Woodrow Musical Set Feb. 29 – March 3

Woodrow Wilson High School presents its 39th musical extravaganza Feb. 29-March 3. The show is “High Button Shoes”, a nostalgic, comedic look back at 1913, a time of Model T cars, get-rich quick schemes, the tango, bathing beauties and bird-watching clubs.

Directing the show is teacher MarcaLee Bircher, and teacher Patricia Hardman is choreographer. The cast includes Knox Peden as Harrison Floy, Ward Richmond as Mr. Pontdue, Molly Symns as Miss Polly Truehart, Xandy Smith as Mr. Flynn, John Pedigo as Mr. Sloan, Calvin Roberts as Willie Malone, Maclain Looper as Papa Longstreet, Kelly Theriot as Mama Longstreet, Noelle Gaspard as Amy Longstreet, Renee Smith as Fran, Kara Pendergrass as Irene, Zach Redington as Oggle, Nhaila Hendrickse as Nancy, Emily Hergenrader as Shirley Simpkins, Adam Dunsworth as Junior Simpkins and Fox Holt as Mr. Anderson.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday nights in Woodrow’s auditorium, 100 S. Glasgow. On Sunday, the show starts at 2 p.m. Reserved tickets cost $7 in advance and $7.50 at the door. General admission tickets cost $6 in advance and $6.50 at the door. Call Chris Clore at 823-8663 or Marian Richmond at 321-7586 for tickets.

News & Notes:

RUNOFF ELECTION FOR PEAVY’S SEAT: Homemaker Donna Wigley, who is former president of the Dallas Area Council of PTAs, and college professor Lois Parrott will face each other in a Feb. 10 runoff election for Dan Peavy’s Distsrict 3 school board seat, which represents far East Dallas. Wigley and Parrott received the most votes of the seven candidates in last month’s election. Call 989-8030 for election information concerning the runoff.

STONEWALL LEADS TECHNOLOGICAL WAVE: Stonewall Jackson Elementary is among six Dallas public schools chosen to participate in a joint project with the school district and IBM. Teachers from the selected schools will help design an integrated, technology-based curriculum in math and science for grades 4-8, utilizing computers as a teaching tool. IBM has pledged $2 million to the school district as part of its Reinventing Education grant program, and the school district has agreed to mandate that high school students take four years of math and science courses. IBM has agreed to provide a team of experts for technical services and to help train teachers.

MAGNET SCHOOLS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: Applications are now being accepted by Dallas public schools from students who wish to attend magnet or Montessori programs. To be considered during the first round selection process, students must turn in applications by Feb. 9 for the Talented and Gifted Magnet and the Arts Magnet at Booker T. Washington High School and by March 1 for all other programs. The last day to apply is May 1. Because of space limitations, not all qualified students may be admitted to the school of their choice. Transportation is available for children who are admitted. Applications and information about school programs are available through school counselors or by calling 841-5366.

ADVICE FOR PARENTS: Carolyn Henebry, the review editor for the quarterly journal Reviews from Parent Council, will discuss how to choose educational materials for children – including books, computer software and videos – Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at The Enchanted Forest book store, 6333 E. Mockingbird. Call 827-2234 for information.

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS: Woodrow Wilson High School, 100 S. Glasgow, hosts a Parent Resource Fair Feb. 22 from 7-9 p.m. Agencies from throughout Dallas will organize information booths covering a variety of social issues affecting families. Speakers and panel discussions about alcohol and drug abuse, gangs, and at-risk children are scheduled. The event is free. Call Richard Franco at 821-4304 for information.

LAKEWOOD ON TOUR: Lakewood Elementary’s PTA hosts a kindergarten round-up Feb. 29 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the school, 3000 Hillbrook, for parents of children who will turn 5 years old by Sept. 1, 1996. The event’s theme is “Let’s Safari – Explore Your School”. Parents will receive registration packets, tour the school and meet Lakewood’s principal, faculty, students and other parents. Call Marybeth Shapiro at 821-8620 or the school at 841-5250 for information.

HOW TO CHOOSE A PRESCHOOL: Stonewall Jackson Elementary’s Early Childhood PTA hosts “A Panel Discussion of Area Preschools” Feb. 8 at 7:15 p.m. in Stonewall’s library, 5828 E. Mockingbird. Several directors of neighborhood preschools will provide information about choosing a school for your child. Child care is available by calling Martha Godat at 828-4504.

PTA FIELD TRIPS: Stonewall Jackson Elementary’s Early Childhood PTA is taking two field trips this month. On Feb. 6, the PTA will visit Hillside Veterinary Clinic, 6150 E. Mockingbird, at 3:30 p.m. Children will learn what happens when their pets go to the doctor. On Feb. 22, the PTA will tour Civello’s Raviolismo, a ravioli factory at 1318 N. Peak. The children will make heart-shaped ravioli. Reservations are required for the ravioli factory tour. Call Debbie Clark at 823-2554 for information.

WOODROW’S DEBATE TEAM FAIRING WELL: Woodrow Wilson High School’s speech and debate team, which is now three years old, is holding its own competition. Soledad Gonzales placed third in a recent UIL competition against the experienced teams of Highland Park and Houston Bellaire. Gonzales competed in prose performance. Woodrow’s cross examination debate team of Jeremy Liebman and Kinome Proctor won two of three debates. In Lincoln Douglas debate, which is one-on-one, Mario Mims and Javier Vegas each scored the maximum number of points for their presentations. Each of these students has earned enough points to receive the National Forensics League’s seal, the only seal other than the one for the National Honor Society that may be added to a graduation diploma. Debbie Nicholas is the team’s sponsor.

ZARAGOZA’S KEYBOARDERS RANKED EXCELLENT: A group of students from Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary received an excellent rating from judges in the Brook Mays Music Company’s Keyboard Orchestra Festival. The students are Thu Thy Thi Dinh, Maria Diaz and Jeanette Briscoe. Their piano teacher is Tobizena Brown Williams, who initiated Zaragoza’s piano program in 1990. Zaragoza was the only Dallas public school represented in the contest.

STUDENTS EXERCISE ARTISTIC TALENT: Five neighborhood residents who attend the Arts Magnet at Booker T. Washington High School recently were chosen to participate in an SMU art workshop sponsored by Spring Business. They were Kathleen Barron, Jens Larsen, Lauren Wood, Scott Schenk and Johnny Rutledge. These students and nine others from Washington were selected by their teachers as the most artistically gifted in their classes. They were taught how to make monoprints by artist and SMU alumnus Dan Rizzie. Monoprints are made by transferring an image on steel, stone or Plexiglas to a paper surface using pressure from a print machine.

PTA FOUNDER’S DAY BRUNCH: The Lakewood Early Childhood PTA holds its founder’s day brunch Feb. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at Northridge Presbyterian Church, 6920 Bob-o-link. Neighborhood resident Patrick Butterworth speaks about “Childish Memories of an English Gardener”. Call Gayle McVay at 823-4729 for information.

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