Vroonland looks back at Year One

Just over one year ago, Superintendent David Vroonland assumed the top spot in the Frenship Independent School District.

A year into the job, he said he and his family are thrilled to be in Frenship.

“Honestly, this has been a wonderful year, at least for me,” said Vroonland. “For me and my family, the move has been as good as could possibly be.”

While he said a year ago that he hopes Frenship is the district he will ultimately retire from, he said nothing has changed in that ambition. But he stressed that he will only head the Frenship district as long as the school board desires it.

“I have a really good relationship with the school board,” he said. “A school board and a superintendent relationship is really important. It kind of sets the tenor.

“I think when you have that, yeah, you want to stay.”

Vroonland said he believes he has a great relationship with the board and with the staff in the Frenship district.

His biggest surprise during the year was how openly he was accepted in the district and in nearby communities.

That was a pleasant surprise, he said. There were a few less pleasant events during the year, he said, including the murder-suicide of a Frenship mother and daughter.

“That was terribly sad,” he said, adding that it hurts just to talk about it. “It was a tragedy.”

When Vroonland started the job, he had a list of projects the district wanted him to start, including instituting effectiveness reporting for the board, creating a graduate profile to describe qualities and knowledge of Frenship gradutes, begin the process of developing a strategic plan, reorganise the administrative structure, develop a long-range construction plan and move the school bond projects along.

Vroonland said each of the items the board assigned him upon his start now have a checkmark beside them — although he said many of the items will continue to be works in progress.

“We did them all, and like I say, we’ve added some” projects to the list, he said. “All of the things I wanted to accomplish, I did.”

While the district completed many bond projects this year, he said some projects, like the fine arts facility, are not quite under construction. Another project, a new middle school located at 66th and Milwaukee, will open next year, and the district is planning for new elementary schools in 2013 and 2015.
“Managing growth will be a continual issue,” said Vroonland.

Managing expectations is another of Vroonland’s duties. He said he wants to stress that the district has high expectations of its students.

In just one year, the district, already recognized, has increased TAKS scores by large margins. Vroonland said he wants the Frenship staff to continue to challenge students to meet ever-higher expectations.

Role of the chief
This was Vroonland’s first year as the chief administrator of a district. He came to Frenship ISD from Allen Independent School District, where he was an assistant superintendent.

The role of an assistant superintendent, Vroonland said, is to look at problems at the micro-level, while a superintendent must set goals and visions, but also to make sure the other employees are meeting the goals.

“It’s a big picture role,” he said.

Being a superintendent is a good fit for him, Vroonland said, but he said he could not do it without the support of the community, board and Frenship staff.
“I have enjoyed working in a good community,” he said.

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