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School Improvement Center established at SWT

Date of release: 10/24/01

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS A new center created to boost K-12 student performance and mentor low-performing schools nationwide begins its work this fall at Southwest Texas State University.

The National Center for School Improvement (NCSI) is a partnership of SWT, George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and San Francisco State University. The federally funded initiative will build networks of public schools, universities and businesses to generate and disseminate ideas for helping public education.

The center will gather the “best practices”— what is working at successful schools — and share them with other schools. It will put together rapid-response teams to intervene with low-performing schools and coach them. The NCSI will also work at increasing the quality of teacher preparation and supporting novice teachers so that they remain in the profession.

Mary Bull, a prominent Central Texas educator, will head the center.

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Central Texas Rep. Ron Paul spearheaded the legislation that created the center, obtaining the $850,000 for its first year of operation and requesting $8 million over the next four years.

“I am pleased to support this initiation, which helps the business and education communities share ideas and efforts,” said Hutchison. “By investing in better teacher training today we are helping to ensure that tomorrow’s workers are prepared for the global economy.”

Paul echoed her comments: “I congratulate Southwest Texas and the other consortium members on their commitment to teacher training as evidenced by the work they are doing with the National Center for School Improvement. Better trained and better paid educators are a key component of improving education, and I’m honored to have played a small role in assisting this effort.”

Bull, who earned her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, has served public education as a teacher, principal and most recently as assistant superintendent at Round Rock ISD. Her areas of expertise include human resources, organizational development, vertical team supervision, support services, accountability, research, grant development and quality implementation.

According to Bull, “Creating an improvement model that fuses the interests of public schools, universities and business partners into a seamless powerful shared vision is a key first step in transforming the nation’s schools.”

For further information on the NCSI, contact Bull at 512-245-8034 or e-mail her at mb49@swt.edu.