By SHELLY WILKISON
Seemingly energized and enthusiastic about the start of a new school year, hundreds of school district employees returned to work Tuesday marking the official end of summer vacation in Liberty Hill.
The majority of the district’s 435 employees met in Liberty Hill High School’s Auditorium Tuesday morning where they learned that more than 300 newly-enrolled students would be starting school next Tuesday.
“We have spent a lot of time this summer registering lots and lots and lots of new students,” said Superintendent Rob Hart. “We expect record growth this year, which means we also have record growth of new employees — it’s the largest group (of new hires) ever.”
Employees also learned they will receive a 1.5 percent pay increase in fiscal 2014, which means an average increase of $900 for the year.
The pay raise was part of a $32 million budget adopted by school trustees Monday. Hart said the increase will allow the school district to stay competitive with other districts when it comes to attracting the best employees.
Hart said during the summer, 506 new students registered to attend Liberty Hill schools. Subtracting the 200 who graduated in June, leaves a net of about 300 students. On the high school campus, more than 1,000 students are expected to start school Tuesday. In the past three years, the district’s enrollment has increased by 9.9 percent, he said.
Principals from each campus offered welcoming, encouraging remarks and introduced their new staff members.
“You build the perceptions the community has of our schools,” said Bill Burden Elementary Principal Terrie Chambers. “You open the windows and that’s what the community sees. We’ve got this!”
“I know the person is the right fit (for a position) when something about them shines out,” said Intermediate Principal Kathy Major. Specifically, she noted the background of one new employee, Eric Murphy, who served in the National Guard. She thanked him and other military veterans for their service, adding that the freedoms they fought for helped create the opportunity for her to serve as a school principal.
LHHS Principal Bobby Mabry recalled the graduation night address by 2014 Salutatorian Shea Rozmiarek who thanked everyone in the school district for the impact they had on his life.
“What you do is always noticed,” Mabry said.
Elementary Principal Jan Tredemeyer said, “the future begins here (LH Elementary School).” She said staff there are laying the foundation for future educational success.
“Energy is high and expectations are high,” Hart said. “And ready or not, here they (students) come.”
Each campus will host “Meet the Teacher” events beginning today.
Liberty Hill Elementary will host the event from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday.
At Bill Burden Elementary, fourth graders will meet teachers today, Thursday. Third graders will meet teachers on Friday and second graders on Monday. The events will be from 5-7 p.m. for each grade level.
At Liberty Hill Intermediate School, the event will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday.
At Liberty Hill Junior High, students may meet their teachers from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday.