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Todd Kettler, Director of Advanced Academics, to join UNT faculty in Fall 2012.

April 26, 2012

Todd Kettler, the Director of Advanced Academics, is leaving CISD to follow his career goal as a research professor in gifted education at the conclusion of this school year.  He will be joining the University of North Texas faculty in the department of educational psychology as an expert in gifted education.  UNT currently offers a master’s degree in gifted education and is adding a new doctoral level specialization in gifted education within the Educational Research PhD program.  Kettler is currently completing his dissertation on Critical Thinking and its Relationship to Cognitive Ability, which will conclude a 10 year process to attain his PhD in Educational Psychology.

“I am very excited to accept the appointment to the educational psychology faculty at the University of North Texas.  The position is a research and teaching position in the area of gifted education.  Conducting research on how to best develop the talents of gifted students and sharing those results with national and international audiences will allow me a great opportunity to have an impact on the educational opportunities of gifted students here in Coppell and well beyond.” – Todd Kettler

In the seven years he has been in CISD, Kettler has improved advanced course offerings and developed a more rigorous GT program.  He believes that education should not be one size fits all, but should instead be based on individual ability, interest, and commitment.  The many choices currently available to CISD students at the secondary level are a result of his dedication to gifted and advanced learners and his collaboration with teachers, administrators, and parents.

When Kettler first joined the district, only GT English was available at CHS.  Gifted students can now select from GT courses in math, science, and social studies as well as GT language arts courses.  Kettler was instrumental in the creation of the IB Diploma Programme at CHS and an increase in AP course offerings.  He expanded the dual credit program from the original eight classes, which served only about 40 students, to the almost 90 courses for the 550 students who are enrolled currently.  Many school districts are offering dual credit, but “we’re doing it the right way” according to Kettler by offering classes on a college campus, with college level-instruction, for college credit.  Additionally, he has encouraged the piloting of virtual classes, in which there is an online and classroom component, to address the needs of students who have logistical difficulties in attending traditional courses, either because of academic advancement or extra-curricular commitments.  Kettler’s approach to education as a personalized, rigorous endeavor has resulted in an attitude of “how can we do the right thing for this student” instead of an acceptance in the status quo.

Todd Kettler has left his mark on CISD and is proud of all of the improvements that have occurred.  “The Middle School GT program is my proudest accomplishment,” he said after some reflection.  Kettler took “a program that was very small and not focused on academic rigor,” and created a middle school program that is admired by educators throughout the state.  Since its creation in 2010, the GT program at the middle school level offers GT classes in all four core subjects, an increase in rigor, and better student preparation for high school level courses.

There has been enormous growth in CISD  advanced education in the past seven years, yet Kettler acknowledges that there is still room for improvement at both the secondary and elementary levels.

“Education is a process. It’s a process of constant evaluation, innovation, and improvement.  Our gifted and advanced academic programs in Coppell ISD are good programs.  We provide some outstanding options for our students, but there is always room to improve.  The commitment to excellence requires rigorous program evaluation and a willingness to look beyond the horizon so that tomorrow we will always be better than we are today.” – Todd Kettler

The position for Director of Advanced Academics will be formally posted within the next few weeks.  “This position is very important to the district,” confirms Marilyn Denison, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.  Dr. Turner, Dr. Denison and a committee will work diligently to find the best candidate to fill the position.  The minimal requirement for the position is a Master’s Degree.  In evaluating applicants, they will ensure that all of Kettler’s current responsibilities are covered and that the new director shares the overall vision of the district and brings expertise and focus to gifted and advanced academics.

“We do not anticipate any changes in next year’s GT program” Dr. Denison emphasizes, but there is still work to be done by the new director to bring about improvements.  The new Director of Advanced Academics will help form a vision that will incorporate the exemplary standards from the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students, according to Dr. Denison.  Additionally, over the next few years, each of the curriculum directors will embark on the process of strategic planning, including GT.

We will keep you posted as more information becomes available about the new director.  In the meantime, please join us in thanking Todd Kettler for his commitment to serving the needs of gifted and advanced students.  We wish him the best of luck.

Are your curious about what the GT program looks like in CISD at all levels?

Don’t miss Todd Kettler’s Discussion:

The Big Picture of CISD GT Education K-12

May 3, 2012

7pm

CHS Lecture Hall

FREE

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