Tyler ISD trustees have selected a new principal for Hogg Middle School to replace its former leader, who is returning to Tyler Legacy High School.
Justin Simmons, an assistant principal at Tyler High School, was named the new principal at Hogg Middle School on Monday during the school board meeting. Simmons is also Tyler ISD alumnus and he has served in administrative roles at Tyler High School since 2017.
Simmons’ appointment comes after Dr. Kristen Walls was named principal of Tyler Legacy High School on July 15 to replace the opening left by former Principal Dan Crawford.
“We’re excited about the opportunity Mr. Simmons has to lead Hogg Middle School,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “He’s a rising star within the administrative ranks. As a Tyler ISD graduate, you can’t discount his affection for Tyler ISD schools and his passion for seeing our students succeed just as he has.”
Before becoming an administrator, Simmons was a social studies teacher and coach at Tyler ISD’s Boulter Middle School and the former Stewart Middle School, which closed after 50 years.
“I am ecstatic for the opportunity to serve and lead after such a great administrator as Dr. Walls,” Simmons said. “I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of students, faculty, and staff so the continued student successes can manifest at Hogg Middle school. To the students of Hogg Nation, I will be overly dedicated to providing the same rich educational experience that I received while being a Tyler ISD student. I am at the edge of my seat with excitement and can’t wait to meet you all! #TusksUp.”
According to Tyler ISD, Hogg Middle has achieved gains in academic performance under Walls’ and her predecessor Sherri Barberee-Taylor’s leadership.
“Hogg Middle School campus had a solid finish during the 2020-2021 year that challenged all Texas schools,” Crawford said. “With the current faculty and staff, along with systems instituted previously by principals Mrs. Taylor and Dr. Walls, Mr. Simmons will inherit a campus ready to win right off the bat.”
Other discussions and actions
Also at the board meeting, trustees received a report from Gary Brown, Tyler ISD executive director of college and career, regarding career and technology certifications that high school students earn.
Brown said a goal is to increase the percentage of graduates who obtain at least one Texas Education Agency-approved industry-based certification from 19.9% to 29.4% by June 2026.
For the class of 2020, data from the Texas Academic Performance Report show that 26.1% of Tyler ISD high school graduates earned a TEA-recognized industry-based CTE certification.
Brown said for the 2020-21 school year, 819 Tyler students earned at least one of these CTE certifications.
Trustees approved partnerships with Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas College in Tyler, Fort Hays State University in Kansas and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches for college students to complete their field teaching with a Tyler ISD teacher as their mentor.
The board also approved an agreement with Next Step Community Solutions, a Smith County-based nonprofit that provides mental, behavioral and emotional health counseling to students, to offer 3,456 hours of counseling per week among the district’s secondary campuses for the 2021-22 school year.