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Southlake Style

Q&A: Leading the Dragons

Jul 30, 2015 03:29PM ● By Dia

Dr. David Faltys is approaching his 10th anniversary as CISD Superintendent, and one thing is certain: He loves what he does. We sat down with him to discuss achievements, initiatives, and what to look forward to in the upcoming school year.

Tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to get into education? 

I was one of those kids who loved going to school. I enjoyed being around teachers and other students. I originally went to college to be a petroleum engineer. At that time, the oil business was really going down. I met with advisors who asked what else I would like to do. I thought, ‘I could be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, or I could teach hundreds of these.’ I had a moment of clarity when I realized that’s what I need to be doing: educating kids.

How would you describe your educational philosophy?

I want to flip the switch on every kid. Education, to me, is preparing kids for the future, and it’s really whatever future they dream of. We’re all on a mission to make sure every child has every tool they need to do whatever they want. We want to help every kid find what it is they want to do and be a contributing part of society.

What are you most proud of from your time as superintendent?

That’s a tough one. In Carroll, it’s just everything. Graduation. Lone Star Cups. Our kids’ accomplishments. Every year at graduation we announce how many hours of service those kids have, and this year, they donated about 57,000 hours of community service. I’m really proud of all our kids. Not just our state champions, but all our kids who give their best day in and day out.

The Dragons have won four consecutive UIL Lone Star Cups. What’s the secret to this sustained success?

A focus on excellence has helped us win. I feel like our staff, kids, and community have done a great job of focusing on not really the goal of achieving the Lone Star Cup, but at bein excellent at whatever we do. All of our kids pull together, whether they get the accolades or not. We want everybody to do their best. If everybody does their best, the sky’s the limit.

The online school/community engagement process, ThoughtExchange, launched in May. Has it been successful so far?

Yes, it has been successful. We’ve learned it’s a highly participatory process. We’ve had about a 70-percent participation rate. There were about 9,000 ideas generated and 129,000 stars. It’ll be fascinating to see what bubbles up to the top. I think it’ll be traffic, sidewalks, personality/ communication issues. It could be safety. I think it’s going to fit in nicely with our strategic plan.

The district is about to launch its first-ever publication, Inside Carroll. What are your goals with this publication?

We want to be first-class. We’re really excited about having something tangible. We do so much electronically now, but there are people who would rather have something to lay their hands on. We’re seeing this as a coffee table book. It’ll tell our story, what we’re about, and what we’re trying to do. We’re excited about getting into people’s homes long term.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing educators and administrators today? How are you working to overcome this challenge?

From my perspective looking in, it’s meeting the needs of every child. It’s having educators feel like they’re making a difference. We want people who truly have a passion for educating kids to be rewarded with the feeling that they’re making an impact. This is affected by class sizes and schedules. From the district level, it’s making sure we’re being wise with taxpayer dollars and making sure we’re balancing the budget. Our primary goal is making sure each kid reaches whatever level of academic success he or she envisions.

Our cover story tackles the issue of whether or not kids are too busy. What’s your take on this topic?

Looking at my kids, I’d say yes, kids are too busy. Let me preface with this: It’s our choice. I worry about our kids having down time. That being said, I don’t think it’s our teachers. I think it’s society. I think it’s me as a dad. This business of being too busy, I think we are. I don’t know how to fix it. Are we giving too much homework? Maybe. Are kids too engaged in extracurricular activities? Maybe. Do we see sports injuries because kids go from football to lacrosse to PC all in the same day? Yes, absolutely. But how do you stop it?

What are some key initiatives to look forward to in the upcoming school year?

We’re really excited about the strategic plan. I’m excited about the ThoughtExchange results. Beyond that, we want to make sure our kids are healthy, happy, and successful every day. It’s about making sure all kids are working toward a positive result. One of our goals is to make sure that kids in CISD, before they leave their parents’ homes, know they’re rock stars here. We want to make sure our kids feel successful on the inside.