For an informative perspective on how Red Oak ISD operates from finances to the backbone of curriculum, parents, community members and business owners can sign up for the first-ever Community Partner Academy.

After Karen Anderson, ROISD Executive Director of the Education Foundation, attended the Texas State Public Relations Association conference over the summer, she heard about a similar program. Immediately she texted Red Oak ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Goddard about the academy, and he jumped right on board.

“The Community Partner Academy is a great opportunity for us to connect deeper with our parents, pastors, business leaders, and community members,” Goddard explained. “This is a tremendous chance to allow us to share about every aspect of public education with the primary goal of creating community ambassadors for Red Oak ISD.”

The program Anderson was inspired by was the Community Leadership Academy ran through Humble ISD, a district located about an hour north of Houston. Jerri Monbaron, Director of Community Development, leads the program and said this is the third year for the program that has had about 30 participants each year. Monbaron also elaborated that the impact is beneficial to the community and the district.

“Both from the viewpoint of the community and the district, we have people who are confident in their understanding of how a school district works. So, they are empowered to get engaged," Monbaron elaborated.

In the past two years, Monbaron observed that the academy graduates participated in various committees with confidence.

The ROISD version of the academy is practically identical to the program practiced at HISD.

Anderson explained the program is a great way to understand the ins and outs of the district and would provide insight for those who may want to run as a trustee or wish to join a committee. On the flip side, it is also a way for the district to develop relationships with community leaders.

In the first year of the program, a maximum of 20 candidates will be accepted. The deadline to apply is Oct. 9 and individuals will be notified by Oct. 26. Other opportunities will be made available to those who are not chosen to participate.

“Ideally, it would be someone who just has a desire to learn more about the district and the functions of it and to be involved with the district as a community member,” Anderson said. “That can be as a parent, business owner and someone who wants to partner with the district.”

The yearlong academy includes six meetings between November and April that will run from 8:30 a.m.—12 p.m. with lunch included.

Attendees will meet with every district department, the Red Oak ISD cabinet and Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees and will tour all facilities. “They are literally going to touch every aspect and learn how those departments and the decisions they make affect the education of our children,” Anderson elaborated.

Besides the guest speakers, the meetings will be run by Anderson, Michelle Ailara, ROISD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, and Goddard.

The Community Partner Academy costs $50, which covers monthly lunches, a t-shirt and a binder full of resources. If the fee is unmanageable and a community member is still interested, scholarships are available and can be applied for during registration. The application can be located at,

The first meeting will be on Nov. 7 at Red Oak Middle School. The following session will be held on Dec. 5. The 2019 dates include Jan. 16, Feb. 6, March 6 and April 3.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450