Fey pitches MISD success to leaders

New superintendent gives ‘State of the District’ address to Chamber of Commerce

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Midlothian ISD superintendent Dr. Jo Ann Fey (right) poses with MISD board trustees, MILE faculty and Midlothian Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Laura Terhune (holding check) as the Chamber presents a $500 donation to the district’s MILE career instruction program last Wednesday.

According to superintendent Dr. Jo Ann Fey, the rapid growth of Midlothian Independent School District is the major factor in how the district is planning to shape future citizens and leaders.

Fey spoke last Wednesday before the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce during its “State of the District” luncheon at the Midlothian Conference Center.

Fey, who was hired in April, is in her 26th year in education and came to MISD from Southwest ISD in San Antonio.

Fey noted recent enrollment figures within the district that show a continuing rise in school populations. The district has already exceeded 10,000 students and is projected to grow another 37.7 percent by 2030 with a total of 16,000 new rooftops coming.

“This is a significant increase,” Fey said. “Other districts are seeing significant decreases, so they’re coming here either for the district or for the value of the community. I like to say they’re coming for both.”

Fey noted that the growth is not restricted to Midlothian proper but to portions of surrounding cities that the district serves, such as Ovilla, Waxahachie, Venus and Grand Prairie.

Among these new students are some who are economically disadvantaged, which Fey said is something to take into account. About 25 percent of students in the district fall under this category, she said.

Graduate profiles is something that Fey says is the superintendent’s greatest charge. Fey said MISD in 2020 had 50 percent of its graduates enroll in a public institution of higher education in Texas. Fey touted the district’s enrollment in advanced placement courses, which she said has doubled since 2017. She  also noted the importance of skilled trades in today’s economy and partnerships with local industry.

Fey recognized that the district has room to improve in special education, but is rated superior in finances. Fey also praised the district’s new MILE career campus and its successes, including the selection of the “Mallet Head” team this summer as a national business finalist.

In interscholastic activities, Fey recounted a long list of MISD athletic achievements. Fey said it’s likely that Midlothian and Heritage High Schools will become district adversaries starting in 2022.  MISD recently drew new attendance boundaries to equalize enrollments between the two schools. The University Interscholastic League’s “Snapshot Day” will be Friday, Oct. 29.

“We believe that Midlothian High School and Midlothian Heritage High School will be in the same district,” said Fey, who is a former coach. “Which means we’ll have a great Friday night next year. It should be fun, it should be exciting, (but) it shouldn’t be rival-like.”

Fey also noted that HHS head football coach Lee Wiginton has been named president-elect of the Texas High School Coaches Association.

Midlothian Chamber CEO Laura Terhune recognized city and school board elected officials in the audience as well as the MILE culinary arts team, which prepared the meal for last Wednesday’s luncheon. Terhune presented a $500 donation to the MILE on behalf of the Chamber.