Dr. Jamie Wilson, Attacking the Achievement Gap with Career Readiness

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices. Listen to gain their insights and apply them to your own college and career readiness practices.

Today, we’re speaking with Dr. Jamie Wilson, Superintendent of Denton ISD. Listen in as he describes what his district is doing to give its students the opportunities needed to develop professionally and personally. By engaging students in career and college readiness conversations at the 6th grade level, Denton ISD is able to create family investment in the college and career readiness process.

About Dr. Jamie Wilson

The Denton ISD Board of School Trustees named Dr. Jamie Wilson superintendent of schools in July 2012. During his 24-year career he has built a reputation through public education advocacy, growth management and instructional innovation. His lifelong ties to the Denton community positioned him to become the leader of the school system.

As a collaborator, Dr. Wilson has forged unprecedented partnerships with local business, universities and organizations. Most recently, the district co-founded Mentor Denton which seeks to place an adult mentor with each of the districts at-risk students, which account for 42 percent of the district’s 28,000 students.

Dr. Wilson joined Denton ISD in 2005 as assistant superintendent for secondary academic programs, where he immediately focused on improving educational programs for the district’s growing student population. He is committed to student engagement with a focus on student achievement. During the five years he’s served as deputy superintendent, Dr. Wilson has played a major role in managing the district finances, especially in 2011 when the state cut public school funding and the local district’s revenue by $11 million.

He has been married to Melanie Pettit Wilson, an outstanding educator, for 25 years and they are raising two daughters, Mackenzie and Macie, who currently attend Texas Tech University.

About Denton ISD

Denton Independent School District has been committed to providing a quality education since it was founded in 1882. The district — located about 25 miles north of Dallas and Fort Worth — encompasses 180 square miles and contains all or parts of 17 cities, communities or major developments.

Located in the city of Denton, the county seat for Denton County, the school district has a rich history. In 1882, voters passed a $15,000 bond election to finance the construction of Denton’s first public school. The structure was three stories and made of red brick. The district has continued to grow and is currently one of fastest-growing school districts in North Texas.

Denton ISD includes four comprehensive high schools, seven middle schools, 23 elementary schools, two early childhood centers, an alternative high school, an advanced technology complex and other specialized schools and centers. An eighth middle school, named for Dr. Rudy and Rosemary Rodriguez, was approved by voters as part of the 2013 bond package and is scheduled to open for the 2017–18 school year.

In the past 10 years, the district has passed three bond packages totaling more than $627 million. The support of the community in which the district serves is evident in the passage of these bond packages. They have averaged passing with a 60 to 80 percent passage rate.

Although it covers a large area, Denton ISD’s unique small town community environment separates it from the growing, larger suburban school districts within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Denton ISD is able to offer all the programs available from larger school districts while maintaining a small community climate.

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