Hill sets example of hard work, volunteerism within community

By Erica Rohde
Staff Writer

 

It takes organization and a great sense of responsibility to help run a school system.  But it takes a person who takes delight in meeting new people, who gathers as much information to make beneficial decisions and a person who holds a genuine interest in the wellness and development of students to be a great representative.

President of the Coppell Independent School District Board of Trustees, Anthony Hill has impacted students, staff, and other CISD representatives in his way of his tireless work ethic, his love for students, his ability to collaborate, and his extensive involvement with the community.

During the 2011-12 school year, Hill became the President of the CISD Board of Trustees. Elected on the board in May 2007, other board members acknowledged his involvement and commitment to the betterment of Coppell as a whole.

Board of Trustees secretary Susie Kemp has been on the board for nine years and served on various committees with Hill.

“He is very encouraging,” Kemp said. “He is open minded, easy to visit with about different sides and gets as much information as he can before making decisions.”

Board members needed a president that would serve as a good representative and voice for their collaborative decisions. Such decisions have been the establishment of New [email protected], the Coppell High School Academies and the IB program in the previous years, as well as serving as constant liaisons to the State Representative about the state of education.

Hill is the Director of the Education Foundation, an outgrowth of the board of trustees that helps finance different areas of the district, a member of the Grant Review Committee, a committee that grants staff the means of carrying out improved ideas for the development of learning, a member of the fundraising committee, the committee that fundraises for the Education Foundation, and is the current director of the North Texas Area Association of School Boards (NTAASB) since 2008 and has been treasurer in the past two years. Other positions include the current Vice Chairman of the Your Community Credit Union and member on the board of the YMCA Care Committee.

These positions are only a couple of the handful Hill has taken on over the years.

“I am not sure he even goes home,” Coppell High School Principal Mike Jasso said. “He is so active and visible at everything. He is a tireless worker which I greatly respect and he is very positive. Even in times where there are issues that need to be addressed he is always focused on the solution and making things as good for everyone as possible. I think he is extremely well equipped because he taking pride in fulfilling that role, he is passionate about education, he is passionate about Coppell ISD.”

Hill did not develop this initiative for change in a short period of time. Before his family moved to Coppell, Hill infused much of his time in other schools through volunteering and his work in IBM.

“I haven’t always wanted to work in the education system by design, but because of the people I associate with and because of the common beliefs that we have, I have always been involved in some educational process when I lived in upstate New York,” Hill said. “IBM was intricately involved with schools. I participated with SUNY New Paltz in New York and they had a campus there and we would go down and interact with the students there. “

Overtime, Hill expressed much outward interest to those he works with, developing many friendships and acquaintances.

“He has put in a lot of time and effort to learn about the school business,” Jasso said. “He is not an educator by trade and so he spends countless hours asking questions, requesting meetings with the school principals, [CISD Superintendent Dr. Jeff Turner], assistant superintendents. Nine times out of 10 he wants information so he can share it with the community.”

Hill reaches out into individual schools, consulting with teachers, principal and other members of staff as he inquires about their own interests and concerns for the schools.

“It struck me when I first took this job last year, one of the first people to reach out to me was Mr. Hill,” Jasso said.  “A lot of the times when you are a building principal, the school board president does not reach out to you, they just kind of work with you more specifically. It struck me in a good way. He wanted to come in and greet me, wanted to know what my vision for the school was, how he could support me and CHS.”

Hill asks questions consistently to create a better environment for students.

“The most important thing for students who go through this system is to understand where your talents are and based on those talents that you have, you are able to make contributions back to your community for you to take care of yourself, inspiring others, just to kind of see the world from a different perspective,” Hill said.

Hill also wants to insure that the students, staff and other members of CISD are cared about through his direct approach of meeting some of them on a personal level.

“The impression you leave that giving back is essential, going into the community and not just staying where you are, being open to pathways that will allow you to be successful and allow students in the community to be successful,” Hill said. “The other thing is really having the vision, seeing beyond today, taking everything into account that you know, having that dialogue with the superintendent, community members, staff, talking to teachers and saying what is your vision for the future, what is your vehicle to get there. Being able to deal with the rough spots, sometimes things are not always that easy, you have to stretch a little bit to grow.

Jasso is one of many who sees how personable Hill is and how easy it is for him to create comfortable relationships.

“He’s so active, he knows just about everybody,” Jasso said. “That makes people feel good that he can greet them by name, ask them about their children, that is meaningful, that makes people feel comfortable around him.

Kemp teases Hill about being everywhere at any given time.

“He is amazing in that he is everywhere. He is there for the academics, fine arts, sporting events, everything. He makes me feel guilty sometimes.”

Many wonder how Hill does what he does.

“You define the pace that you want to run, and you run at that pace,” Hill said. “I do not really want to run at other people’s pace. I know when I need to shut it down and have some time with the family.”