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Kirk ES, ALC-East, Good Shepherd UMC establish Adopt-a-School partnership

ALC-East Principal Andrea Lagard, center, and Matthew Neely, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor, hold certificates.
ALC-East Principal Andrea Lagard, center, and Matthew Neely, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor, hold commemorative Adopt-a-School certificates as the campus and community partner announced on Feb. 18 they formally entered an adoption partnership. They were joined by CFISD Director of Community Engagement Dawn Tryon, left, Good Shepherd representatives and members of the ALC-East administration team.

Feb. 25, 2022—Representatives from Good Shepherd United Methodist Church visited the staffs at Kirk Elementary School and ALC-East on Feb. 18 to officially announce their Adopt-a-School partnerships with the two campuses.

CFISD’s Adopt-a-School program pairs schools with community organizations and business partners to utilize resources of the community to strengthen and enrich the quality of education for students.

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church is already an active community partner with CFISD, previously establishing an additional partnership with Danish Elementary School.

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor Matthew Neely and Dr. Jennifer Bell, Kirk principal, hold certificates.
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor Matthew Neely and Dr. Jennifer Bell, Kirk Elementary School principal, hold commemorative Adopt-a-School certificates as the campus and community partner announced on Feb. 18 they formally entered into an adoption partnership. They were joined by CFISD Director of Community Engagement Dawn Tryon, left, and Good Shepherd representatives.

“We have a large number of teachers and education professionals in the church, so we have a special heart for schools and for kids,” said Matthew Neely, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor. “We’re also the type of church that wants to impact the community and this is a simple way to do that—encouraging teachers, hopefully mentoring and reading to kids, and just doing all these things that we can do to help education go beyond the four walls of the classroom. It’s sending people where they already have a passion and interest, and they’re great ambassadors inside the church.”

Longstanding relationships helped bring the partners together. Good Shepherd Associate Pastor Ben Burnside is married to Leah Burnside, a third grade teacher at Kirk.

“It feels awesome to have people that chose to support our community, be part of our community and love on our people,” said Dr. Jennifer Bell, Kirk Elementary School principal. “This gives our students and staff a broader connection. The unique thing about Kirk is most of our kids are bussed to school, so for them to feel like someone wants to be part of them and make those connections is very important.”

ALC-East Principal Andrea Lagard, left, and Matthew Neely, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor, sign Adopt-a-School.
ALC-East Principal Andrea Lagard, left, and Matthew Neely, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church pastor, sign Adopt-a-School partnership agreements after the community partner announced it officially partnered with the campus on Feb. 18.

Former CFISD principal Phyllis Hamilton is a member at Good Shepherd, but also serves as a principal coach and mentor to ALC-East Principal Andrea Lagard, who was named to the position in March 2020.

“She’s not only a mentor to me,” Lagard said of Hamilton. “When she came here, she saw the needs of my staff and really the entire campus. It was during COVID-19 when she started mentoring me and we faced a lot of challenges. We’re always trying to do things to let the staff and students know we appreciate them and they matter.

Kirk Elementary School staff members and Good Shepherd United Methodist Church representatives pose for a photo
Kirk Elementary School staff members and Good Shepherd United Methodist Church representatives pose for a photo after the campus and community partner announced on Feb. 18 they formally entered into an adoption partnership.

“To have an organization come in and give their time and support, it makes our students feel loved.”

For more information on the Adopt-a-School program, contact Dawn Tryon, director of community engagement, at 281-894-3950 or dawn.tryon@cfisd.net.