New Alvin ISD superintendent outlines plans for fast-growth district
A longtime Alvin ISD administrator has been appointed superintendent for the district, where rapid enrollment growth has sparked numerous construction projects including two new schools planned to open in the fall.
Unanimously approved by trustees on April 30, Carol Nelson said her focus is on ensuring individual students get appropriate attention amid an enrollment expected to surge by 1,000 to 27,000 by the next school year.
“As our district continues to grow, our priority will be to remain focused on the value and success of each individual child,” said Nelson, 53, whose most recent post in her 23 years in the district was as associate superintendent of human resources.
She fills a position vacated by Buck Gilcrease, who had been superintendent from 2014 and announced his retirement in November.
Of the more than 30 districts in the region, Alvin ISD had the fourth-largest growth rate between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.
“Over the years, the Alvin ISD board of trustees and the Alvin ISD leadership team have worked to carefully plan for our fast growth as we work to open new campuses just as they are needed to relieve overcrowding,” Nelson said. “There has also been a focus to update our aging facilities to ensure there is equity and parity for all students across Alvin ISD.”
In the fall, the district plans to open Sanchez Elementary School in the Sterling Lakes development in Brazoria County and Nelson Elementary School in Alvin.
Nelson said another project aims to rebuild and expand E.C. Mason Elementary School in Manvel by spring 2021.
In Iowa Colony, the school district is working to add a fourth high school and eighth junior high in the summer of 2022.
During her career in the district, Nelson has served as a teacher, librarian, assistant principal, principal, director and associate superintendent. She said every position prepared her to serve as superintendent.
“As a teacher in the classroom, I empowered my students and challenged them on a daily basis to be the best they could be,” she said. “I valued their individual strengths and encouraged them to set goals for themselves. I worked to support each student’s family and personal interests both inside and outside of the classroom.
“Just like in the classroom, each teacher and staff member have unique qualities and talents,” she said. “I tried to encourage them in their daily activities — be it a custodian, child nutrition employee, teacher or administrator. Our people are our greatest asset.”
Nelson highlighted a district partnership with Alvin Community College that enables high school students to earn freshman and sophomore college credits through courses taught at their campuses by ACC professors.
“This partnership serves a tremendous benefit to not only our students and their families but to our community,” Nelson said.
Alvin ISD’s JB Hensler College and Career Academy also has a major impact on the community, she said, by offering 36 certifications in fields that include cosmetology and barbering, automotive technology, information technology, graphic design, veterinary technology, construction, welding, and criminal justice.
“A number of these programs are directly aligned with the programs at Alvin Community College, and upon graduating from high school, students can transfer their credits to ACC and continue with their interested course of study,” Nelson said, noting the course pathways are intended to help students gain skills necessary to enter the workforce after graduation.
Alvin ISD trustees unanimously chose Nelson as the lone finalist earlier in April after a five-month search.
Nelson graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and obtained a master’s degree in education from the same university.
Nelson said her husband, three children and father-in-law are all graduates of Alvin ISD schools.
“We feel that our children received a great education from kinder through graduation in Alvin ISD,” she said. “It provided the foundation that prepared them for their future. The relationships they built with their teachers and administrators were just as important to their success.
“I look forward to working with our families and communities for many years to come,” she said.