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This profile was last updated on 12/25/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mrs. Cara Cooke

Wrong Cara Cooke?

Superintendent

Phone: (903) ***-****  HQ Phone
Kilgore Independent School District
301 N. Kilgore Street
Kilgore, Texas 75662
United States

Company Description: Kilgore Independent School District strives to provide our employees with the highest quality of benefits with the most competitive and affordable rates. In the...   more
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Education

  • Neches High School
  • master
    Stephen F. Austin State University
  • bachelor , education
    University of Texas Tyler
56 Total References
Web References
Mrs. Cara Cooke ...
www.kisd.org, 25 Dec 2014 [cached]
Mrs. Cara Cooke Superintendent
Send email
After a majority vote, the Kilgore ...
www.kilgorenewsherald.com, 26 Feb 2013 [cached]
After a majority vote, the Kilgore Independent School District board of trustees named Cara Cooke as the sole finalist for KISD's superintendent position.
Cooke graduated from Neches High School in 1982 then earned her bachelor's in education from University of Texas Tyler in 1987 and her master's from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2002. Cooke has worked in education for 25 years, and began her career as Palestine ISD before becoming the Neches ISD elementary principal.
Cooke next moved to Industrial ISD, where she worked as the assistant superintendent for five years. Cooke assisted Industrial ISD with various projects and initiatives to increase the district's academic scores. In 2009 and 2010, Industrial ISD received the Exemplary District accolade.
After Industrial ISD, Cooke's next stop was West Oso ISD in Corpus Christi, again as an assistant superintendent.
"I've been an assistant superintendent for six years," Cooke said.
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Cooke has been married for 30 years to her husband Richard and is the mother of two 25 year-old twins, Chad and Ashley.
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KISD's board of trustees voted to name Cooke the sole finalist Monday evening after meeting in executive session during their regularly scheduled, monthly board meeting. Cooke was approved with only trustee Reggie Henson voting no, against.
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Now, Cooke is the sole candidate remaining.
State law requires that the school board make the finalist for the position known to the public 21 days before another vote is called to approve placing the finalist in the position.
Cooke will enter KISD at a crucial point in the district. Two schools are to finish construction over the summer and open for the next school year after school supplies are moved in. During her time as a teacher at Palestine ISD, Cooke took part in a campus-wide move to a new elementary.
"That's a big undertaking," Cooke said.
...
Again this could have been handled along time ago with a man that has worked for our schools for many years and is just as qualified as Ms.Cooke. I do not know Ms. Cooke and am sure she is an outstanding person and educator. I will support her in everyway, this current school board....not so much reply
Cara ...
www.kilgorechamber.com, 11 Aug 2014 [cached]
Cara Cooke
KISD
301 N Kilgore St
Kilgore, TX 75662
903-988-3900 Office
ccooke@kisd.org
"Everything's a good idea, but we ...
www.kilgorenewsherald.com, 25 Nov 2014 [cached]
"Everything's a good idea, but we can't do everything at once," Kilgore ISD Superintendent Cara Cooke said Friday after a special KISD board meeting.
As the board members made their facility "wish list" during the special meeting Dec. 3, Cooke said, the board as a whole continued to go back to the district's vision (see separate story HERE) to make sure all facility needs stay in line with what is important and will help get the district where it wants to go.
"We're trying to prioritize and be those good citizens by being fiscally responsible and making sure the decisions we make are in the best interest of this district and this entire community."
The first facility priority is expanding the Kilgore High School cafeteria and kitchen area to accommodate the increased student population at the high school. "We are going to close that campus fall of 2015," Cooke said, "so I need that cafeteria renovated so that it can hold juniors and seniors staying on campus to eat."
Cooke has already contacted Huckabee Architects, which conducted the recent facility study, to discuss getting the project started.
Each of the district's priorities was presented as ideas that Cooke and her team could investigate to determine if the ideas were feasible for each campus and project.
...
When the KISD board decided to move forward with a facility study, Cooke halted discussions between KISD and KC about the Heights building until getting the results of the study.
If KC does not want to move forward with Heights, Cooke will then look at trying to sell it outright with bids from other entities that have shown an interest in purchasing the facility.
The board had discussed turning Maude Laird Middle School into another high school campus dedicated to Career and Technology Education, but decided at Wednesday's special meeting it might not be feasible due to its location relative to KHS and the amount of work and money needed to bring it up to meet that need.
The conversation turned toward moving the transportation department and bus barn off the KHS campus and into an area of MLMS. Cooke suggested the bus maintenance area might be housed in the gym area where a high ceiling already exists. Part of MLMS could be turned into an area for receiving and storage with the unused portion of the campus demolished.
If the transportation department moved over to MLMS, then it would be next to the maintenance building, which is currently located near Chandler Elementary School, Cooke said. "We would just be putting maintenance and transportation all in one location."
"These are only ideas," Cooke said. "We're investigating them. We're listening to community (members and) all constituents.
...
"We'll be figuring out what to do [at the KHS cafeteria], while we're also talking about what to do about the career-tech," Cooke said. "That doesn't mean we're going to do the career-tech right now, but we want to make sure whatever we do with that cafeteria does not interfere with what we will do in phases later with career tech around and outside - whatever the beautiful picture may be in the end."
Tied in with the KHS work will be the CTE expansion and security on campus. Throughout each phase of the projects, the district will bring each facility to standards spelled out in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"We've set our course for the district, we have ideas about things that we want to do," Cooke said. "It's kind of like a domino effect, though. It's like, you know, we've got to do one thing here before we can do the next thing here, so everything's going to hinge off of everything else."
Cooke is now working to get information from her team and quotes from Huckabee to determine what is possible and bring all of the information she can to the Dec. 15 regular board meeting.
"We've been trying to take our time and do this right, so we're not going to start rushing now, even with the cafeteria," Cooke said.
There is no timeline for any of the projects yet, but Cooke hopes to have a schedule by either the December or January board meeting, she said. To prepare for the future plans, though, she and the board members are trying to be strategic with their choices.
"[The board members are] really coming together as a team, and they want to do what's the very best for this district, and it's very evident in their determination," Cooke said.
Cara Cooke Cara ...
www.kilgorenewsherald.com, 17 July 2014 [cached]
Cara Cooke Cara Cooke The past school year, Kilgore ISD Superintendent Cara Cooke often compared the district to a mule that has fallen down a deep well - the animal's owner sees no solution but to bury the beast which then climbs out, using the mounds of dirt to lift itself progressively higher.
"Just like that mule, KISD has had some challenges this year," she told guests at the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce's July Biz- Connect Luncheon at Kilgore Intermediate School Tuesday.
...
Some of those seeds have borne fruit, such as capital projects and student enrichment; others, test scores in particular, Cooke said, have more growth ahead.
The 2013-2014 school year opened with the completion of Kilgore ISD's new campuses - opening them "and working through the traffic flow problems with community assistance," Cooke said - followed by renovations to Kilgore Intermediate School and Chandler Elementary "to feature state of the art technology and safety features that, unfortunately, are so very, very important in this state and time."
KISD invested additional funds in new technology and strove to implement the gadgetry effectively, part of "a new initiative of internal transformation" during a school year that saw 100 transfer students join the district while staffers launched "an enhanced K-12 curriculum that includes a very high level of rigor," Cooke said.
"We have put in place interventions and enrichments for all of our students. We have added more career tech courses into our high school program, and we are continuing to build a better partnership with Kilgore College so we can offer more dual credit courses for our students."
The school placed in the Top 10 of the 2014 UIL Lone Star Cup, based on achievements in athletic and academic programs, Cooke noted. Seniors earned more than $1 million in awards and 89 percent were accepted into colleges across the country.
At the same time, KISD partnered with community entities, such as Hearts Anonymous and the Backpack Program "which provides aid to our students and our families with some of their basic needs of life."
Plowing the field, the first crops have been realized, Cooke said, laying groundwork for the 2014-2015 school year that must continue to be cultivated.
The district is in the early stages of a facilities study for the vacated Maude Laird Middle School and Kilgore Heights campuses while at the same time exploring upgrade options for the high school campus, to bring it into the 21st century while maintaining its heritage and the historical elements of its construction.
Notably, KISD is continuing its investigation of career technical education, including the development of a separate Early College High School in coordination with Kilgore College - attempts for a planning grant were unsuccessful the past year, Cooke added, "but that has not deterred us from continuing to have those conversations and plan and move forward in how to make this dream a reality."
Responding to a question from the audience, Cooke allowed the district's preliminary glimpse of standardized test results puts in the district "in an average range" statewide.
It's the middle of the road, and "That's definitely not where we want to be," she said. With below average scores for certain student populations compared to high scoring areas (such as the high school's 95 percent return in U.S. History), "You do know when you start turning a ship around it takes a while … I'm confident that we're heading in the right direction. We've plowed that field very well, but we currently are sitting at about an average area."
After revamping instruction and procedures the past year, more retooling is ahead.
"We've made some changes in personnel and some different things that needed to be done to ensure that next year we will see progress," Cooke said. In the scores, "We're kind of all over the place right now.
...
Cooke continued.
...
"There's so many things that are going on and so many ideas we have as we move forward," Cooke said.
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