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MPISD – News

Bailey ESGR flight: TSgt Jessie McDowell and MPHS Principal Craig Bailey prepare for flight.

Bailey IMG 8136: retired Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Clayton and TSgt McDowell present Bailey with the ESGR Patriot Award.

Bailey IMG 8141: Bailey receives his lapel pin from McDowell

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS Principal receives Patriot Award 

The 970 Airborne Air Control Squadron hosted an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) “Boss Flight” on November 16, allowing employers and bosses of Airmen in the Reserves to fly on the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jet. Mount Pleasant High School Principal, Craig Bailey, accompanied Technical Sergeant, Jessie McDowell, an MPHS Business teacher, on an Air Force E-3 surveillance flight. Bailey toured the pilot’s cockpit, observed the weapons and surveillance systems onboard, and attended a Mission Planning briefing. After landing, he officially completed 4.2 flight hours on a classified military aircraft. He also earned an E-3 military coin, a military tradition honoring outstanding achievement or effort.

Bailey has continuously supported TSgt McDowell, making sure she was able to complete her monthly military drill and annual Active Training requirements. Because of his motivated efforts and his voluntary E-3 flight, Bailey was nominated for the ESGR Patriot Award by TSgt McDowell. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

On November 20, 2019, retired Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Clayton officially presented Bailey with the ESGR Patriot Award. Clayton spent 28 years in the Army National Guard and has volunteered with the ESGR for twelve years. Bailey signed an Employer Statement of Support and received an official ESGR lapel pin from TSgt McDowell. McDowell stated, “The continued support from employers like Mr. Bailey makes it possible for Airmen to succeed both professionally and in military missions conjointly.” 

TSgt McDowell’s 7-year career in active duty includes three deployments overseas, three Air Medals, two Commendation Medals, several Squadron, Wing, and Group level awards, as well as the highly competitive John L. Levitow Leadership Award. In 2018, TSgt McDowell transitioned to the Air Force Reserves. She started teaching at Mount Pleasant High School in the fall of 2018 while maintaining flight training currency, actively flying with her squadron at least once a month, and traveling on cross-country training exercises. As of 2019, TSgt McDowell is undergoing Evaluator upgrade training, which is the highest experience level for her career field. She has over 2,000 flight hours in her aircraft and a total of 9 years in the service. USAF Reserve duties require her to travel to Oklahoma monthly, as well as two weeks of active time flying. TSgt McDowell teaches Principles of Business, Marketing, and Finance, Business Information Management, and Animation in the Career and Technology Department at Mount Pleasant High School.



Photo: MPHS FBLA chapter

MPHS FBLA students attend Dallas Mavericks Business Marketing Day

Mount Pleasant High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter had the opportunity to travel to Dallas and participate in the Mavericks’ annual Business Marketing Day on Wednesday, December 4. Students toured American Airlines Center and heard presentations from marketing, sales, and public relations officials with the Mavericks about game-day aspects, planning, and marketing the team. It was an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the different careers available in the sports and entertainment industry.

After the tour and speaking engagements, students stayed and helped cheer the Mavericks on to victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. More than 1,200 students from 40 different schools attended the Mavericks’ annual Business Marketing Day.

Photo: L to R—MPHS CTE Director, Karl Whitehurst, and Area 3 CTAT Teacher of the Year, John Whitten 

MPHS Journalism teacher named CTAT Teacher of the Year

Mount Pleasant High School Journalism teacher John Whitten has been named the Area 3 Career and Technical Association of Texas (CTAT) Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes the finest career and technical teachers at the middle and secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students, and dedication to the improvement of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in their institutions and communities.

Whitten has taught at MPHS for the past six years. During that time, he has taught multiple courses such as Commercial Photography, Newspaper, Yearbook, Principles of Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Digital Interactive Media. His students have produced the MPHS yearbook, The Arrowhead, the campus newspaper, Tiger Talk, and the campus video announcements, Tiger Network Television. Before coming to MPHS, Whitten taught at Pittsburg ISD for seven years. Before becoming a teacher, he worked in the newspaper industry for seventeen years, twelve as a sports editor, and five as managing editor for the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas with a major in Journalism and a minor in Political Science.

In addition to teaching, Whitten has also served as a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) advisor for six years. During the last three years, since he took over as lead advisor, MPHS has had 20 students advance to Nationals due to their hard work and desire to reach new heights. He has also sponsored the UIL journalism team and was fortunate enough to have a student become the first MPHS journalism student to advance to state and earn a UIL State medal last year.

“I was very humbled and honored to have been chosen CTAT Teacher of the Year for Area 3 from a strong pool of candidates,” said Whitten. “I am fortunate to work with a district that provides so much support for the CTE program. We have awesome leadership from CTE Director Karl Whitehurst, and I work with the greatest CTE department in Texas. The CTE program at MPHS is filled with dedicated educators and support personnel who impact students on a daily basis.”

Whitten continued, “Along with working with great educators, I get to come work every day and hopefully make a positive impact on the lives of students. Along with giving students the tools they need to succeed in my class, my goal is to develop positive relationships with my students and know that I care about them. I have been so blessed since joining MPHS. I can’t imagine working for any other district.”

The CTAT Area Teachers of the Year will go through an interview process with the awards committee, and final decisions will be announced at the CTAT summer conference in July. 

Pictured: Members of MPHS TAFE

Top L-R: Jackelyn Puente, Ana Ramirez, Keyla Plancarte, Polyana Olvera, Erin Mickens, Lizbeth Moreno, Khia Shaw

Bottom L-R: Mirka Soto, Paulina Baez, Christina Gordon, Marya Martinez, Melisa Dominguez, Daniela Robles, Milagros Sanchez, Sophy Turner, Evelyn DeSantiago


MPHS Future Educators advance to State competition

The Mount Pleasant High School’s chapter of the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) attended the Regional competition at the Region 8 ESC on December 6. Seven members qualified for a trip to the State competition in McAllen, Tx, in February. Two of the seven have advanced to state in multiple events.

Paulina Baez will advance in the Job Interview and Polyana Olvera in Creative Lecture. In Lesson Plan and Delivery, Mirka Soto and Sophy Turner have advanced in STEM while Daniela Robles will advance in ARTS. Robles also advanced in Impromptu Lesson Plan. The team of Evelyn DeSantiago and Keyla Plancarte advanced in Children’s Literature Pre-K with Plancarte, also qualifying for state for her portfolio.

“I have high hopes for this group of young educators,” said MPHS Education teacher and TAFE adviser, Aimee Sweeden. “The equal mix of juniors and seniors allows for experienced competitors to mentor the younger but eager generation of TAFE members. I am incredibly proud of all their accomplishments at the competition, and in the classrooms we serve.”