School Matters

November 2022

Welcome to School Matters, your official source for news that matters most from the Lake Travis Independent School District Office of Communications, Media & Community Relations. Questions or concerns regarding any of the content in this publication should be addressed to
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District mourns loss of LTE student

On Wednesday, November 23, Ewit Giovanny Gomez Grageda, a first grade student at Lake Travis Elementary School, passed away as a result of injuries he sustained in a vehicle-pedestrian collision on Hudson Bend Road.

LTE principal Lizeth Thompson shared, "Giovanny was a student in Mrs. Zulay Blake’s Dual Language class, and his cousin is a kindergartener in Mrs. Erna Hook’s Dual Language class. The two students were very close and referred to each other as brothers. Giovanny was kind, friendly, and always smiling. His passing is a huge loss for our LTE community; we are going to miss him tremendously."

"Assisting students and staff during this difficult time is our top priority," said Paul Norton Superintendent of Schools. "As such, our District’s crisis counseling team is available at LTE for students and staff as needed. On behalf of the entire Lake Travis ISD family, I extend my sincere condolences to the Gomez Grageda family."

Grieving resources are available on the LTISD website.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 3 at Providence-Jones Family Funeral Home in Elgin. Interment will follow at Elgin Latin Cemetery.

(Photo courtesy of Providence-Jones Family Funeral Home - Elgin)

School board recognizes high school athletic trainer for heroic efforts

On Friday, November 4, Lake Travis High School parent Mindy West was serving as a volunteer in the concession stand at Cavalier Stadium when she suffered a major medical emergency. Ms. West was subsequently airlifted from the stadium for further treatment.

Prior to emergency medical services arriving at the stadium, Lake Travis High School athletic trainer Larissa Pexton administered CPR to Ms. West. First responders and medical personnel strongly believe Ms. Pexton’s timely, decisive, and heroic efforts proved to be critical to Ms. West and her stabilization.

Lake Travis Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Mike Prather presented Ms. Pexton with a certificate of appreciation during the November 16 meeting of the Lake Travis school board. Ms. West's family—many of whom were in attendance—expressed their heartfelt gratitude for Ms. Pexton, first responders, and District staff for their efforts.

The Lake Travis ISD family extends its deepest condolences to the West family for their loss.

District provides update on transportation services

With only a few weeks remaining in the fall semester, District officials continue to address staffing shortages impacting student transportation services.

"We have hired 7 drivers and 1 monitor since the first day of school on August 16," said Brad Bailey, LTISD Assistant Superintendent of Operations. "This has allowed us to add drivers to routes in service areas outside of the two-mile radius. While this has helped, we are still short of the ideal number of drivers needed to provide services for the students who have requested transportation. To reach this goal, we would need to hire 13 more drivers in order to eliminate the current 'one-week on/one-week off' schedule. Overall, approximately 30 drivers are needed for restoring full transportation services. Rest assured, we will continue to increase our services as more drivers are hired and certified."

Many parents have asked about a long term solution to a problem affecting many school districts.

"I can tell you that we are working to attract and retain drivers, but it is a difficult task due to a lack of interest and staff shortages we not only face in our area but throughout our region, state, and nation," added Mr. Bailey. "Regardless, our team is motivated and actively recruiting candidates by attending job fairs and community events, utilizing social media, and advertising. We thanks our parents and families for their cooperation and patience as we continue to navigate through these challenges together."

If you or someone you know is interested in driving a bus for LTISD, we encourage you to contact the District's Transportation Department at 512-533-6070, or at The District's starting pay is $23.00 per hour and up to $33.11 per hour based on experience. We welcome all to apply, and no experience is needed. We provide all training and full benefits, and our drivers get holidays and summers off.

District announces 2022 Student Holiday Events Schedule

Lake Travis ISD invites you to join us as we celebrate the holidays with a variety of student performances over the next several days.

The first event, "Of Hearth and Home," will be performed by the Lake Travis High School Choir at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 30 at the Lake Travis Performing Arts Center. View the full LTISD 2022 Holiday Events Schedule at

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Visit our campus websites for specific details and potential updates.

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District closed Dec. 19 - Jan. 2 for Winter Break, Dec. 16 is Early Release Day for all students

All LTISD offices and campuses will be closed for Winter Break December 19, 2022 through January 2, 2023. District offices will reopen Tuesday, January 3, and classes will resume Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Be sure to stay up to date with major districtwide events listed in our LTISD 2022-2023 Instructional Calendar:

We wish you and yours the happiest of holidays!

School board approves elections results, anticipates award of construction contract in December

On Wednesday, November 16, our school board officially canvassed the results of the November 8, 2022 Bond Election. In effort to alleviate overcrowding and accommodate continued growth, construction of Elementary School #8 will begin immediately. Per Board Policy CV (Local), the project delivery method to be used for construction contracts valued at or above $100,000 shall be the competitive sealed proposal, as determined and approved by the Board as the best value. The Business Office, Purchasing, Facilities & Construction, and Legal Departments will ensure that all bond projects are competitively procured and meet all legal and local purchasing policies and guidelines.

Lake Travis ISD issued a Request For Proposals for Construction Manager At-Risk (CMR) for Elementary School #8 on September 28, 2022 with an anticipated award date of December 14, pending board approval. The District received three proposals. General Contractor Bartlett Cocke scored the highest value of 100%. Based on the evaluation criteria, the District intends to recommend Bartlett Cocke as CMR for Elementary School #8. Action will be requested at the December 14 school board meeting.

Lake Travis School Health Advisory Council presents "Wellness Watch - Fall 2022"

Lake Travis ISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)—a group appointed by the school board—is comprised of parents from each campus, students from Lake Travis High School, members of the community, and employees of the district. SHACs assist districts in ensuring that local community values are reflected in health education instruction. Additionally, SHACs play an important role in strengthening the connection between health and learning.

The LTISD SHAC has published its first newsletter of the 2022-2023 school year, "Wellness Watch - Fall 2022."

New FANS Director announced

Lake Travis ISD Assistant Superintendent for Operations Brad Bailey is pleased to announce the selection of Lianka Soliz as the District's new Director of Food and Nutrition Services, effective December 6. Mrs. Soliz replaces Ryan Mikolaycik who recently accepted a position with Austin ISD.

Prior to relocating to Austin, Mrs. Soliz served as Nutrition Services Specialist for the Harris County Department of Education, Assistant Director/Financial Coordinator for the Katy Independent School District, Director of Food Services for the Harris County Sheriff's Office, and Customer Service & Program Compliance for the Houston Independent School District. She has also held various positions with the Aramark Corporation in Arizona and Nevada. Most recently, Ms. Soliz served as District Manager of Aramark Food Services for the Central Texas Region.

Mrs. Soliz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio) and a Master of Business Administration from Texas Woman's University (Houston). She and her husband Ruben, a teacher and coach at Lake Travis Middle School, have two children who attend Lake Travis High School.

As Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Lake Travis ISD, Mrs. Soliz will manage the food service program and supervise food service operations throughout the district; plan and implement programs that meet regulatory and nutritional requirements for students; promote the development of nutritional practices and policies; and maintain safe and sanitary kitchens and cafés.

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Cavalier Band performs at state marching contest

The Lake Travis High School Cavalier Band concluded its fall season with an incredible performance at the 2022 UIL State Open Class Marching Band Contest held November 7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The band fielded 200 students and performed “The Seeds Contain the Years.” This was the school's third consecutive appearance at state and its fifth since 2011.

Representing the Cavalier Band in Conference 6A/Region 32/Area H are drum majors Rylan Collins (junior), Quinlan Collins (junior), McKenna Flores (junior), and Nathan Murdock (senior).

The Lake Travis Cavalier Band is under the direction of Richard Hicks. He is assisted by Taylor Treviño, Ben Zein, Jordan Reddicks, Brittany Baptista, and Michael Fairbrother.

Middle school students, former Cavalette perform at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Select members of the Hudson Bend Pom Squad and Bee Cave Royalty represented Lake Travis ISD at the 96th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®.

The students (pictured left to right), which included Olivia Vo, BCMS; Ella Hooper, BCMS; Georgia McCann, HBMS; and Isabella Loredo, BCMS, performed with Spirit of America Productions. The performance opportunity was organized for award-winning individuals and teams that consist of dancers from middle schools, high schools and studios from across the country. The dancers rehearsed with staff from ShowMakers of America including Laura Truett, Hudson Bend Middle School Pom Squad Director, Dance and PE teacher, to perfect their performance for NBC. Along with rehearsals, they enjoyed some of the famous New York City landmarks, attended a Broadway Show and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, ice skated at Rockefeller Center, and visited the flagship Macy's Herald Square in Manhattan.

Also performing at the iconic event was Morgan Webb, Lake Travis High School Class of 2021 and former Cavalette officer. Currently, she attends Kilgore College and is a member of the Rangerettes, one of the world's best-known collegiate dance teams. Morgan and the Rangerettes closed the parade with music superstar Mariah Carey.

LTHS Theater garners awards at Texas Thespians State Festival

With their production of "Rough Magic" by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Lake Travis High School Theatre students received several awards at the Texas Thespians State Festival:

  • Best Makeup - Camila Racusin, Lance Najera, and Jessi Barrero
  • Best Supporting Performer - Jacob “Duckie” Nels
  • Superior Performer - Alana Yost
  • Excellent Performer - Tyler Tramonte

The following students also earned the status of National Qualifier in individual events:

  • Duet Musical - Jaelyn Knoll and Claire Tudor
  • Duet Acting - Chloe De Leon and Kinsey Jacobsen
  • Solo Musical - Kyra Lowrance
  • Solo Musical - Ella Swinford
  • Group Musical - Adam Ellett, Jill Wetter, Sofie Standish, and Zoe Zaman

Additionally, the Improv Team advanced to quarterfinals competition, and Jacob “Duckie” Nels was selected to the All-Star Improv Team. The festival was held November 17-19 in Grapevine.

The final performance of "Rough Magic" will be held at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, December 1 at the Lake Travis Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available online at

LT Theatre will hold auditions for Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia," the school's entry into the UIL One Act Play contest, after school on both December 6 and December 7. Learn more about the auditions.

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HBMS students spend day in community service

After a two-year hiatus, Hudson Bend Middle School's "Day of Service" was held November 18. Students and staff spent the morning before Thanksgiving Break off campus participating in numerous service projects in and around the Lake Travis community.

Click the play button below to see highlights from the HBMS "Day of Service."

HBMS Day of Service 2022
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Lions Club selects BCMS student artwork for state competition

The artwork of Bee Cave Middle School seventh grade student Charlotte Ahrendt will be prominently displayed at an exhibit to be held in January at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Lakeway. The overall winning entry in the 8th Annual Austin-Lake Travis Lions Club Peace Poster Contest will be shown alongside Hudson Bend Middle School students Karissa Mazuelos, 2nd place overall and Hannah Cohn, 3rd place overall. Other entries selected for prizes by the Lions Club include, from Hudson Bend Middle School: Jillian Beeman, Barrett Clark, Bentley Nicholes, and Annabelle Tudor; and from Bee Cave Middle School: Olivia Vo.

For more than 30 years, Lions clubs around the world have sponsored the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in local schools and youth groups. The art contest for kids encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace. For 2022-2023, each poster was judged on originality, artistic merit and expression of contest theme, “Lead with Compassion.”

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.36 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in 210 countries and geographical areas around the world. In addition to its efforts toward conquering blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service and helping youth throughout the world.

Lake Travis art teachers who served as contest coordinators for students are Aaron Forgey, Robin Garcia, and Michele Gavin. Judging occurred November 10 at All Star Burger. Judges included Mike Maroney, Anthem Bank & Trust; Linda Wells, published artist; and Dee Wescott, nationally-known published artist.

Charlotte's winning entry will advance to district-level competition.

Lake Travis High School student-athletes sign letters of intent

Between November 9-15, Lake Travis High School student-athletes across multiple programs signed letters of intent to play collegiate-level athletics. Images are available on the Lake Travis ISD Facebook 2022-2023 Athletic Signings photo album.


Jackson Baker: University of Alabama

Hudson Gardner: Blinn College

OJ Gonzalez: Abilene Christian University

Cole Johnson: Oklahoma State University

Dylan Raines: Eastern Oklahoma State

Dylan Schlotterback: Paris Junior College

Men's Golf

Connor Smith: Texas State University

Track & Field

Daniel Sowell: Rice University

Vian Nguyen: University of Pennsylvania


Logan Brannan: University of Notre Dame

Emily Contreras: University of South Carolina

Brooke Davis: Stephen F. Austin University

Kendall Jurgens: Nova Southeastern University

Women's Basketball

Lexi Clements: University of Mary Hardin Baylor

Mia Galbraith: Oklahoma State University

Women's Golf

Emma von Hoffmann: Georgia Southern University

Kate Pickrell: Abilene Christian University

Gabby Roth: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Campus)

Women's Soccer

Brigid McElderry: Samford University

Berkley Patterson: Texas Tech University

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LTEF hosts 6th annual Turkey Trot

The Lake Travis Education Foundation board of directors is excited to share that the 6th annual Turkey Trot was a success. A 30-minute lightning delay allowed attendees to enjoy a little extra coffee and donuts. Once underway, nearly 2,000 participants burned off the additional calories under the misty morning of November 24.

"This community event has become a memorable family experience that our friends and neighbors have come to enjoy on Thanksgiving morning," said Turkey Trot Race Chair Gary Wolff. "Best of all, we raised a record amount of funds for our LTISD students."

"Being involved for the first time this year, what I was most blessed by, was seeing so many families come together," said Amy Thomas, Director of Corporate Relations/Lake Travis Education Foundation. "The joy and energy were contagious, spreading through the crowd and making the event the best way to start a Thanksgiving celebration. Whether they ran the 5k or walked the 1-mile 'Puffin for Stuffin', it was just wonderful to see so many families come together to support our schools."

Lakeway Elementary won the annual Gobble Grant for the school with the highest level of participation.

District celebrates Veterans Day

All LTISD schools proudly saluted our veterans during activities and ceremonies held at each campus the week of Veterans Day 2022. We thank our parents, staff, families, and most importantly—our veterans who were able to join us for these heartfelt celebrations. We also send a special "thank you" to all veterans who work for the LTISD family!

Lakeway Elementary School

Lakeway Elementary School held two Veterans Day events, November 10 and 11, in the school gym. Staff and third grade students hosted an evening musical which included special guests, and celebrations continued during the school's morning assembly.

Lake Pointe Elementary School

Led by the Lake Pointe Elementary School Student Council, students and staff created bricks for veterans they know and love. Together, the bricks formed a Wall of Honor and was on display at the school.

Lake Travis Elementary School

Lake Travis Elementary School held events In the school cafeteria and music room. Third grade students sang songs during assemblies, first for Prekindergarten and 1st graders, then for 2nd-5th grade students. Jackie Pace, LTE music teacher, organized the event with the help of school staff. Veterans related to students and faculty were honored with a certificate and photo. After the assembly, all veterans were invited to enjoy some refreshments.

Lake Travis Middle School

Lake Travis Middle School held several events and activities in honor Veterans Day. Throughout the week, students displayed artwork and a Wall of Honor in the 8th grade house and displayed artwork. On November 11, students and staff held a breakfast in the café and hosted a ceremony in the gymnasium where unique reflections were shared with attendees.

Hudson Bend Middle School

The Hudson Bend Middle School Choir and Orchestra performed the "Star Spangled Banner" during a morning assembly.
HBMS Star Spangled Banner

District recognizes November 7-11, 2022 as “National School Psychology Week”

With the theme “Together We Shine,” the Lake Travis Independent School District proudly joined the National Association of School Psychologists to celebrate November 7-11, 2022 as "National School Psychology Week."

Our Licensed Specialists in School Psychology—or LSSPs—are highly-qualified and uniquely-trained professionals who directly support our students and their ability to learn. After several challenging years, our theme speaks to a hopeful future. For some, it has been a time of real darkness, and finding light is critical to building resilience and hope. Together, we shine light on setting goals for well-being, growth, and learning. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in thriving and working together, whatever the circumstances.

The following LSSPs proudly serve students across LTISD:

  • Krystie Griffin, Coordinator of Special Services
  • Siiri Marquardt, Coordinator of Special Services
  • Kelsey Theis, Lead LSSP
  • Jessicca Allen, WCHE
  • Ashley Allison (Intern), RHE
  • Roxanne Carboni, LPE
  • Patty Chen-Daily, LTHS
  • Rebecca Gilbreth, BCE
  • Jenn Harris, LTE
  • Abigail Harrison, District
  • Ashlynn Koenning, HBMS
  • Elena LaRocca, RHE
  • Kelley Lauer, LWE
  • Camika Lewis, Child Find
  • Tammy Maiorano, LTHS
  • Ashley Rew-Hunter, LTHS
  • Olivia Ann Salazar (Intern), RHE
  • Nancy Schill, BCMS
  • Jessica Solberg, LTMS
  • Hannah White, LTHS
  • Sarah Zeh, SHE

Lake Travis Middle School Jazz Company places at state competition

The Lake Travis Middle School Jazz Company recently competed against 40 other middle and high school dance teams across Texas in the American Dance Virtual Halftime Showcase. LTMS was awarded a Division I rating, as well as Best Prop, and Best Technique.

Austin Symphony Orchestra, Lake Travis High School musicians to perform together for one night only

Members of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and students with Lake Travis High School will come together once again for the third annual “A Night with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.”

Maestro Peter Bay will conduct the performance with participation by Anna Macias, LTISD Orchestra Director and Richard Hicks, LTISD Band Director. The special concert, brought to you by the City of Lakeway Arts Committee, will take place at 7:00 pm, Saturday, April 1, 2023 at the Lake Travis Performing Arts Center. Visit for more information and details about the musical selections for the evening.

Tickets go on sale on December 16 at the Lake Travis Performing Arts Center, or online at Ticket prices range from $15 to $50 each.

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Keeping Connected

Download the LTISD Keeping connected PDF to learn about the various ways to receive district and campus-level news, emergency notification, and other information.

Stay in the know on the go with our district mobile app for iOS and Android. Follow LTISD on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Learn about Peachjar, the innovative flyer management system that sends district- and school-approved digital flyers directly to parents via email.

Lake Travis Independent School District

The Lake Travis Independent School District is a 6A district located about 25 minutes west of Austin, Texas. Established in 1981, Lake Travis ISD is a fast growth district comprised of 11 campuses serving more than 11,300 students.