Cougar Community Newsletter

Community Newsletter - April 1, 2021

A Message from Dr. Toni Hicks

Hello, Cougars!

Today marks five official months since I’ve joined the Jarrell ISD Family. So many great achievements have already been made. I would like to share the great work our teams have done.

One of the first things that became clear to me is that this is a community of go-getters! Committee volunteers of staff, parents, and community members have been hard at work. In fact, on my very first day in the district, a facility planning committee began the important, months-long process of examining our growth projections, finances, campus capacity, as well as other facility needs. (That work was taken to our Board of Trustees and they unanimously voted to call a May 1 Bond election.) As soon as the facility planning committee wrapped up, we launched a long-range planning committee (who continues to meet), and the district’s educational improvement committee, led by Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Kathleen Crowe, resumed meeting.

Since November, I am proud that we have been able to save the district $4.7 million by refinancing bond debt, and we have shaved years off the life of bonds because sound financial stewardship is a priority for Jarrell ISD. We sincerely appreciate the City of Jarrell and the Jarrell Police Department for generously donating $45,000 worth of radios to enhance the district's communication with local first responders. I have enjoyed getting to know our wonderful partners at the City and serving on the Jarrell Economic Development Committee, and I make it a point to attend City Council Meetings. They are true servant leaders.

In December, we took steps to listen to our stakeholders through a needs assessment survey that was administered to students, parents, and staff. These surveys captured what is so special about this community and identified some areas that need attention. This information has been wonderfully helpful to me as I have navigated these first few months.

I am very proud we have woven in more ways to capture student voices since I’ve been in Jarrell ISD. In addition to the aforementioned needs assessment survey, we also surveyed students on their course preferences for next year. We took that data and revamped our course selection guide to give students more meaningful choices. As a result, next year, courses offered at Jarrell High School will include Agribusiness Mgmt & Marketing; UT OnRamps Physics (a partnership with the University of Texas that offers dual enrollment courses designed by the University of Texas at Austin faculty for high school students); AP Human Geography; AP Environmental Science; Dance Team; Cheer; and Physics. We also reintroduced the Art Program at high school and made Color Guard a stand-alone class. And to better prepare our students for success after high school, JHS will offer many more industry-based certifications to help our students secure employment after high school!

At Jarrell Middle School, next year we will offer Outdoor Adventure (a very popular choice). We also made 6th Grade Art, Choir & Music year-long classes.

We are committed to doing right by our students who may speak a language other than English. We are expanding our Bilingual program to include Two-Way Dual Language Immersion at both Igo Elementary and Jarrell Elementary for incoming Pre-K and Kindergarten students next year. And we will be implementing Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL), which allows native speakers to take tests to earn foreign language credit without having to register for the class.

Another way we’ve listened to the voices of students is through our Superintendent Student Advisory Committee meetings, which I’ve held at each campus to hear what students like about their schools and what they would like to see changed. I love these committees because I get to know our students on a more personal level. I tell them, “your voice will help shape the future of Jarrell ISD,” and I mean it. The data we collect has already brought about positive change. My favorite example is that one student at Jarrell Middle School requested Taco Tuesdays. Maria Manzo with our Food Service team immediately responded by adding that request to the menu. Thank you, Ms. Manzo!

The Cougar Family is very proud to have such a strong band program, which earned its sixth consecutive Sweepstakes at marching competition this fall. When I began as superintendent, a need was immediately recognized; the band program needed additional staff. So the Board responded by approving another band director, and Mr. Frank Connelly started a few weeks ago.

Throughout my career, the core of my work has always been “success for all.” Students or staff members should have what they need to be successful. Our students and staff deserve the very best we have to offer. I am very thankful to the previous leadership for laying such a solid foundation for success. Now, let’s take it to the next level.

Have a great long weekend. We’ll see you Monday!

Go Cougars,

Toni Hicks

Did You Know? Future Student Enrollment

In the next five years, our district’s enrollment is projected to double in size, growing to a district of nearly 7,000 by 2031. This bond will create additional spaces for students and teachers as we continue to experience rapid growth. To learn more about growth and to view our demographic report, visit

Marty Murr Named Jarrell ISD Athletic Director & Head Football Coach

At the March 31 meeting of the Jarrell ISD Board of Trustees, the board approved Marty Murr as Jarrell ISD’s athletic director and head football coach.

“The Cougar Family is very excited to welcome Coach Murr to Jarrell,” Dr. Toni Hicks said. “Coach Murr is a highly respected coach with more than 25 years of experience leading winning programs. In fact, he’s been named coach of the year multiple times. In addition to his storied career leading athletic programs, to include 2A to 5A size school districts, he comes to Jarrell ISD with a rich background having coached both boys and girls to high levels of success,” said Hicks.

“With his experience and commitment to building leaders in his athletes and staff, Coach Murr is the perfect choice to take Jarrell ISD athletics to the next level,” Hicks said.

“I believe a coach has a tremendous ability to touch many lives through service to others. With that being said, I consider it to be a great honor and privilege to serve the Jarrell ISD community as athletic director and head football coach,” Coach Murr said. “Go Cougars!”

In addition to serving as athletic director/head football coach in three districts, Coach Murr has worked as a football offensive coordinator, football defensive coordinator, head JV football coach, assistant girls basketball/head JV girls basketball coach, head boys and girls varsity track coach, head boys and girls tennis coach, head middle school girls basketball coach, middle school girls track coach, head softball coach, and assistant powerlifting coach.

Coach Murr earned a bachelor's of science degree from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches.

Students, parents, staff and community members are invited to attend a meet and greet to welcome Coach Murr to Jarrell ISD on Wednesday, April 14 from 4-6 p.m., at the Jarrell High School Auditorium.

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Above: Congratulations to Joseph Woolsey. He passed his AWS D9.1 welding certification!

Jarrell Middle School Track Season Ends Strong

The Jarrell Middle School Cougars and Lady Cougars capped off their track season with the district track meet held at the Jarrell Field House last night.

Team results are as follows:

The 7th-grade boys finished in 6th place

The 7th-grade boys finished in 4th place

The 8th-grade boys finished in 6th place

The 8th-grade girls finished in 6th place

Join us in congratulating these Cougars on a hard-fought season! We are proud of them!

Innovation and Curiosity Flourish at Jarrell Elem.'s STEAM Day

On March 26th students at Jarrell Elementary School participated in STEAM Day ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). Each grade level had a theme, and students participated in hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities in their classrooms and outside.

The Pre-K students conducted color experiments and learned how colors are absorbed and can transfer to other objects. They made color-changing telescopes. Kindergarten classes learned about living habitats and explored living and non-living things. Students created a biome complete with a real earthworm and growing flower. First graders built a solar oven and melted ingredients to make S’mores. Yum! Second-grade students designed and constructed parachutes and catapults. Third-grade students engineered roller coasters and tested them. Fourth-grade classes created life-sized animal habitats including animals made to scale. The fifth-grade students engineered safety devices to drop eggs in from the school rooftop.

Special thanks to Principal Andrea David and her amazing staff at Jarrell Elementary for putting this event on!

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Dual Language Immersion Program Coming to JES and IES Next Year

Beginning in the 2021-22 school year, Jarrell ISD will offer the Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Bilingual Program at both Igo Elementary and Jarrell Elementary for incoming Pre-K and Kindergarten students. (Pre-K students must meet the Pre-K qualifications to be eligible.)

There are many benefits to dual language bilingual classrooms. Non-English proficient students AND English proficient students are served together through bilingual instruction with the goal of reaching biliteracy. Dual language programs are designed to provide grade-level academic achievement; additive bilingualism; biliteracy; and sociocultural competence.

If you are interested in your child opting-in/participating in the bilingual program, please sign up your student for language testing using this form.

Read more.

Job Fair on April 29 from 5-7 p.m.

Jarrell ISD is seeking qualified applicants for the 2021-22 school year for all positions, professional teaching and auxiliary. The district is holding a Job Fair on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7 p.m. in the Igo Elementary Cafeteria (1601 CR 314 in Jarrell).

Come to the job fair and meet the principals from Jarrell High School, Jarrell Middle School, Jarrell Elementary, and Igo Elementary and department directors for Transportation, Custodial, Maintenance, and Food Service. Bring your resume.

Build-A-Cougar Event

The community is invited to participate in the Igo Elementary Build-A-Cougar on May 1 from 10 a.m - 12 p.m. and 3 - 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Igo PTO.


  • April 2 - Student and Staff Holiday
  • April 14 - Marty Murr Meet-and-Greet, JHS Auditorium 4-6 p.m.
  • April 19-27 Early Voting (No Sunday Voting)
  • May 1 - Election Day

About Jarrell ISD

Jarrell ISD is located in northern Williamson County. The mascot is The Cougars. It has four campuses: Jarrell High School, Jarrell Middle School, Igo Elementary School and Jarrell Elementary. The district is home to more than 2,300 students. Enrollment is projected to double in the next 10 years.

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We are proud to showcase excellent students and staff. To see more, follow us on Twitter @hicksJISD ; @Jarrell_ISD; @JES_cougars; @IEScougars; @jarrell_ms; and @JarrellHS.