ASU Alum Tapped for Governor’s Commission
January 05, 2016
Drought forced Roscoe-area rancher Kim Alexander to take his Angelo State education degree into town for a job at the rural independent school district, a decision that has already transformed hundreds of students’ lives and led to his new statewide role.
“When I graduated college, my first nine years I was farming and ranching exclusively, partners with my brother and my dad,” Alexander said. “We got into some dry weather years and we decided one of us had to get a job. My brother was older so I ended up teaching by day and farming at night. I’ve been doing that for the last 30 years.”
This fall, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed Alexander, superintendent of Roscoe Collegiate ISD for the past 13 years, to the newly created Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability to help develop systems of student assessment and public accountability to replace the current State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program.
Alexander (Class of 1976) started down the road to this appointment with his decision to attend Angelo State because it was “a good fit.”
“I had a lot of friends who went to school here, and I wanted to stay fairly close to home,” he said.
He also chose to get a degree in education because it was familiar to him.
“I was, at that time, wanting to get into coaching,” he said, “which I did for several years prior to getting into administration, football, basketball and track.”
He also met his future wife, Marsha, a business major, at ASU.
“She got into education when we had our first child in 1980 so she’s been at Roscoe ISD longer than I have, 35 years,” he said.
In May, Alexander was honored for his work with the 2015 Grover C. Morlan Award, made each year by the Abilene Christian University Department of Teacher Education to an alumnus who has made significant contributions to the field of education.
Dr. Dana Pemberton, chair of ACU’s Teacher Education Department, praised Roscoe Collegiate for being built on the belief that all students, regardless of socio-economic, demographic, cultural or technological background, can be college and career ready upon completion of their 12th-grade year.
Alexander served Roscoe ISD in a variety of roles, including high school principal, grant writer and English language arts and kinesiology teacher, before taking the reins as superintendent. He also continued his own education, earning a master’s degree in educational administration from Abilene Christian University and a doctorate in agricultural education through a joint program with Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University.
“When I was working on my dissertation, they had a larger study on creative problem solving going on,” he said, “so we did a study there at Roscoe. We had a group doing more differentiated instruction using high cognition, hands-on strategies—called creative problem solving—and a control group doing more traditional teacher-dominated instruction.”
“We saw a significant difference in the groups, so that is when we as a school district started moving heavily in the direction of creative problem solving,” he added. “In 2009, we were certified as the first rural early college district in Texas.”
In 2011, Roscoe ISD was named one of the first 23 schools in the Texas High Performing Schools Consortium and, in 2012, became a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Academy.
In May, 90 percent of Roscoe’s high school graduating class of 2015 had also earned a college associate degree.
“Our goal, when we began as an early college district, was to hit the 90 percent completion rate by 2015 and we did it,” Alexander said. “I think we’re the first one in the nation to have that high of a completion rate for early college. It’s a good model for Texas because everyone wins.”
The expectations for Roscoe students continue through college and into graduate school.
“We’ve had an agreement with Angelo State for five years, and most of our students enroll there,” Alexander said. “Our goal is for 90 percent or greater of those who complete the associate degree to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years. Then we’d like 50 percent of those to complete a graduate degree, so within five years of graduating from Roscoe they have their master’s degree.”
“It’s part of a larger initiative to break the generational poverty cycle through higher education,” he said.
In addition to his career in education, Alexander is a self-employed production agriculturalist who manages crops and livestock.
“I always tell people I got into education to support my farming habit,” Alexander said. “But I’ve always enjoyed education and I’m glad I was able to do that.”