By Donna Parker
After 21 years at the helm of the North East Independent School District, Richard Middleton may have resigned as superintendent but don’t expect him to rest on his laurels. Richard, who received a degree in history from Trinity in 1969, followed by an EDD and PhD in education from the University of Texas, has big plans that he’s already implementing.
“The most fascinating areas of my NEISD leadership have been in finance and the legislative process and that’s what I’m leveraging for my new career,” says Richard, who serves as a regional vice president for the non-profit College Board.
“We’re working on the SAT, AP courses and new products such as Springboard with a focus on college admittance diversity targeting students with no family history of education beyond high school.”
“In addition, I’m the legislative chair for the Texas Association of School Administrators. Really, Trinity is responsible for my educational development. John Moore, department of education, was my great mentor and even now, Shari Albright and Angela Breidenstein, both also from the department of education, are partners and advisors for North East’s magnet school program. John introduced me to teaching, education, brain research, and educational development when he was chair of education. We’ve managed to impact the quality of research including joint partnerships with industry and business.”
Richard says the Trinity education faculty and in particular, Ivan Fitzwater, department of education, showed him that education was critical to the future and especially that private enterprise could richly energize economic growth.
“Fitz and John Moore encouraged me to enroll in the UT cooperative administration program and it was there that I grew professionally and very quickly I might add. I saw how educational finance was changing and focused my dissertation on that. That new knowledge was the key to my professional growth. Trinity’s preparation program for those of us involved in improving education was just outstanding.”
Continuing on this theme, Richard cites Tom Sergiovanni, department of education, who designed the concept for the district’s magnet programs, Alicia Hill Thomas ’72, M.Ed. ’74, who served as his associate superintendent and many other Trinity grads employed in the district who were change agents for the school district.
In his “spare” time, Richard is the president of the Texas School Alliance, a member of the Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, and serves at the appointment of state Rep. Joe Straus to the select committee for finance in the state legislature.
He has taken the time to enjoy his family through the years, saying now that a new addition is stealing the spotlight.
“Our granddaughter, Aubrey Leigh, was born seven weeks ago to our son, Andrew, and his wife. Let’s just say my wife, Susie’s, Facebook page is littered with pictures!” he laughs.
Susie ’70 taught elementary school for many years in the NEISD. Other son, Patrick, just graduated from the University of North Texas and is job searching.
“There’s just so much I could say about Trinity. I took the first class of Tucker Gibson, department of political science, and he remains a great friend. The school really helped me reach my greatest goal which was to achieve a sense of culture and equity for all children in North East ISD.”
You may contact Richard at Ram1947@msn.com.
After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions. We are looking for suggestions in these four categories: 1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator