District reorganizes central staff to plan for continued growth
District reorganizes central staff to plan for continued growth
Posted on 07/10/2017
This is the image for the news article titled District reorganizes central staff to plan for continued growth

Ryder Warren, Ed.D., took the reins as superintendent of schools for Northwest ISD, one of the fastest-growing school districts in the metroplex, one year ago. His immediate priorities were focused on building relationships with staff, students and community members.

“The reputation of Northwest ISD alone is what drove me and my family here,” Dr. Warren said. “I said all along this is a district that did not need to change its course. I have been truly impressed by what I have observed this year, and I know we can only grow and improve from this point forward.”

Dr. Warren’s areas of focus for the 2016-17 school year included building on educational excellence, preparing for growth and planning for financial stability. Part of the areas of target included aligning district administrative staff into two divisions: academics, and business and operations.

“It was with careful planning and consideration of the needs for the district that this recommendation was brought forth to the school board,” Dr. Warren explained. “Having an academics division and a business and operations division allows NISD administration to align collectively and perform efficiently as an organization.”

The changes include the following reclassifications to current staff, with no additional staff added to the district:

  • Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations: Jon Graswich
  • Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: Dr. Rob Thornell
  • Executive Director of Communications: Emily Conklin
  • Executive Director of Purchasing and Contract Management: Mark Vechione
  • Executive Director of Facilities: Jim Sadler
Jon Graswich Rob Thornell Chris Jones Mark Vechione Mark Vechione
Jon Graswich Rob Thornell Emily Conklin Mark Vechione Jim Sadler

Jon Graswich, deputy superintendent for business and operations
Jon Graswich has worked in Northwest ISD for approximately 20 years and was the associate superintendent of business and operations prior to his new role. As the deputy superintendent for business and operations, he will oversee the finance department, purchasing and contracts, facilities, and human resources. He has previously worked as a budget director in Austin ISD, where he began his career in public education in 1985.

Mr. Graswich received his bachelor’s degree in environmental design from Texas A&M University and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a TSBPA-certified public accountant and a member of the Texas Association of School Business Officials. Since 2000, he has led the district to numerous state, national and international financial reporting and budget presentation recognitions.

Dr. Rob Thornell, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction
Dr. Rob Thornell served as the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction prior to being named a deputy superintendent. In this role, he supervised 27 campuses and led the areas of curriculum and instruction for pre-kindergarten through 12th grades since 2013. He joined Northwest ISD in 2007 as principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School and later accepted a position as the executive director of curriculum and staff development in 2011. He has previously worked in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Coppell ISD and Abilene ISD.

Dr. Thornell received a bachelor of science in multi-disciplinary studies from Texas Tech University, a master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas and a doctor of education in education administration from Baylor University. He is currently a board member for the Texas ASCD – Professional Learning Community for Educators. Dr. Thornell has received state and national recognition for his presentations and publications on professional learning communities, workshop models, transformational learning and community-based accountability. In his new role, Dr. Thornell will oversee curriculum and instruction, instructional technology, and technology.

Emily Conklin, executive director of communications
Emily Conklin has served as the district’s director of communications since 2013. She began working in Northwest ISD in 2009 as the district’s multimedia specialist, introducing video production and social media as valuable communication tools. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University in mass communications and is currently participating in the certified public communicator cohort at Texas Christian University.

Mrs. Conklin has given numerous presentations across the state and nation regarding growing successful public relations departments and implementation of innovative communication methods. Before working in Northwest ISD, Mrs. Conklin worked for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas. As executive director of communications, Mrs. Conklin oversees communications, media relations, the Partners in Education program, advertising, and the Northwest ISD Education Foundation.

Mark Vechione, executive director of purchasing and contract management
Mark Vechione has served the district as director of purchasing and contract management since 2014, leading the purchasing department to multiple state awards since 2014. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at El Paso and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. He came to Northwest ISD from Socorro ISD as director of purchasing.

Mr. Vechione has taught certification classes, workshops and seminars across the state for the Texas Association of School Business Officials. He currently serves as a board member for TASBO and the TASB Buyboard Purchasing Cooperative, and he was a finalist for the 2014 TASBO Commitment to Excellence Award. As the executive director of purchasing and contract management, Mr. Vechione is responsible for the bidding and procurement process for all 27 campuses as well as outsourced contracts including transportation, child nutrition services and the employee health clinic.

Jim Sadler, executive director of facilities
Jim Sadler has led the district’s maintenance department as director since 2001. He has overseen maintenance as the district underwent a tremendous period of growth, from 12 campuses and 5,700 students to 27 campuses and more than 22,000 students.

Mr. Sadler’s career began in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, where he spent 18 years in facility support services. At C-FB ISD, he started out as a carpenter, became a department head and prior to his departure, he oversaw facilities management. As the district’s executive director of facilities, Mr. Sadler oversees a growing staff of about 50; he will direct maintenance, energy management, custodial services, grounds and pest management.