U.S. Education Secretary DeVos Visits Dallas-Fort Worth Metro Area

Washington, DC - - (April 5, 2018) - - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today travelled to Texas for a school tour at Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning in Richland Hills followed by a school and neighborhood visit in Dallas hosted by Urban Specialists, a group of local activists working to combat poverty.

Around noon, Secretary DeVos arrived at Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning and was met by Superintendent Dr. Darrell Brown of Birdville ISD and Principal Carol Adcock of Birdville Technology Center. The Secretary began the tour in Joshua Gentry's culinary arts class and observed the students baking pastries. Next she saw how students analyze an imaginary crime scene in Michael Sanders' forensic science class. Later, the Secretary joined Chris Copelands' class as they directed robots with a remote control. Finally, she participated with students in a virtual welding lesson on the computer in Mike Benton's construction class.

The Secretary departed the classrooms and headed to a roundtable discussion on the importance of career and technical education and exposing students to the multiple career pathways available for them to pursue. The roundtable was hosted by Dr. Brown and Associate Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Clark.

Participants of the roundtable included:
  • Dr. Darrell Brown, Superintendent, Birdville Independent School District (BISD)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Clark, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
  • Carol Adcock, Principal, Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning, BISD
  • Allison Vinson, Director, Career and Technology Education, Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • Skip Baskerville, Associate Superintendent for HR, Governance and Support Services, BISD
  • Katie Bowman, Associate Superintendent for Finance, BISD
  • Randy Sumrall, Executive Director, Technology, BISD
  • Mark Thomas, Communications Officer, BISD
  • Clarence Simmons, Executive Director for Secondary Education, BISD
  • Lorene Ownby, Executive Director of Elementary Education, BISD
  • Kelvin Dilks, Board of Trustees, BISD

The Secretary proceeded to Urban Specialists' Headquarters where she and Bishop Omar Jahwar, CEO and Founder of Urban Specialists participated in a roundtable meeting with the group's business and community stakeholders to discuss what the organization is doing to help at-risk youth in their community. She then joined Bishop Jahwar on a three- stop driving tour. They first arrived at Billy Earl Dade Middle School, where Principal Tracie Washington walked Bishop Jahwar and Secretary DeVos to a math class, science class and reading class.

Next, Bishop Jahwar continued the visit with a 20 minute driving tour of the 16 Streets Neighborhood, the core area of Dallas where Urban Specialists work.

The last stop was at the 16 Streets Center, a renovated strip mall the group uses to host after school programs and other activities for local students and families. When the Secretary arrived, Bernadette Nutall, Executive Director of Dallas Urban Specialists led a discussion with the group's mentors where the Secretary shared her observations from the day.