Reading With Dr. Stewart

By: Todd Martin
In the midst of an immensely busy schedule, Killeen ISD Deputy Superintendent Desmontes Stewart is determined to stay connected to students, faculty and staff members.

“This is the greatest part of my day,” Stewart told a group of Fowler Elementary School kindergarten students Friday after reading a book to them and asking numerous questions to ensure their comprehension.

The deputy superintendent is making a priority of getting to schools and promoting literacy among the youngest students.

He carries around his own book, “Stuck” by Oliver Jeffers and reads to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students as he makes his way across the school district.

During the current school year, he’s made it to 20 elementary schools.

When he finishes visiting every school in the district, he will start a new book and do it all again with a goal of getting to each elementary school every year.

In addition, he visits a secondary school once a week and focuses on asking questions and listening to students describe their experiences.

“I want to promote literacy and reading and show my love of reading,” Stewart said. “I think the kids enjoy seeing a fresh face.”

The continual tour of schools also keeps the senior leader engaged with students and with teachers and other KISD employees.

Fowler kindergarten teacher Sheri Ellington appreciated the visit.

“I appreciate his personal time because I know he is busy,” she said.

“He was connecting to kids and building relationships while he was here. I like that he was making sure kids were paying attention and being successful with the answers they were giving.”

Reading is a huge part of kindergarten and Ellington said she wants her students to know it is an important skill and also a lot of fun.

“At the end of the school year, many of them can still connect to the stories we read throughout the year,” she said. “Reading is important for everything you learn and it’s fun.”