Bickerstaff takes over as interim principal at BIS

There’s a new face to many students in the office at Bullard Intermediate School this year, but she’s certainly no stranger to Bullard, as Bullard native Amy Bickerstaff has been selected to serve as the interim principal at BIS.

“I am very excited to serve as interim principal at BIS,” said Bickerstaff. “This is a great step in my career as an administrator and I look forward to working with BIS teachers, parents, and students in making this an amazing campus.”

Bickerstaff now leads the BIS staff in a new direction, as the school received marks from the state implying there was work to be done.

“I feel I was selected to this position because of how closely I had previously worked with teachers at BIS,” said Bickerstaff. “BIS was an IR, or Improvement Required, campus recently. Through that, I got to know the BIS teachers really well, as well as the goals of this campus.”

Previously serving at Bullard ISD’s instructional coordinator, 504 coordinator, and test coordinator last year, Bickerstaff was selected to the position during the summer break, filling big shoes left behind by former BIS principal Tommy Wade, who retired this summer.

“After Mr. Wade retired,” said Bickerstaff, “I was asked to step in and to make the transition smooth for BIS teachers, parents, and students. Mr. Wade left very big shoes to fill; he was amazing with both the students and the teachers. He went out of his way to make others feel they were important.”

Bickerstaff has served in the realm of education both as a teacher and administrator, with stops at Oakwood ISD, Tyler ISD, and her hometown Bullard ISD.

“Serving as an educator and administrator in the town I grew up in and graduated from is so wonderful,” said Bickerstaff. “I know most of the students by either me having gone to school with their parents or having them as students when I was the Assistant Principal at Bullard Primary School. They are the same sweet, little faces, just a little older and taller.

As the new BIS interim principal, Bickerstaff believes she brings a sense of excitement and passion to the job

“I believe I bring an excitement with me,” said Bickerstaff. “Even though I’ve been in this profession for a long time, I believe I am very passionate about the students and education.”

One aspect of Bickerstaff’s duties each day is to plan around the ongoing Bullard ISD bond construction project at BIS. With the passed 2015 Bullard ISD bond package, the Bullard ISD Board approved renovations and additions to BIS at a price of $7,229,688, including a base bid of $6,694,375.

In the base bid, the BIS campus is slated to receive a new cafetorium, the enclosing of the entire campus, four additional classrooms, an additional music room and storage, the renovation of the current cafeteria into a band hall, a new band rehearsal room, special program classrooms, upgrades to the gymnasium floor and acoustics, and the replacing of the existing electrical system to meet code.

BIS construction alternatives approved by Trustees included painting external gym metal panels, pre-finished metal liner panels, new data cabling in the existing building, and replacing the roof on the original structure.

“In terms of the construction on campus,” said Bickerstaff, “I have to be both organized and proactive, making sure our students are safe. We have had to work closely with WRL throughout this process. Our biggest problem has been the removal of the “cut-throughs” around campus, getting students from one end of the building to another.”

Throughout the construction at BIS, which is expected to be completed next summer, Bickerstaff plans to make sure students and parents are both informed and aware.

“I plan on getting a lot of information out to both parents and students,” said Bickerstaff, “in order to educate them about what is going on at BIS. We recently did a parent night, where I went over the construction, the new traffic flow, and more. I also plan on sending a newsletter home often to parents to keep them updated. Right now, we are having to tweak some things on a daily basis, and it will probably be like that for the whole year.

“However,” continued Bickerstaff, “the end result of the construction will be worth it. We are basically doubling the size of the school with the new facilities, giving us lots of room for our intervention and speech teachers, as well as a true art class room and band hall. It is going to be a beautiful campus.”

Bickerstaff will serve as the BIS interim principal until Christmas, during which time Bullard ISD administrators will begin searching for someone to fill the position on a permanent basis. According to Bickerstaff, she would welcome the opportunity to fill the position.

“I am very much so interested in the possibility of serving as the head principal at BIS,” said Bickerstaff. “I have enjoyed every second of this position; I have loved working with both the teachers and the students, and I hope to get the opportunity to continue serving. To me, it would feel like I fit here perfectly.”

Bickerstaff graduated from Bullard High School in 1989. After graduation, she attended Tyler Junior College, later transferring to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, where she received her Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education K-6 in 1992. After working in education, Bickerstaff went back to school, earning her Master degree in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2007.

Bickerstaff is married to her husband, Gene, and has two children: Jake, 21; and Kirby, 18, both students at Texas A&M University – College Station.