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Dr. James P. Terry


Although he began his career in Beaumont and taught for two years in Dallas, Mesquite ISD is where Dr. James Terry's passion lies.  He came to Mesquite High School in 1967 as a math teacher and advanced through a variety of administrative positions within the district before becoming superintendent in 2001.  He held that role until June of 2005, when he retired from Mesquite ISD after 38 years of service.

As a highly visible, hands-on leader, Terry made it a priority to spend time
at each campus during the school year.  He also believed in showing respect
to each employee, offering praise for a job well done and giving credit where it was due.  

Securing higher teacher salaries was always a priority for Terry.  He worked
closely with the Mesquite Education Association to research salaries in the
Dallas area.  Despite the extremely tight budget concerns and funding
challenges of a property-poor district, he continually encouraged the Board
of Trustees to keep Mesquite ISD teacher salaries competitive.  He knew the
importance of attracting and retaining the best educators.

Although his heart is in the Mesquite community, Terry is known throughout
the state an as exemplary leader in public education.  In 1999, his peers
recognized him for his dedication and service to education when the Association of Texas Professional Educators presented him with its
Administrator of the Year Award.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Terry served public education through active membership in several organizations and leadership roles, including service on the President's Education Advisory Council for the Texas A&M University System and the Regent's Initiative for Excellence in Education through Texas A&M-Commerce.  He was also a member of the Executive Council of the East Texas School Study, a consortium of more than 50 school districts in North and East Texas, and he served as president of the North Central Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Terry's service to public education made a visible statewide impact while he
served as a member and chairman of the University Interscholastic League's
Legislative Committee.  The Region II 5-A superintendents elected Terry for this representative role while he was serving as deputy superintendent for Mesquite ISD.  According to Terry, his involvement with UIL was one of the most rewarding aspects of his career.

When Dr. James Terry received the 2004 Golden Deeds for Education Award from Texas A&M University, it came as no surprise to those who worked with him in Mesquite ISD.  The award recognizes an educator who has, through actions and deeds, improved the educational system in Texas to enrich the lives of all Texas public school students.

Terry earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from East Texas
State University in Commerce (now Texas A&M-Commerce).  He and his wife,
Fran, have two children, Melissa and Chris, and four grandchildren, Blake,
Alexandra, Luke and Kailie.







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