2018 Distinguished Alumni - Stockton
Dr. Don Stockton - Class of 1979
In his fifteen years as Superintendent of Conroe Independent School District (CISD) in The Woodlands, Texas, Don Stockton proudly shook the hands of 55,000 graduates as they walked across the stage to accept their diplomas. Under Stockton’s leadership CISD student population doubled to 61,000 on sixty campuses, making Conroe the thirteenth largest school district in Texas and the 65th largest in the nation. From 2003 to 2018 bond issues passed, facilities and stadiums rose up, and most important to this superintendent, student-focused programs took root.
When ninth grade teacher, Sam Cable, came to Stockton with an idea to help students who might fall through the cracks of success, Superintendent Stockton was all in, and All Means All was launched. The CISD Education Foundation stepped up to fund $50 monthly incentives and $2000 at graduation to students who maintain a positive attitude and a strong work ethic to stay on track to college. All Means All students are mentored and monitored to ensure that each one shows steady progress toward higher education. The program title became Stockton’s continual challenge to teachers and staff, “Convince me that no kid falls through the cracks.”
Stockton’s commitment to educate all the children of Conroe ISD even includes those serving in juvenile detention. Seven teachers visit these students regularly to ensure that their education stays on track—All Means All.
Dr. Stockton not only wanted students to succeed. He also envisioned the Foundation as a source to generate new teachers from vital para-professionals already employed in the district by offering them scholarships toward college degrees and teacher certification. Stockton named the program after his dad, a WWII and Korean War veteran: The Earl Stockton Memorial Bilingual and Special Education Para-Professional Scholarship.
At West Chicago Community High School Don found teachers and coaches that inspired him, like Jeff Ainsworth and Butch Hansen. Don set the school high jump record his sophomore year, was Most Valuable Player and Co-Captain of the basketball team, and in his senior year was named Honorable Mention All American and Honorary Captain of the Wildcat football team. Don was an Honor Roll student all four years and a member of National Honor Society. When he wasn’t in class or playing sports, Don helped his family’s housekeeping business at Pheasant Run Resort. He says he was proud to clean bathrooms at the hotel or wait tables at the theater.
A football scholarship took Don to Purdue University in the fall of 1979 where he started out as a business major. But, by his junior year he realized that the people who had made a difference in his life were educators. He changed his major to education and says he has enjoyed it ever since.
“One thing I’ve learned in life is you have to do something you’re passionate about. Because we work too hard for it not to be something you’re passionate about.”
After graduation Stockton taught math in Lafayette, Indiana and earned his master’s degree. In 1986 he headed to the Conroe schools in Texas as math teacher and football coach at both Conroe High School and Travis Junior High School. He earned his mid-management certification at Sam Houston University and a doctorate degree at Texas A & M University, and then became principal of The Woodlands High School, McCullough Junior High School, and Knox Junior High School. He served as Assistant Superintendent and Interim Superintendent before being appointed Conroe Independent School District Superintendent of Schools in 2003.
Dr. Don Stockton went to work right away making a difference for students and putting Conroe Independent School District on the map. In 2004 he was given the Texas Counseling Association Layperson Exemplary Service Award from counselors of the public and private practice sectors throughout the state of Texas. In March 2005 he was named Educator of the Month for Texas School Business, and in 2007 Dr. Stockton was named Education Service Center Region VI Superintendent of the Year, Texas Superintendent of the Year Finalist, and was selected as Grand Marshall of the 2007 Conroe Black History Month Parade. At The Woodlands’ 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration Stockton received the 2013 Drum Major Award, an honor given annually to an outstanding individual whose life or work best exemplifies what Dr. King called his notion of greatness—the innate human need for recognition, the desire for distinction—the ideals of being a Drum Major.
In addition to his responsibilities as Superintendent, Stockton volunteers on educational and civic boards and committees including Junior Achievement Board of Southeast Texas, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Food Bank, the Education for Tomorrow Alliance, Assistance League of Montgomery County, and Montgomery County United Way.
In 2014 Dr. Stockton was honored by Texas A & M University College of Education and Human Development as an Outstanding Alumnus. In 2017 he was presented the Community Builders Award by Conroe Masonic Lodge #748 in appreciation of his outstanding community-oriented achievements, and in 2018 Project Hope presented to Dr. Stockton the Trailblazer Award in recognition of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. That same month the Education for Tomorrow Alliance (EFTA) presented the inaugural Dr. Don Stockton Educator Award of Excellence in honor of his support of the EFTA and STEM programs. In March of 2018 Sam Houston State University named Dr. Stockton Distinguished Educator of the Year.
Conroe ISD is now the largest school district ever to be named Exemplary by the Texas Education Agency, a goal Stockton set from the beginning. Under Stockton’s leadership Conroe Independent School District became one of only three districts given the highest rating for high academic achievement while maintaining cost-effective operations eight years in a row. CISD also received the highest recognition for transparency seven years in a row from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. In 2015 the District was one of nine pubic school districts in Texas to receive the title of Honor Roll District from the Educational Results Partnership and the Institute for Productivity in Education.
To honor this passionate educator and advocate of reading, the CISD Board of Trustees will place the Dr. Don Stockton Reading Bench at the entrance to the Deane L. Sadler Administration building and name the new junior high school opening in August 2020, the Donald J. Stockton Junior High School, a fitting tribute to the longest serving superintendent of a large school district in the state of Texas.
Don Stockton retired this spring, shaking the hands of his last graduating class as they walked across the stage to shake his.
West Chicago Community High School and the CHS Educational Foundation are honored to present the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for Academic Leadership to Don Stockton, class of 1979.