DESOTO, TX — During the August 22, 2022, regular meeting of the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees, the board approved a number of leadership appointments which included the following:
- Chief Communications Officer: Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones
- Director of Business Operations: Saundra Scott
- Director of Career and Technical Education: Melinda Pugh
- Director of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: Dr. Authurlyn Morgan
- Director of Evaluation and Assessments: Lakedra Cardell
Chief Communications Officer: Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones
Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones was promoted to Chief Communications Officer for the district after joining DeSoto ISD in 2017 as the Director of Communications.
In her work for DeSoto ISD, Blackmon-Jones has designed and shaped the district’s position through messaging, marketing, and public relations improving organizational awareness and engagement.
Blackmon-Jones contributions to the district include the following:
- Leadership, growth, and development of the district’s social media platforms yielding a 400+% growth by creating and producing tech-based content strategies to extend messaging via podcasts, virtual webinars, and targeted content tailored for social media
- Engagement of Spanish-language dominant communities in the metroplex via a multi-pronged Marcomm strategy encompassing tv, radio, and digital marketing as well as print and billboard ads, and community engagement which doubled engagement among the organization’s Latinx demographic groups
- Development of positive and celebratory media coverage of district staff, students, and initiatives
- Design and implementation of processes that streamlined the work of the Communications department and its service to internal and external stakeholders
- Leadership of the district’s crisis communications efforts regarding organizational finance, the COVID-19 global health pandemic, and safety and security.
Prior to joining DeSoto ISD, Blackmon-Jones held positions in the Dallas ISD Communications Services department where she led projects related to internal and external communications and marketing and bond communications and marketing.
Blackmon-Jones is a graduate of Baylor University where she earned her bachelor’s in Journalism-Editorial News (2005) and her master’s in Strategic Communications at Seton Hall (2017). She holds professional certificates in Diversity & Globalization and Strategic Communication, Leadership & Change.
As the district’s CCO, Blackmon-Jones will oversee internal and external district communications, marketing, media relations, and engagement and partnerships.
Director of Business Operations: Saundra Scott
Saundra Scott brings more than 20 years of experience as a public sector financial administrator to her role as Business Services Director in DeSoto ISD. In previous roles, Scott administered $20+million budgets; As part of her work, Scott monitored key legislation for potential financial and business impact and brings considerable experience working with external auditors responding to audit findings with financial statements and audit schedules prepared according to state, federal, and GAAP standards.
Scott most recently served as a grant manager in Duncanville ISD before serving as a senior post-award analyst at the University of North Texas Health Science Center where she project managed more than $100M in grant funds including budgetary reconciliation and monitoring.
Scott began her career as a tax assessor before transitioning to serve as the Assistant Director of Business at an area school district from which she advanced to larger business and financial management roles in Dallas ISD and Texas Can Academies.
The Director of Business Operations is responsible for supporting, overseeing, and implementing effective operating procedures for federal & state programs, purchasing, payroll, and accounts payable and will report to and work collaboratively alongside newly-appointed Chief Financial Officer Lawrence Galloway.
Director of Career and Technical Education: Melinda Pugh
Melinda Pugh began her teaching career in Baton Rouge, LA after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Southern University and A & M before transitioning to Dallas to pursue a teaching career at H. Grady Spruce High School in Dallas ISD.
In 2002, Pugh joined the DeSoto ISD family as a high school CTE Business teacher and has served in various roles and capacities throughout the school district in her 20 years of service to the school community. During her service as a teacher through 2013, Pugh served as the Business Professionals of America club co-sponsor, Rotary Interact Club sponsor, sophomore class sponsor, senior class sponsor, and CTE department head. During this time, Pugh also played an integral part (along with the late CTE Director – Dr. Tracy Tolbert) in building out the current CTE Programs of Study while the campus underwent a major rebuilding and reconstruction. In 2013, Pugh became the district’s Project-Based Learning Coordinator, where she oversaw the development of the district’s former iSTEAM3D academies at each middle school.
Pugh currently serves as the district CTE/STEM Coordinator and also assists with other facets within the DeSoto ISD College, Career, and Military Readiness department.
As the district’s CTE Director, Pugh will oversee, evaluate and provide leadership for the DeSoto Career and Technical Education program, and be responsible for the overall department, budget management, and leadership of the Career and Technical Education Team, while developing and working with internal and external career and technical industry partners to enhance and expand the district’s CTE offerings and curriculum.
Director of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: Dr. Arthurlyn Morgan
Dr. Arthurlyn Morgan has been an educator for 28 years. She is a proud graduate of Jarvis Christian College, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education, and Texas Christian University, where she received her Master of Educational Administration and Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Most recently, she has served as District Coordinator of Response to Intervention and District Coordinator of MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) in the Crowley Independent School District. She is a life-long learner who is passionate about using education as a tool to create better outcomes. Her past experience includes first and third-grade teachers, assistant principals, and principals.
The DeSoto ISD MTSS Director will act as a collaborative leader in supporting an MTSS framework ensuring programs are in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and meet DeSoto ISD students’ instructional needs. In this role, Dr. Morgan will work in collaboration with district-level and campus leaders in building strong systems to include data-driven decision-making, progress monitoring and conflict resolution, and management for all students.
Director of Evaluation and Assessments: Lakedra Cardell
Lakedra Cardell has served at various levels of education beginning with having served as a classroom teacher before advancing into roles as an assistant principal and principal. Cardell most recently served as a districtwide testing coordinator in Dallas ISD where she oversaw and supported more than 45 campuses with effective implementation of the district, state, and national assessments. In that role, Cardell designed, developed, and presented training regarding assessments and accountability and reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated performance processes and systems to improve assessments while increasing quality control to ensure accurate student data reporting and collection.
The Director of Evaluation and Assessment will oversee the district’s testing operations and manage its testing portfolio. Cardell will work with campuses and campus testing coordinators to ensure fidelity of all assessments and develop innovative ways to clarify procedures and processes while building systems focused on creating clear and efficient assessment and evaluation tracking and outputs.
About DeSoto Independent School District
DeSoto ISD is a public independent school district serving more than 7,400 students and 1,000 employees. The district comprises 10 campuses serving students from early childhood through graduation. DeSoto ISD’s mission is to ensure students, without exception, learn and grow at their highest level. The District’s 2021 Be The Future Strategic Plan focuses on equity, access, and excellence in an effort to provide a holistic and well-rounded educational experience to students and families in DeSoto, Glenn Heights, and Ovilla.
For more information about DeSoto ISD, visit www.desotoisd.org