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Listening, Learning & Leading to Higher Heights

Dear Hempstead ISD Families and Staff,

It’s been a fast and furious summer and it’s hard to believe that the school year is almost here. Summertime is often a time of deep personal reflection for me. I have continued this practice with a new twist this year now that I am serving as your superintendent. One thing that has impacted me is the deep love that the community has for our school district. As I have met with a variety of stakeholders across the district the same message rings true: We love our school district and community and we want it to be great. I hear that message loud and clear. Our amazing school board also expressed this the very first time I had the privilege of meeting with them.

As I was typing this message my neighbor stopped by to offer me some encouraging words and to ask what I needed. We spoke briefly and we both agreed on one thing, the formula for success doesn’t have to be complex or confusing. He simply stated, “We have to go back to the basics.” That is such a true statement. We must ensure that our students are learning, our staff is supported and growing, we have high-quality competitive athletic and extracurricular programs, quality facilities, and we treat every stakeholder with dignity and respect. And you know what Bobcats, we can do this!

You may be wondering what have they been doing at that administration building all summer. We’ve been focusing our efforts on the beginning process to make Hempstead ISD the best district in the area. We are ensuring that learning and leading are top-notch in our district. We are launching Higher Heights University, a comprehensive leading and learning development training center. Within Higher Heights University we are creating a New Teacher Academy and a Bobcat Leadership Academy for aspiring leaders. We believe that we must grow people throughout the organization. Our new to the profession teachers will get an intensive bootcamp to prepare them for teaching that will be second to none. Our instructional leaders have been working to redesign practices that will ensure our teachers are best prepared to provide our students with the best instruction and learning environment possible. We are also partnering with Footsteps2Brilliance to launch Hempstead Reads, a communitywide initiative to promote literacy across the city for our youngest Bobcats. Last month we launched the “You Talk, I Listen” community feedback and engagement sessions for parents, community members, and staff to provide direct feedback on ways to sustain success as well as give feedback on opportunities for improvement.

This summer, we have worked tirelessly to improve how we communicate with you as well as our channels for communication. Our website, parent notification system, our district social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have been updated and are used frequently to provide information and to share our story with the community and beyond. 

Additional summer projects include building and facility updates. We have begun Phase I of improving Bobcat Stadium. This includes a repair, raise, and leveling of our football field to improve drainage and other cosmetic issues. There have been repairs and improvements to athletic facilities, transportation improvements, and campus buildings. There were several immediate HVAC needs and we have addressed all of those with new HVAC units, which are scheduled to be installed in the coming months. 

Our students deserve the best and my commitment to you is to always give you my best. We are only getting started and there is still work that must be done. The great thing is together, we can do this. 

One last thing, I see all of your positive social media posts out there. People keep asking me what’s going on in Hempstead…we keep seeing all of these great things. I look at them and tell them, “We are going to #HigherHeights, stay tuned!” 

With Bobcat Pride,


Herbert O’Neil

Superintendent of Schools

Hempstead ISD