SMITHVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — The Smithville Independent School District Tigers returned to the classroom Tuesday morning.

KXAN’s Candy Rodriguez interviewed Smithville ISD Superintendent Cheryl Burns one-on-one to get the latest ahead of the school year starting.

Q: What, if any, challenges is the district facing this upcoming school year?

“I would say some of the biggest challenges is just making sure that our brand new staff, because we have younger staff, and I mean, young to the profession, that they are prepared and ready to teach our students and meet their needs,” Burns explained.

Q: When it comes to security that is always top of mind, for parents, anything new or different the district is trying this school year to ensure student and staff safety?

“I think first I need to tell you that in 2017, Smithville ISD made that a priority, safety and security, so we did an outside audit that came in and identified different phases of security upgrades. At this time, we have fencing around all of our elementary and primary schools,” she said.

Burns added the schools feature a secured access entry for “students to be able to come in, and families to come in.”

“We have cameras, for instance, at our elementary school area. There are three buildings, and there are 44 new cameras that are there,” she added.

Burns said they are expected to receive another audit report, and that will allow continuing to upgrade their security measures.

  • Smithville ISD (KXAN Photo/Todd Bynum)
  • Smithville High School (KXAN Photo/Todd Bynum)
  • Smithville Junior High School (KXAN Photo/Todd Bynum)

Q: Are there any unique or interesting stories coming out of the district?

“We just had something interesting happen this last weekend,” she explained. “Our county is a film-friendly county, and so during the summer, we had [Smithville ISD] band actually get to participate in a movie, and then this last weekend we had a different movie on our high school site utilizing some of our facilities, and so you never know when you’re going to see Smithville ISD kids or facilities in a movie,” she said.

Tuesday on KXAN News at 4, hear what the superintendent had to say about any staffing shortages the district may be facing and how the district is tackling the future growth expected for the area.