“School is business,” Dr. Reece Blincoe, Brownwood school superintendent, told members of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Friday, and the local district is prepared to initiate programs that will prepare students for both additional education and the workplace when they graduate.

“We want to be a community partner,” Blincoe said. “One thing I love most about Brownwood is its sense of community, and Brownwood is a community in every sense of the word. If our schools need something, our community comes together and gets it done.”

Blincoe said he recognizes that the quality of public schools is a top factor in community and economic development.

“They come for the schools,” Blincoe said of residents who relocate. “I want us to have the best education system in Texas, and it’s a goal that is truly attainable.”

Blincoe pointed to numerous achievements of Brownwood schools’ students and educators that he said have laid the foundation for further success.

“When I came here, I was told Brownwood is well known for its athletics, but not so much about its academics,” Blincoe said. He took the position on April 1 after Dr. Sue Jones retired.

He said Brownwood achieved “recognized” status as a school district while still a Class 4A district, putting it in the top 4 percent statewide.

“Very few districts made recognized,” Blincoe said, and he complimented Jones and the district’s principals, teachers and administrators for that achievement. “All that was pre-Reece,” he said.

He also pointed out that six of seven school campuses have been exemplary or recognized in recent years, and have won various other state and national awards, especially at the elementary school level. But the high school has also been picking up academic awards lately, as well.

“We have lots of reasons to be proud of our high school,” Blincoe said.

Blincoe also outlined various initiatives that will make it possible so that “every student can be on a career highway. We want to help prepare your future employees for you, and want to encourage each student to continue learning” after graduation, even if it’s outside a classroom.

He said the initiatives will lead to providing every high school student with a laptop computer and the network at high school so they can use them. Other educational programs emphasize health sciences, agricultural sciences, marketing, technology and basic preparation for the work place.

Blincoe said another emphasis will be on improved communication between the district and the community, and the district and parents. A newly-formed public relations committee will help with the former goal.

Blincoe said he is working with Howard Payne University on a program that will allow Brownwood seniors to take classes on the HPU campus.

“I want to work mostly with first generation students, to get them on the university campus, to show them that they can succeed,” Blincoe said. “Most of the time it’s a mental block, because they think because their parents didn’t go to college, they can’t either. Then we can be there to catch them if they stumble, be there to encourage them. And we’ll continue to work with (Brownwood Regional Medical Center) to get students job-ready.

“School is a business,” Blincoe said, with an annual budget of approximately $25 million and $14.4 million coming from the state and federal governments. The rest is local property taxes. “We’re going to continue to stand up for our schools, and provide the students with as much as we can.”