McKinney, TX - In the relative cool of the early morning, they arrived in pairs and groups, making their way through the east and west gates of McKinney ISD Stadium. Those who arrived alone soon joined up with friends and colleagues, exchanging hugs and laughter as the concourse and seating areas began to fill with MISD teachers and staff.

Employees from every campus and office across the district had not gathered in one place since the 2019 Convocation. And, it was time at last to come together, on the morning of Friday, August 6, to officially welcome MISD back for the 2021–2022 school year, to reconnect and share in the collective vision for the district.

Ultimately, MISD students were the focus of the proceedings and, appropriately, were among those who helped make Convocation happen. A host of cheerleaders from Cockrill, Dowell, Evans, Faubion, SJMS and all three high schools formed a welcoming party at the gates with members of the MISD Board of Trustees.

The Boyd Fusion Choir, MHS Royal Pride Marching Band and Color Guard and the McKinney North Drum Line provided entertainment that underscored McKinney ISD’s status as one of NAMM’s Best Communities for Music Education.

There was a dance contest among the high school mascots and video presentations that featured MISD students talking about their teachers — with heartfelt and, often humorous, sentiment.

MISD Board of Trustees Vice President Stephanie O’Dell welcomed everyone back on behalf of the board, and Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel drove home his theme for the year: connections are essential.

“Connections matter; always have, always will,” he said. “I’m talking about reconnecting with our community through campus and district wide events. I’m talking about reconnecting with our peers … I’m talking about reconnecting with parents … But, most importantly, I’m talking about reconnecting with our kids. They’ve never needed us more than they do this coming year.

“That is why I am imploring you to keep our McKinney ISD connections strong,” McDaniel said. “As we move on and reconnect, I hope you understand that you are reconnecting with what is truly a calling. Each of you are called to do this. You do it with spirit. You do it with enthusiasm. But, most importantly, you do it with love.”