Curtis Jenkins. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

We love Curtis Jenkins, and so does Richardson ISD. He recently accepted a position as a relationship specialist working in Human Resources.

“He is leading the district focus on supporting our classified (hourly) and paraprofessional staff members. From child nutrition to transportation to custodial staff, his focus is to target their professional development and learning to help them grow as valued members of the district,” said Tim Clark, executive director of communications for RISD.

Jenkins showed his ability to teach empathetic lessons to his elementary riders when he  created a community inside bus No. 1693. Students apply for their jobs and earn “bus bucks” that Jenkins designed himself. Children who don’t work receive a weekly stipend, but they’re taxed $2.  

(Photography by Danny Fulgencio.)

Students are fined when they break Jenkins’ rules, which are centered around respect and compassion.

“I’m teaching love,” he said in an Advocate article. “If you don’t love, it might cost you some things.”

Jenkins would plans daily lessons that he worries are otherwise neglected. Girls get on the bus first in bad weather, he said, because they’re “queens of the future.” He shows students how to fly paper airplanes and tie a tie.

“As he continues through this work, he will use his experiences in building relationships with students to teach other employees how to create a sense of community and engagement wherever they work,” Clark said. “Through his efforts, he is helping to create a system of community-building among employees in their different district roles, with an emphasis on building relationships and prioritizing that the ultimate goal of all employees is to serve students or directly support those stakeholders who do.”

“He has a skill set that I can’t pay to train anybody on, and that’s how to love people with a gift and a way that, you know, is priceless,” Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone said to KXAN.

Stone was the person who promoted Jenkins his new position as the district’s relationship specialist and he’s now responsible for changing the culture for all 39,000 students in the district.