David Denning, assistant principal of Grapevine Middle School, has been selected to serve as the new principal of Colleyville Middle School. Long-time educator Toni Thalken, current CMS principal, is retiring at the end of this school year. The GCISD Board of Trustees formally approved the recommendation during a May 7 special meeting.
Moving to CMS will be a homecoming of sorts for Denning, who served as assistant principal at CMS for five years before joining GMS this school year. He brings a total of 14 years of experience as a teacher and campus administrator in GCISD.
"Mr. Denning is a strong leader whose experience with students, programs and initiatives across our district has prepared him well for this new opportunity," said Dr. Rick Westfall, GCISD Chief Learning Officer. "He is invested in students at the middle school level and is driven to help students find success. He is always seeking opportunities to grow personally and professionally as well as contribute to the advancement of the district, and he shares our vision for middle school success. His collaborative leadership style and ability to make connections with middle school families is a great fit for the CMS community.”
Denning brings a variety of experience to his new role as principal, including serving at three of the four middle schools in GCISD. He began his education career at Cross Timbers Middle School as a U.S. and Texas history teacher and coach for volleyball, cross country and track. While at CTMS, he was active on the campus leadership committee and with several district initiatives including textbook adoption and writing and designing middle school curriculum. He joined CMS in 2006 as assistant principal and was responsible for a variety of duties ranging from instructional strategies, character education and textbooks/learning resources to building/facility use, discipline and culture, and campus emergency planning. He moved to a similar role at GMS in August 2011, has served as the assistant principal for Secondary Summer School, and is principal of the Secondary Summer program for 2012.
Denning also has served on several key district initiatives including the Stakeholders Economic Action Team, the LEAD 2021 Strategic Planning Committee (co-facilitator) and the Middle School Strategic Planning Committee (internal coordinator). He also has been active in district planning for technology, attendance, response to intervention, emergency management and safety audits, grades and reporting, and student-parent handbook.
“I am excited about the opportunity to return to the CMS family,” Denning said. “I have had the fortune of spending time on three middle school campuses in GCISD and have grown and benefited from each experience. I have loved each of the school communities in which I have been privileged to serve and enjoyed getting to know the students, staff and families across the district. Through these experiences, I have come to understand the culture of devoted students, dedicated staff and actively involved parents that make this district great. As I take on this new role, I look forward to the opportunity to help drive CMS forward toward intentional excellence.”
Denning holds a bachelor degree in Secondary Education from Kansas State University, where he was a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society and Sigma Nu Fraternity. He earned a master’s in Educational Administration from Tarleton State University and also holds certifications in Secondary Social Sciences and for Principal grades Early Childhood-12. Additional training includes Texas Observation Protocols, Crisis Prevention Institute, Sheltered Instruction, Behavior Supports, Thinking Maps, Professional Development, and GCISD Formative Assessment.
Denning will finish out the school year at GMS before officially taking over the leadership role at CMS.