Running readies to take KISD
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Preliminaries being what they are, Peter Running will have to wait
21 days from the time the trustees selected him before being officially
named the new superintendent of Kemp Independent School District.
And, of course, there’s the obligation to his former school district,
the Little Elm ISD, where he is finishing up as the Director of Human
Running’s first official day at KISD should be around Wednesday, May 17
– until then there are a lot of “getting to know you” kind of things to
“I want to take at least one day a week to be on the campuses and start
meeting teachers, students and community members,” Running said.
He said he sees a lot of good things happening in the community.
“I get a good feeling talking to the people. They seem like good folks
who want to do what’s best for their community,” he said.
Running said he wants to bring a lot of enthusiasm to Kemp.
“I want the school to become a center for the community,” he said.
While he wasn’t born in Texas, as the saying goes, he lost no time in
Running was born in Sernia, Ontario.
He attended the University of Michigan, graduated in 1979, and began
teaching special education and serving as coach.
“I taught in Michigan for two years, and then moved from Michigan to
Brownsville,” he said.
From Brownsville he moved to Alice, where he taught world history.
Running said he decided to continue his education and aim more for the
So he moved to Bryan-College Station, where he got his master’s degree
in education while he taught kindergarten through fifth grade.
He was hired as an assistant principal, and moved up to associate
principal in Brenham.
He has been the superintendent of two Class A schools – two years at
Alvord and six years at Nordheim.
His wife, Jamie, is a vice president and bank manager of Guaranty Bank
Running said his youngest stepson is graduating from Terrell High
School, and just recently signed with a college, earning a scholarship.
Running has two hobbies that he enjoys.
Number one, he loves to cook and often does. He and his wife spend a lot
of hours in the kitchen.
“I love to barbecue and to make hors d’oeuvres,” he said.
His second hobby is golfing, but admits he can’t spend a lot of time on
“I guess I have played only a time or two this year,” he said.
Girls ‘serious’ after crash
First responders credited with saving their lives
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Reports
PRAIRIEVILLE–Three young girls are hospitalized at Children’s Medical
Center in Dallas with serious head injuries, following a one-car
rollover on Farm-to-Market 90 and County Road 4015 just east of
Prairieville April 15.
Of the three girls, Gracie Morris, age 3, sustained the greatest
injuries, mostly to her head and face – every bone in her face was
As of Thursday, it was reported she was being kept in a drug-induced
coma to keep her calm.
The main concern in her case is the swelling within her skull, Texas
Department of Public Safety Trooper Brad Brewer told The Monitor.
Her 5-year-old sister, Courtney, was hospitalized with an open head
injury, but was able to leave the intensive care unit Thursday, Brewer
A third youngster, Presley Woods of Ennis, also 5, was also injured in
Her father is Danny Woods, and she was possibly visiting with him that
weekend, Brewer speculated.
Doctors give Presley Woods a 60 percent chance of a full recovery. She
was still in intensive care, but was reportedly making some conscious
movement, Brewer reported.
All three children were ejected from the vehicle, indicating none were
restrained in car seats or by safety belts.
“The Kemp and Mabank volunteer fire departments did a wonderful job at
the scene. They’re the ones who saved those kids’ lives,” Brewer said.
Three helicopters were dispatched to airlift the children to Children’s
Medical Center soon after the call came in at around 2:30 p.m.
Kids sitting in the back seat of a car can easily distract a driver, and
that’s apparently what happened, Brewer related.
Amanda Morris, 28, of Cedar Acres Loop, was driving the car.
“Actually, she did a pretty good job at keeping control of the car while
in the right-side ditch,” Brewer said.
It was after getting out of the ditch that Amanda Morris
overcompensated, sending the vehicle into the left-side ditch, where the
car hit a tree and rolled over twice, Brewer reported.
Amanda Morris’ injuries were mainly a badly broken left arm – from her
elbow to her hand.
She had one surgery, and will require another in the weeks ahead, Brewer
Morris was due to be released on Thursday.
“There are going to be some charges filed, but we’re going to let the
grand jury determine that,” Brewer said.
Authorities probe PS double
Monitor Staff Reports
PAYNE SPRINGS–Investigators from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office
are looking into an apparent murder-suicide that took place in two
nearby locations in Payne Springs Monday.
E.J. Starkes, 55, was found dead at his home near County Road 2530 by a
family member between 8 and 9 p.m., it was reported.
That’s when officers were dispatched to the scene.
Soon afterwards, detectives Kevin Hanes, David Faught, Pal Habelt and
Chief Deputy Mark Jordan discovered a second body, that of Starkes’
girlfriend and neighbor, Regina Stritmatter, 35, who lived about a
quarter-mile down CR 2530.
Stritmatter’s body was found outside her house.
Authorities recovered several weapons from both locations, but were
uncertain as to which were used, according to reports.
A .270-caliber deer rifle was found at Starkes’ address and a
.22-caliber rifle was discovered at the Stritmatter house.
So far, detectives believe Stritmatter was murdered, and Starkes then
used a weapon on himself.
No sign of a struggle was apparent from the initial investigation, and
no witnesses have been found so far.
The bodies were taken to Southwest Forensics Institute in Dallas for
Results from DNA tests aren’t expected for two to three months.