Meet the New 3Rs Founders
Betty Jenkins and Blaine Helwig have collaborated and focused over the last decade plus on elementary school Title 1 reformation for both leadership and curriculum practices. Their work in two urban Title 1 elementary schools resulted in not only local and state academic recognition, but both campuses were also named National Blue Ribbon Schools in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Additionally, each elementary school was selected by the United States Department of Education as 1 of only 4 schools in the United States to be named national "profile schools" for academic excellence.
Over the last 25 years, Betty Jenkins’ professional educator pathway has evolved from a Spanish bilingual elementary teacher, District Elementary Program Supervisor, elementary assistant principal and lead campus administrator of two Title 1 elementary schools, and as an Executive Director of Elementary Title 1 School Improvement in the Austin Independent School District. In this executive director capacity, Ms. Jenkins facilitated the academic reformation of Title 1 elementary schools via a collaborative approach with principals and school staff. This work focused on expanding the proven pedagogy and curricular methodology implemented at both Graham Elementary and Blackshear Fine Arts Academy – the two most recognized and academically successful Title 1 elementary schools in the 100-year plus history of Austin ISD.
Ms. Jenkins’ campus leadership resulted in the dramatic academic turnaround of two (2) urban Title 1 schools the challenging student demographics typical of a large urban inner city area. Within the first school year, both elementary schools performed and sustained student achievement at the highest Texas Education Agency (TEA) exemplary accountability ratings and academic distinctions possible. Each school year, the academic performance of her campuses placed them amongst the top five of ALL elementary campuses' academic performances in the District for all core subject areas. Thus, academic equity at challenging Title 1 elementary campuses was a replicable reality.
Her leadership also produced recognition as a TEA Reward School for high academic performance as well as consecutive annual Gold Ribbon Award Recognition by the Houston based Children at Risk organization. In 2014, Blackshear elementary school was selected as a prestigious National Blue Ribbon School, and the campus was further honored as one of only four private, charter or traditional public schools selected as a National Blue Ribbon Profile Demonstration School by the United States Department of Education for high student achievement and excellence in educational practices.
She also founded the first elementary Fine Arts Academy in Austin ISD at the Blackshear campus affording children of low socio-economic environments the same creative opportunities as their affluent peers attending high socioeconomic schools. The Academy partnered with local universities, KVUE TV, HEB, local business and architecture firms, volunteer organizations, IBC Bank and renowned Austin fine arts institutions featuring local artists providing student instruction in theatre, individual and group musical instrumental instruction, ballet and creative expression. The innovative campus programming internally funded by grants increased student enrollment at Blackshear by over 50% in only two years.
Ms. Jenkins’ success in school reform, transforming schools into academically vibrant and culturally rich campuses has also brought individual recognition as a district principal of the year nominee, Central Texas HEB Principal Excellence in Education Awards and a statewide finalist for HEB recipient Excellence in Education Awards. Finally, under her systems and resource focused mentoring of entry-level principals, other district Title 1 schools have demonstrated similar academic success at their elementary schools. She is also cofounder of the New 3Rs Academic Transformation. Ms. Jenkins retired from public school work in December of 2021.
Blaine Helwig is a locally, state and nationally recognized campus administrator and was the J. Walter Graham Elementary Principal in Austin ISD for 9 years until his retirement in October of 2016. In that time period, Graham Elementary (an urban Title 1 school) experienced dramatic and sustained academic success with challenging inner-city student demographics. From 2009 to 2016, Graham Elementary School’s academic performance earned exemplary accountability ratings and every possible academic distinction by the Texas Education Agency. The school was also honored in 2012 as a National Blue Ribbon School recipient, and the campus was featured as a National Blue Ribbon Profile School for academic excellence on the United States Department of Education’s website - one of only four schools in the country to receive this prestigious honor. Finally, the language arts, mathematics and science stop-gap resources implemented at Graham also
produced heightened student success at other Title 1 elementary campuses with similar high percentages of English Language Learners, minority and low socioeconomic student populations.
After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985, he began his professional career as a lead structural engineer designing over 100 state and federal highway bridges in Texas. He also worked as a senior project engineer for the Department of Defense with technical engineering management and oversight on the Parrotts Ferry signature bridge retrofit in California as well as environmental site mitigation at Little Dell Dam in Utah and a hydraulic conduit drainage redesign at Lake Sonoma Dam in California.
In 1992, Mr. Helwig was conferred a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. During this period of business study at the University of Texas, he pursued additional and focused coursework in both economics and finance. Additionally, Mr. Helwig is extremely appreciative of the financial support from the US military throughout his years of university education and is a proud veteran of both the United States Air Force and Army.
After working for a couple of years as a finance director at a large, geographically based library system, he was alternatively certified by the University of Texas in elementary education. He taught fourth and fifth grade in self-contained classrooms in the Round Rock Independent School District for six years. It was during these professional years when extensive language arts, science, social studies and mathematics curriculum were developed. The initial design work on the numeracy and literacy stop gap resources were completed, implemented and beta-tested in intermediate elementary classrooms.
In 2004, he was awarded a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Texas State University and labored as an assistant principal at Charlotte Cox Elementary for two years in the Leander Independent School District. He began work in the Austin Independent School District in 2006 as an Elementary Program Supervisor under the direction of the Associate Superintendent’s Office. A year later, he started his principal assignment at J. Walter Graham Elementary and maintained that capacity until his retirement in the fall of 2016.
In 2012, Mr. Helwig was recognized by the United States Department of Education as one of seven recipients in the country with the prestigious Terrel H. Bell award for school transformation, and producing outstanding student achievement for all students regardless of race, language proficiency and socioeconomic status. He was also the 2012 recipient of the Central Texas HEB Principal Excellence in Education Award and a five-time nominee and a two-time finalist for Austin ISD Principal of the Year. Currently, Blaine Helwig is a curriculum writer and a Title 1 education consultant in rural and urban school transformation. He is a cofounder of Celestial Numeracy, a daily numeracy program contracting with Formative Loop that presently serves over 100,000 elementary and middle school students each day as well as a cofounder of the New 3Rs Academic Transformation.