Cpl. Miriam Gaytan, center, will take over the Marsh Middle School ROTC program this fall.

Cpl. Miriam Gaytan, center, will take over the Marsh Middle School ROTC program this fall.

There has been a changing of the guard at Marsh Middle School, so to speak. After leading students to four national championships and establishing the Marsh Military Museum, Cpl. David Bates is stepping down as head of the Leadership Cadet Corps — but not because he’s had his fill of transforming struggling schools.

Bates is moving on to establish the same program at Cary Middle School, just a few miles down the road in the Thomas Jefferson feeder pattern.

Cpl. David Bates: Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Cpl. David Bates: Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

“I’m going to do it all over again there,” he says. “Those kids aren’t any different that these kids.”

The ultimate goal? To “open up the eyes of everyone in the district,” Bates says, and roll out the program at schools all over Dallas ISD.

Bates built Marsh’s ROTC program from the ground up (We first wrote about its success back in August 2009). Since then, graduation rates have soared. He also gave students the tools to build and operate their own military museum on campus, full of interactive displays of war memorabilia from local veterans. It’s a neighborhood destination, actually, and if you haven’t been — go. It’s open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Memorial Day. (Read more about Bates in our recent Q&A)

This fall, Cpl. Miriam Gaytan will take the helm of Marsh’s program as Bates moves on. She’s been teaching at his side for two years and, before that, she taught language arts on campus.


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