Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Logo Title


The concept of East Texas Charter High School began in 1988, when Dr. Ron Nelms, assistant superintendent of Kilgore ISD, was given the task of decreasing the escalating dropout rate (19%). Together with Bobby Benbow, Vocational Director, Dan Chadwick, Principal, and Thomas George, Curriculum Director, a plan was developed to create a self-paced individualized high school. Students would attend 4 hours per day and work 15 hours per week. Funding was maximized by having two sessions (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). Additional funding was generated by having as many as possible in a 15 hour per week work cooperative. Students were scheduled 4 hours per day to generate full ADA funding from the Texas Education Agency. Teachers worked both sessions and created a family environment for at-risk students. The design was researched based on the school-within-a-school concept. This original school is still functioning well and has graduated several hundred students after 12 years of success.

One of the men who began the alternative dropout recovery high school is still involved with East Texas Charter High School. Mr. Chadwick works as a part time teacher and helps coach the golf teams.  In 2003, Mr. Terry Lapic arrived at East Texas Charter School to serve as the new Superintendent. Therefore, East Texas Charter High School is not a new thing; it is based on 18 years of success and over 100 cumulative years of experience working with at-risk students.

Dr. Nelms wrote his dissertation for his Ph.D. from Texas A&M on this original school. The conclusion of the dissertation was that more schools offering individualized self-paced instruction are needed. Each new school should not be a clone of the first, because it would need to be customized to the personnel, students, culture, and location.

In the early months of 1998, Dr. Nelms, Dan Chadwick, and Terry Lapic decided to follow through with the suggestion of research. An opportunity was available to apply for a charter school through the Texas Education Agency. This new charter is an independent school district and reports directly to the Texas Education Agency. Approval was granted in August 1998 to open in the fall of 1999. Start up funds helped to find lease space, develop curriculum, hire personnel, and recruit students.

ETCS now operates facilities at 2402 Alpine Road in Longview, Texas.  While the school is no longer a self-paced campus, the school continues its mission of serving "students in need" with a dedicated, loving, and family friendly staff. Come by and say hello, we will gladly share our time with you.