Increasing Each Student's Academic Performance

  • Reading
  • Math
  • Algebra
  • Study Skills
  • SAT/ACT

In Loving Memory Of

barbara-pratt

Barbara Ann Metzger Pratt

May 26, 1933 – January 30, 2011

Barbara Ann Pratt, age 77, Melinda’s mom, of McKinney, Texas, died peacefully with her family at her side Sunday, January 30, 2011, in McKinney. In addition to her husband, Dean, her children and grandchildren, her many students were the essential centers of focus of her life. She lived life with enthusiasm and shared this love with everyone she met. Her students’ achievements touched her deeply and her art teachers were the joy of her life. “The creative, a vital link in the thinking process” was her core belief.

Barbara devoted her life to teaching art, a dream that was nearly derailed when her father insisted she change college majors. But her passion persisted, and she became an award-winning teacher. In 1989, she was the first art teacher to receive the Texas Excellence Award for Outstanding High School Teachers. In 2000, she was named Texas Art Educator of the Year by the Texas Art Education Association. She was also the National Secondary Art Educator, National Art Education Association, 1993; Texas Art Education Association President, 1998-1999; University of Texas Outstanding High School Teachers, 1989; and Texas Art Educator, National Art Education Association, 2001. Her degrees included a BSSS from Ohio University; a MAT from Lynchburg College, Virginia; a BFA University of Texas, San Antonio; and additional graduate work in Art at the University of North Texas, Denton.

A rosary service and visitation was held Friday, February 4, 2011 at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in McKinney with visitation following. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Saturday at St. Michael Catholic Church. Brianna Crenwelge, Christina Fay and Haley Pratt (granddaughters) gave the congregation Mardi Gras beads and cards explaining this was her latest destination and reminder of her joy and zest for life. Jay and Ben Crenwelge and Andrew Fay (grandsons), Mark Crenwelge and Warren Fay (sons-in-law), and Eric Pratt (son) were paul bearers. Jennifer Fay (daughter) read the first lesson. Eric Pratt (son), Jordan Pratt and Andrew Fay (grandchildren) and Dr. Rick Reedy, Frisco I.S.D. Superintendant, spoke after Fr.’s Greg Kelly and Bruce Bradley. Mark Crenwelge cantered and led each hymn. Melinda Crenwelge (daughter) played snare drum with recessional, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord. She was buried in Ridgeview Memorial Park in Allen. A reception following the service was held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in McKinney. A granite bench is next to her gravesite with in-laid porcelain depicting one of her watercolors with her favorite quote, “The Creative, a Vital Link in the Thinking Process.”

“She was a hard worker and she had a calling in the full sense of the word,” said her husband. Mrs. Pratt is credited with energizing school art programs as a teacher and coordinator, most recently with the McKinney and Frisco school districts. Her philosophy was that art skills learned in the classroom enhance student abilities in all subject areas – and in life.

Mrs. Pratt was born in Akron, Ohio, and started studying art at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. “Her dad came up to visit one day, and she was in a live-drawing class,” her husband said. “This was in the early ’50s – and he about died.” At her father’s urging, she transferred to Ohio University in Athens, where she planned to earn a business degree. A school dean, however, persuaded her to switch to a secretarial science program. Mrs. Pratt met her husband at Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree and was awarded Sigma Nu Sweetheart, 1954-55.

She followed her husband’s career to Lynchburg, Virginia, where she earned a master of art in teaching degree from Lynchburg College. Mrs. Pratt started teaching elementary school art in Pelham, Tenn., when her husband decided to study to become an Episcopal priest, attending Sewanee: The University of the South. While the school district officials in Pelham were excited to have the county’s first art teacher, they gave her only $15 a year for art supplies, her husband said. Mrs. Pratt returned to Lynchburg, where St Paul’s Episcopal Church, the church she had attended, collected a U-Haul trailer full of art supplies for her school. “Those Pelham kids, when we were unloading, just clapped,” her husband said. “They were so excited about the things they were going to do.”

As the family moved, Mrs. Pratt continued her teaching career in Fredericksburg, Texas, for 10 years. In 1983, she started teaching art at Plano East High School when Father Pratt was recruited to St Peter’s Episcopal Church in McKinney. After a year in Plano, Mrs. Pratt taught at Richardson High School, where she started the art magnet program. When her husband converted to Catholicism she then had the unique role as the wife of a Catholic priest. Dean and Barbara shared publishing a book of their lifetime “Gleanings”, which were many and included 20 of her artistic creations.

Barbara and Dean were instrumental in the opening of Academics Plus. They were both present from the start, supporting us financially as well as physically every step of the way. Barbara painted our logo in our first location at Woodcreek Plaza, twice actually, once for Britannica and then again the following year for Academics Plus. She designed color schemes and pictures, many of her own creations, in every location—at one point seven in four different cities. Her artistic touch ensured each and every student entered an oasis for learning which created an atmosphere of empowerment, enhanced the joy of learning and encouraged personal excellence in school, home and community.

Barbara taught “Higher Order Thinking Through the Visual Arts” classes at Academics Plus since it’s opening in 1991. A ceremony was held in February 4, 1994 with Mayor Gay proclaiming:

“Know all men by these present

whereas, Academics Plus is holding one and one-half hour drawing classes which will consist of ten sessions incorporating both technical and creative activities; and,

whereas students will learn to communicate and express themselves in a visual way as well as develop thinking skills in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; and,

whereas, critical and creative aspects of thinking will be stressed;
Now therefore, I, John E. Gay, by the power vested in me as mayor of the city of McKinney, Texas, do hereby proclaim Friday, February 4, 1994 as:

Enrichment in the Visual Arts Day

in McKinney, Texas and urge the community to join with me in the recognition of these students following their art instincts and creative expression while developing higher level thinking skills.”

Barbara then joined Academics Plus full time, working closely with Mark and Melinda in the daily operations as well as teaching aspects of the business before returning to the classroom full time as art supervisor.

In the fall of 1994, Mrs. Pratt joined the McKinney schools, where there were three art teachers but none in the elementary schools. She built the art program to have 20 art teachers, including one at each elementary school. She retired from the classroom in 1997 but continued to coordinate the art programs for the McKinney and Frisco school districts. She retired in 2005.

She is survived by her husband, Dean Pratt of McKinney, Texas; daughters, Jennifer Fay and husband, Warren of Belton, Texas and Melinda Crenwelge and husband, Mark of Waco, Texas; son, Eric Pratt and wife Toni of Plano, Texas; grandchildren, Andrew Fay of Austin, Texas, Christina Fay of Belton, Texas, Jay Crenwelge and wife, Anna of Overland Park, Kansas, Ben Crenwelge of Waco, Texas, Brianna Crenwelge of College Station, Texas, Jordan Pratt of Austin, Texas, and Haley Pratt of Plano, Texas; sister and brother-in-law, Margaret Ann and Ralph Kelley of Southpoint, Ohio; and numerous other loving family and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Barbara’s impact on Academics Plus, as in everything she did, was full of passion and enthusiasm while calling us to increasingly higher and higher levels of excellence. Her imprint in all we do is clearly visible. To all who touched her so deeply, we thank you.


pic-dean-prattDean Pratt

August 19, 1934-August 3, 2016

Dean Pratt, age 81, of McKinney, Texas, died peacefully with his family by his side at home Wednesday, August 3, 2016.  Dean was born August 19, 1934, in Ironton, Ohio, to J. Earl and Edna Dean Pratt.  He married Barbara Ann Metzger on August 27, 1955, in Athens, Ohio.  She preceded him in death January 30, 2011.  Dean received a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio University, College of Arts and Sciences in 1956, a Master’s of Business Administration from Kent State in 1964, an Advanced Graduate Study degree, School of Education, from University of Virginia in 1970, a Magistri in Divinitate, from the University of the South in 1973 and a Doctoris in Ministerio from the University of the South in 1997.

Dean grew up in Ironton, Ohio and spent much time at his family homestead in South Point, Ohio.  He played football and graduated from Ironton High School.  He was Treasurer of his class at Ohio University and a member of Zeta Mu chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity.  After graduation, he worked in personnelat Babcock and Wilcox in Ohio, Virginia and New Jersey, returning to Lynchburg, Virginia to serve as Dean and Assistant to the Registrar at Lynchburg College.  The Pratts attended St Paul’s Episcopal Church under Bishop Marmion.  Dean answered the call to the priesthood in 1970 attending St Luke’s Seminary, University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee.

He began his role as priest at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg, Texas and St. Boniface Episcopal Church in Comfort in 1973, under Bishop Gosnell, close friend of Bishop Marmion.  He was active in the community and Rotary, serving as President of the Fredericksburg Rotary Club and honored to be Lady Bird Johnson’s priest.  The Pratts moved to McKinney in 1983 for Dean to serve as priest of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  He served on the McKinney I.S.D. School board, was deeply involved with Holy Family Church and School, initiated the Ministerial Alliance of pastors and the Samaritan Inn, served as Chaplain for the McKinney Police Department and McKinney Hospital and President of the McKinney Rotary Club.He began his conversion to Catholicism in 1992 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1997.

In 2007 he and Barbara coauthored their book, Gleanings from the Journey of a Married Priest and his Artist Wife.   This is a book of experiential “Gleanings” of life that includes many lived examples of vision, joy, humor, heartache and sadness from the vantage point of a married priest.  As a seeker with a void, he pursued the Episcopal Priesthood at age 35 and found much more than he anticipated.  After 22 years in the parish, he became a hospital chaplain and converted to being a married Roman Catholic Priest.  It was quite a journey.  At both the parish altar and the altar of a hospital bed, he found the depth in life he desired.  His wife’s beautiful art adds much to “Gleanings.”He served Catholic parishes throughout the Diocese of Dallas and continued as Hospital Chaplain in McKinney and Dallas before retiring.

He married Laurann Sutton on February 14, 2012, in Fredericksburg, Texas.Dean loved to travel and the Pratts made many trips to enjoy the Rangers in Surprise, Arizona, to the Arlington Ballpark with all his family for his 80th birthday, back to Ohio to his roots and even a trip to Europe.  He was an avid reader and continued to share a book and counsel all he met.  He was a member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney.

He is survived by his wife, Laurann Sutton Pratt of McKinney, Texas; daughters, Jennifer Fay and husband, Warren of Belton, Texas and Melinda Crenwelge and husband, Mark of Waco, Texas; son, Eric Pratt and wife, Toni of Plano, Texas; grandchildren, Andrew Fay and wife, Ivette of Austin, Texas, Christina Fay of Belton, Texas, Jay Crenwelge and wife, Anna of Olathe, Kansas, Ben Crenwelge of McKinney, Texas, Brianna Crenwelge of Waco, Texas, Jordan Spencer and husband, Brett of Plano, Texas, and Haley Pratt, of Plano, Texas; great-grandson, Matthew Crenwelge of Olathe, Kansas; sister, Margaret Ann Kelley and husband, Ralph of Ironton, Ohio; cousins, John Pratt, D.V.M. and wife, Susie and their sons, David, Ed, Paul and Bill Pratt of South Point, Ohio and Shanna Kay Dean Collins and husband, Greg and their children Ty Collins and Randa Collins of Ironton, Ohio; nieces, Kaye Payne and husband, David, of Waterloo, Ohio, Laura Kelley of Ironton, Ohio, Kara Birkel and husband, Brian of Ironton, Ohio, and nephew, Mark Kelley of Melbourne, Florida; great-nieces, Rachael Fraley and husband, Andrew and daughter, Leighton of Waterloo, Ohio, Alaina Gleichauf of Ironton, Ohio and great-nephews, Justin Payne and wife Lynette of Cincinnati, Ohio, Login Gleichauf of Ironton, Ohio, Kyle Birkel and daughter, Brynleighof Ironton, Ohio, Brady Birkel of Ironton, Ohio, and Matthew Kelley of Melbourne, Florida; step-daughter, Michelle Gifford and husband, Gary of McKinney, Texas; step-son, James Sutton and wife, Cassie of Garland, Texas; and step-grandchildren, Lauren Gifford, Nathan Gifford, Megan Gifford of McKinney, and Jesse Sutton and Collin Sutton of Garland, Texas.

He was preceded in death by his parents, J. Earl and Edna Pratt, and wife, Barbara Ann Pratt.