Bert grew up in Pampa, Texas, and began his teaching career in another west Texas berg – Skellytown. There, in 1949, he met Eloise, another first year teacher, and they married the following summer. Bert later took a job in Valley View, coaching football and boys’ basketball and baseball. While there, he finished his master’s degree at North Texas State before taking a job in Celina (Alla Hubbard) as junior high principal and coach and assistant high school football coach.
In 1961 they moved to Frisco and Bert became manager of the Triangle Lumberyard owned by Bill Christie. But Bert found that he missed teaching and joined Frisco ISD in 1962 as a sixth grade teacher, assistant coach and bus driver. Frisco floated one of its first bond elections to build a new school – Acker Elementary – and Bert became its first principal – actually the first elementary principal ever in Frisco ISD – when it opened in 1963. He held this position for 19 years before retiring in 1982, making him one of the longest serving administrators in FISD history.
Eloise returned to teaching in 1965 after their family was raised, and she obtained her librarian certification at North Texas State. She became THE librarian for the Frisco schools in 1968, a position she held for 18 years before retiring in 1986. Between the two of them, they represent 54 years of experience as educators – 38 of those serving FISD students. And their service is not done – in recent years former coach Bert could be seen at many local high school games cheering on the teams, and at 82, he spearheaded the creation of a local retired teachers association. Mr. Isbell passed away in December 2012 at the age of 90.