INSIGHT - Winter 2024

Page 1

Plus: Designing high performance schools TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS PROFESSIONAL JOURNAL INSIGHT WINTER 2024 Take a look inside TASA’s Small Schools Network

Looking for investment options for your district?

Look to Lone Star.

Now is a great time to review your investment options. Our Lone Star team is ready to talk with you about the investment possibilities we have available to take advantage of current rates. Why choose Lone Star? Our funds offer daily liquidity and competitive yield. Our friendly, Texas-based staff are registered and licensed with FINRA, making Lone Star a trusted source for fund management since 1991.

Large amounts or small, Lone Star invests it all.

TASA celebrates Lone Star Investment Pool’s more than 30 years of service to Texas Public Schools. 800-558-8875
FEATURE ARTICLES & COLUMNS Take a look inside TASA’s Small Schools Network 10 Designing high performance schools 17 by Irene Nigaglioni MEET TASA’S INSPIRING LEADERS 21 HIGHER EDUCATION 23 Things are not what they used to be by John Decman and J. Kenneth Young TSPRA VOICE 26 Stronger together by Megan Overman TECH TAKE 32 Succession planning for chief technology officers in education: ensuring continuity and innovation by Dianne Borreson & Dr. Karla Burkholder TEACHER PERSPECTIVE 39 School culture: the bedrock of mental well-being by Taniece Thompson-Smith LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE 41 A journey of organizational change in Prosper ISD by Holly Ferguson and Kyle Penn Volume 38 No. 4 WINTER 2024 INSIGHT WINTER 2024 3


Executive Director Kevin Brown

Deputy Executive Director, Charles Dupre Member

Coordinator, Graphics & Multimedia Marco A. De La Cueva Editorial Director Dacia Rivers

INSIGHT is published quarterly by the Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701-2617. Subscription is included in TASA membership dues. © 2023 by TASA. All rights reserved.TASA members may reprint articles in limited quantities for in-house educational use. Articles in INSIGHT are expressions of the author or interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of TASA. Advertisements do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the Texas Association of School Administrators.

About TASA

TASA’s mission is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain studentcentered schools and develop future-ready students.

We envision innovative, future-focused leaders for every public school student.

TASA values the strengths, contributions, and varying perspectives of all educational leaders. Our goal is to intentionally equip and support school districts and leaders as they foster a culture in which all students and adults are valued for their unique gifts, supported academically, socially, and emotionally, and empowered to reach their full potential.


LaTonya Goffney, President, Aldine ISD

Martha Salazar-Zamora, President-Elect, Tomball ISD

Chris Moran, Vice President, San Angelo ISD

Gonzalo Salazar, Past President, Los Fresnos CISD


Rene Gutierrez, Region 1, McAllen ISD

Sharon McKinney, Region 2, Port Aransas ISD

Robert O’Connor, Region 3, Edna ISD

Walter Jackson, Region 4, La Porte ISD

Stacey Brister, Region 5, Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD

Darol Hail, Region 6, New Waverly ISD

Carnelius Gilder, Region 7, West Sabine ISD

Jason McCullough, Region 8, Mount Vernon ISD

Sonny Cruse, Region 9, Graham ISD

John “JJ” Villarreal, Region 10, Rockwall ISD

Jeremy Thompson, Region 11, Denton ISD

Bobby Ott, Region 12, Temple ISD

Steven Snell, Region 13, Liberty Hill ISD

David Young, Region 14, Abilene ISD

Aaron Hood, Region 15, Robert Lee ISD

Sheri Blankenship, Region 16, Hereford ISD

Scott Harrell, Region 17, Sudan ISD

Jay McWilliams, Region 18, Big Spring ISD

Jeannie Meza-Chavez, Region 19, San Elizario ISD

Burnie Roper, Region 20, Lackland ISD


Sanée Bell, Katy ISD

Roland Hernandez, Corpus Christi ISD

Paula Patterson, Crosby ISD

Diana Sayavedra, El Paso ISD


Donny Lee, Member Engagement

Michelle McCord, Legislative

Roosevelt Nivens, Advocacy

Macy Satterwhite, Professional Learning


Chris Moran, San Angelo ISD, Chair

Donny Lee, Wichita Falls ISD

Michelle McCord, Frenship ISD

Roosevelt Nivens, Lamar CISD

Macy Satterwhite, Lubbock-Cooper ISD

Stacey Edmonson, Sam Houston State University

TASA Professional Learning Calendar 5 President’s Message 7 Executive Director’s View 9
Engagement & Support Director, Communications Amy Francisco & Marketing

TASA Professional Learning Calendar

For details on our professional development events, please refer to the TASA Daily e-newsletter, or call the TASA office at 512.477.6361 or 800.725.TASA (8272)

Date Event Location FEBRUARY 21 N2 Learning APL Session 5 (Dallas-area and North Houston Cohorts) McKinney Cypress 22 N2 Learning APL Session 5 (East Texas and South Houston Cohorts) Tyler Webster 21-22 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (FTSA) Session 4 Round Rock 27-29 CMSi Curriculum Management Audit Training (CMAT) Level 1 Austin 28-29 TASA Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network (FRSLN) Event 3 Liber ty Hill 28-29 N2 Learning Principals' Institute Session 5 Houston 28-29 N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute Session 3 Houston MARCH 4 TASA Spring Book Study on "Atomic Habits" Session 2 Online 4 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 5 (Virtual Cohort) Online 5 TASA Small Schools Network Virtual Event Online 19-21 CMSi Curriculum Management Audit Training (CMAT) Level 2 Austin 21 TASA Breakaway Leadership Session 3 Online 25 TASA Spring Book Study on "Atomic Habits" Session 3 Online 26 TASA School Transformation Network Event 5 Online 27-28 Texas Public Accountability Consortium (TPAC) Meeting Austin APRIL 2 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 6 San Antonio (San Antonio and Wichita Falls Cohorts) Wichita Falls 3 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 6 McKinney (Dallas and Nor th Houston Cohorts) Cypress 4 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 6 Tyler (East Texas and South Houston Cohorts) Webster 8 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 6 (Virtual Cohort) Online 8 TASA Spring Book Study on "Atomic Habits" Session 4 Online 9 TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders Event Online 9-11 CMSi Curriculum Writing Workshop Austin 10 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 6 (Corpus-area Cohort) Corpus Christi 11 N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Session 6 (Austin-area Cohort) Round Rock 18 TASA Breakaway Leadership Session 4 Online 22 TASA Spring Book Study on "Atomic Habits" Session 5 Online 23 TASA School Transformation Network Event 6 Online WINTER 2024 5
A platform built for a new way to survey Kevin Skelcher | 250-729-5389 LEARN MORE More supports in the classroom to address the many and growing challenges of our students. When children with special needs aren’t supported, it a ects the learning of all the students in the classroom. Positive 10,000 15,679


Now more than ever, we must lead by example. Make today the day you take action.


Ihope you all had a safe, restful holiday season with your loved ones and returned rejuvenated and ready to continue our work. With the buzz of the holidays behind us and a semester to go before the end of the school year, this is when we must emerge from our winter slumber and reignite our energy, passion, and purpose to continue driving our work forward. That can be easier said than done — even for the best of us.

If you started 2024 with a list of brand-new resolutions, and you’ve managed to stay on track … congratulations — you are an overachiever! It takes more than good intentions to get me back on track to where I need to be. It takes a daily, conscious effort to refocus and reconnect after purposefully disconnecting during the long break. However, when I began as your president, I promised to always lead with conviction, boundless energy, and tireless dedication to our mission of promoting, providing, and developing leaders who create and sustain studentcentered schools and develop future-ready students. And I intend to keep that promise.

January may bring a new calendar year, but there’s something about the upcoming spring season — the warmer weather, a little more daylight at the end of your day, and everything in bloom — that gives us inspiration for renewal and demands us to dig deeper and push harder. Join me in using the change of season as a time to refocus, up your game, and recommit to being the leader you’ve always aspired to be. Listed below are a few small shifts that I’ve made to my behavior and actions that are helping to keep me accountable in refocusing my commitment to leadership. I hope they help you in your own leadership journey.

Recommit to your “why” and remind yourself of your original purpose. We can get so wrapped up in the day-to-day activities that it’s easy to lose focus on the bigger picture. That’s when you must take a step back and think about why you started down this path in the first place and why it remains important. Keep your “why” front and center to stay focused. Write it down, put it in your wallet, and save it as your screensaver. Wherever you choose to keep it, keep it close at hand. My “why” is a photo of my baby girl, Joslyn, a sophomore at Sam Houston State University, which serves as a personal reminder that my family’s cycle of poverty was broken with me, and the gift of education has started a new narrative … one of choices, opportunities, and hope.

Reevaluate your habits and make adjustments. Do your daily habits align with and support your personal and professional goals? For example, I recently checked out my average weekly phone usage. I was dismayed by how much time my attention and energy were being whipped away into directions I didn’t purposefully want to go. I couldn’t figure out if I was in control of my phone or if my phone was in control of me! With that in mind, I’ve since turned off my push notifications, put my phone away during dinner with family, and now charge my phone away from the bed, so I’m not tempted to scroll through emails and social media when I should be getting quality sleep.

Fill your cup. You’ve all heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” which references taking care of yourself before you can take care of others. The metaphorical cup isn’t just about how much time you selflessly give to others doing good deeds and favors. The cup is about replenishing yourself with what brings you fulfillment and contentment. This will ensure you show up as the best version of yourself. Prioritize your sleep, catch up with your loved ones, take up a new hobby, and finish the books piled on your coffee table. Find and do those things that bring you joy.

WINTER 2024 7

Adjust your attitude and be a grateful leader. On my busiest and most challenging days, I respond to anyone who asks how I’m doing: "I’m living the dream.” I don’t say this out of blind optimism. I say it because it constantly reminds me of how blessed I am. Yes, there are challenging days, but the work we get to do makes dreams possible and multiplies hope for our students in the great state of Texas. On your worst day, remind yourself of the accomplishments you and your team have done together. Take time out of your day to remind others of their value. Stop by someone’s office or leave them a note that praises their efforts and contributions, and watch as your positive attitude and actions multiply hope for our teams and organizations. At the beginning of every week, I make it a point to visit several campuses and pop in on my students and teachers. Seeing them connect with each other and learning reminds me of just how grateful I am for doing my work.

"Living the dream" means living with an attitude of gratitude. Everyone has a worst day, and everyone has a best day. Take time to remember and be grateful for what you have to be thankful for today. Now more than ever, we must lead by example. Make today the day you take action. Start now and move towards success — do not wait for tomorrow. Let's live the dream together.


This spring's primary elections could be the most consequential elections ever for the future of public education, and therefore the future of our state.


After 33 years in public education, I am awed and inspired by everyone who works in our public schools. Miracles happen every day in every school, and our educators, administrators and support staff deserve immense gratitude, respect and recognition for everything they do to support our students, communities, families, economy and democracy. In my opinion, educators have the most important jobs in our society, and we should be erecting statues in their honor.

Unfortunately, educators consistently fail in one area. They don’t vote in large numbers, especially in primary elections — the most important elections we have, especially in Texas.

There have been a couple of exceptions. In 1986, Texas educators, angry about HB 72 (teacher career ladder/no pass, no play), showed up at the polls and ousted Gov. Mark White. In 2018, educators again showed up at the polls in large numbers. Although no unfriendly-to-education incumbents were defeated, the many close elections scared them. As a result, the Texas Legislature approved the largest increase in public education funding in state history.

Elections matter. Who votes matters. Who wins matters. The result of educators' lack of voting, as of late anyway, is the dismal support for public education we see from many elected state leaders.

This spring's primary elections could be the most consequential elections ever for the future of public education, and therefore the future of our state. Those who supported public education during the special sessions of this past year have been targeted in the primaries, and they need our help. As citizens in our democracy and role models for our students, it is incumbent upon every educator to be registered to vote, be informed of the issues, and show up for the primaries. Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent, it is your obligation as a citizen to participate in elections.

With approximately 750,000 current public school employees and 500,000 public school retirees, that's about 1.25 million eligible voters who have served in public schools. Consider, for comparison’s sake, that less than 2 million Texans voted in the 2022 Republican primary, and just over 1 million voted in the Democratic primary. Educators could be the largest block of voters in our state if we would just show up and vote!

My fellow educators, it is time to put up or shut up. It is time to register to vote (hopefully you did so before the February 5 voter registration deadline), be informed, and vote in the primary, the primary runoff if there is one, and the general election in November. It is time to use your "teacher voice," because many of our elected state leaders, who failed to fund a teacher pay raise or give schools any meaningful funding to provide for safety and security, have forgotten the incredible role that our public schools play in our communities and in Texas' future.

Those who support us need our support. Those who don’t, don’t deserve it. Please vote accordingly during early voting February 20-March 1 or on Primary Election Day March 5. In some cases, there will be a primary runoff on May 28, and the number of voters will be even smaller, making every vote more critical.

Kevin Brown
WINTER 2024 9

Take a look inside

Last fall, TASA launched the Small Schools Network (SSN) to provide more support — through customized professional development events — to districts with fewer than 1,300 students. Modeled after TASA’s extremely popular Future-Ready Superintendents Network (FRSLN), SSN provides its members with the opportunity to participate in a series of events, both in-person and virtual, during the school year. Hosted by small districts, the in-person events allow network members the opportunity to visit campuses and learn directly from district leaders and educators about how they are leveraging their strengths and overcoming challenges. In November, SSN members visited Blue Ridge ISD. In the following pages, you will get a glimpse into the inaugural SSN event and hear from members, in their own words, about the experience.


Members show off where they’re from by adding their districts and enrollments to a Texas map. As of January, the Small Schools Network includes 118 members from 88 school districts ranging from seven students to 1,223 students.

One aspect that sets this professional learning experience apart is the intentional networking. The fall Small Schools Network event began with a kick-off dinner at the historic Grand Hotel in McKinney. Angela Fitzpatrick, superintendent of Karnack ISD (118 students), is welcomed to the fall event with music and cheers from the Blue Ridge High School band and cheerleaders. The Small Schools Network is superintendent-designed and superintendent-led. Michelle Rinehart, superintendent of Alpine ISD (862 students), leads the group at the fall event in a sharing activity.
WINTER 2024 11
During each in-person event, network members visit campuses in the host district and engage with students, teachers and staff. Here, students from the Blue Ridge High School Forensics Class were collecting forensic evidence and using inference skills to solve a case.

“The conversations at the campus site visits confirmed that small schools have so much to offer. The insights and experiences from the participants helped me see how we need to continue to look at what we already do well and how to build upon that to make quality experiences for our students. Thank you for this exciting networking and learning opportunity.”

“The Small Schools Network inaugural event was an astounding success. As a school administrator in a small school, we often go to events and get to network. What the Small Schools Network did was ensure we were able to network with purpose and with other small schools that are experiencing similar challenges. This allowed us to discuss ideas that were relative to each other thereby increasing the value of our time and discussions together.”

“The Small Schools Network provides an opportunity to make connections with other districts that are facing the same issues as my small district. It also provides new solutions to issues that are unique to small districts. THANK you just isn't enough!”

—Kimberly Followwell, Murchison ISD superintendent

Small Schools Network members wrote their hopes and dreams for their students and schools on the backs of their district logos and shared them with others. The magic of campus visits is seeing the students at work, such as this Blue Ridge Elementary student working on his robotics project. Campus visits also give Small Schools Network members a glimpse into different facility designs, like this collaborative space built into each floor of the elementary school.

During each reception and

we ask a

graduate to provide music. At the fall event, we were wowed by the talents of Garrett Vogel, Gunter High School graduate, and Justin Till, Blue Ridge High School graduate!

“I am so proud to be a small school superintendent, and the Small Schools Network finally provides the specific and intentional professional development I have been craving! Small schools have their own set of opportunities that bigger school folks cannot understand. I am so thankful for this group of amazing and ‘alike leaders’ to help navigate the waters.”

Small Schools Network members pose for a photo with their amazing Blue Ridge Elementary student tour guides! Leaders participated in “Give One, Get One,” a fast-paced sharing activity in which network members shared their best ideas and innovations in their small schools. dinner, small school
13 WINTER 2024

“What an incredible experience! Witnessing firsthand what small-town Texas schools are accomplishing was both enlightening and inspiring. The fact that I was able to share the experience with my business manager was a bonus. We each had different takeaways from the event and are already applying what we learned to our own district. Looking forward to the next one! “

At the fall event, Small Schools Network members heard from Blue Ridge High School FFA leaders about the courses and programs in which they participate. The student BBQ team even provided samples (and it was INCREDIBLE!) One of the highlights of the Small Schools Network kick-off event in November was the Hometown Hero Panel. Facilitators interviewed a small group of highly successful adults who grew up in small schools and chose to come back to a small school environment. Part of the Small Schools Network experience is transferring the learning. These leaders are debriefing after campus visits and talking through which best practices could be applied to their learning communities.

Watch this video to see more of the November event in Blue Ridge ISD and get an idea of the type of learning and networking opportunity that awaits you in Port A in May!

There are two Small Schools Network events remaining for 2023-24: a virtual event on March 5, and an in-person event in Port Aransas May 7-9. Get a sneak peek at the Port A event here: You don’t want to miss touring the Port Aransas High School Marlin Innovation Lab and Marlin Museum, seeing the Marlin Pride Teams in action, learning about students’ work related to virtual reality and podcasting, and visiting the elementary school’s Discovery Garden and Interactive Library! And if all that isn’t enough, the agenda includes some dedicated time to cruise beach carts to a bonfire for s’mores and more!

Superintendents of districts with less than 1,300 students may subscribe to SSN and elect to bring up to two others from their district teams to the events. Because the first in-person event of the school year has passed, we are offering a prorated subscription rate! Learn more about find out how to subscribe here:

WINTER 2024 15

College of Education


UTA TEACH PREP i is a dual credit Virtual Teacher Academy made just for high school students who want to become teachers! The program will help students obtain the experience they need to become certified to teach in Texas and to finish college early.


† Prepare for a future career.

† Reduce educational debt.

† Participate in field activities.

† Reduce time to a bachelor's degree.

Courses are scheduled to be imple m ented Fall 2024


Finish college early!

Save money toward a college degree!

100% virtual courses

Unique and fun, on-campus experiences

Learn More Visit us online at

Designing high

performance schools

It is always interesting to look at the past and see how education has changed. If we look 50 years back, the early 1970s were characterized by a very teacher-centric instruction system, where teachers endeavored to give students instructions for assignments. Students were required to memorize assignments and recite them in front of the classroom for their counterparts to see what they had learned. Technology was limited to a mimeograph machine, and issues of mental health or well-being were not discussed. However, parental support for schools was high and students had a high respect for their teachers. Looking at it now, this seems very limited, and not supportive of students or representative of their community, yet most seemed content with their experiences.

WINTER 2024 17

Fast forward to 2024, and if you talk to a current student, they will scoff at the idea of attending schools without computers or interactive boards. The concept of memorization and teacher-centric instruction will seem foreign to most of them, and schools serve as centers of the communities they serve. A big difference is also the emphasis on social emotional learning, support for students’ and teachers’ mental health, and a focus on overall student wellbeing. However, while schools continue to make huge strides to improve learning environments and experiences for students, parents’ perceptions of school quality have been on a decline since the early 1980s. There seems to be a disconnect.

According to The Washington Post, national reform discussion has driven this decline in parental perception as sweeping educational reform initiatives have been launched with little to no success. We know, however, that these initiatives are not the solution, and that many of our schools are doing better than ever. Local school district efforts to provide high performance schools that are safe,

secure and nurturing are having a positive impact on students and the communities they serve. It is therefore imperative that the community be a driver of how schools are designed, enhancing their opportunity to succeed.

There are different components to high performance schools, one of which is the physical environment. As the jury for this year’s Exhibit of School Architecture competition quickly discovered, there are many schools in Texas being designed with this focus in mind. While high performance schools’ criteria are not an individual metric for the competition, the six “Stars of Distinction” are all clear components of a high performance school, so successfully designed buildings that are earning stars of distinction are all in essence, working toward being high performance school environments.

According to the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), a high performance school is a facility that helps students realize high levels of academic performance, and is characterized by a strong culture of achievement, a safe learning environment, and effective leadership. Additionally, these schools are designed to be resource efficient, well lit, thermally comfortable, acoustically sound, healthy, and easy to operate — promoting health and sustainability for students, the community, and our climate. Designing schools to be high performance requires alignment to the desired instructional goals and activities, and the inclusion of community in the process.

High performance schools are representative of their community and are inspired by the people and places that define their community. Many of the submissions to the Exhibit of School Architecture have effectively highlighted these features in response to the community “Star of Distinction” and there are some notable submissions that really help showcase the importance of community to design.


An example of a high performance school that earned four stars of distinction is West Plains High School in Canyon ISD, designed by Corgan Architects. This project does a remarkable job at drawing inspiration from its West Texas heritage, deeply grounding it in the community it serves. Integrating agriculture in their design features, the design team consulted with local farmers and ranchers to help highlight their heritage through accents in the carpet and ornamental metal railing. In addition, inspiration was drawn from Amarillo Art Deco architecture, which created an elegant yet familiar exterior for the high school. Active learning communities feature flexible furniture and enhanced technology, providing environments for students and staff to connect, gather and study.

Another outstanding example is the new Denton High School in Denton ISD, designed by VLK Architects. Tasked with designing a new 2,400-student high school that carried the school’s 139-year history, the design team looked to the community for the planning process, as well as for design inspiration. The original campus had been in three locations, so bringing the history of each location represented a challenge as representing each student, staff and graduate needed to be part of the design. The new high school includes several “museums” within the core of the building which highlight important moments in the school’s history. Historical artifacts from the original building, including the original terrazzo mascot, now sit in the heart of the new building, connecting students to their community’s past. Given the campus’ legacy in fine arts, galleries were included throughout the large building, creating spaces of connection for all staff and students, enhancing their daily experiences. Juxtaposed with the historical elements is a highly efficient, daylit facility that has resulted in reduced operational costs and an enhanced learning environment.

As communities 50 years from now look at our schools today, we hope they recognize the enhancements, improvements and focus on high performance that have helped to support staff and students. By learning from our past and highlighting our communities, we are providing schools that are doing better than ever and are strongly supporting the students, staff and communities they serve. In 50 years, history will show that our districts today got it right. n

WINTER 2024 19
Irene Nigaglioni, AIA, ALEP is president IN2 of Architecture and chair of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) –Southern Region Foundation.
WINTER 2024 21

Theresa Williams

Since 2022, Dr. Theresa Williams has held the top office in Plano ISD, having previously worked as chief operating officer and deputy superintendent in the district. As a district leader, she is committed to growing her leadership and expertise in education. Williams is a nominee for the 2024 AASA Women in School Leadership Award, which recognizes the exceptional leadership of active, frontline leaders who are making a difference in the lives of students every day.

Lesley Range-Stanton, chief communications officer in Plano ISD, says Williams is an inspiring leader who shows the dedication and genuine care she has for all students through her work and the initiatives she has implemented.

“Dr. Williams sees education as her calling and as the key that unlocks doors of opportunity,” Range-Stanton says. “She is committed to achieving strong outcomes for all student populations and firmly believes that every student, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams and have a bright future.”

Williams serves PISD with pride and a daily commitment to the district’s mission of empowering all students to be critical thinkers, collaborators and problem-solvers.

“An exciting current project — a result of our community's generous bond program — is the development of our firstever Career and Technical Education (CTE) center that will serve as a hub of innovation and collaboration with industry partners,” Williams says. “This is one more path, of many, that we provide students to be prepared for their future success. I am so proud of the impact and outcomes for all of our students including our work with Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Dual Credit and CTE.”

A first-generation college student, Williams understands the challenges many students face and is determined to provide ample opportunities to help students in the district meet their future goals.

“From her early days as a teacher to her current role as superintendent, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to creating future-ready pathways for students, which includes developing and implementing successful programs and systems to connect students to their future,” Range-Stanton says. “She understands the importance of providing resources and support to help students navigate their path to postsecondary success in college, career and beyond.”

A proud product of Texas public schools, Williams says she truly believes in the power of public education and the profound impact it can have on each student.

“I approach this incredibly important work each day with the heart of a servant leader who strives for excellence and continuous improvement across the organization to benefit each one of our students. This mindset anchors me to approach each day with resilience and a willingness to navigate the complexities of the education landscape.”

PISD staff says Willliams is committed to hearing and valuing the voices of her team members in a way that inspires them and makes them feel supported.

“She is a keenly observant leader who appreciates the work of her team across all roles,” Range-Stanton says. “Her leadership has reinforced the idea that effective communication is not just about disseminating information, but also about actively listening, engaging and building meaningful connections in order to foster a strong and successful educational community.”

For Williams, leading and developing others is an exciting and essential part of the work. She says she strongly believes that great things happen in an organization when leaders inspire innovation and growth in others.

“Leadership development is as multidirectional as leadership itself. A good leader is adept at leading those entrusted to them, leading their peers, and even leading up to those in authority by serving as advisors and subject matter experts, which makes building strong relationships an essential component. Throughout my own leadership journey, I have had the privilege of working with exceptional leaders and mentors. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to the profession by providing mentorship, support, and guidance to aspiring leaders. In Plano ISD, we recognize that developing a strong leadership pipeline of teacher leaders and administrators is a critical element for long-term organizational success.”



Things are not what they used to be

Many of our peers in higher education have noticed that our students aren’t like they used to be. There are fundamental differences in their educational expectations, sense of resiliency, critical thinking, and prioritization of learning just to name a few. Arguably, some of the reasons are due to the changes within higher education that have both benefited and weakened the profession.

For example, the convenience of virtual learning has granted opportunities for learning that may not have been possible otherwise for some, but users often equate convenience with easier. Principles of capitalism driving admissions has led to the lowering of admission standards, which grants educational opportunities for some who might otherwise not have been given access due to various inherent biases in some of the admissions requirements, but has also resulted in the increased admission of many who will not be successful and will go into great debt as a result. Principles of consumerism driving matriculation means students have a stronger voice in their learning, but with that comes the expectation of an “A” because they paid for a course.

In addition to the changes in higher education, our students are not like they used to be because of the world in which they are now working. No doubt, the effects of a global pandemic, supercharged political forces, ubiquity of technology, proliferation of social media, and overall decrease in civility and civil discourse have wreaked immeasurable damage on our public schools and those trying to lead them. As you might guess, a great deal of those in higher education programs are former administrators. When we get together to compare notes, a common theme in our conversations is that the stories leaders share in our classes seem more and more surreal and we secretly wonder if we would be willing to do their job in the current setting.

Yet, we try to make sense of it all and we soldier on. These are the challenges we unknowingly assumed when we first accepted leadership roles and these are among the challenges that define the difference between those who view what we do as a profession and those who don’t.

Those who view what we do as a profession acknowledge the ever-changing context of our field, and work to maintain standards of ethical conduct and practice for all who would endeavor to be a part of the profession, as well as the applicable knowledge needed to lead with integrity. They work collaboratively for the good of the field and the public we serve, and contribute to the development of policy and practices to that end. In other words, they create dynamic, collaborative systems for the purpose of keeping the profession both relevant and thriving for the greater good and not just self-perpetuation.

Those who don’t recognize us as a profession tend to ignore our collective expertise, commitment to the public good, sense of fiduciary responsibility, and overall ability to self-govern. Authority is given to individuals who, unlike the professionals and leaders within the field, may or may not have requisite knowledge or experience in the systems for which they, for all practical purposes, “govern.” Yet, this does not limit them or their perceived abilities. After all, they have “granted” dominion to make decisions for the field. The end result is a system that is perpetually broken and the professionals are caricatured as just another part of the problem to be solved; it is a self-terminating system

WINTER 2024 23

created in order that something new might emerge, such as privatized education or short-sighted solutions to shortages in the raw materials needed to educate.

In the case of public education in Texas, all those who desire to protect our profession must acknowledge and actively seek to rectify our contributions to the current situation. For example, our failure to adequately self-police our profession and the expectations for future educational leaders has weakened our authority as leaders and experts. Our collective silence and lack of preparedness to effectively use research as a counter to manufactured crises, such as those addressed in Berliner’s Manufactured Crisis (e.g., American public schools are failing and better funding has no benefit), has resulted in leaders and leadership preparation being in a perpetual state of reactionary reform to address mythological monsters. inally, the acquiescence of our educational expertise as an authority for guiding policy to those whose sources of authority rest not in expertise, but because they once attended school and have access to the internet, the deepest pockets, or unbridled access to the policy makers in Austin. Although these are just a few examples, the result of our “sins of omission,” whatever or however many there are, have resulted in our collective ceding the stewardship and narrative of our profession to others.

The executive director, board, and members of the Texas Council of Professors of Educational Administration (TCPEA) have


aspirations to redefine the perception of the field. In collaboration with the Member Engagement subcommittee of the TASA Higher Education Committee, we are working to strengthen our profession from the inside out. Specifically, we are creating intentional pathways for professors of higher education to be better informed of the leadership needs in the field, while also working collaboratively to help leaders in the field utilize best practices and to be equipped for meeting the ever-changing challenges of leading public schools in our current milieu and in writing the narrative of our profession.

One of the ways we have done this is by working in collaboration with TASA to purposefully include practicing educational leaders in TCPEA’s face-to-face programming with our membership. This allows educational leaders to engage and dialogue with faculty from educational leadership programs across Texas. To date, we have had two panels of current educational leaders attend our meetings, which are held in conjunction with the TASA conferences, and provide invaluable insight into current leadership needs within the state of Texas, as well as serve as great conversation partners with university faculty tasked with preparing the next generation of leaders.

A second way we are working to strengthen our profession is by focusing on the collaborative production of quality research for school improvement and to inform policy. Too often, faculty in higher education engage in research and scholarly activities that have very little impact on practice, or, for that matter, are even

COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS Together, we will create CTE spaces that prepare students for jobs of the future. Learn more about Stantec’s CTE expertise

made available to practitioners. To that end, we held our inaugural writing conference at TASA’s txedFest last summer with the intent of that annual conference being a way for practitioners and faculty in higher education to grow in the area of academic research and writing, while also providing adequate opportunity for developing networks for meaningful research. As we plan for future conferences, a focused strand will be to further promote and address the nexus of the needs of those in higher education and the needs of practicing educational leaders to have meaningful data and research from which to base executable decisions.

A third way in which we are working to improve our profession is by clearly communicating our organizations alignment with, and support of, the work of TASA. This includes not only highlighting our partnerships on our organization’s website and weekly communication to our members, but also making sure that our conference themes are aligned in order that our respective members are focused on the same topics/issues in their presentations. We also launched a themed issue of our flagship journal, The School Leadership Review, which coincides with TASA Midwinter with the intent that collaborative research presentations between faculty and practitioners have the opportunity to also be published.

Truly, things are not what they used to be, which means the systems must change as well. As President John F. Kennedy popularized, “rising tides raise all ships,” and whether it be through panels of TASA members or serving as part of the TASA Executive Leadership, TCPEA is dedicated to intentionally supporting the vital conversations that must occur between professional partners in order to maintain the autonomy and accountability of a profession in the face of the forces that continue to act otherwise. To that end, we invite your input and your participation. Whether you desire to join our organization, participate in panels or webinars that connect practice with preparation, or look to partner for research and scholarly ends, please know that you are welcome. n

John Decman is executive director of the Texas Association of Professors of Educational Leadership and Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

J. Kenneth Young is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Lamar University.


Stronger together

Every school or district leader can think of a situation where strategic communication could have saved everyone time, energy, money and even reputations. Most of us jump first to communications response during a time of crisis and, most certainly, delivering timely, compassionate, transparent and relevant communications during a crisis provides reassurance and order amid unforeseen chaos.

But what about when you’re not in a crisis response? If events of recent years have reinforced any truths in public education, a key point is that strategic communications should be a nonnegotiable management function in all decision-making for a public school district. From declining enrollment and budget cuts, to staff recruitment and retention, to student behavior and safety concerns, to waning community engagement, to societal expectations and social media, an effective communications strategy is a lifeline that can positively impact every situation we face in public education today.

And, whether your district has a dedicated communications team or not, the good news is that you are not alone in your communications efforts.

Many of you may already be familiar with the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA), so instead of a formal introduction, I’d like to share a little more detail about how you and your district can maximize the strength of TSPRA to go beyond crisis response to ultimately build community engagement and increase support for your educational initiatives.

With 1,200+ members ranging from communications professionals to teachers to superintendents, TSPRA is dedicated to improving public education in Texas by promoting effective public relations practices, providing professional development for its members, and improving communication between Texans and their public schools. There is a wealth of communications and public relations knowledge, experience and resources available to public school administrators who leverage the strength of TSPRA. Here’s how:

Maximizing the strength of TSPRA #1: Take advantage of professional development

Founded in 1962, TSPRA is focused on providing relevant and impactful professional development to equip its members in sound public relations practices to best serve their schools, districts, and communities. Through workshops, annual conferences, regional chapter meetings, training partnerships, and online learning throughout the year, TSPRA provides a variety of opportunities for communications professionals to stay up-to-date on best practices, solidify their understanding and execution of the four-step communications planning model, and glean ideas from colleagues that can help them implement strategies that resonate with their local community.

The professional development highlight of each year is the annual TSPRA Conference, held in February in rotating locations across the state. More than 1,000 of our school PR colleagues and vendors gather for three days of intense learning that has something for every member, no matter their role in district communications.


“As a first-year TSPRA member, I had no clue what to expect heading to my first conference last winter, but I knew what I wanted to get out of it. It turns out, it exceeded even my own lofty expectations,” said Mike Tobias, journalism and photojournalism teacher and district communications liaison for Port Neches-Groves ISD. “I wanted to grow professionally and connect with others in the same boat as me, and that’s exactly what happened. It was wonderful being immersed amongst peers and seeing the recognition given to others at the awards event. That itself shaped my own approach to projects at my ISD this past year. I look forward to this year’s conference and another opportunity to gather and learn from my TSPRA colleagues.”

This year, one of our strategic initiatives as an organization has been to explore new professional learning and advancement tracks, and these opportunities are being implemented into our annual conference in 2024. This includes dedicated learning tracks in areas including communications leadership and bond programs that, upon completion of all sessions in the track, earns the school PR professional a badge of expertise in that area.

Additionally, focus on professional advancement is being expanded to include certifications and advanced degrees in related areas of strategic communications. Support and coaching are available for personalized options including earning an Accreditation in Public Relations, the profession’s top professional achievement; obtaining designation as a Certified Public Communicator from Texas Christian University’s postbaccalaureate, graduate-level training program; or pursuing advanced degrees and certifications.

“As a member of TSPRA, you have access to a public relations family you can rely on for support during a crisis, professional development opportunities, and friends who provide a listening ear when you need one. Because of the vital relationships developed with fellow public relations professionals through the years, we are never alone.”

– Donald Williams, Associate Superintendent of Communications & Marketing for Mansfield ISD

Continues on page 30

Campus and district leaders implementing the Capturing Kids’ Hearts® Process with fidelity have seen:

Improved Student Attendance

Decreased Discipline Referrals

Improved Student Performance

Increased Teacher Satisfaction

Increased Teacher Retention

Learn more at:

continued from page 27

Specific training is also available for those new to the profession, to help them learn the foundations of effective public relations practices as they navigate the changing landscape of public education. Peer mentors are available to provide guidance and support, with a focus on developing leaders in whatever position they hold for a school or district.

Angela Duitch, APR, who serves as facilitator of multimedia content for Tyler ISD, said TSPRA’s variety of learning opportunities has given her actionable tools and connections.

“TSPRA has been a great support to me in my various roles,” Duitch said. “Whether it’s learning new information presented at a conference, techniques gained at a lunch and learn, or a colleague’s advice about how to handle a situation, TSPRA resources are there to make me feel confident in my communication strategies and tactics.”

“As an experienced school PR professional, TSPRA has been a valuable cornerstone in my career. This organization not only fosters professional growth but also provides a solid school communications foundation through professional development and a rewarding annual state conference. The networking opportunities and connections with skilled communication practitioners form a priceless support system that has significantly enhanced my skill set — something I’ve exclusively gained through my ongoing membership in TSPRA.”

– Kimberly Simpson, Chief of Communications, Marketing & Community Engagement for Lancaster ISD

Maximizing the strength of TSPRA #2: Network, network, network

Building a strong network is crucial in any administrative role in public education, and TSPRA offers a statewide network of varied experiences that members can tap to discuss just about any situation. Through TSPRA connections, school PR professionals share insights, exchange ideas and collaborate on communication strategies. This vast network serves as a valuable resource for problem-solving, creative ideas and professional support.

Marco Alvarado, executive director of communications and community relations for Lake Travis ISD, admits that while the benefits of TSPRA membership may be too many to list, it’s the connections with peers that has had the biggest impact for him.

“As a proud 20-plus year member of TSPRA, hands down, the one benefit which has meant the most to me year after year, both personally and professionally, is networking with colleagues,”

“TSPRA membership provides school communications professionals with invaluable networking and professional development opportunities. TSPRA members are like one big family of School PR Pros — always willing to share insights, knowledge, resources, assistance and more.”

– Amanda Moore, Director of Communications for Azle ISD

he said. “Now more than ever, connecting and engaging with other PR practitioners who ‘get it’ is absolutely priceless!”

The TSPRA network becomes even more valuable in times of crisis. While the organization offers its members valuable training in crisis communications response, media training, and crisis planning, there’s no substitute for direct-dial and even boots-on-the-ground support.

“As a one-person department, I cannot say enough about the value of TSPRA,” said Amanda Moore, director of communications for Azle ISD. “It is a great feeling to know that if my district were to ever experience a major crisis or tragedy, I would not have to handle it alone. My TSPRA colleagues would be right by my side, offering assistance until the end.”

“TSPRA benefits all school PR practitioners by sharpening their skills and providing a valuable network of like-minded people. Professional goals are reachable with TSPRA’s support, and you can take lessons learned beyond school systems into education service centers or the private sector.”

– Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez, APR, CPC, Execu tive Administrator in the Office of Partnerships, Marketing & Communication at ESC1 (previously Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD) and incoming 202425 TSPRA President

Maximizing the strength of TSPRA #3: Tap into multilayered resources and support

TSPRA also offers its members resources ranging from tactical or leadership trainings, to sample communications templates and toolkits, to crisis support and social media best practices. Through partnerships with industry vendors, TSPRAns can access experts and receive guidance on specific communications challenges. Trainings also can be expanded for districts or regions, to boost communication and customer service skills among campus and district personnel.


TSPRA members can then tailor this knowledge and expertise to fit the unique needs of their school district, with the ultimate goal of building engagement and support for public education in Texas.

“Communications in Texas public education is a rapidly evolving field that presents an increasingly complex set of challenges each year,” said Dr. Jordan Ziemer, director of communications for Abilene ISD. “TSPRA membership provides school PR pros with a community of professional

“I have been a member of TSPRA since I moved to Texas and was a member of NSPRA and the Missouri state association before that. The networking, high-quality staff development, and leadership opportunities available have helped me throughout my 40+ year career. Plus, school PR is different from any other PR field and it is wonderful being able to talk with people who understand what you are doing and going through. I have formed lifelong friendships by being involved with TSPRA and these people are always the first I call when I need help, have a question, or just want to vent. As we say in TSPRA, these are my peeps.”

mentors and friends who share a passion for promoting Texas public schools through effective communications, and backs it up with the network, resources, and practical learning we need to stay ahead of the curve.”

TSPRA is a valuable ally for public school administrators seeking to strengthen their school district’s engagement and support within the community. Effective and strategic communication is at the heart of any successful engagement plan, and TSPRA provides the professional development opportunities, networking and access to expertise and resources to help its members elevate public education in their communities. n

Megan Overman, APR, CPC, currently serves as executive director of communications for Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD in North Texas. A 24-year member of TSPRA, she served as president of the organization during 2023-24 and held various leadership roles on the Executive Committee and at the regional level.

Strengthening education for all students.


Succession planning for chief technology officers in education: ensuring continuity and innovation

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in the education sector is a critical job within the organization. As with all leaders, the CTO’s tenure may be long or short, but it will end at some point. Because of the importance of the role and responsibilities of the CTO, developing, implementing, and regularly reviewing a robust succession plan is a best practice to ensure the seamless continuity of technology leadership from one individual to the next and maintain the momentum of innovation and operations.

With rapid advancements in educational technology, including the integration of artificial intelligence, online learning platforms, and data analytics, the role of the CTO is continually expanding. A successful succession plan must account for these technological shifts, identifying individuals with not only a solid foundation in current technology but also a forward-looking mindset to adapt to emerging trends. This approach ensures that the incoming CTO is well equipped to navigate the evolving landscape of educational technology, drive innovation, and strategically align technological initiatives with the institution's educational goals.

Responsibilities of the chief technology leader

The role of the CTO is inherently tied to innovation and adaptability. As technology continues to rapidly evolve, the CTO must stay abreast of emerging technologies, evaluate their potential impact on teaching and learning, and strategically implement those initiatives that align with identified educational goals. Moreover, adaptability is crucial as the CTO must respond to ever-changing circumstances, whether it be shifts in educational paradigms or the introduction of new tools and methodologies. A successful CTO understands that adaptability is not only about managing technological change, but also about fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

The CTO is responsible for ensuring that all technology related functions run smoothly and without interruption. These responsibilities include operations, business management, relationship management, compliance, instructional technology and strategic planning.

Operations Infrastructure management

The CTO oversees the design, implementation and maintenance of the school district's technology infrastructure, including networks, hardware and software systems, and ensures the reliability and security of systems, data, and information. The CTO must also manage, direct, and assign priorities and personnel to on-going projects to ensure the attainment of district technology goals.


Cybersecurity and data privacy

Cybersecurity and data privacy are critical responsibilities that include overseeing district-wide security initiatives and planning for future needs while adhering to compliance and data privacy regulations and policies. The CTO must implement systems to support and maintain regulations and policies, foster a secure environment for handling sensitive information and ensure compliance with established privacy protocols.

Business management

The CTO is responsible for allocating resources effectively and ensuring cost efficiency. The CTO negotiates contracts, procures technology equipment and manages vendor relationships. Additionally, the CTO must develop and manage the technology budget and secure additional funding through grants and federal programs, such as E-Rate, when the general operating budget is insufficient to meet the goals of the district. A key component of resource management is establishing and implementing a replacement cycle for equipment.

The CTO actively participates in longrange planning related to technology and construction projects contributing to the strategic planning and decision-making processes, ensuring that technology considerations are well integrated into broader initiatives such as construction projects funded through bonds. This collaborative and communicative role positions the technology leader as a key facilitator in aligning technological advancements with the holistic goals of the educational community.

Relationship management

Staff management

The CTO actively provides guidance and mentorship to the technology staff, cultivating their professional growth to successfully support educational technology initiatives. The CTO plays a crucial role in formulating and refining job descriptions for the technology department, with a strong emphasis on aligning roles with educational objectives. This strategic approach ensures that each team member contributes effectively. The CTO conducts regular evaluations of job performance to determine the effectiveness of technology staff. Furthermore, the CTO should be involved in the ongoing assessment of salaries, making recommendations to maintain competitiveness with the public sector. This recognizes the significance of attracting and retaining top technology talent within K-12 educational environments. Through this multifaceted approach, the CTO guides the technology department toward its goals while fostering a supportive and growth-oriented professional environment.

Stakeholder engagement

The CTO must seek to collaborate with teachers, staff, students, parents and the wider community to gain a comprehensive understanding of technology needs and concerns. This collaborative approach ensures that the technology strategies align closely with the educational objectives and aspirations of all stakeholders involved.

The CTO must effectively communicate technology initiatives and progress to stakeholders including transparency about ongoing projects and future plans to foster a sense of shared purpose and engagement among teachers, staff, students, parents and the community at large.

Vendor relations

Effective vendor relationships play a pivotal role in shaping the technological trajectory of an organization, influencing everything from innovation and product development to cost management and scalability. CTOs rely on vendors for a diverse range of services, including hardware, software and cloud solutions, making these relationships critical to the efficient functioning of an organization's IT infrastructure. Building strong and strategic partnerships with vendors ensures that a CTO can access the latest technologies, stay ahead of industry trends, and leverage external expertise to drive innovation. Robust vendor relationships contribute to risk mitigation, as collaboration with reliable partners fosters a more secure and stable technological environment.


The CTO must ensure that policies established by federal and state law, State Board of Education rules, and local board policy are implemented. Additionally, the CTO plays a crucial role in policy development, specifically contributing to the formulation of policies and procedures related to the use of technology resources including Acceptable Use Agreements, email usage and content filtering.

The CTO must also compile, maintain and file a comprehensive record of activities and compliance measures, as well as all reports required to ensure that the district remains accountable and transparent.

Instructional technology

The CTO collaborates with teachers, principals and curriculum directors to identify and implement innovative educational technology solutions that enhance learning experiences and

WINTER 2024 33

student outcomes. To make the most effective and innovative recommendations for technology adoption, the CTO must also stay current with emerging technologies and trends.

Strategic planning

The CTO is responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive technology strategy that aligns with the educational goals and objectives of the school district. The strategy should include the development and execution of technology initiatives to support teaching, learning and operations. Additionally, the plan should include standards and specifications for hardware and software use, and technology standards for all new construction.

Key considerations in succession planning

Succession planning is a process and/ or strategy for replacement planning or passing on leadership roles. It is used to identify and develop potential leaders who can move into leadership roles when they become vacant. While many roles and responsibilities of the CTO are similar across districts, the nuances and individual dynamics of a district can be very different from one district to the next.

Identifying and developing talent

Part of a robust succession plan involves assessing the existing technology staff to determine their areas of strengths, vulnerabilities, and potential as future leaders. In assessing existing staff, critical factors to consider are:

• Technical expertise and skills

• Leadership and management abilities

• Institutional knowledge and culture

• Stakeholder engagement

• Business continuity

• Communicating recommenda tions for the successor

Building leadership capacity in others is a key component in succession planning. The CTO may also provide professional development programs for potential successors including mentoring, training and job shadowing, and encouraging participation in professional organizations.

Succession planning models

Successful succession planning involves a combination of various models. The key is to align the chosen model with the organization's goals, culture, and the nature of its workforce.

WINTER 2024 34

Talent pools

A talent pool model is a strategic and proactive approach that allows an organization to thrive during leadership changes. A talent pool is a dynamic and strategically curated reservoir of employees within an organization who exhibit leadership potential. Establishing a talent pool is a proactive approach to identifying, developing, and nurturing individuals who have the capability to assume key leadership roles in the future. This model of succession planning aims to ensure a smooth transition of leadership and maintain organizational continuity.

Developing a talent pool begins with identifying employees who exhibit exceptional skills, leadership qualities and the potential for career advancement. Identification may be based on performance evaluations, leadership assessments, or other relevant criteria. When developing talent pools, the organization should consider individuals with diverse skill sets, expertise and backgrounds. This diversity ensures that the organization is prepared to address the broad range of challenges and opportunities that may arise. Once identified, individuals in the talent pool may participate in targeted professional development programs. Leadership development may include specific training, mentoring and/or coaching to enhance their leadership and managerial skills.

By identifying and developing leadership skills, organizations can build a robust pipeline of talent that ensures a smooth transition of leadership and promotes long-term success.

Talent Review Board model

In this model, a Talent Review Board is established to meet regularly to assess the talent within the organization. The review board usually consists of executive leadership, human resources, and other key stakeholders. They review potential successors for key positions, discuss development plans, and make decisions on promotions and placements. This model incorporates centralized decisionmaking and requires continuous, comprehensive talent assessments.

9-Box Grid model

The 9-Box Grid is a tool that assesses an employee based on performance and potential. It can be easily customized and uses a matrix to categorize an employee's skill and performance. The vertical (y) axis of the grid indicates growth potential, referring to an individual's professional growth capacity. The horizontal (x) axis represents an employee’s current overall performance, indicating the extent the employee meets current expectations. Using a 9-box talent grid can help identify high-potential employees who may be suitable candidates for succession planning.

Position replacement chart model

This model involves creating a visual chart that maps out key positions within the organization and identifies potential successors for each role. It helps in visualizing the potential flow of talent in the event of a vacancy. This model is position-specific planning, which offers a clear visualization of the organization. Targeted succession mapping can be very helpful in organizations where there is a hierarchy of positions that foster skill development for advancement.

External recruitment model

In certain situations, organizations may opt for external recruitment to bring in fresh perspectives and skills. This model involves identifying and attracting external candidates for leadership positions. This model can increase the diversity of thought and refresh ideas and perspectives. This model can also promote the infusion of industry expertise and best practices.

Communication and transition planning

In the context of facilitating a smooth transition, the individual responsible for overseeing the transition process should implement effective communication strategies. These strategies are essential for ensuring that all stakeholders are well-informed and engaged throughout the transition. Clear and transparent communication can

WINTER 2024 35

include regular updates, town hall meetings, and documentation that outlines the changes, timelines and anticipated impact on various stakeholders. By fostering an open line of communication, the transition can be better understood, and concerns or questions from stakeholders can be addressed promptly.

The handover process is a critical aspect of a smooth transition, and its importance cannot be overstated. It involves the transfer of responsibilities, knowledge and resources from one party to another. The individual in charge should discuss and establish a structured handover process to minimize disruptions and ensure continuity. This may include comprehensive training sessions, documentation of processes and mentorship programs. The significance of a well executed handover process lies in its ability to mitigate potential pitfalls, maintain operational efficiency and empower the incoming individuals or teams with the requisite knowledge and tools for success. Effectively managing both communication strategies and the handover process is crucial to achieving a seamless and successful transition.

Evaluation and monitoring

In emphasizing the importance of continuous evaluation and monitoring of the succession plan, the responsible individual recognizes the dynamic nature of organizational needs and objectives. Regular assessment ensures that the succession plan remains aligned with the evolving goals of the organization and is responsive to changes in leadership requirements. This ongoing evaluation enables the identification of potential gaps or areas for improvement, contributing to the plan's overall effectiveness.

Feedback mechanisms play a pivotal role in refining the succession plan.

The individual responsible for the plan should actively seek input from stakeholders, including employees, leaders, and other relevant parties. By incorporating diverse perspectives and insights, the succession plan can be adapted to address specific challenges or capitalize on emerging opportunities. Feedback mechanisms create a continuous loop of improvement, allowing for the plan to evolve in tandem with organizational dynamics and ensuring its resilience in preparing for leadership transitions. In essence, the combination of continuous evaluation and feedback mechanisms enhances the agility and efficacy of the succession planning process.

Case studies

General Electric

General Electric (GE) is widely recognized for its leadership talent and its succession management system. One of the best examples of succession management is how GE’s former CEO Jack Welch shaped and elevated the company’s philosophy, practice, and reputation for developing leaders. Welch believed that choosing his own successor was one of the most important decisions to be made, and GE made a commitment to grow leaders from within the organization. Consequently, all managers and executives were moved to different positions every two to three years. Each move exposed the leader to new business operations and the dynamics across the divisions. This enabled GE to build management teams that were knowledgeable and experienced. GE continues to follow this model.


In August 2013, Steve Ballmer abruptly announced that he would step down as chief executive of Microsoft as soon as his replacement could be found. Thus began one of the most important CEO searches

in the past decade and a case study in the dos and don’ts of senior leadership succession. At the time, Microsoft was the third-most-profitable company in the U.S. and the fourth most valuable. Nevertheless, this well respected global technology giant didn’t seem to have a plan for replacing Ballmer. Microsoft seemed to start from square one, concentrating mostly on external candidates. According to the director who chaired the search committee, the board cast a wide net across a number of industries and skill sets, identified more than 100 candidates, talked with several dozen, and then focused intensely on about 20.

Among the 20 was Steve Mollenkopf, the COO of Qualcomm, who fell out of contention when he was promoted to that company’s top job. Alan Mulally, who had just turned around Ford and was the favorite candidate, took his name off the list in January, at which point the press described Microsoft’s board as turning to Plan B. Finally, in February, six months after Ballmer had declared himself a lame duck, Microsoft announced that an insider, Satya Nadella, would become the third CEO in its history. Despite the bumbling succession process, Nadella was a terrific pick. He moved Microsoft away from fiefdoms and a “know-it-all” culture and toward a more open, collaborative “learn-it-all” one, built up the cloud-computing business, made Office available on all smartphones, and executed dozens of accretive acquisitions, including the purchase of LinkedIn. In his first nine months as CEO, Microsoft’s stock rose 30%, increasing its market value by $90 billion. Under new leadership, Microsoft has changed its succession planning model, and committed to lifelong learning and leadership development.


Despite its status as a global brand and giant in the consumer-packaged-goods


industry, the Coca-Cola Company (CocaCola) is no stranger to issues with their succession planning. On Dec. 6, 1999, Doug Ivester retired at age 52, resigning after only two years as CEO of Coca-Cola. During his short time in office, CocaCola’s return on shareholder equity dropped from 56% to 35%, and overall earnings declined for two years on-end. The company’s market value remained unchanged, little consolation given that it grew 34-fold during Roberto Goizueta’s 16-year tenure as their previous CEO.

Ivester began his career at Coca-Cola as an extremely successful CFO. However, despite being mentored by the previous CEO for more than 10 years, Ivester failed to adopt his predecessor’s most valuable leadership skills. Why was Goizueta’s protégé and right-hand man unable to follow in his footsteps?

Because Ivester spent 10 years being mentored by Goizueta himself, the board thought they were honoring their late CEO’s wishes by passing the role on to his protégé. In doing so, Coca-Cola fell victim to a common succession planning mistake, dubbed “The Peter Principle.” This principle is based on research by Laurence Peter and holds that competent people in an organization will be promoted to higher level positions based on performance in their current jobs. However, the higher level position often requires a skill set not possessed by the employee which results in the individual’s inability to be successful in the new role.

It’s been two decades since Ivester’s resignation as CEO of Coca-Cola, and the company has improved their succession planning since. James Quincey is the incumbent CEO and has been since May 1, 2017. Quincey was groomed as a CEO succession candidate during his time as president of the company’s Europe group, then as the company’s overall president and COO. He had a 20-year career with

Coca-Cola, and was personally mentored by Muhtar Kent, the previous CEO, during the latter half.

Quincey was given the opportunity to establish a new international operating structure and raise up a leadership team. He was familiar with Coca-Cola’s brands, values and systems, and was quoted by Kent as having an “acute understanding of evolving consumer tastes.” In short, Coca-Cola invested in developing a leadership pipeline that allowed Quincey to both demonstrate and develop the strategic vision and inspirational leadership that Doug Ivester was lacking. In this way, Coca-Cola has served as an example of both the risk in unplanned succession and the benefit of ongoing succession planning. When Muhtar Kent retired as CEO, James Quincey, who had been with the company for more than two decades, seamlessly transitioned into the role. This example highlights the importance of grooming leaders internally and aligning their development with the company's strategic goals.

Lessons learned from Coca-Cola

1. Don’t fall prey to the Peter Principle — Just because someone excels at one level of leadership does not mean they will be successful at the next. Remember that technical expertise isn’t an indicator of managerial potential, and that employees should be encouraged to stay in positions that capitalize on their strengths. To help you overcome the Peter Principle, we recommend assessing candidates’ skills, not just for the current role, but for the role they are slated to take on. Use objective measures as well as feedback from others; this will help you overcome biases and understand which candidate is right for the role.

2. A proper succession plan requires collaboration from the board, administrative leadership, shareholders and employees. Diversify the perspectives available to you so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for the future.

3. Have a Plan B — Ensure your leadership bench is well developed so that you have multiple succession candidates groomed for each role. This will allow your organization to promote internally even if your primary successor is unable to take on the role.

4. Don’t settle — Coca-Cola’s original plan was to have Ivester take on the technical role of CEO but keep Goizueta as a visionary leader. This should have been an early indication that Ivester was not entirely fit for the position. When identifying and grooming succession candidates, look for those who have the potential to truly take on all aspects of the role.

Risks of no succession plan

The absence of a succession plan for a K-12 CTO entails various risks for the educational institution. First and foremost, the departure of a CTO without a designated successor may result in a substantial gap in technical knowledge and skills, disrupting the implementation and maintenance of technology within the school district. This potential knowledge and skill deficit could lead to operational disruptions, affecting administrative and instructional activities. Furthermore, the loss of institutional memory, including valuable insights into the institution's technology infrastructure, can impede the new leadership's ability to understand and efficiently manage existing systems. The lack of a designated successor also poses cybersecurity risks, as the absence of dedicated leadership may

WINTER 2024 37

increase the likelihood of security vulnerabilities and data breaches. Inefficiencies, delays in decision-making, and setbacks in educational technology initiatives are additional consequences that may arise. Ultimately, the absence of a succession plan can erode stakeholder confidence — impacting teachers, students, parents, and the community.

Challenges and potential pitfalls

There are common challenges and pitfalls in succession planning that can adversely affect the seamless transition of leadership. One prevalent issue is the insufficient identification and grooming of potential successors, resulting in a gap in the talent pool. To mitigate this, districts should establish a robust talent development program, identifying and providing opportunities for promising individuals to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge.

Another challenge involves the fast-paced evolution of technology, which may render traditional skill sets obsolete. A proactive strategy to overcome this is to prioritize ongoing professional development, ensuring that current and aspiring CTOs stay abreast of emerging technologies and pedagogical trends.

Additionally, the lack of clear communication and transparency in the succession process can lead to uncertainty and anxiety among staff. Addressing this requires open communication about leadership changes, providing clarity on the selection process, and involving key stakeholders.

Lastly, resistance to change within the organization can impede the effectiveness of succession plans. Cultivating a culture that embraces innovation and openness to new leadership can help overcome this challenge, fostering a smoother transition and ensuring the continuity of effective educational technology leadership.


The CTO is critical in K-12 education to ensure safe, secure and uninterrupted technology performance. The responsibilities of a CTO span from strategic planning and infrastructure management to budget allocation, innovation in educational technology, and ensuring cybersecurity and data privacy. Because technology evolves rapidly, succession planning becomes paramount in addressing challenges such as talent pool gaps, obsolescence of skill sets, and organizational resistance to change. To overcome these challenges,

districts must implement proactive strategies, including talent development programs, ongoing professional development, transparent communication, and a culture that fosters innovation. Ultimately, effective succession planning not only mitigates risks, but also positions educational institutions to embrace technological advancements and provide a seamless transition in technology leadership, thereby fostering a conducive environment for learning and growth. n

Dianne Borreson was the Chief Technology Officer in Hays CISD for 21 years and currently serves as the Executive Director of TETL.

Dr. Karla Burkholder was the Director of Technology in Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD for 10 years, currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of TETL, and is a professor of practice at Baylor University.


Aráoz, G. N., & Green, C. (2021). The high cost of poor succession planning. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr. org/2021/05/the-high-cost-of-poor-succession-planning

Chattergee, S. (2023, July 21). 9 box talent review: Quick guide for HR in 2023. Peoplebox. blog/9-box-talent-review/

Glazer, R. (2021, November 15). Jack Welch’s CEO succession process was once the gold standard – here’s why wisdom needs to age. LinkedIn. jack-welchs-ceo-succession-process-once-gold-standardrobert-glazer/

Ketchabaw, J. (2023, October 6). Coca-Cola’s CEO Succession Planning Case Study. SIGMA Assessment Systems. coca-colas-succession-planning-case-study/#_edn3

Peter, L. F., & Hull, R. (1969). The Peter Principle. William Morrow and Company.

Succession planning: A step-by-step guide - NIH: Office of Human Resources. (n.d.). files/public/documents/2021-03/Succession_Planning_ Step_by_Step_Guide.pdf



School culture: the bedrock of mental well-being

Now this is what I want to do with my life!” was the sentence that reverberated throughout the classroom, as students loquaciously exchanged ideas about sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels.

Like a well-rehearsed flash mob production of Bethoven’s “Ode To Joy,” unexpected, but spectacular nonetheless, it was music to any teacher’s ear. So, what made this beautiful equilibrium of happiness for both the students and the teacher possible? They were both part of a school culture where they felt the support that enabled them to hone their skills and perform well.

If you spent a day uncovering scientific wonders with fifth grade scientists, you would quickly learn that among other factors, heat, pressure and time are critical components in the formation of sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels. Teachers also experience those same three factors. Unlike sedimentary rocks, and fossil fuels however, the teacher’s outcome is not always predictable. For those who are able to endure the heat, the pressure, and stand the test of time, they credit school culture as the bedrock of their mental well-being.


One of the biggest misconceptions students have when learning about the formation of sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels is that the heat comes from the sun, rather than from the core of the Earth. The converse is true for teachers. The heat they feel is typically associated with extrinsic factors such as curriculum requirements, differentiating instruction, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue in addition to a plethora of other obligations. Too often our teachers feel that they are standing, not just close to the heat, but in the fire. The only means of escape that they can conceptualize entails letting go of a career that defines them. The corollary of this is a disruption in the equilibrium of their mental well-being.


Imagine a huge stack of the fluffiest pancakes that you have ever seen. I lay them in front of you, and incrementally add more pancakes, one at a time. You watch and salivate as golden beads of delicious pancake syrup slowly cascades down the sides. Just as you are about to dig in, I snatch the stack of pancakes and smash it with a brick. Dramatic right? You could even predict the outcome before the brick hits the stack of pancakes because the sudden change was so obvious. Unfortunately that’s not how pressure manifests itself in geological formations, or in our lives. It’s sometimes hard for students to conceptualize how pressure affects the layering of rocks, or for teachers to realize that they are under a lot of pressure before the full weight is on them, putting them in a mental well-being deficit.

WINTER 2024 39


If I chanted the phrase, “Fossil fuels are nonrenewable because …” chances are students will reply, “... they won’t come back in our lifetime!” Fossil fuels are available for a limited amount of time, and so are we as teachers. Teachers invest so much of their lifespan in the classroom. Unfortunately, by the time retirement rolls around, if teachers manage to stay that long, their bodies are riddled with ailments. The unfortunate byproduct of such a situation is, once again a threat to their mental fitness.

School culture: the bedrock of mental well-being

It’s often said, “When you look good, you feel good,” Similarly, when you have authentic friendships, colleagues can endure hardships. School culture is not a solvent that allows all the issues to dissolve and us to move forward as if they never existed. On the contrary, school culture allows us to view obstacles from an eustress perspective, being able to maintain a level of tenacity and positivity despite setbacks. How do we obtain that mindset? It starts with leadership. Leadership should facilitate an atmosphere where authentic relationships and team building can flourish. Care should be taken that leadership is never transactional, or some sort of quid pro quo situation.

In kindergarten, we had a Small Moments writing unit. The smallest moment of a day was expanded with intricate detail that created an entire story. Our day is filled with a consecutive string of small moments. How leadership reacts in each of those moments inform the type of school culture that organizations facilitate. It should be a harmonious blending of

transformational leadership that inspires and actualizes systemic and social change and servant leadership, which values and empowers those you mentor to hone their skills. I refer to this intricate balance of both transformational and servant leadership as transervational leadership. Successful teams normalize collegiality and have a clear mission.

In the infamous movie, “300,” when the odds are stacked against the warriors, instead of running away in futility, they stand their ground in the notorious Greek phalanx formation, with shields interlocked and spears ready to strike. The same is true of teachers. Supported teachers, working in culturally responsive schools, will always be more prepared to navigate the odds.

Teachers thrive in positive school cultures. Afterall, it’s not only the skillpower that defines good educators. It’s also the willpower. Show me a teacher who is skillful and willing, and I will show you a future that is educationally unwavering. School culture is the bedrock of a teacher’s mental wellbeing.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Teams don’t go physically flat, they go mentally stale.”

What is the current culture of your team?

What are you doing to enhance its mental fortitude? n

Taniece Thompson-Smith is the 2024 Texas Teacher of the Year and a fifth grade science teacher at Abilene ISD’s Stafford Elementary.



A journey of organizational change in Prosper ISD

The landscape of public education is undergoing rapid transformation, an observation readily apparent to those entrenched in its daily operations. Districts across the state are grappling with changes from the pandemic, social issues, and an unstable political environment. Each school district has undoubtedly had its unique challenges, spanning from enrollment declines to accelerated expansion, financial ambiguity, “learning loss,” and distinct adversities.

For our district, these included an unexpected transition to a new superintendent, changes in long-tenured board members, and unprecedented growth. In the past five years, we have opened 11 campuses — including two high schools — and will open another nine campuses in the next three years. Consequently, the district redirected its focus toward strategic organizational transformation, gearing up to accommodate an annual influx of 3,500 students and pursuing the second-largest bond package in the history of Texas school districts. We intend to share insights into our present status and trajectory, aiming to provide support and guidance for other districts navigating their own challenges.

Organizational change

According to Kurt Lewin’s force field analysis model, the change process goes through three stages: unfreezing from the current situation, moving to a desired condition, and then refreezing so it remains in this state. There are two primary forces involved in the change. Driving forces are behind the need for change, which moves it into the unfreezing state, and restraining forces push against it, usually trying to preserve the status quo. Driving forces could be the central office, the community, or test scores. Restraining forces could be pushback from the community or staff or lack of funding. Change agents need to realize that resistance is a common and natural human response and not take it personally.

In various organizational change models, readiness for change is recognized as a fundamental starting point. Achieving this readiness involves the leader emphasizing the differences between the current state of the organization and its envisioned future state. Generating a sense of urgency among employees becomes crucial to kickstart the change process. When individuals do not perceive the necessity for change, their involvement in the transformation diminishes. The degree to which an organization is primed and receptive to change holds utmost significance, often surpassing the influence of external factors advocating for change.

The restraining forces of change also must be addressed. Reducing the resistance will help the change move forward. If the resistance is ignored, it will hinder the progress of change. Also, if the resistance is ignored while the driving forces increase, the resisting forces push back even harder. Change resides at the heart of leadership, and all school leaders will face a time in their careers when they need to lead a change.

WINTER 2024 41

Consistently, organizational culture stands out as a pivotal variable influencing the success of implementing institutional change. Executing organizational change is challenging, and without a robust culture of trust, effecting significant change becomes difficult. Trust within the organization facilitates adopting new practices, while unintended repercussions foster a sense of "survival anxiety," perceived as a risk to the organization's overall health. This anxiety tends to shift focus solely onto individual interests, detracting from collective teamwork.

Organizational structure

When growing 2,500-3,500 students a year, the leadership team and supporting departments must also scale appropriately. District leadership has greatly emphasized “getting the right people on the right seats on the bus” by adding key leadership roles and individuals and reviewing our organizational structure. Beyond district leadership development, with many assistant principals ascending to principal roles with constant campus openings and principals moving into director roles and similar, developing a leadership pipeline of people familiar with Prosper ISD culture and high standards has been critical.

Establishing trust

As mentioned above, trust is foundational to change. For the 2022-23 school year, the district emphasized the idea of trust and studied “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything” by Stephen M.R. Covey. Every “Leaders of Learning” meeting with directors and principals discussed these principles.

After establishing the impact of trust, such as the benefits of “dividends” when you have trust or “trust tax” when you do not, the book discussed the Five Waves of Trust:

1. Self trust: (credibility) Your ability to set and achieve goals, keep commitments, walk your talk, and inspire trust in others

2. Relational trust: (consistent behavior) How well do you establish and increase “trust accounts” with others?

3. Organizational trust: (alignment) The degree to which the organization creates structures, systems, and trust symbols

4. Market trust: (reputation) The level of your organization’s reputation

5. Societal trust: (contribution) How well you create value for others and society at large

Switch: how to change things when change is hard

After dedicating a year to nurturing trust, an ongoing endeavor embedded in every action, our Leaders of Learning explored strategies for managing change. This culminated in a leadership retreat centered around the principles outlined in the book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by the Heath brothers.

This book focuses on three big areas of change, which they refer to as directing the rider, motivating the elephant, and shaping the path. The Rider represents the logical center of the brain, the part that loves facts and knowledge, which are critical to making the right decision and leading to the change we want to see. The Elephant, obviously significantly larger than the Rider, represents the brain's emotional side. It is harder to control, but once it gets moving, it doesn’t matter how hard that rider pulls on the reins. If the elephant is motivated, it’s moving! Finally, there is the path that the elephant and rider are on. The path represents the external factors that shape behavior. If we’re surrounded by people behaving a certain way, we’re much more likely to conform to their behavior.

This ultimately led to developing a “plan on a page” document for each campus and department. This two-page document highlights the primary goals for each campus and department for the year. Campus and department leaders use it as a living document to direct their daily work. The board of trustees also uses the plans on a page during their instructional walks with the superintendent.

Rocket fuel

With trust established and the groundwork laid for change, how does the superintendent implement the district vision? The executive cabinet is currently studying the book “Rocket Fuel,” which discusses the importance of having a visionary and integrator partnership. Top district leaders need to carry forth the district vision and provide vision to their respective areas of responsibility. Visionaries must find the complement with an Integrator to implement the vision. The book discusses the strengths and challenges of each of these roles and how to handle both roles if required.

For instance, visionaries are typically adept at generating ideas, envisioning the broader scope, and foreseeing the future. They infuse passion and innovative concepts. Challenges they encounter often involve maintaining focus, grappling with an abundance of ideas, causing what's termed as "organizational whiplash," overlooking details, and struggling to relinquish control.


On the contrary, integrators excel in managing day-to-day operations, providing a stabilizing presence, and serving as the voice of logic. Typically perceived as pessimists, they prioritize discipline and accountability, occasionally criticized for their perceived slow pace and the attempt to shoulder excessive responsibilities like a superman. This role often entails a sense of isolation.

After role definition, the book details how the two complement each other and why they are critical for organizational success.

The takeaway

There are three simple things that you can do to help facilitate organizational change.

1. Streamline your campus/department improvement plans. Move away from the dinosaur of a document that sits on a dusty shelf and create a cheat sheet for focus and growth that everyone can access and use.

AP Computer Science Principles ignites critical thinking and allows for project based learning and collaboration. Students also develop problem solving skills that will be useful in any job in the future

2. Focus your administrative meetings on learning together and building a common vocabulary. Determine a thread of learning beginning at your leadership retreat that empowers district and campus leaders to continue to grow in their roles.

3. Build your leadership pipeline. Whether you have one campus or 50, always be on the lookout for the next leader in line. Invest in their development.

We are grateful for district leaders like you working to improve, build trust, set the vision for your community, and carry it forward. n

Dr. Holly Ferguson is superintendent of Prosper ISD.

Dr. Kyle Penn is deputy superintendent of district and employee services in Prosper ISD.

AP Computer Science Principles — A Launchpad to Limitless Career Connections

AP® Computer Science Principles introduces students to foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology impacts the world. Students also develop foundational skills critical for many occupations. This course is popular for grades 10, 11, and 12, and has no prerequisites. It can serve a broad group of students by giving them the opportunity to pursue their own individual interests and build transferable skills.

Learn more at

“ ”

The Principals’ Institute (PI) is a year-long professional development series that provides a unique opportunity for principals to understand why transformation of public education is necessary. PI is designed to help principals develop the knowledge and skills required to be transformational leaders and to help build the capacity it takes to sustain transformation over time. The PI experience includes exposure to influential superintendents and speakers, such as Eric Sheninger, Rob Evans, George Couros, Dwight Carter, John Tanner, Thomas C. Murray, Jimmy Casas, and Joe Sanfelippo.


• Registration Fee: $6,000.00 per participant (excluding travel expenses)

• Six, 2-day sessions alternating between Austin, Dallas, and Houston

The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is designed to build the capacity of district executive leaders for system-wide improvements in teaching and learning. Sessions will include opportunities for leaders to cultivate strategic approaches and actions in order to support district transformational efforts. The ELI experience includes exposure to influential superintendents and speakers, such as Eric Sheninger, Rob Evans, George Couros, Dwight Carter, Jimmy Casas, Thomas C. Murray, and Joe Sanfelippo. In addition to the scheduled sessions, each participant will receive the support of an Executive Coach throughout the year.


• Registration Fee: $4,500.00 per participant (excluding travel expenses)

• Four, 2-day sessions alternating between Austin and Houston

The Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (APL) provides learning opportunities to develop, challenge, and inspire assistant principals to be transformative leaders. APL participants will engage in processes which support the development of skills specific to transformational leadership and building a learning organization while preparing them for the role of principal.


• Registration Fee: in-person sessions - $1,000 per participant (excluding travel expenses); virtual sessions - $1,000 per participant

• Six, 4-hour sessions throughout the year

The Teacher Leadership Institute (TLI) is a boundarybreaking institute for classroom teachers. Throughout the 6 sessions, committed teachers are empowered to revitalize learning cultures while leaning N2 an inspired future. Centered on teacher voice and grounded in a foundation of collaboration, the Teacher Leadership Institute challenges teachers to move beyond accountability standards and toward innovative learning that ignites student engagement.


•Customized for individual districts or regional consortiums of districts

•Six full day sessions

Find out more about our partner initiatives with TASA at

TASA Corporate Partners

TASA is grateful to our 2023–24 corporate partners for their support.

Each level of the Corporate Partner Program is designed to offer our partners quality exposure to association members. Partners at the President’s Circle, Platinum, and Gold levels may customize special events and opportunities.


Carnegie Learning

Coryell Roofing

DLR Group

eM Life

Frontline Education

Gaggle.Net Inc.


Imagine Learning (formerly Edgenuity)

Just Right Reader

N2 Learning




Trusted Capital Group (TCG), a HUB International Company


VLK Architects

Wondr Health

WRA Architects


Age of Learning

Apple, Inc.

Capturing Kids' Hearts



The College Board

Curriculum Associates


EF Education First



Google for Education

Hazel Health

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

K12 Insight

Lone Star Furnishings, LLC

LPA, Inc.

Meteor Education

Milliken & Company Paper

SAFARI Montage


Learn more about TASA’s Corporate Partner Program

GOLD Amplify


Grand Canyon University


New Tech Network

Raise Your Hand Texas


Savvas Learning Company



BRW Architects

Corwin Press, Inc.

Dell Technologies

Education Advanced, Inc.

Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union

Harris County Department of Education


Indeco Sales, Inc


Pfluger Architects

Schneider Electric

Stephens Inc.

Walsh Gallegos Kyle Robinson & Roalson P.C.

Whizz Education



Digi Security Systems

Educate Texas

FranklinCovey Education

Hilltop Securities, Inc.

HKS Inc.

Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP

M&R Roofing and Construction Company, LLC

Marsh McLennan Agency

McGriff Insurance Services

MIND Education, Creators of ST Math

MSB School Services




Panorama Education


Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc.

Talkspace & The Princeton Review®

Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

WINTER 2024 45
SAVE THE DATE! Ideas. Insights. Inspiration. Shaping Public Education Together Sept. 27–29, 2024 San Antonio
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.