August 2021

Page 1

A Publication of the Texas Association of School Boards | Volume 39, Number 7 | August 2021 AN UNUSUAL SESSION Calling the 87th Legislature ‘Unique’ Would Be an Understatement
Texas Lone Star

Featured Event

TASB Officers 2020-21

Jim Rice, Fort Bend ISD, President

Ted Beard, Longview ISD, President-Elect

Debbie Gillespie, Frisco ISD, First Vice-President

Bob Covey, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Second Vice-President

Armando Rodriguez, Canutillo ISD, Secretary-Treasurer

Lee Lentz-Edwards, Kermit ISD, Immediate Past President

TASB Board of Directors 2020-21

Moises Alfaro, Mathis ISD, Region 2

Kay Alley, Crosbyton CISD, Region 17

Jesus Amaya, Los Fresnos CISD, Region 1A

Rose Avalos, Aldine ISD, Region 4H

Kamlesh Bhikha, ESC 2, ESC Representative

Steve Brown, Ector County ISD, Region 18

Kevin A. Carbo, Mesquite ISD, Region 10D

Dawn Champagne, Katy ISD, Region 4E

Justin Chapa, Arlington ISD, Region 11C

Thomas Darden, Cooper ISD, Region 8

Jason Dohnalik, Cameron ISD, Region 6

Karen Freeman, Northside ISD, Region 20B

Corinne French, Valley View ISD, Region 11D

Demetrio D. Garcia, Kenedy ISD, Region 3

Sylvia Sanchez Garza, South Texas ISD, Region 1B

Linda Gooch, Sunnyvale ISD, Region 10B

Mary Jane Hetrick, Dripping Springs ISD, Region 13B

Tony Hopkins, Friendswood ISD, Region 4C

Sandy Hughey, North East ISD, Region 20E

Mark Lukert, Wichita Falls ISD, Region 9

Raymond P. Meza, San Felipe Del Rio CISD, Region 15

Dan Micciche, Dallas ISD, Region 10C

Vernagene Mott, Pflugerville ISD, Region 13C

Nicholas Phillips, Nederland ISD, Region 5

Jacinto Ramos Jr., Fort Worth ISD, Region 11B

Tony Raymond, Sabine ISD, Region 7

Georgan Reitmeier, Klein ISD, Region 4A

Rolinda Schmidt, Kerrville ISD, Region 20A

Cindy Spanel, Highland Park ISD, Region 16

Becky St. John, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Region 11A

Anne Sung, Houston ISD, Region 4D

Yasmin Wagner, Austin ISD, Region 13A

Mildred Watkins, La Vega ISD, Region 12

Greg Welch, Clyde CISD, Region 14

Robert Westbrook, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, Region 20D

2 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 | Calendar
the TASB website at
call TASB at 512.467.0222 or 800.580.8272 toll-free.
For more information about these events or deadlines, visit
• TASB HR Services “Supervisor’s Guide to Managing Employee Performance” Virtual Event
• TASB “Preparing to
Webinar for School Board Candidates” Webinar
• National School Boards Association
2021 Delegate Assembly and Summer Leadership Seminar, Louisville, Kentucky
• Deadline to Participate in TASB HR Services Superintendent Salary Survey
• Delegate/alternate Preregistration Deadline for TASB Delegate Assembly 29 • TASB Board of Directors Candidate Endorsement Period Closes
• TASB “What Trustees Need to Know about Accelerating Learning for Students after the Pandemic” Virtual Event 31-September 3 • State Board of Education Meetings, Austin SEPTEMBER 2 • TASB HR Services District Personnel Salary Survey Opens 9-12 • Mexican American School Boards Association Conference, San Antonio 10 • txEDCON21 TASA | TASB Convention Early Bird Registration Deadline 16-18 • NSBA Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia 24-26 • txEDCON21 TASA | TASB Convention, Dallas 25 • TASB Delegate Assembly, Dallas
Serve: A

8 An Unusual Session

Even with the unique nature of this legislative session, education leaders’ personal relationships and interactions with lawmakers made an important impact. Read more about it.


2 Calendar

22 Legal News

24 Capitol Watch

26 Good Governance


5 From the Top

7 Editor’s Footnote

38 A Final Note

14 A Leader’s Path

After joining TASB in 1981 and eventually serving more than 25 years as executive director, James B. (Jim) Crow reflects on his career as he readies to retire.

18 Professional Learning Communities

TASB Communications Consultant Dianne C. Anderson explores the distributed leadership approach that dramatically transformed Seguin ISD.

Texas Lone Star • Volume 39, Number 7

Texas Association of School Boards P.O. Box 400 • Austin, Texas • 78767-0400 512.467.0222 • 800.580.8272

Roger White • Managing Editor

Theresa Gage-Dieringer, Assistant Editor Shu-in Powell • Graphic Designer Patrick Morris, Virginia Hernandez • Photographers Jackie Johnson • Advertising Coordinator 360 Press Solutions • Printer

Texas Lone Star (ISSN 0749-9310) is published 10 times a year by the Texas Association of School Boards. Copyright© 2021 by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). All rights reserved. Reproduction, adaptation, distribution, and exhibition in whole or in part are prohibited under penalty of law without the written license or permission of TASB. Copies of Texas Lone Star are mailed to trustees of TASB member school boards and their superintendents as part of their membership. Subscriptions are available to nonmembers for $36 (1 year), $69 (2 years), and $99 (3 years). Single copies are $5.

Address changes should be sent to Michael Pennant, TASB, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

Articles in Texas Lone Star are expressions of the author or interviewee and do not represent the views or policies of TASB. Permission to reprint should be emailed to or addressed to the Managing Editor, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.


For more information about and our related sites, contact TASB Online Communications at 512.467.0222 or 800.580.8272 or visit

Texas Lone Star does not guarantee publication of unsolicited manuscripts.

Postmaster: Send address changes to TASB, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400. | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 3 Follow us: Features
Contents | August 2021 Web Watch Visit for all the details on
28 News & Events year’s
TASA | TASB Convention.
September 24–26, 2021 Kay Bailey Hutchison
Center Dallas #tasatasb Registration and housing now open Join us in Dallas for the largest convening of public education policymakers in Texas!

What Makes Us Volunteer?

Quality People, Quality Leadership Mean All the Difference in Deciding to Serve

What makes people volunteer? Why do I volunteer?

Running for election to serve in a volunteer position on the school board can seem contrary to common sense. After all, school board trustees are making decisions about the two things people value the most: their children and their hardearned money.

I have thought about this a lot lately, as serving on the school board has never been more difficult as we wrestle with the issues of the day. So why do we do it?

In my own case, I believe it is because of people—others who have served on the school board with me, perhaps a superintendent, an administrator, or a teacher. Perhaps it is because of a parent.

Getting to Know Jim

So why do I serve on the TASB Board of Directors? I first got started because of my friend and mentor, the late Sonal Bhuchar of Fort Bend ISD. Sonal stepped down from the TASB Board to run for a seat as our state representative. In so doing, she encouraged me to take her place.

Serving on the TASB Board of Directors since the summer of 2012 has provided me many opportunities, including raising my perspective on public education at the state and national levels and the opportunity to observe TASB Executive Director Jim Crow up close and personally.

During my very first TASB Board meeting, Jim went out of his way to make

sure I felt welcomed and was prepared with a great mentor (Silsbee ISD’s Jim de Garavilla, who served as 2018-19 TASB president) to ensure my first meeting went well for me. This personal touch by Jim, which meant a lot to me, was the first of many I observed him extend to every member of the TASB Board and staff.

At a time when the concept of local control seems a foreign concept to the Texas Legislature, Jim Crow has deferred to the TASB Board on those issues great and small over which the Board holds purview.

Jim would provide us with information unvarnished or tainted by his own opinion so the board could form a considered opinion and cast an informed vote. If one wishes to truly engage and empower the governing body, one must have the courage to allow them to make the final decision and then proceed accordingly.

How has this worked? Today, TASB is recognized by all state school boards organizations in the country for 100percent participation by all school districts in Texas; the services provided to over 7,000 school trustees; its influence with the Texas Legislature, which stems from this participation; and National School Boards Association acknowledgment as an example of a well-run, influential, and solid organization.

Though he would be the very last to take credit for any of this, the truth is through his 41 years of service to TASB, which also extends to public education

everywhere, Jim has indeed cast a giant shadow. We bid Jim a fond farewell and wish him all the best as he retires from TASB this month.

An Inspiring Leader

So what makes people volunteer and continue to serve for long periods of time? Perhaps it is for several reasons: a commitment to the cause for which they volunteer, for the betterment of their communities and the public good; perhaps because of the other volunteers they work with; and, just as importantly, perhaps because of the individual who brings order and effectiveness to the many competing ideas of how to best serve the many competing needs of our students, our teachers, our parents, and our administrators.

People willingly volunteer for people who know how to acknowledge, empower, and inspire volunteers. Jim Crow has spent an adult lifetime doing just so.

With apologies to English poet Andrew Marvell, it can be said of Jim: “He nothing common did or mean, Upon that memorable scene…”

Continue the Good Fight

To all volunteer trustees in Texas and our nation, I implore you to continue to serve and fight the good fight so that, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

God bless you all.H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 5 From the Top
Jim Rice, a Fort Bend ISD trustee, is 2020-21 president of TASB.


Through specialized schools; Head Start early childhood education; afterschool programs; school-based therapy services; and a scholastic art and writing awards program, HCDE makes a BIG impact on Harris County communities.


As Mr. Crow Flies

A Fond Farewell to TASB’s Steadying Hand through 25 Years of Leadership

I’ve read it before that many of the best leaders are the ones you seldom hear about. They do their job effectively, quietly, with little fanfare for themselves. They let others take the spotlight, while behind the scenes these true leaders are the driving, steadying force who keep the ship sailing smoothly through times of tempest and tranquility.

This is an apt description for James B. Crow, who for a quarter of a century now has led the Texas Association of School Boards through times of great triumph and great challenge. Jim is retiring from TASB on August 31, looking forward to spending more time with his 2-year-old granddaughter, Lulu, taking the occasional river cruise, and enjoying a much-anticipated Andrea Bocelli concert in Italy.

And TASB—and Texas public education—are the better for it. Read about Jim’s career, beginning on page 14.

Caring—and Keen Memory

For those who worked with Jim, an amazing aspect of his caring—and his keen memory—is that he knew just about everyone around him. And he always wanted to know more.

“Jim’s leadership style is both micro and macro. On the micro level, he knows pretty much every TASB employee by name—all 500-plus of us,” said TASB General Counsel Sedora Jefferson. “At monthly employee anniversary meetings, where

employees who have completed their first year of service and any multiple of five years of service are celebrated, Jim would refer to each employee being honored by first name. The name pronunciation would be right—and you got the feeling that they had chatted in the breakroom or near the elevator several times before. He’d ask about their children and grandchildren and about their last vacation trip.

“On the macro level, he’s a stickler for even-handed treatment. He wants practices to be written down in policies and posted for all to see,” Jefferson continued. “And he wants to see every contract (well, almost all) that binds the Association! As the chief legal officer, I couldn’t have had a stronger bogeyman to enforce our contract approval process.”

High praise, indeed, from someone of the barrister bent! The thing is, we all feel this way. We all knew that Jim had our backs.

Hats off to you, Mr. C. You can take your hand off the wheel now—and enjoy the river. Happy retirement, Jim!H

But he’ll never be far from his passion—public education. He’ll still be following it closely, as he’s done since he was a kid. This quote from him struck me particularly: “My dad was on the Rockdale ISD Board for about 20 years when I was growing up. I was such a nerdy kid that I would read the TASB Journal magazine when it would come in the mail each month. I honestly think I was destined to work at TASB.” | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 7
Editor’s Footnote
Public Ed! Copyright 2021 TASB by White & Severns So as Mr. Crow ies, Y’all Come ISD would like to thank TASB’s Jim Crow for his service to Texas public schools. Good Luck, Jim!!! Thank you, Jim, for 25 years of great leadership!
Roger White is managing editor of Texas Lone Star
Jim will never be far from his passion— public education. He’ll still be following it closely, as he’s done since he was a kid.
8 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
Calling the 87th Legislature ‘Unique’ Would Be an Understatement

The 87th Texas Legislature began its regular session on January 12, 2021, as the state was in the middle of its highest spike in the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases. An average of 22,000 Texans were testing positive each day—and Texas health authorities reported more than 27,000 new cases on that day specifically. The seven-day average of deaths related to COVID-19 was also near its all-time high with almost 300 Texans dying each day. Thousands of Texans were in hospitals with symptoms—almost 15,000 reported by Texas health authorities.

Lawmakers weren’t sure how the session was going to look, and those responsible for the rules and operations of the Legislature were trying to determine the safest way to conduct the business of the session; hundreds and sometimes thousands of legislators, legislative and agency staff, advocates, lobbyists, security and maintenance personnel, and visitors spend some amount of time in the Capitol.

By Friday, January 15, the House had selected its speaker, Representative Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont). The Senate had posted its committee assignments for the session, and both chambers had adjourned until January 26. It wasn’t until February that legislators began regularly meeting and conducting legislative business. Tents had been set up in front of the only Capitol entrance open to the public to offer free COVID tests for visitors and staff. Offices and hearing rooms were retrofitted with plexiglass partitions, and signs popped up on office doors and hearing room seats detailing the various safety precautions visitors should take (which varied depending on whether the committee hearing was for Senate or House business and on the individual legislator’s preference in respective offices).

In early February, Governor Greg Abbott announced his top legislative priorities for the session centered on coronavirus recovery and five emergency items. Emergency status allows the Legislature to take up and pass legislation on that issue within the first 60 days of the session. The emergency items included expanding broadband internet access, punishing local governments that defund the police, changing the bail system, ensuring election integrity, and creating civil liability protections for businesses during the pandemic. Abbott also asked for laws to strengthen civics education for Texas students.

Two weeks later, before legislators even had a chance to take up those issues in earnest, Winter Storm Uri buried Texas under several inches of snow and brought unusually low and sustained

freezing temperatures to a state that was not prepared for such weather. The storm effectively shut down the state’s electric grid and left many Texans in the dark without heat for days, leading to the deaths of an estimated 151 people—though that number has been widely debated, as some believe the actual number of deaths to be higher.

As the state literally thawed out, state leaders turned their attention to the state’s electric grid and its reliability moving forward. Hearings were held, statements were released, industry representatives were grilled, and Texas’s ability to provide stable electric service in future storms became a top priority, right behind pandemic recovery, for several weeks.

Business returned to its new normal by April, and legislators resumed holding regular hearings and meetings daily in the House and Senate chambers to hear and pass legislation. In the end, legislators introduced 6,927 bills this session, with roughly 1,100 seeking to affect public schools in some way. | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 9
Approximately three dozen local education leaders joined TASB staff at the Capitol April 22 to lobby lawmakers on federal funding, local control, COVID-19 relief measures, and more. Photo by TASB Media Services

State of the State: Education Edition

After the Legislature’s passage of a significant school finance reform package during the 2019 session, most education stakeholders believed legislators would spend most of the next session working around the edges and making tweaks to the newly revamped system. That optimism quickly turned to dread as the halting of the state’s economy during the initial phases of the COVID pandemic led many to believe, including the state’s comptroller of public accounts, that the state was in for a deep deficit in the current biennial budget and, at best, an uncertain future for the upcoming biennial budget that legislators would need to pass during the 2021 session.

As the beginning of the session approached, however, the state’s fiscal health and Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s state revenue projections dramatically improved from a $4.6 billion budget deficit in July 2020 to a $950 million deficit just as session started in January 2021 to a $725 million surplus in May 2021—and finally to a $5 billion surplus by July 2021.

The improved economic outlook through January allowed state leaders to reaffirm their commitment to Texas public schools by asserting that they would not cut public education funding for the 2020-21 school year nor during the 2021 session. Legislators held true to that commitment with a little help from the federal government.

Federal Aid

The federal government, under both the Trump and Biden administrations, passed significant federal pandemic relief packages that sent billions of dollars to Texas—much of

that intended to support Texas public schools. The relief came in the form of three separate legislative packages that dedicated more than $18 billion for Texas public schools to assist them in addressing learning loss among their students and to provide steady funding during the economic downturn.

The first two rounds, under the Trump Administration, the CARES Act through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRSSA or often referred to as ESSER II) sent more than $6 billion to Texas schools.

Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA, sometimes known as ESSER III), the Biden Administration dedicated another $12 billion for Texas schools.

State leaders used $1.29 billion from the first round of federal stimulus funds to maintain school funding levels and supplanted state funding with the federal aid. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) used its dedicated share of the federal aid from ESSER I and the governor’s share of the same package to help address connectivity issues among students, assist schools in sanitizing facilities and securing personal protective equipment, and start up the state’s virtual school curriculum.

The second round of funding from ESSER II totaled nearly $5.53 billion for the state. The state used the funds to hold district funding steady during the spring semester or allowed districts to dedicate those funds to address learning loss and general pandemic response needs if the district did not need to use all of its allocated funds to maintain funding.

The ESSER III funds, approximately $12.4 billion, came down from the federal government with a provision that it must flow directly to districts. State leaders were hesitant to release the totality of that funding to districts directly but ultimately relented and allocated the funds to districts in May.

10 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
Photo by TASB Media Services Members of a delegation of school trustees and administrators visit the gallery in the State Capitol during the Grassroots at the Capitol Day April 22.


In recent years, many school districts have suggested that premiums and cost of TRS-ActiveCare are becoming a hindrance to hiring and retaining qualified educators. Districts have sought any solution, and TASB’s Advocacy Agenda has included resolutions and priorities from members urging the Legislature and the Teachers Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to address the issue.

By law, the state contributes about $75 of each employee’s health insurance premiums per month, while districts are required to pay $150 per employee per month. While the state does not contribute more than its statutory minimum, districts often help subsidize their employees’ rising premiums—which can range from $417 for employee-only coverage to more than $2,841 for full-family coverage in the high-cost ActiveCare plan.

Districts do this to both remain competitive in the search for high-quality educators and staff and to help employees shoulder the increasingly expensive burden of securing health insurance.

In response, a few districts in the TRS-ActiveCare system used the District of Innovation (DOI) process, which allows districts to access many of the same flexibilities as charter schools, to create a patchwork of programs of alternative health-care offerings. To remain compliant with state law, these districts identified a small group of employees to remain in the ActiveCare system. In recent testimony before legislators, TRS staff indicated a need for reform in how districts can move in and out of ActiveCare and that legislators should look to close the DOI loophole.

Senate Bill 1444 by Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and House Appropriations Committee Chair Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), which passed out of the Legislature this session and has already been signed into law by the governor, allows districts to both enter and leave the TRS-ActiveCare program. However, districts must commit to remaining either within or outside of the program for five years after making the decision.

Additionally, the new law requires that districts must have all employees in ActiveCare or completely out.

Regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) will also have to perform a study on the possible alternative health coverages available from the ESCs or other providers that districts in the region can secure if they were to leave the ActiveCare program.

Districts that are currently in ActiveCare do not need to take action if they are choosing to stay within TRS. Those that want to change to a different provider or that are not within ActiveCare and want to enter into the program can do so starting September 1, 2022, and must provide written notice to TRS by December 31 of the year preceding the first day of the plan year in which the election would be effective.

For example, if a district wanted to leave ActiveCare and have a new insurance provider for the 2023-24 school year, it must provide written notice to TRS by December 31, 2022.

Legislators sought to strike a balance between giving districts options for seeking the health insurance coverage that works for their employees and the notice that will help TRS make business decisions for those districts staying in ActiveCare going forward. They will undoubtedly revisit this issue as health-care costs continue to drive insurance premiums higher and more data is available as to the decisions districts are making regarding their insurance providers and the costs they are seeing in the open market over the long term.H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 11

Key Legislation

If the 86th session was the “school finance session,” then the 87th could be considered the “potpourri session.” While a great deal of energy was spent on bills addressing school accountability—both ratings and sanctions—virtual instruction, school finance cleanup, and student learning loss during the pandemic, there was enough legislative capacity to consider and pass bills on perennial issues such as prohibiting counselors from spending too much time on non-counseling duties and allowing districts to have homeschool students to participate in district University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities.

Legislators did pass a bill designed to address the minor fixes needed after passage of landmark school finance reform last session, even as it ended up laden with several measures that failed to pass on their own. The bill initially made tweaks to the career and technical education allotment and fast-growth allotment but was amended to include provisions on issues ranging from transparency of school health advisory councils to forcing districts to accept donations from parent-teacher organizations for designated purposes at specific campuses.

The Legislature failed to pass a bill to help districts continue the virtual programs they established during the pandemic, leaving some districts to decide whether they would power down their virtual programs or cater to parent and student requests to maintain the programs while losing state funding due to the antiquated process by which districts are funded.

Members did manage to pass bills to increase broadband access for all Texans through the creation of the Broadband Development Office and explore the future of online instruction through the approval of the Commission on Virtual Education.

On the accountability front, legislators considered a few bills that would have clarified how accountability ratings would trigger sanctions and how TEA could enforce those sanctions. Those bills faced a lot of pushback from education stakeholders, schools, and some legislators, leading to some high drama in the House as one of the higher-profile bills was taken down on a point of order or procedural objection that brought a sharp rebuke and retaliation from the chair of the House Public Education Committee.

The Legislature eventually compromised on a bill that seeks to more clearly outline how “D” and “F” ratings will trigger sanctions, the process through which TEA can enforce sanctions, and how schools can appeal those decisions.

Lawmakers also passed legislation to assist districts in remediating students to make up for the learning loss suffered during the pandemic. Legislators acted to reduce the high-stakes nature of the state assessment system and set out guidelines for how districts should provide accelerated and supplemental instruction to struggling students.

Members also passed bills to remove the expiration provision that has hung around the neck of Individual Graduation Committee (IGC) provisions in Texas statute and went one step further by broadening eligibility for IGCs for 2020-21 seniors whose academic year was riddled with pandemic-related complications.

Bills regarding the expansion of charter schools seemed to be sailing through the Legislature early in the session, but they faced increased scrutiny and some opposition once they reached the House floor. A bill to prohibit local governments from interfering with charter expansions failed on a vote by House members and was resurrected through various parliamentary procedures before finally succumbing to a point of order.

Legislation that exempted properties leased by charter schools from property taxes also failed during a House vote but was brought back through parliamentary procedures and eventually passed on to the governor. Bills seeking to enhance protections for charter school students or increase transparency

12 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |

of charter school governance and operations failed to move very far through the process.

School districts did finally receive clear permission from the Legislature to opt out of TRS-ActiveCare and to transport students across district boundaries without permission from the other district. Some public school students receiving special education services will also be able to secure stipends from the state to acquire additional services and instructional materials to augment their education.

Members did pass, in unprecedented fashion, a bill that prohibits schools from compelling teachers to teach controversial topics or issues that may make students uncomfortable and outlines specific individuals and texts that should be included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. The bill also prohibits schools from granting credit or grades to students for working with entities that lobby.

Notable bills that didn’t pass include voucher legislation that cleared the Senate but failed to pass out of the House Public Education Committee, bills seeking to address transgender athlete participation

in UIL activities, and bills seeking to prohibit local governmental entities from lobbying or joining associations that lobby.

Special Session

Abbott wasted little time calling the Legislature back to Austin for a special session. Less than one month after the regular session ended on May 31, Abbott announced that he would call members back to address several issues, chief among them being elections reform.

He later outlined other issues he wanted addressed, including critical race theory, transgender athletes, a 13th check for retired educators, and additional property tax relief.

The special session started on July 8, a day after Comptroller Hegar announced that legislators would be working with a newly revised surplus of $7.85 billion. This seemed to be a good omen for lawmakers as they began their work, but at least 51 of the 67 House Democrats left the state on July 12, breaking quorum and bringing the special session, at least on the House side, to a halt.

As of July 14, it was unknown when those Democrats would return, what fate they faced once they returned, and what will happen to the legislative priorities identified by Abbott for the special session.

Power of Advocacy

It is important to note that much of the legislation harmful to Texas public schools and students was prevented or changed for the better through the relentless advocacy of school board trustees, school administrators, and other education stakeholders who took the time to testify before legislative committees, call or write their state lawmakers, or visit their legislators at the Capitol.

Even with the unorthodox nature of this legislative session, personal relationships and direct interactions with legislators made the difference between devastating legislation and new laws that might positively impact public education. Trustees should continue to develop those relationships with lawmakers and their staff members and should be prepared to advocate up to and through the next legislation session, as this interim is shaping up to be just as unique as the regular session was.

For the latest information on education-related legislation, specific bills that passed and failed, the special session, and TASB advocacy efforts, visit H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 13
TASB Associate Executive Director of Governmental/External Relations Grover Campbell addresses the audience during TASB’s Post-Legislative Conference in San Antonio. Photo by TASB Media Services Dax Gonzalez is division director of TASB Governmental Relations.

A Leader’s

TASB ED Crow Reflects on a Lifetime Of Service to Texas Public Education

When he was in college, James B. (Jim) Crow wanted to be an investigative reporter. His dream was to break a major news piece, uncover the next Pentagon Papers or Watergate scandal, tell an important story that people needed to hear.

“At UT-Austin, I majored in journalism and minored in government, so I originally thought I wanted to be a political reporter, like Woodward and Bernstein, the famous Watergate reporters,” Crow recalled. “My senior year at UT, I interned at the 1974 State Constitutional Convention, the last attempt Texas has made to modernize our antiquated state constitution. The 181 state legislators were the delegates to that convention, and that got me really interested in state politics.”

From there, a public information job at Austin ISD combined Crow’s interest in politics and lawmaking with public education. Crow’s true path was set.

“I became the public information officer for Austin ISD during a turbulent time in that district’s history,” he said. “I worked closely with the administrator who was the legislative liaison for the district, and I got interested in lobbying for education.”

Flash forward 40 years, and you can see that Crow’s original dream never died. After joining TASB in 1981 and eventually serving more than 25 years as executive director of the Association, Crow has spent a career telling—and helping

TASB Executive Director James B. (Jim) Crow, who began his TASB service as manager of Education Services, served on the Governmental Relations (GR) staff from 1982 to 1990, was director of GR from 1985 to 1987, and associate executive director from 1987 to 1990.

create—one of the most important stories of our time: ensuring the success and viability of Texas public education.

Crow, who took the reins as TASB executive director in 1995, announced that he will retire, effective August 31.

Achievements and Challenges

Through almost three decades of milestone achievements and monumental challenges, Crow has helped guide TASB to its status as one of the nation’s leading state school boards associations.

TASB’s accomplishments during Crow’s tenure are almost too numerous to list. Highlights include creation of the BoardBook® and BuyBoard® programs; merger of four separate risk management operations into the current TASB Risk Fund; creation of First Public, a subsidiary of TASB that administers the Lone Star Investment Pool and TASB Benefits Cooperative; development of the TASB eXceptional Governance (XG) program, which supports school boards in improving governance to boost student achievement; and more.

14 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
TASB File Photos

Member-facing indicators of TASB’s standing include 32 straight years of 100-percent membership in the Association among all school boards in Texas. And how do staff members feel about working for Crow and TASB? The Association has been named a Best Place to Work by the Austin Business Journal 11 times since 2009.

But the challenges and hurdles that TASB and public education faced during Crow’s tenure have been just as noteworthy.

The steadily declining support for public education in the Texas Legislature through the years spurred a grassroots advocacy movement, spearheaded by such organizations as TASB, to empower local education leaders and advocates to lift their voices and bolster lagging public school funding and strengthen legislation ensuring local control.

The rewrite of the entire Education Code in 1995 prompted swift response by TASB and other entities to provide comprehensive assistance and guidance to districts struggling to respond to the myriad changes and new protocols.

Devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused major disruptions and property damage to school districts across the Gulf Coast and beyond. The Association rushed to aid districts, while the TASA/TASB Convention was postponed and moved from Houston to Dallas—an enormous undertaking.

And, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic turned classroom education and school district functions on their head. Again, TASB was there—and remains poised to help— providing logistic support, legal guidance, health and safety tips, and a wide range of resources and contacts to assist local education teams navigate the unprecedented difficulties. Soon after the urgent nature of the pandemic became

known, TASB posted a comprehensive list of COVID-related services on the Association’s website.

And Crow was at the helm through it all, steering the ship through waters turbulent and calm.

“Over the years, I observed Jim handle every challenge that came TASB’s way with remarkable aplomb and decisiveness, but always willing to defer to the (TASB) board on those things that were the purview of the board and accepting our collective decision,” said TASB 2020-21 President Jim Rice. “A staff member recently commented she was amazed at the quality of directors who join the TASB Board. My response was ‘TASB has great directors because we have a great executive director in Jim Crow.’ Volunteers will only volunteer and give 100 percent to people who motivate and empower them. They want to volunteer for trustworthy people. Jim Crow is a person who has inspired a generation of directors.”

Big Shoes to Fill

Following the passing of TASB Executive Director Billy D. Walker in July 1995, the TASB Board named Crow executive director August 5, 1995. Crow, who joined the Association staff in 1981, served as associate executive director of Governmental/External Relations and Governance Services before taking the reins at the Association’s top post.

Walker, a noted public school finance expert, was the slow-walking, slow-talking face of the Association for years—and Crow knew he had big shoes to fill.

“Billy was beloved by just about everyone at TASB,” | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 15
Crow, shown here with TASB 2019-20 President Lee Lentz-Edwards, joined the Association staff in 1981. He was named executive director in 1995 and has served at that post ever since.
After joining TASB in 1981 and serving more than 25 years as executive director, Crow has spent a career telling—and helping create—one of the most important stories of our time: ensuring the success and viability of Texas public education.

Crow said. “I understood the task at hand. To ensure a smooth transition, we worked in October and November (of 1995) to identify critical operational objectives for TASB and to update the Association’s strategic plan. Board members and staff worked hard to prepare for a comprehensive plan for our future.”

Crow began his TASB service as manager of Education Services. He served on the Governmental Relations (GR) staff from 1982 to 1990, was director of GR from 1985 to 1987, and was associate executive director from 1987 to 1990.

“Most people don’t remember that I was a lobbyist for TASB for much of my career,” Crow said. “I enjoyed that work and the excitement of a legislative session, although the hours could take their toll.”

A graduate of Rockdale High School, Crow began his education career in 1975 as a teacher in Austin ISD. He also served as publications assistant and communications director for the district.

Crow’s legislative experience includes service on the staff of the Senate Committee on Education during the 67th Texas Legislature in 1981.

“Jim’s thoughtful approach to leadership, and his willingness to hear everyone’s take on a subject before making decisions, are rare, especially given how much he knows about any given topic being discussed,” said newly appointed TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell. “And the important thing to know about him is that he truly cares.”

“Jim has been the key to TASB’s strength and flexibility through the years. Unlike many prominent leaders in education, he keeps a low profile,” added Joy Baskin, TASB Legal Services director. “You rarely read about him in the news or see his photo on social media. Instead, he promotes the leaders around him, always praising publicly and offering suggestions privately. Jim’s low-key demeanor may be misleading—one should never underestimate him. In a room full of experts, he’ll be the last to speak, but he’ll be asking the toughest questions and sharing the most insightful comments.”

A Lifelong Advocate

Through his years of service, Crow was appointed as a Texas representative to Education Commission of the States by then-Governor George W. Bush and served as chair of the National School Boards Association Liaison Committee, consisting of state school boards associations executive directors, among other distinguished appointments and honors.

“Having previously worked at the Capitol and serving as AED for Governmental Relations, Jim never stopped being interested in Texas politics and the legislative process,” said Grover Campbell, TASB associate executive director of Governmental/External Relations. “Regularly when discussing TASB’s response on a critical piece of legislation, Jim would pepper me with questions such as, ‘Have you thought about this? Have you considered this maneuver?’ Inevitably and always, he would end with, ‘This is your decision to make. Do what you think best and know I will support you.’ His precise insights and loyalty are just some of the many reasons that he is far and away the finest boss and colleague I have known in almost 50 years of working in the Capitol.”

Listening: A Leader’s Strength

Recognized by both the Mexican American School Boards Association and Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members for his contributions to diversity and inclusion in public education, Crow became known for his dedication to adequate and equitable funding for all districts and all schools.

And he became known as a quietly effective director, willing to listen as well as lead.

TASB General Counsel Sedora Jefferson agreed, adding that with Crow at the helm, “I always had a sense of organizational calm and tranquility. I knew that any major decision would be carefully evaluated and that efforts would be made to include relevant stakeholders in the deliberation. If a decision had to be made quickly, I trusted that it would be done wisely because he always kept the interests of members at the forefront. He also respected the roles and the work of staff.”

Jefferson added, “Jim would have been a superb lawyer! He’s thoughtful and sees the tentacles and implications of different paths. And he’s a listener. He’s usually the last person to speak and give his thoughts (and rulings) in executive team meetings.”

16 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
Crow, shown here with former TASA Executive Director Johnny Veselka, has been a regular fixture at Association events and presentations for four decades. TASB File Photo

Time to Reflect, Remember

So what started Crow on his path to service? Family ties and caring influences.

“My dad was on the Rockdale ISD Board for about 20 years when I was growing up,” Crow recalled. “I was such a nerdy kid that I would read the TASB Journal magazine when it would come in the mail each month. I honestly think I was destined to work at TASB.”

And an elementary school teacher nudged him along.

“I think everyone has that favorite teacher who made an impact on you, and I’m no exception. My fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Louise Sessions, saw something in me and made me realize that I had something to offer.”

As the time draws near to box up the tools and the mementos and leave his office for the final time, Crow looks over his shoulder at his time at TASB and says it wasn’t really work; he was doing something he truly loved. And there was always great barbecue.

“At TASB, you get to travel to many great places in Texas. Those road trips with other staff members are memorable—lots of barbecue and late-night drives back to Austin after an area school boards association meeting,” he said. “The opportunity to provide support and assistance to Texas school board members has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. Serving on a school board is the purest form of servant leadership, and it has been an honor to serve the thousands of community leaders who have given themselves to this service.”

TASB Division Director of Board Development Phil Gore summed up the Association staff’s sentiment: The honor has been theirs.

“Jim Crow is a legend among school boards associations across the country. It has been an honor to work for him the past several years,” Gore said. “He may not use this word, but Jim genuinely loves his staff. His genius for remembering names and details about everyone reflects this. It has been wonderful to work under the leadership of such a genuinely committed and caring man. Thank you, Jim, for your influence in my life.”H

Roger White is managing editor of Texas Lone Star

Troxell Named TASB Executive Director

TASB announced the selection of Dan Troxell as the Association’s new executive director during its annual summer board meeting July 31. With 30 years of experience as a public school leader and the 2008 TASB Superintendent of the Year, Troxell received a unanimous vote of approval by the TASB Board of Directors. He will assume the helm of TASB in late August, when the Association’s longstanding executive director, James B. Crow, retires after decades of service.

“Dan was selected from an exceptional pool of candidates after a six-month national search process led by Korn Ferry,” said Jim Rice, TASB 2020-21 president. “TASB’s entire executive committee took this search process very seriously—spending countless hours reviewing candidate profiles and participating in several rounds of interviews. We knew it was important to get this right. The role TASB plays in Texas public education is critical to the future of Texas schoolchildren and our state.”

Crow also expressed his endorsement of Troxell. “Dan is the perfect choice for this role,” Crow said. “As TASB’s deputy executive director since August 2019 and a member of the TASB Risk Management Fund Board for more than a decade, Dan understands the work of the Association and its diverse programs and services. Having also served as a school leader and superintendent across several geographic regions here in Texas, Dan fully grasps the challenges and opportunities facing school boards and school districts right now.”

“I’m thrilled to assume the TASB executive director role,” Troxell said. “Texas public schools and the nearly 5.4 million students they serve are facing unique challenges because of the pandemic. I’m committed to helping ensure that districts have the resources and support needed so they can focus their time on what’s important—student learning and growth. That will be our priority at TASB this year. There is nothing more important to me and the entire TASB team. When we support our members, they can, in turn, support students and staff.”

Troxell’s career in public education began in 1987 as a middle school social studies teacher at Round Rock ISD. He quickly moved on to administrative roles, serving as assistant principal and principal at Round Rock ISD, principal at Allen ISD, principal and assistant superintendent at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, and superintendent at Kerrville ISD and Leander ISD.

Most recently, Troxell has been serving in the role of TASB deputy executive director, where he has played an instrumental role in the development of the Association’s new strategic plan and led enterprise-wide data governance efforts that have enabled TASB to better serve its members.

Holding a doctorate in education administration from The University of Texas at Austin, Troxell has taught university-level courses as an adjunct professor and authored several journal articles, including an article on multicultural competencies and one on board president-superintendent collaboration. H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 17
Dan Troxell

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES: A Distributed Leadership Approach That Transformed Seguin ISD

Editor’s note: This article is part of the Seven Conditions of Success series ( enhance-district/student-success. aspx) that appeared in The Board Update and Texas Lone Star. The final article summarizing the series will appear in the September/October 2021 edition of Texas Lone Star.

Every man for himself. That’s essentially the way business was done at Seguin ISD before Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez came on board in 2017.

Shortly after his arrival, Gutierrez noticed that schools, grade levels, and teachers across the district were operating independently. “It was evident that teachers weren’t coming together and having those conversations that really move a campus,” he said. He immediately instituted several Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), a distributed leadership strategy that has transformed student learning in Seguin.

Four years later, he and Board President Cinde ThomasJimenez proudly speak about the progress that has been made. Today, they see not only schoolteachers coming together but also campuses uniting to have conversations about student learning.

What Is Distributed Leadership?

According to the foundational Iowa Lighthouse study, distributed leadership is broad-based leadership that provides direction and focus for improvement work. It espouses strong but sensitive leadership from dynamic leaders at all levels of the system. Such an approach reflects TASB’s eXceptional Governance (XG) principles of leadership teams working together to improve student

18 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |

achievement. This topic serves as the sixth in a series (which can be found in the TASB Member Center) exploring the Seven Conditions for Success—areas where a board’s actions can influence student success.

According to Gutierrez, distributed leadership in Seguin ISD means all leaders have a sense of purpose in their work and feel like they are making a significant impact. Leadership is shared, and initiatives are not owned by one person.

One of the superintendent’s goals (tied to his evaluation) is ensuring that all third-graders are reading at grade level in five years, which is part of a larger goal of having a standard curriculum across the district. According to Gutierrez, this is not just something that is owned by the superintendent, but the board, leadership team, principals, and teachers, as well. The board is committed to investing resources to ensure that staff have the tools to get students on the appropriate reading level. The principals ensure that every student has access to an equitable and viable curriculum. After going through extensive professional learning, teachers are purpose-driven and want to ensure that their students are learning and growing.

Gutierrez says this is a true reflection of distributed leadership because everyone understands their roles in the effort to ensure that students get the foundational early literacy that is key to their success.

“Prior to Dr. Gutierrez coming in, it seemed like every one of our elementary school campuses were doing different things, based in their own little world and not communicating or working together,” said Thomas-Jimenez. She said things became more equitable because the campuses started using the same curricula and tools.

Gutierrez agrees. “It’s really had a big impact on our campuses that are lower performing,” he said.

Approaches Proven to Be Successful

Gutierrez was not new to the idea of PLCs when he started at Seguin ISD. He experienced success through a district that was struggling with performance issues but quickly moved to a higher-performance learning system after implementing PLCs.

The process involves bringing teams of teachers together to focus on four key questions:

1. What do you want the student to learn? (Planning) | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 19
teamMembersoftheSeguinISDleadership participateinaTASBXGGovernurturenanceDevelopmentsessiondesignedto teamcohesiveness.According Gutierrez,toSeguinISDSuperintendentMatthew distributedleadershipinthe ofdistrictmeansallleadershaveasense purposeintheirworkandfeelliketheyaremakingasignificantimpact.

2. How do you know that they have learned it? (Assessment)

3. What do you do if they don’t learn it? (Intervention)

4. What do you do if they have learned it? (Enrichment)

Although the process is extensive, Gutierrez believes the most powerful part is having teachers analyze student learning and develop ways to ensure that kids are going to succeed.

Strategies that Develop Trust

Getting everyone on board with the implementation of PLCs at Seguin ISD required intensive strategy. It started as a team effort, with the board inviting school district staff and community members to meet and talk about embedding PLCs in the new strategic plan.

With the board’s support, Gutierrez initiated a districtwide book study focusing on how to engage with students who live in poverty. The study included hundreds of volunteers from the staff and community. Next, principals received training to help them introduce the work to their schools, followed by a gradual implementation of the PLCs, then training for teachers. This approach helped

community members, parents, and staff to understand the “why” behind PLCs.

Seguin ISD is now preparing to host an entire institute on PLCs, using this model. “It is just how we operate in Seguin; it’s the way we do business now,” said Gutierrez. After seeing students make progress, teachers and community members began to not only buy in but trust the process. “I don’t believe in buy-in. I know all too often we hear ‘buy-in’ because that’s something for something. But buy-in doesn’t really help people see or understand their purpose. It’s about building trust,” said Gutierrez.

Methods to Overcome Challenges

Gutierrez said resistance to the process was minimal because of their approach and the background information they provided to staff and parents. Training the principals first was a strategic move to ensure that the principals understood the importance of PLCs, owned the work on their campuses, and engaged their teacher leaders.

Before fully implementing the PLCs, Gutierrez and his team laid the groundwork very thoughtfully so that teachers understood the need for this approach and trusted the

20 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |

process. Teachers knew some of their students were struggling, and they needed to do something different to help.

Starting slowly helped to minimize potential challenges. “It was a very slow process that took a team approach with our leadership and principals working together to help ensure that our PLCs really started on the right foot,” Gutierrez said.

Having a board that is focused on student achievement and truly believes in the process enough to include it in the strategic plan and the superintendent goals for evaluation was also essential to overcoming challenges. It was obvious that the board believed in PLCs and felt passionate about the approach.

“We’ve got a collective responsibility in Seguin ISD that is very powerful,” said Gutierrez.

According to Thomas-Jimenez, there was some apprehension at first because Gutierrez was new to the district. However, he quickly developed rapport through his engagement with the community. He was very active on social media as well as in community groups across the city.

“People quickly began to realize that he was very authentic in his concerns for the district and his approach for addressing those concerns,” Thomas-Jimenez said.

Opportunities for Leadership Development

Thanks to technology and those few silver linings of the recent pandemic, teaching and learning have been completely transformed over the past year. Students, teachers, and departments across campuses in Seguin ISD now come together virtually, using tools such as Google Meet to engage in PLCs.

PLCs are providing Seguin ISD teachers with opportunities to take on leadership roles in ensuring that students in their schools and throughout their district are making progress. The opportunities have been provided by their academic leaders and curriculum departments.

Through PLCs, Seguin ISD schools have come a long way from operating in isolation to now ensuring that the

learning experience is high quality for learners across the system.

“The institution of those PLCs was very novel to Seguin,” said Thomas-Jimenez. “Although there was a little pushback at first, Seguin ISD had never seen or done anything like this before.”

Working Together toward Success

For other districts looking to implement PLCs, ThomasJimenez advises that board members must remember why they are serving—to help the students of the community. Once this is understood, she said, the rest will fall into place. But she stresses that it’s important that the leadership team extends beyond just the board and superintendent working together. The rest of the staff in the district also need to be involved.

“You have to truly trust and rely on your team and be able to invite them into this process where they will be working with the board and developing a close relationship with the board as you work through exceptional governance,” said Gutierrez. “The superintendent needs to really trust the team to be able to come in and work very closely with the board to go through this process.”

The move toward distributed leadership at Seguin ISD was not a quick fix but a well-thought-out plan that occurred over several months—and now serves as proof that the strategy can work for any district that is dedicated to student success.H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 21
Dianne C. Anderson is a TASB communications consultant.

New Procedures in Place

87th Texas Legislature Enacts Several Special Ed Laws

The 87th Texas Legislature enacted several new laws that impact special education services to students in Texas schools. This article reviews some noteworthy aspects of the new legislation.

COVID-19 Special Education Recovery Act

Senate Bill 89 added Texas Education Code Section 29.0052, requiring school districts to add supplemental information in the individualized education program (IEP) of any child who was enrolled in

the district’s special education program during 2019-20 or 2020-21.

The supplement must include four items:

1. Whether the written report of the child’s full individual and initial evaluation (FIIE) for special education eligibility was completed during 2019-20 or 2020-21, and, if so, whether it was completed within the time frame specified by state law;

2. Whether the child’s initial IEP was developed during either

of those two years, and, if so, if it was developed within the time frame specified by federal law;

3. Whether the provision of services under the IEP was interrupted, reduced, delayed, suspended, or discontinued during 2019-20 or 2020-21; and

4. Whether compensatory services are appropriate based on the factors above or any other factors. This supplement is not required if the IEP for 2020-21 already documents the required information.

The supplemental information must be completed for each child by May 1, 2022. School officials may wish to consult with the district’s special education attorney before adding supplemental information or making a determination regarding compensatory services.

Supplemental Services and Instructional Materials

Senate Bill 1716 added new laws to Chapter 29 of the Texas Education Code, requiring the Texas Education Agency

22 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 | Legal News

(TEA) to establish a program to provide supplemental special education services and instructional materials to eligible students.

Supplemental special education instructional materials include textbooks, computer hardware or software, other technological devices, and other materials suitable for addressing an educational need of a student receiving special education services. Supplemental special education services mean an additive service that provides an educational benefit to a student receiving special education services, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, private tutoring, and other supplemental private instruction or programs.

The bill requires TEA to establish eligibility criteria and an application process for participation in the program. TEA’s criteria must require that the student be enrolled in the current school year at a school district or open-enrollment charter school and in the district or school’s special education program. The criteria must also prioritize students for whom a district or school is entitled to receive a compensatory education allotment under Texas Education Code Section 48.104.

TEA shall provide each participating student a grant of no more than $1,500 to purchase supplemental special education services and instructional materials from approved vendors.

Critics of the bill argue that it creates a backdoor voucher program. Supporters counter that the bill, which makes permanent an existing micro-grant program, differs from traditional education vouchers because a student must be enrolled in public school to be eligible.

Each student’s special education committee (ARDC) will be required to develop the student’s IEP without considering any supplemental special education services that may be provided under the program. The ARDC of a student who is approved for participation in the program must provide the student’s parent with information regarding the types of services that may be obtained through the program and instructions regarding how to access the student’s account. This information must be provided at an ARDC meeting.

Senate Bill 1716’s provisions expire September 1, 2024.

(See Procedures, page 35.) | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 23
GET THE SCOOP! Legislative Summary for School Officials 2021 Take an in-depth look at: n School-related legislation passed during the 2021 session n More than 200 bills affecting public education Buy it today in the TASB Store. WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE 87TH TEXAS LEGISLATURE?

Time to Prepare for TASB 2021 Delegate Assembly Make Your Voice Heard

The 2021 TASB Delegate Assembly will be held September 25 during the TASA | TASB Convention in Dallas. Mark your calendar and make sure your board has a voice. Your board may appoint one delegate and one alternate to serve as your representatives during the Assembly.

Take Action

There are two things local school boards need to do to have a voice a Delegate Assembly:

1. Register your board’s delegate and alternate. Superintendents and administrative assistants can access the online

delegate registration in the myTASB area of the TASB website—or members may complete the delegate registration form and submit it to TASB.

2. Follow the TASB Board of Directors nominations process. For more information, visit https://www.tasb. org/about-tasb/governance/tasbdirector-nomination-information.aspx. Nineteen positions are open this year. The endorsement period runs through August 29.

The Role of a Delegate Delegates play an important role in TASB’s governance—helping develop the

vision for the Association.

TASB’s Delegate Assembly gives your school board a direct voice in advocating for Texas public schools and in the overall direction of your Association. Make sure your board sends a delegate to this year’s meeting.

Delegate Assembly happens each year during the TASA | TASB Convention. Every school board has a spot at Delegate Assembly; your board should appoint one delegate and one alternate to serve as representatives.

Reasons to Attend

Attending the TASB Delegate Assembly gives you the chance to participate in the democratic process that governs TASB. You will do the following as a delegate:

1. Elect TASB’s leadership team.

2. Vote on the upcoming Advocacy Agenda.

3. Learn how you can take action to champion your public schools.

4. Earn up to two hours of advocacy training credit.

Legislative Advocacy Game

It is your work as a delegate that guides TASB in the coming year. Once you’ve

24 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 | Capitol Watch

attended the 2021 Delegate Assembly, get credit for your efforts in the Association’s Legislative Advocacy Game ( members/advocate-district/tasb-advocacy-game/). When you complete game tasks, you collect points while making the case for public education. Tasks include:

• Attending Delegate Assembly

• Participating as an active TASB Delegate

School Board Advocacy Network

TASB’s staff work for schools at the Capitol is important, but there is no power like board members interacting with their elected representatives.

Building relationships with your lawmakers and expressing your views on important issues through the local media can have an important impact on how legislators vote.

You can improve your advocacy skills and get timely information on the important issues facing public education by joining TASB’s School Board Advocacy Network (SBAN). Visit the TASB Member Center page for more information about SBAN and your role in advocating for your district.H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 25 TASB’s Executive Search Services is currently accepting applications for the positions listed below: For more information about vacancies or services provided by TASB’s Executive Search Services, call 800.580.8272, email, or visit Hawkins ISD. Superintendent. Application deadline: September 29. It’s probably in the TASB Member Center. Find out about: l Continuing education credit
Topics that are relevant to your role l Upcoming training/events
TASB services
And lots more What did you say you needed? Open to trustees, superintendents, and district staff!

A Successful System

Understanding Principles of Evidence-Based Governance Is Key to Effective, Impactful School District Leadership

Editor’s note: This three-part series addresses evidence-based governance. Part One highlights three core governance areas and governance studies. Part Two features examples of Texas school boards putting practices into action. Part Three invites boards to take a deeper look at additional core governance areas and assess governance practices against an evidence-based standard.

What can a governance team of four, eight, 10, or even 25 do to improve student learning?

Understanding what a governance team can do to impact student learning— considering its position in the chain of command—begins with a reminder of how a system works.

When one part of a system is impacted, a ripple effect is created, and other parts of the system are also impacted. These ripples can range from barely noticeable to completely disruptive. No matter the size of the initial impact, other parts of the system will be affected because all the parts of the system are connected.

Schools are fascinating systems. What happens—or doesn’t happen—in a teacher planning meeting impacts what happens in the classroom. The conversations at the central office impact what happens in teacher planning meetings. In the boardroom, the topic of discussion and action determines which part of the system experiences the first and most intense ripples, but the potential for systemwide impact is real, nonetheless.

While there is no governance prescription that can guarantee a desired level of student performance, governance researchers and successful practitioners promote a well-defined set of governance practices that have a predictive relationship with student performance. In short, effective leaders understand what governance practices create ripples that positively impact student performance and make those practices a habit.

High Expectations

System impact begins with high expectations of the system. Two things happen when governance teams have high expectations of their system. First, they methodically check for underperforming parts of the system—parts that fall short of expectations. Then they focus on improving those parts by setting clear goals.

To better understand the difference between elevating and accepting viewpoints discussed in the Lighthouse study, let’s look at an example of each collected during the study.

Elevating viewpoint from leader in high-achieving district: “A family’s level of income is used as an excuse. We can’t

A study called the Lighthouse Inquiry demonstrated that leaders in high-achieving districts expressed elevating views of students and their education system, while leaders in low-achieving districts accepted limitations of their students and system. How remarkable is this idea that effective governance begins with examining our heart before examining our data!

do that. Sometimes people say the poor students have limits. I say all kids have limits. I believe we have not reached the limits of any of our kids in the system, including the poor children.”

Accepting viewpoint from leader in low-achieving district: “All children might not be able to learn, but surely everyone can learn to behave.”

Using only these statements as pre-

26 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
Good Governance
Leaders make high expectations evident by openly establishing clear goals and committing to specific, challenging targets.

dictors of behavior, the first leader is likely to engage in planning and goalsetting that yields a focused approach to maximizing performance of the system. The second leader is likely to perpetuate a system that allows pockets of students to underachieve and go virtually unnoticed so long as they are not disruptive.

According to the Lighthouse study, leaders of successful school systems make no small matter of communicating high expectations. Leaders make high expectations evident by openly establishing clear goals and committing to specific, challenging targets. Community members, school employees, and students all know the goals and if the system is improving over time.

With more than two decades of experience in the education field, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of holding and acting on high expectations for students. From private education outfits serving impoverished inner-city families to public school campuses serving Texas’s most affluent communities,

high expectations and success tend to be inseparable partners. It is no surprise the Lighthouse study found that the same is true for the board and district performance.


If high expectations and clear, focused goals are first steps to impacting our school systems, then accountability is the mechanism that ensures leaders and employees continue putting one foot in front of the other. The research of Ivan Lorentzen and Bill McCaw corroborates findings of the Lighthouse study and provides boards specific standards for accountability that impact student success.

From the Lighthouse study, we know the governance team must have a shared understanding of what evidence constitutes progress and success. Coming to consensus on this matter should be a nonnegotiable step in planning accountability. Lorentzen and McCaw add that

(See System, page 32.) | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 27
Work-site posters for your district Order today! The work-site posters offered by HR Services are designed to meet the needs of Texas public schools. The posters make it easy for districts to post federal and state notices pertaining to government employees and entities. Discounts are available for bulk orders. To order, visit or call 800.580.8272, ext. 1068.

TEA Announces Parental Options for Students to Repeat a Grade, Course

The 87th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1697, which amends state law to allow parents and guardians to elect for a student to repeat a grade or retake a high school course, per Texas Education Code (TEC) §28.02124.

The legislation, which went into effect June 16, 2021, gives parents or guardians the right to opt for their child to:

1. Repeat prekindergarten

2. Enroll in prekindergarten if the child was eligible to enroll in prekindergarten in the previous school year, under TEC, §29.153(b), and has not yet enrolled in kindergarten

3. Repeat kindergarten

4. Enroll in kindergarten if the child would have enrolled in kindergarten in the previous school year and has not yet enrolled in first grade

5. For grades 1-3, repeat the grade the student was enrolled in the previous school year

According to January 2021 enrollment data, approximately 24,000 kindergarten-aged students did not enroll in kindergarten during the 2020-21 school year.

For the 2021-22 school year only, parents or guardians have the right to opt for their child:

6. For grades 4-8, repeat the grade the student was enrolled in during the 2020-21 school year

7. For courses taken for high school credit, repeat any course in which the student was enrolled during the 2020-21 school year

District and campus administrators should share information regarding these options with all parents and guardians as soon as possible so that they are able to make the best decisions for their children as they prepare for the coming school year. District and charter school staff should communicate this information through multiple channels to ensure all parents are aware of options for the coming school year.

Information related to these options is available on two TEA webpages:



Parents or guardians are required to notify the school district or charter school in writing if they elect for their child to retake a grade level or course. A school district or charter school may disagree with a parent who elects to have their child retake a grade level or course. If a district or charter school disagrees, the district or charter school must convene a retention committee and meet with the parent or guardian to discuss the proposed retention. After the parent or guardian has participated in the retention committee meeting, the parent or guardian will decide if the student will be retained. The district or charter school is required to abide by the parent’s or guardian’s decision.

District and charter school staff should consider designating specific staff members, as appropriate, to serve as points of contact for parents or guardians considering this option.

Answers to frequently asked questions are posted on the TEA website at covid/sb-1697-faq.pdf.

For more information, contact the Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division at 512.463.9581 or

28 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 | News & Events
The district or charter school is required to abide by the parent’s or guardian’s decision.

Regional SOTY Winners Announced

Regional winners of the annual Superintendent of the Year (SOTY) award were announced recently. Sponsored by TASB, the SOTY program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership since 1984.

Regional superintendents of the year nominated by regional selection committees are:

• Hafedh Azaiez,* Donna ISD, Region 1

• Conrado Garcia, West Oso ISD, Region 2

• Courtney Hudgins, East Bernard ISD, Region 3

• HD Chambers, Alief ISD, Region 4

• Mike Gonzales, Port NechesGroves ISD, Region 5

• Keith Smith, Madisonville CISD, Region 6

• Rickey Albritton, Gilmer ISD, Region 7

• Sidney Harrist, Atlanta ISD, Region 8

• Michelle Cline, Throckmorton Collegiate ISD, Region 9

• Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD, Region 10

• Susan Bohn, Aledo ISD, Region 11

• Brandon Hubbard, Chilton ISD, Region 12

• Mark Estrada, Lockhart ISD, Region 13

• Jason Cochran, Eastland ISD, Region 14

• Dave Lewis, Rochelle ISD, Region 15

• Jimmy Hannon, Highland Park ISD (Potter County), Region 16

• H.T. Sanchez, Plainview ISD, Region 17

• Samuel Wyatt, Rankin ISD, Region 18

• Rosa Vega-Barrio, Tornillo ISD, Region 19

• Jeanette Ball, Judson ISD, Region 20

Join now, pay later

Candidates are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving educational quality, ability to build effective employee relations, proficiency in improving student performance, and commitment to public involvement in education. Local nominees are submitted to a regional selection committee, which chooses one nominee to send to the state selection committee.

The state committee will interview regional winners August 27-28 and select five state finalists. The Superintendent of the Year will be announced in September at the 2021 TASA | TASB Convention in Dallas.

For more information about the SOTY awards program, visit services/communications-and-pr/ recognition-programs/superintendent-of-the-year.aspx.H

*Donna ISD was the nominating district; Azaiez has since become superintendent of Round Rock ISD. | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 29 888.247.4829
Get all the benefits of a TASB Student Solutions membership now without worrying about paying until later.* Learn more at . *Restrictions apply; visit for full details.

Inspired and In Person Participants Enjoy SLI’s Return to San Antonio, Fort Worth

Lively presentations of best practices, inspirational speakers and entertainment, and sessions featuring interactive thought exchange and engaging conversations highlighted Summer Leadership Institute’s (SLI) return to its traditional host cities of San Antonio and Fort Worth this year.

Among the presentations and resources shared at SLI, held June 16-19 in San Antonio and June 23-26 in Fort Worth, were “Let’s Talk about Race and Diversity in a Safe Environment” by Pflugerville ISD Trustee Renae Mitchell, “School Governance following the 87th Legislative Session” by TASB’s Mark Tilley, “What Role Should the Community Play in a School District’s Advocacy Efforts?” by Raise Your Hand Texas Regional Advocacy Director Missy Bender, and much more.

30 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |

Although the Fort Worth conference was a hybrid of in-person and virtual events, participants commented positively on the mix of live and virtual programming. A thought-provoking poverty simulation sparked much conversation in both locations:

• @sallyderrick: “Spending an evening with school board trustees from across the state. It’s the first night of #TASBsli and we just spent 3 hours in a poverty simulation. A humbling experience that opened our eyes to the everyday life of so many of our students.”

• @CassForKids: “Learning and growing at @ tasbnews #tasbsli is off to a great start! The poverty simulation was an impactful experience in understanding more about who we serve as a district. You have to reach them to teach them!”

Opposite page at top, TASB 2020-21 President Jim Rice of Fort Bend ISD addresses the SLI audience; opposite page at bottom left, former TASB President Bret Begert of Fort Elliott CISD (with microphone) and a panel of experienced board officers share their insights; opposite page at bottom right, Heather Wang of Plano ISD makes a point during a poverty simulation at Fort Worth SLI; above left, General Session presenter Rick Rigsby inspires the crowd at San Antonio SLI; above right, Cecilia Chavez, TASB Division Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (at left), chats with General Session speaker Pearl Arredondo.

Photos by TASB Media Services | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 31

communicating expectations for progress and success to the community is a specific action the board should take if it is serious about accountability.

While the Lighthouse study points to clear goals for improving the system and student performance, Lorentzen and McCaw emphasize the effective practice of having superintendent goals focused on student outcomes. The details of superintendent goals focused on student outcomes can only be worked out collaboratively as a board-superintendent team, but it is worth mentioning here that superintendent goals should not be snares or hurdles. The board, community, and student success are tied to superintendent success. There can be no doubt that the board wants to see its employee succeed.

Community Engagement

Based on current data from Texas school districts, there is a positive relationship between student performance and boards that report strong community engagement. Community engagement

in the way of successful bond elections is always appreciated, but governance experts Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan suggest there should be much more to the relationship.

As noted by Lorentzen and McCaw, effective accountability includes informing the community on goals and progress. In The Governance Core, Campbell and Fullan assign the work of educating the community to the board. As the board gains a clear understanding of the main goals and the current state of progress, the board must in turn educate the community. By speaking with a unified voice on goals and progress, the district is rewarded with the trust and support of the public.

The idea of trustees educating the community on district matters should

remind the board of its ability to bridge the community and district. As the bridge between community and district, the board owns the task of gathering community input in a way that encourages participation and support of the district’s mission.

Thankfully, we do not have to be in the dark regarding effective governance. Instead, we can shift our focus to understanding the application of these evidence-based practices. In the next part of this series, we will look at actual examples of how Texas school boards have tackled the core governance principles of high expectations, accountability, and community engagement.H

Orin Moore is a TASB Board Development consultant.

32 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
System (from page 27)
As the board gains a clear understanding of the main goals and the current state of progress, the board must in turn educate the community.
“Education is the movement from darkness to light.”
—Allan Bloom

Debate on resolutions brings to heart the true purpose of our Delegate Assembly. Having the opportunity to hear why an issue is of VITAL IMPORTANCE to children while having been on the other side of the issue brings true value to the matters at hand .


Regional Nominees Selected for Outstanding School Board Award

Fifteen Texas school district boards of trustees have been selected as regional nominees in the 2021 Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) School Board Awards program. The regional nominees for 2021 Outstanding School Board of the Year are:

• Mission CISD, Region 1

• San Diego ISD, Region 2

• Tomball ISD, Region 4

• Newton ISD, Region 5

• Splendora ISD, Region 6

• Longview ISD, Region 7 (Large District Category)

• Fruitvale ISD, Region 7 (Small District Category)

• Duncanville ISD, Region 10

• Aledo ISD, Region 11

• Hays CISD, Region 13

• San Felipe Del Rio CISD, Region 15

• Gruver ISD, Region 16

• Ector County ISD, Region 18

• Clint ISD, Region 19

• Somerset ISD, Region 20

Texas school superintendents who are TASA members and meet other criteria may nominate their boards of trustees for the TASA School Board Awards. Committees of TASA members organized by Texas’s regional education service centers review the nominations and select up to two school boards for consideration for the state-level awards: one with fewer than 1,000 students and one with 1,000 or more students.

TASA’s School Board Awards Committee will meet virtually in August to select up to five of the nominated boards to be recognized as Honor Boards.

Those finalists will be interviewed in Dallas at txEDCON, the TASA | TASB Convention, on September 24, and the 2021 Outstanding School Board will be announced September 25.

The TASA School Board Awards Program was established in 1971 to recognize the dedication and service of school boards that make a positive impact on the schoolchildren of Texas.

For more information on TASA’s School Board Awards program, visit H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 33
your board’s delegate today!
public schools need YOUR VOICE. Register

NSBA Announces Interim Executive Director

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) announced recently that Chief Advocacy Officer Chip Slaven has assumed leadership of NSBA as interim executive director and CEO.

“Chip has more than two decades of experience as a passionate advocate for public education and our nation’s students,” said NSBA President Viola M. Garcia, an Aldine ISD trustee. “He’s a trusted voice whom our state associations know and respect.”

As NSBA’s chief advocacy officer, Slaven led a federal advocacy team that secured approximately $200 billion for K-12 public schools in the COVID-19 recovery packages Congress passed in 2020 and 2021. He also launched NSBA’s Public School Transformation Now! initiative and a major grassroots campaign to close the “Homework Gap,” which affects as many as 17 million students who lack internet access in their homes.

“I’m honored to take the helm of the National School Boards Association during such an important moment for education,” said Slaven. “America’s public schools and the nearly 51 million students who attend them are going through an extremely turbulent time. As the dark clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to clear, I’m focused on ensuring that students, schools, and school districts receive the support and resources they need to ensure a safe return to classrooms this fall. I’m also committed to supporting NSBA’s Board of Directors, NSBA staff, and our state association members during this transition period.”

Slaven recently spoke to the Southern Legislative Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, participated in NSBA’s Equity Symposium, and joined other major education leaders in a collaborative meeting focused on the future of student success in public schools.

“I promise this is the just the beginning of an aggressive advocacy effort on behalf of our members and public schools,” Slaven said.

Prior to joining NSBA, Slaven was counsel to the President at the Alliance for Excellent Education. He originated Digital Learning Day, a national grassroots education campaign; managed campaigns to close the digital divide for traditionally underserved students; and authored the Each Child Learns Act, which is model legislation on personalized and digital learning—key components for school transformation.

Slaven is active in numerous education organizations, including as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training, the Remake Learning Council, and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative. He also serves as an adviser to digiLEARN, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating digital learning for students.H

34 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 | Advertise in Texas Lone Star! Let us help you reach more than 12,000 education leaders and decision makers across Texas.
already using BoardBook, but did you know you can manage multiple committee meetings easily with a simple upgrade to BoardBook Tier 2? With a Tier 2 subscription you can enjoy the following features and more:
Manage up to 11 committees
Set customized access permissions
Track attendance
Automate your electronic voting Are you ready to learn more? Our helpful customer support team is available to answer your questions. Simplify meeting management with one easyto-use tool Email Call 888.587.2665 Visit for details

Procedures (from page 23)

Special Education Discipline and Restraints

House Bill 785 amends several state laws regarding procedures for discipline, restraint, or time out in the case of a student receiving special education services. Special education staff at districts following federal law and best practices may find that they are already routinely implementing some of the steps that the bill has now added to state law. Nonetheless, the bill’s requirements provide a good reason to review local protocols.

The bill amends Texas Education Code Section 29.005 to require annual review of a behavior improvement plan or behavioral intervention plan (BIP) included in a student’s IEP. If a student’s IEP includes a BIP, it must be reviewed by the ARDC annually or more frequently as appropriate. The review must consider changes in circumstances that may impact the student’s behavior, as well as the safety of the student and others.

The circumstances to be considered include changes of placement, an increase or persistence in disciplinary actions

taken for similar behaviors, a pattern of unexcused absences, an unauthorized departure from the school, or the safety of the student or others.

This bill also amends Texas Education Code Section 37.0021, the law behind existing TEA rules for the use of restraint and time out by a district employee, volunteer, or independent contractor in the case of a student with a disability receiving special education. The bill requires written parental notice each time restraint is used with a student receiving special education.

Existing TEA rules require a goodfaith effort to provide verbal notice on the day that restraint is used and notice in writing within one school day. 19 Tex. Admin. Code § 89.1053. This bill requires the notice to include whether the student’s BIP should be revised and information on how to request a BIP.

For a student with a BIP, this bill requires documentation of each use of time out prompted by a behavior specified in the student’s plan, including a description of the behavior that prompted the time out.

In addition, this bill amends Texas Education Code Section 37.004, regarding disciplinary placement of a student with a disability who receives special education services. Under the new law, if a district takes disciplinary action that constitutes a change of placement for a student with a disability (a removal of 10 or more days), the district shall, no later than 10 school days after the change in placement is made:

1. Seek consent from the parent to conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) if the student has never had an FBA or the existing FBA is more than one year old;

2. Review any previous FBAs and/or BIPs; and

3. Develop a BIP or revise the existing one, as necessary.

For more information, contact your school district attorney or TASB Legal Services at 800.580.5345.H | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 35
Follow us on Instagram @tasbphotos Find us on Facebook Texas Association of School Boards TASB Risk Management Fund TASB HR Services Follow us on Twitter @tasbnews @tasbrmf TASB Risk Management Fund @tasbhrs TASB HR Services @tasblegal TASB Legal Services
Sarah Orman is lead attorney for TASB Legal Services.

Bulletin Board

Dupre, Siler to Join TASA Staff

Retiring Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre will join the staff of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) as deputy executive director of Member Engagement and Support beginning September 1, TASA recently announced.

Dupre, who served as TASA vice-president in 2020-21, has also represented Region 4 on the TASA Executive Committee and on the TASA Commissioner’s Cabinet. He also was an active member of the TASA 2025 Task Force, a group of TASA members from across the state that developed the TASA Strategic Framework.

“Charles is one of the most respected and admired public school leaders in Texas,” said TASA Executive Director Kevin Brown. “For many years, he has been recognized and honored as an innovative superintendent who has strong relationships across the state. As a champion for public education, his commitment to children and to the profession is clear to all who know him. He is the perfect person to expand and deepen the support we provide to members, and all of us in the TASA family are thrilled with his addition to our family.”

Dupre has served as superintendent of both Pflugerville and Fort Bend ISDs. Under his leadership since 2013, Fort Bend ISD has seen notable growth in student achievement and increased opportunities for all students, including traditionally underrepresented groups. In 2018, the district was awarded the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award as the best school district in the large district category, and Dupre was named the Region 4 Superintendent of the Year and finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year in 2019. While serving in Pflugerville ISD, he was named the Region 13 Superintendent of the Year and was chosen as a finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year in 2012.

Additionally, Gunter ISD Superintendent Jill Siler will join the TASA staff as deputy executive director of Professional Learning on September 1.

“The addition of Jill Siler as a full-time member of our TASA team is great news for our organization and for our members,” Brown said. “Frankly, Jill is a rock star. As an exceptional superintendent, writer, speaker, and designer of professional learning, she will fit in perfectly with our team and help take us to new heights.”

Siler is currently the chair of TASA’s Future-Ready Superintendent Leadership Network Design Team and lead facilitator for TASA’s Aspiring Superintendents Academy.

If your board is having elections in November, then it’s almost time for candidates to begin filing for a position on the ballot. Help them become better informed with a free one-hour webinar August 10. The webinar will help candidates and citizens learn about the demands and rewards of board service.

For more information about the webinar, visit https://events.tasb. org/?eventId=6107

Candidates may also find the 2021 Guide for School Board Candidates useful. This comprehensive guide is geared toward school board candidates and those thinking about running for their local school board. It provides information about the general roles and responsibilities of the board, ethical campaigning, and a summary of election laws. Also included are resources for more detailed information about campaign finance, reporting requirements, and election advertising guidelines. For more information about the 2021 Guide, visit https://

TEA Releases Assessment Results

In June, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released spring 2021 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results. The results include exams in mathematics and reading for grades 3–8, grades 4 and 7 writing, grades 5 and 8 science, Grade 8 social studies, and high school end-of-course (EOC) exams in Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and US History.

As a result of the learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students not meeting grade level increased from 2019 across all subject areas and grade levels, with English I and English II being the only exceptions. As a subject area, mathematics reflects the largest decline in proficiency across all grade levels.

Districts with a higher percentage of students learning virtually experienced a greater degree of declines. Districts with the highest percentage of in-person learners largely avoided any learning declines in reading.

For more information, visit

36 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
Webinar Available
Board Candidates Guide,
If you have a short news item you would like to submit to Bulletin Board, e-mail

eXceptional Governance (XG) Board Development

Learn how you can empower education in your district with good governance.

Candidate Webinar

Do you know someone interested in running for your local school board?

2021 School Board Candidate Guide

Candidates can get answers to some of their most common questions about serving on the board. | August 2021 | Texas Lone Star 37 What would it take for your schools to have a highly effective school board? For information on any of these offerings: 800.580.8272, ext. 2453 • • All of our board development opportunities are designed to help you make better decisions to improve student success. Visit to learn more about these opportunities.
Convention Connection Get ready for the TASA | TASB Convention by participating in pre-session connection activities. Reminder: Convention registration and housing is open. Register your delegate and alternate
August 26.
them to attend this webinar to learn about the
of the board. Board Development
Empowering Education through eXceptional Governance

Excellence: A TASB Commitment

Your Association’s 72-Year Dedication to Service, Advocacy Is Stronger than Ever

The Texas Association of School Boards promotes educational excellence for Texas schoolchildren through advocacy, visionary leadership, and high-quality services to school districts.

Since 1949, TASB’s mission has directed the Association in its efforts to ensure that public schools in Texas thrive. What began as a small group of individuals banded together to create a more effective voice for local school trustees has expanded through the decades into a leading member association—providing guidance, advocacy, legal assistance, training, news and information, and myriad services and programs to schools across the state.

An Association Mantra

One constant you’ll find among organizations that thrive year after year—from aircraft and aerospace industry leader Lockheed Martin to the rock band The Doobie Brothers—is that despite changes in leadership or the external environment, their commitment to excellence never wavers.

Such is TASB. Over the years, talented individuals and noted leaders have come and gone. The Association’s commitment, though, of supporting school boards and the districts they serve has always remained the same. Since joining TASB, I’ve been struck by that devotion—not just the devotion of division heads, program managers, and the Association’s Board of Directors—

but also the devotion of every single staff member.

If you’ve been a member for any length of time, you have undoubtedly noticed it, too. Some of the most dogged, determined advocates and supporters of Texas public schools have worked for the Association. From our first president Ray K. Daily of Houston ISD to our longstanding executive director James B. (Jim) Crow, who will retire at the end of this month, terms like commitment and dedication quickly come to mind.

Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield

march forward when an organization has a true north, and its systems and struc tures are strong.

As such, rest assured that TASB will not skip a beat in its service to Texas public schools as we bid farewell to Jim Crow this month. Our new executive director, Dan Troxell, is no stranger to Texas public education nor to the TASB organization. Like all TASB staff, he is passionate about public education. As a former superintendent, he also recognizes the many challenges ahead for our members as districts work to address student learning loss, heightened levels of social and emotional stress, and teacher shortages.

Individually, their stories represent unique examples of exceptional service. Combined with numerous other TASB leadership stories, you have the chronicle of the Association’s 72-year history of excellent service to Texas public education.

Inspired to Reach Higher

High-performing school districts and school boards function in the same way. Superintendents and school principals change over time. Board members sometimes step down due to work or family obligations. That’s real life and can’t be avoided. Good work, though, continues to

Of course, we’ll face these challenges together with you, our members. That’s the way TASB works. It’s been that way since 1949, and it will be that way in the future. All working together with one mission in mind.

As always, if you have questions, suggestions, comments, or feedback for us, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at H

38 Texas Lone Star | August 2021 |
A Final Note
Since joining TASB, I’ve been struck by the devotion to service—not just the devotion of division heads, program managers, and the Association’s Board of Directors—but also the devotion of every single staff member.

TASB SMART Solutions™

The new student documentation software by Special Education Solutions will offer more userfriendly features with the same compliant approach.

Learn more at

NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID AUSTIN TEXAS PERMIT NO 1422 Texas Association of School Boards P.O. Box 400 Austin, Texas 78767-0400 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals l October 21–22, 2021 l February 10–11, 2022 (repeat of October event) Join us at TASB Headquarters in Austin! Check in late August for program details and registration information. SAVE THE DATE!
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.