In July 2021, TASA launched the Executive Superintendent program, which was designed to provide TASA members with access to an extensive and diverse cadre of experienced former superintendents — TASA Executive Superintendents — with an array of combined expertise. The program combines the previous superintendent-in-residence and member services representative programs. Through the program, TASA members have access to 10 executive superintendents, each dedicated to serving administrators in two ESC regions. These executive superintendents serve as an extension of TASA staff and are on hand to support TASA members in a variety of ways, with an emphasis on helping new superintendents navigate the role. As seasoned administrators, these superintendents are able to listen and provide support based on their own experiences. Below we introduce you to the TASA Executive Superintendent for ESC Regions 2 and 4, Alton Frailey.
Alton Frailey is a TASA veteran. He previously served as a TASA superintendent-in-residence, and has not only served as TASA president, but also as president of AASA (the American Association of School Administrators). He was a founding member of TASA’s Public Education Visioning Institute and a co-author of TASA’s visioning document.
A well-known public school administrator, Frailey retired in 2016. In his 33-year career in education, Frailey served as a superintendent in Spring, Katy and DeSoto ISDs and in Cincinnati, Ohio, and as an administrator in Spring Branch ISD and Goose Creek ISD. After his retirement, he filled in as interim superintendent in Nacogdoches ISD.
Besides serving as one of TASA’s executive superintendents, Frailey also sits on several boards and offers training to school board members. When looking at Frailey’s long list of achievements, of positions held and awards received, it’s clear that his main career goal boils down to one thing: supporting those who need it.
Frailey says growing up poor inspired him to go into the education field. Education opened doors for him, it changed his life, and he realized that by working in education himself, he could give that support right back to others. With a sister who worked as a teacher, and a close friend who worked as a school principal, Frailey got firsthand insight into how teachers need administrative support to be able to do their best. That awareness led him into school administration, with an aim of supporting as many teachers as possible so they could turn around and help more students succeed.
Joining TASA was a must for Frailey, who says he believes folks should always be involved in their professional organizations. “I think the role they plan in terms of connectivity and helping safeguard the profession makes things better, and I wanted to be involved, and not just an observer.”
Frailey served on TASA committees before being asked to consider becoming an officer. Frailey says he didn’t initially see himself serving at that level.
“I thought those guys were truly outstanding heroes,” he says. “I didn’t have that kind of confidence.”
Nevertheless, Frailey became an officer, and now serves as an executive superintendent, offering aid and support to superintendents in ESC Regions 2 and 4. Frailey says being a superintendent can be a lonely position. He says superintendents can’t appear weak or unknowing, and they often have trouble reaching out and asking for help. That’s where he hopes he can make a difference.
“I want to be approachable, non-judgemental, confidential and very supportive,” he says. “A safe support system — that’s what I want to be.”
Frailey is proud of the superintendents he supports, especially recently. He says the COVID-19 pandemic made him better appreciate the networking and connection opportunities TASA’s in-person meetings provide.
“What [Executive Director] Kevin Brown has done, he’s assembled a top-notch cadre of experienced, successful superintendents to serve as a strong resource for the membership. It’s a lonely position to be superintendent, and Kevin respects that.”
As a TASA member, Frailey says he appreciates the support and encouragement he’s received through the organization. As an executive superintendent, he hopes to pay it all forward, because he sees the superintendency as more than just a job. To him, it’s a leadership position of the utmost importance.
“We’re part of a village of elders, and we must help raise the village. Folks say, ‘It takes a village to raise the young.’ Who’s raising the village? That’s where school leaders come in.”
Find contact information for all 10 TASA Executive Superintendents.