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 8 and 9, Amy Jacobs.
Amy Jacobs always knew she wanted to be a teacher, and once she was a teacher, she knew she wanted to be an administrator. Her parents were teachers, and her own K-12 education experience was top-notch, with teachers who challenged her with innovative thinking and inspired a lifetime love of learning.
Jacobs began teaching at Palestine Middle School in 1994, while also working on her master’s degree. She then moved to teaching kindergarten in Cayuga ISD, also in East Texas. She took some time off from the classroom after her first child was born, but still stayed in the mix, teaching dance and gymnastics classes when she could. Shortly thereafter, Jacobs moved to Marble Falls ISD and taught high school juniors. She had achieved her goal of teaching students at every level, though the timing wasn’t quite what she’d imagined.
“When I started in education, I knew I wanted to be an administrator, and my big plan was I was going to teach a year at every level, and then in year four, I was going to be an administrator,” she says. “I did what I thought I wanted to do, but it was a lot slower paced. Turns out, you need more than a year to get a handle on it.”
With a goal of making a bigger impact, Jacobs moved into her first administrative role, serving as an assistant principal at a high school in Marble Falls ISD. From there, she became an associate principal, then director of secondary education, then director of curriculum, and finally assistant superintendent of instructional programs, all in Marble Falls.
“While I was there, I had an interim superintendent who asked me, ‘Why aren’t you a superintendent?’” Jacobs says. “It opened my eyes to, OK, this might be something I want to do. I could impact at an even greater scale.”
Jacobs applied for and was hired into the superintendent role in Coahoma ISD, holding the post from 2012 to 2019 before changing gears to lead a nonprofit education organization. She still leads the nonprofit, Hill Country Educational Leadership, which offers school programs and summer camps and is launching a teacher-training program.
During her time in Coahoma, Jacobs became involved in TASA’s Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network, work that she says helped inspire her to begin her own nonprofit. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity for Jacobs to return to the classroom, and in 2020 she stepped up to lead a first grade classroom in Marble Falls that was in desperate need of a teacher. “It definitely gave me a unique perspective. I think we could all be better leaders if we took a turn in the classroom regularly,” she says.
While running her nonprofit and continuing to serve her community as needed, Jacobs also works as TASA’s executive superintendent for ESC Regions 8 and 9. In her work for TASA, Jacobs says she serves as a champion and supporter of school districts and school district leaders. Her main goal is to keep administrators informed of the many ways TASA can support them.
“We inform all of our leaders about what TASA offers and then connect them to the programs that best meet their needs,” she says. “The one I always refer superintendents back to is the Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network.”
Since she began serving as an executive superintendent, Jacobs says she’s been inspired by how resilient district leaders are and how critical their leadership can be, especially in challenging times. “I love being in the company of future-ready, student-centered leaders, and TASA has done a wonderful job of not only providing opportunities for them to engage with one another, but to grow those qualities in leaders.”
Jacobs believes TASA’s commitment to best serving students and its willingness to adapt and change make the organization a valuable resource to administrators.
“So many times in organizations, it’s always, ‘That’s the way it’s always been done, and we’re going to do the same thing over and over again, even if it’s not working.’ TASA, especially in recent years, really pushes the bar to say, how can we always be improving, and how can we offer more for students? It’s really inspiring.”
Find contact information for all 10 TASA Executive Superintendents on the TASA staff webpage.
Find contact information for all 10 TASA Executive Superintendents.