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Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship


Recognizing Outstanding Doctoral Students

TASA established the Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship in 2013-14 to honor and provide financial assistance to outstanding doctoral students pursuing careers in educational leadership, with particular emphasis on the superintendency. The scholarship recognizes the leadership of TASA Executive Director Emeritus Johnny L. Veselka, who retired as TASA executive director in 2018 after serving the association for nearly 44 years.

2023 Scholarship Recipients

Cassandra Chapa and Matthew Neighbors were selected as recipients of the 2023 Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship and will be honored at the 2023 TASA Midwinter Conference. Chapa, chief of school leadership in Tyler ISD, is working toward her doctorate in education leadership at Southern Methodist University. Neighbors, executive director of secondary education in Galveston ISD, is working toward his doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University. Read more.

Cassandra Chapa

Tyler ISD

Matthew Neighbors

Galveston ISD

3Criteria & Guidelines

TASA annually awards scholarships to TASA members in the amount of $2,500 each as the number and quality of applicants allows. Scholarship winners are honored at the TASA Midwinter Conference each January.


Eligibility Criteria

  • TASA membership, in the Active or Student category, as appropriate, is required of applicants.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited university doctoral program at the time of the award. Proof of enrollment must be provided.
  • Doctoral students in the field of education may apply, including those who are currently employed as superintendents.
  • Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship recipients are not eligible to apply for the scholarship again; however, other applicants may reapply in subsequent years.



  • Applicants must complete and electronically sign the online application by the deadline. The application for the 2023-24 award cycle will be posted July 17, 2023, and the submission deadline is September 11. 
  • Upload a recent official university transcript. (If this is the applicant’s first semester as a doctoral student, please provide a transcript of the applicant’s master’s work.)
  • Upload one high-resolution digital photograph (headshot) for publicity purposes.
  • Respond to the three Professional Biography statements/questions. The essays are limited to 400 words each.
  • Upload one letter of recommendation on official letterhead from a professor, department head, or dean of the school of education where you are currently enrolled. (This will serve as confirmation of enrollment for applicants in their first semester of doctoral work.)
  • Upload one letter of recommendation on official letterhead from a supervisor in the school system in which you are currently employed or if not currently employed, a letter of recommendation from a former supervisor who is familiar with your work. If you are already employed as a superintendent, provide a letter of recommendation from a current board member.

Important Dates

2022-23 Program Sponsors

The Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship program operates with financial support from the following sponsors.

ClassLink logo

Questions about this awards program?

Faye Alexis

TASA Awards Coordinator


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