Five school boards from across Texas have been selected as Honor School Boards as part of the 2021 TASA School Board Awards. Each year, the program recognizes outstanding Texas school boards for commitment and service that has made a positive impact on Texas public school students.
The five Honor Boards were selected by a committee of Texas school superintendents, chaired by Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Superintendent Steve Chapman, whose school board was named the Outstanding School Board for 2020. The selection committee’s decisions were based on criteria that include: support for educational performance, support for educational improvement projects, commitment to a code of ethics, and maintenance of harmonious and supportive relationships among board members.
The five school boards selected as 2021 Texas Honor School Boards are:
Aledo ISD Board of Trustees, Region 11, Susan Bohn, nominating superintendent
“One of the best things about [the members of the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees] is that they model for all of the rest of us in our district and community that they are never great enough for kids and how to work every day to be better than you were the day before,” Bohn wrote in her nomination of the board. “In Aledo, we call this “growing greatness.”
That growth mindset was one factor that made the Aledo board stand out for the TASA School Board Awards Committee, along with the board’s focused policymaking process, level of community engagement, and well-established instructional focus and assessment framework.
Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees, Region 10, Marc Smith, nominating superintendent
“In addition to their unity and respect for one another, what has impressed me [about the Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees] during the time we have worked together is how responsive and receptive the trustees are to feedback from our stakeholders,” Smith wrote in his nomination. “They want to hear from our parents, teachers, and community members to determine how best to meet the needs of our students.”
The judging committee was similarly impressed by the Duncanville board’s outreach to students and the community, noting that board members visited students at home last school year when COVID kept them from their classrooms. The committee also noted the board’s well-articulated strategic plan, well-rounded curriculum plan, kinder readiness plan, and their intentional monitoring of student growth.
Hays CISD Board of Trustees, Region 13, Eric Wright, nominating superintendent
“With increased challenges – the pandemic, reconciling the past, the bond, and even a winter storm like no other! – the work of the district continued,” wrote Wright in his nomination of the Hays CISD Board of Trustees. “The education of students, the safety of families and staff, and the preparations for the future endured. The Board stood steadfast at the helm, offered help and direction, and guided the district through the most unusual year on record. Unprecedented times called for extraordinary leadership, and the Board met the challenge.”
What stood out to the judging committee was the Hays CISD board’s steadfastness in “reconciling the past” with their unanimous decision to change the district’s mascot. The committee was also impressed by the board’s efforts to seek feedback from the community, noting the district’s “Hey Hays?!” central feedback portal through which community members may ask questions or simply share ideas.
Mission CISD Board of Trustees, Region 1, Carol Perez, nominating superintendent
“Working with such an outstanding, conscientious board for the last three years has been the highlight of my career,” wrote Perez in her nomination, in which she detailed the many areas of focus for the board from salary increases and the wellness of staff to service delivery for students. ” … Mission CISD’s Board of Trustees has been supportive and instrumental in working to continually change the world for our students, staff, and community!”
What stood out to the judging committee about the Mission CISD Board of Trustees was the board’s work on a curriculum audit for the district, increasing the district’s fund balance, and improving the district culture.
Tomball ISD Board of Trustees, Region 4, Martha Salazar-Zamora, nominating superintendent
“In 2020, the Tomball ISD Board of Trustees never lost focus,” wrote Salazar-Zamora in her nomination. “In a year of uncertainty, they never let obstacles be the excuse to not serve students and families. In a year of change, they never faltered in their leadership. Tomball ISD Board of Trustees’ vision, commitment and harmonious working relationship for our students, staff and families never relinquished, and the District is the stronger for their efforts.”
The judging committee commented that the Tomball board, through stability and strategic planning, has helped the district excel in the integration of curriculum and technology and student performance. They noted that the board is very involved, agenda-driven, and that they “walk the talk.”
The five boards are now finalists for the program’s highest honor: 2021 Outstanding School Board. They will be interviewed at txEDCON, the TASA|TASB Convention, in Dallas, where one board will be named Outstanding School Board on September 25. The other Honor Boards, as well as the regional winners, will also be recognized at that time.
The 10 boards to be recognized as 2021 Regional Honor Boards are:
Region 2 – San Diego ISD Board of Trustees, Rodrigo H. Pena, nominating superintendent
Region 5 – Newton ISD Board of Trustees, Michelle Barrow, nominating superintendent
Region 6 – Splendora ISD Board of Trustees, Jeff Burke, nominating superintendent
Region 7 (large district category) – Longview ISD Board of Trustees, James Wilcox, nominating superintendent
Region 7 (small district category) – Fruitvale ISD Board of Trustees, Rebecca Bain, nominating superintendent
Region 15 – San Felipe Del Rio CISD Board of Trustees, Carlos H. Rios, nominating superintendent
Region 16 – Gruver ISD Board of Trustees, Wade Calloway, nominating superintendent
Region 18 – Ector County ISD Board of Trustees, Scott Muri, nominating superintendent
Region 19 – Clint ISD Board of Trustees, Juan Martinez, nominating superintendent
Region 20 – Somerset ISD Board of Trustees, Saul Hinojosa, nominating superintendent
Since 1971, the TASA school board awards program has honored Texas school district boards of trustees that have demonstrated dedication to student achievement and that put students first.