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TASA’s “Inspiring Leaders” tagline is not just a reminder of TASA’s commitment to leadership development; it describes our members themselves — school leaders who inspire others as they work to prepare future-ready students. Meet Amanda Fullilove, one of those Inspiring Leaders. 

For the last 10 years, Amanda Fullilove has worked in Gonzales ISD, serving as a teacher and coach before moving into the central office. Currently, Fullilove serves as executive director of innovation, school improvement, and strategic initiatives in the district, and says she is exceptionally proud of the sense of community in Gonzales.

“Not only do the staff in our district continue to strive toward excellent services for our students, but the community of Gonzales, the parents/guardians and community leaders, are all hands-on in district planning and initiatives,” she says. “The people of Gonzales have a heart for students, and I count myself blessed to be a part of such a proud and dedicated community.”

It’s a supportive community where Fullilove fits in well, per Amanda Reed Smith, chief financial officer in Gonzales, who nominated her colleague as an inspiring leader.

“Amanda strives every day to help propel our district forward in any way she can, even if it’s not a line item on her job description,” Smith says. “She’s always ready with a ‘Yes! How can I help?’ when called upon. Amanda remains humble in her pursuit of excellence. She’s the first to compliment someone else on a job well done and stay out of the spotlight when success is achieved. Amanda inspires me most with her ability to think critically and remain poised in stressful and high-emotion situations.”

Fullilove says that she firmly believes in the value education has in moving society forward. In a day-to-day career that can be challenging, she says the driving force that keeps her going is her conviction that every child deserves opportunity and advocacy.

“Both on an academic and relational level, our children need school systems that support them, challenge them, and prepare them to make a positive impact on the world,” she says. “My own personal challenges with stress and underappreciation do not hold much sway when I consider the importance of the future of our students and their contribution to society.”

Smith says she admires Fullilove’s ability to listen and provide a constructive way forward while keeping her eye on the future for Gonzales’ students.

“Having recently led our district through its first strategic planning process in close to 20 years, she received many commendations from our community and consultants, as she ensured every step of the way that the focus remained on academic opportunities for our students and a well-articulated plan toward ‘Growing Greatness.’ I look forward to learning what the future holds for Amanda, because I know she is not through yet.”

For Fullilove, she recognizes that the state of public education is constantly changing, and believes that, going forward, leaders must connect with their peers to evolve.

“When we stop growing as leaders, we become stagnant and the systems in which we serve also stagnate. The ultimate benefit of learning from one another is that our systems continue to adapt to serve the needs of our students under leaders who stay informed, listen, and make adjustments based on need.”