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 Brad Schnautz, one of those Inspiring Leaders.
Formerly the superintendent of Lexington ISD, Brad Schnautz now serves as deputy superintendent of the booming district that is Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. GCISD places special emphasis on recognizing its students’ voices, encouraging them to speak up and have a say in how their district operates. It’s just one aspect of how the district operates that makes Schnautz proud.
“In GCISD, our personalized learning programs afford all students the opportunity to use their unique interests, talents and skill sets,” Schnautz says. “From our emphasis and progress in Student Voice, along with our community partnerships and stakeholder input, GCISD is able to create dynamic learning experiences for our students that prepare them for the futures that they choose.”
While serious about his work, Schnautz isn’t one to take himself too seriously, according to his colleagues. Throughout the district, he brings a positive energy to his work, and has been known to visit classrooms and jump right in to any activity, from math lessons to soccer games.
“Dr. Schnautz is out and about at schools and departments; he knows what’s going on first hand,” says Paula Barbaroux, chief operations officer in GCISD. “He also is well-researched and knowledgeable on many topics, and most importantly on anything dealing with learning and defining success for all students.”
Schnautz credits his level-headed and open-hearted approach to his job to the many mentors he’s had during his career, and the educators who helped him grow into the person he is today.
“Teachers, coaches and administrators invested in me throughout my K-12 years and believed in me continuously and unconditionally,” Schnautz says. “Those critical years helped mold me into the husband, the father and the leader I am today. I am energized and inspired to be the best I can be for all students each day in this journey.”
Dr. Suzanne Newell, executive director of learning in GCISD, admires the way that Schnautz models humility and vulnerability to staff and students in the district.
“He is not afraid to share the ups and downs of his journey, and he works to create an environment in which others feel safe doing the same,” she says. “He is able to laugh at himself, he uses his relational nature to soften hard situations, and his work ethic is above reproach.”
It’s no surprise that Schnautz is heavily invested in TASA’s Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network (FRSLN), a group dedicated to exploring hands-on learning and bringing it to their campuses, fostering innovation and preparing students for the careers of tomorrow. For him, the work has provided a tremendous opportunity for growth and helped inspire him in his work as an administrator.
“The FRSLN experience has had a powerful impact on my development as a leader,” he says. “I have been able to grow in my transformational leadership journey alongside other passionate, like-minded leaders from across Texas.”
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