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 Clarence Simmons, one of those Inspiring Leaders.
With more than 30 years of work in education under his belt, Clarence Simmons serves as executive director of secondary education and campus support in Birdville ISD. Each week, Simmons sends out a “Simmons Says” email newsletter, where he offers shout outs to district staff members and highlights some of the great things he sees going on in Birdville. In one such email, he took the time to write a dedicated message to each secondary administrator in the district — more than 55 in total.
Simmons refers to the environment in Birdville ISD as “ego-free,” where campus needs are first and foremost on administrators’ minds.
“I am proud of the responsive and servant leadership from top down,” he says. “I am proud as well of our department of teaching and learning who works so closely with our digital learning team to create pathways for our students to personalize learning in an authentic manner.”
Dave Lambson, who serves as executive director of Birdville’s technology department, praises Simmons’ leadership style and appreciates his dedication to recognizing and honoring staff and campus achievements.
“Each of us recognizes the importance of a teacher knowing his or her students, and so it goes with Clarence as an inspiring leader,” Lambson says. “He is present and on campuses often as he coaches those he leads through their academic endeavors and guides them through multiple forms of building management.”
Simmons cites his “servant heart” as keeping him going when work becomes challenging or stressful. He stresses that he works “with” and “for” those he supervises, and that way of thinking has led to a collaborative and supportive environment among the Birdville ISD team.
“It’s not about me, and I care less about receiving credit versus making sure the needs of the campuses are met with exemplary service,” Simmons says. “I find my inspiration in the work of the campus principals and the exemplary leadership they model for their school communities.”
Mentorship is crucial to professional success, and Simmons has served in a leadership role to many for years, since he was tapped by his own superintendent, T.D. Scott, to step into administration.
“The first superintendent I worked for, T.D. Scott, asked me to be a mentor to others when I thanked him for giving me my principal position at such an early point in my career. The request is something that I have always lived up to because administrators need to collaborate and need to learn from the past experience of others,” Simmons says. “We are in the business of building relationships with our school communities, and mentoring each other can only lead to us all being better leaders.”