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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 David Gonzalez, one of those Inspiring Leaders.

With nearly 30 years of work in public education under his belt, David Gonzalez has been serving as associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction in United ISD since 2014. In his time in the district, Gonzalez has helped to create numerous initiatives, including Project Unify, a district-wide program promoting acceptance and unity among all special needs students, and the Polar Plunge, a means to raise funds for the Special Olympics. He has also supported the infusion of state-of-the-art interactive technology in UISD’s more than 1,950 classrooms.

“When we make district decisions, we should always look beyond formulas and trends,” Gonzalez says. “We must never forget that we are first teachers/educators. It’s imperative to visit classrooms and talk to teachers, our students and the school staff. As school leaders, we must never lose sight of what’s happening in our classrooms.”

David Canales, executive director for middle schools in UISD, describes Gonzalez as an inspirational and visionary leader.

“Mr. Gonzalez’s knowledge, experience, dedication and love for our community children have supported his ascent in the field of education,” Canales says. “It is his experience, heartfelt commitment and dedication to the students, teachers and administrators that are the driving force toward academic excellence for United ISD.”

When the work gets challenging, Gonzalez focuses on the district’s accomplishments and remembers that if things are stressful for administrators, they’re often even more challenging for others.

“If you think our job is challenging, visit a special education classroom,” Gonzalez says. “Those teachers and students are consistently working, regardless of the situation, yet they always have a smile on their faces. We learn more from them and why our challenges are so insignificant when compared to theirs. They teach us that challenges are just opportunities to better ourselves.”

Gonzalez is a strong proponent of mentorship and believes that working with others offers considerable learning opportunities for those on both sides of the partnership. “Learning never stops, and working as a mentor provides us with that platform,” he says. “Having mentorships and working with others allows us to develop new approaches and tackle challenges differently.

After all, we are longtime-learners, and this endeavor is a means to practice what we teach as we model to our students.”