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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 Jennifer Perry, one of those Inspiring Leaders.

Dr. Jennifer Perry has served as executive director of instruction and advanced academics in Birdville ISD since 2021. Prior to that, she worked as an administrator and executive director of instructional services of Lake Dallas ISD. In 2024-25 she will move into the role of executive director of campus support and professional learning in Birdville. In addition, Perry was recognized at the 2024 TASA Midwinter Conference as the recipient of the statewide Learning Forward Texas Professional Learning Award.

Since coming to BISD, Perry has been an inspiration to her colleagues, who point to her unwavering work ethic and positive attitude as two of her greatest assets.

“Dr. Jennifer Perry is relentlessly a glass half full, we’ve got this kind of leader,” says Sarah Upchurch, assistant director of professional learning in the district. “No task, project, or initiative is too great for her to tackle. She does not approach any of those things alone, either. She constantly surrounds herself with colleagues who will jump in and collaborate as the need arises. She’s incredibly understanding and empathetic to the needs of various leaders around the district and in the surrounding districts and thinks about ways our work can support their expressed or unexpressed needs.”

Birdville ISD has welcomed Perry, and to her, the district’s unified culture is something she appreciates immensely.

“I love that Birdville ISD’s focus on culture, commitment, and connections is at the heart of all we do. This focus guides our work every single day. I believe it is our responsibility to breathe life into our people to sustain the energy that is required to thrive in public education today. Our commitment to breathe enough oxygen into our teachers/staff, students, parents and community, into our organization, gives it real meaning. This keeps our culture strong.”

Collaboration is essential to success in school administration, and Upchurch says Perry, through her leadership, has tweaked processes and procedures so that they are aligned and effective for what district leaders need most.

“She’s joined in with other departments to help take a more global, collaborative approach on rollouts or events,” Upchurch says. “As a result, there is a continuity of care provided and a clear path to current visions.”

To Perry, leadership is a complicated task. But she finds collaboration with others in the field can help her both find and share inspiration.

“You can really feel it when someone loves what they do, when they live inside their craft. It pushes everyone around them to care about something that much. I live inside my craft. I find joy in my craft. And it’s exhilarating helping others love what they do. None of us are as good as all of us!”

This inspiration is clearly felt by those around Perry, and other leaders in BISD have started to emulate her behaviors, including Upchurch.

“For me, personally, I keep my own mindset in check and remember that ‘we’ve got this’ when the task at hand seems daunting,” Upchurch says. “I look for ways to incorporate other departments in my work so that we can not only share the load but also provide services that reach a broader audience. I am a better leader because I work with Dr. Perry, and I am positive there are dozens of other people who would say the same thing. No one would probably realize the reach she’s had because she operates in such an unassuming manner, but for me, I can take a step back and look at the big picture and see what an inspiration she’s been to person after person.”

In public education, the days are often long, but the years are short. Perry says that while nothing powerful happens overnight, she knows that if she quit trying, then nothing would happen at all.

“In this phase of my career, it’s my goal to use emotional intelligence to amplify the capabilities of people around me — family, friends, coworkers — all those whom I serve. Hopefully I play a small part in inspiring others to stretch themselves and surpass expectations.”

If you’d like to nominate an Inspiring Leader, email