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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 Kay Wijekumar, one of those Inspiring Leaders. 

A professor in Texas A&M University’s School of Education & Human Development, Dr. Kay Wijekumar also serves as director for the Center for Urban School Partnerships (CUSP), which provides support to more than 58 school districts in Texas. CUSP supports the development of thousands of in-service teachers and administrators and has secured more than $40 million in grants to develop, adapt, research, and support teachers in urban, rural, and suburban districts to deliver evidence-based literacy practices. For Wijekumar, the success she’s seen CUSP help bring about makes her exceptionally proud of the program and the university.

Amy Jurica, outreach program manager at the university, nominated Wijekumar as an inspiring leader after years of witnessing her tireless work for children, teachers, administrators and families.

“Hearing Dr. Wijekumar speak about the urgency and need to help every child successfully master the foundational skills of reading and writing has attendees enthralled and energized to make a difference themselves,”Jurica says. “Her team is fully engaged and energized by her passion and dedication. The power of her dedication is most evident in the rapport she builds with the children and teachers in all the schools. She inspires success through her generous spirit of giving and absolute belief in every child’s potential.”

In a challenging field, Wijekumar says she is rewarded by watching the results of her efforts and maintains a laser-like focus on fostering academic success for all students.

“I further believe that we as an educational community in the greatest country in the world should work hard to ensure that every child regardless of their economic, language, or academic backgrounds should be given the best education we can offer. Experiencing the success of the children we help through our programs is immensely rewarding to me and energizes me to keep moving forward and continue to enhance our work.”

Through her work with the CUSP team, Wijekumar works to support administrators to help them ensure success for teachers and their students.

“Administrators are the instructional leaders of the school community and hold so much power to positively influence the school climate, support and guide the teachers, ensure equitable access to resources for all children, make important decisions about curricula, and promote a professional learning community for their school,” she says. “Thus, we view the role of administrators as extremely important to every aspect of schools and we focus on building and sustaining all the necessary support for administrators to create a wonderful learning environment for our children.”