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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 Kelly Trompler, one of those Inspiring Leaders.

It’s rare that a school district is led by a homegrown superintendent, but in Bonham ISD, northeast of Dallas, that’s just the case. Superintendent Kelly Trompler graduated from Bonham High School and has spent her entire 27-year career in education working in the district. She now leads her hometown district with a unique perspective and firsthand insight into how the local community operates and what its values entail.

“Being in a district for a long time is a blessing in so many ways,” Trompler says. “For example, knowing the staff so well allows me to realize their value and contributions to the organization on a firsthand basis, making it easy to share with the community why Bonham ISD is the best small town district in Texas.”

Her colleagues say that Trompler’s attention to detail along with her ability to resolve issues and bring people together make her an inspiring leader.

“Bonham ISD is a better school district because of Kelly Trompler,” says Harold Colson, assistant superintendent in Pilot Point ISD. “What’s most impressive about Kelly is her leadership and commitment to the teachers, students, and community of Bonham. Kelly embodies all the characteristics of a servant leader and has not only been an inspiration to me personally, but inspires everyone she comes in contact with.”

With one year in the superintendent’s office under her belt, Trompler has had to dedicate a large part of her work to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to her close ties to the local community, she has been able to respond to that and other challenging events in ways that have emphasized the school district’s integral role in the community.

“Staff at Bonham ISD care for the whole child, which includes their families and their needs outside the school day,” Trompler says. “We have formed several partnerships with local churches and community service organizations to provide counseling services, food, and clothing for students on a routine basis.”

When the district first had to close schools due to the pandemic, district staff made twice-weekly calls to families just to check in on them. Since then, the district has also leveraged resources to help in the case of catastrophic weather events.

Serving as a superintendent is challenging, even in a relatively normal school year. Trompler stays motivated by looking at every situation with optimism. She strives to maintain a positive outlook, and brings that energy with her throughout her work, in part by starting each staff or administrative meeting detailing positive achievements in the district.

“I believe that starting with positives trains us to look for the good things and the success that is happening around us,” Trompler says. “I am forever looking for two things — the silver lining and what each challenging situation is teaching me that I can take on to the next difficult task I face. I think the fact that I look for how I can continue to improve my leadership also keeps me moving forward. That way my focus continues to be on the future and forward momentum.”