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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 Lori Blaylock, one of those Inspiring Leaders.

Dr. Lori Blaylock has served as superintendent in Kaufman ISD, outside of Fort Worth, since 2012. Blaylock leads the district with a strong focus on students, a philosophy that inspires many of her colleagues, including Kaufman ISD School Board President Byron Gregg.

“Dr. Blaylock inspires me for reasons that have nothing to do with offices held, blogs written and honors received, but because of her passion for student success,” Gregg says. “She is a collaborative leader who sets high expectations for the district. She is quick to give credit to others and lets the downside of leadership fall on her shoulders.”

Gregg says that students are Blaylock’s number-one priority — each year, she writes congratulatory letters to every Kaufman student who had a success in UIL athletics, academics, 4-H and beyond. Gregg estimates that she writes 1,000 such letters every school year.

Blaylock says she is most proud of teachers and administrators in her district for their refusal to give up on students so that students never give up on themselves. “In a district where 78% of students are from low-income homes, student success is not optional — it is a moral imperative,” Blaylock says. “Our teachers never stop generating creative solutions for challenging students.”

Gregg says that as Kaufman ISD grows by leaps and bounds, Blaylock is on hand to adjust to the inevitable and ongoing change in the district.

“That can be hard on people like me who grew up in small town Kaufman in the ‘60s,” Gregg says. “She challenges our thinking, confronts our fears and has forced this old dog to learn some new tricks. I am a better leader because of her. Our district is better because of her.”

When the work gets challenging, Blaylock says she remembers a tour she once took in Italy, where she visited cathedrals that were constructed over the course of 100 or more years, meaning many of the laborers worked knowing they would never see the finished product.

“I am a builder who makes personal and professional sacrifices for their school district as needed,” Blaylock says. “I am passionate about the children who I serve and dedicated to helping them achieve successful futures that I may never see. God is the only witness that matters.”

Leading with humility is crucial to Blaylock. As superintendent, she hopes to step aside from center stage and shine the spotlight on others. She is focused on deepening working relationships and building professional networks through mentoring, which she says benefits everyone involved, herself included.

“Since it is impossible to teach without learning, I find that mentoring others allows me to understand and embrace new perspectives so that I am a more effective leader.”