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 Martha Salazar-Zamora, one of those Inspiring Leaders.
Tomball ISD welcomed Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora as superintendent in 2017. Salazar-Zamora has worked in education for more than 30 years, serving in several diverse districts across the state. What makes her most proud of Tomball is the staff’s dedication to students and commitment to working as a team to the benefit of everyone in the district. She works to cultivate “Team Tomball,” a sense of community and teamwork and a culture of learning in the district that helps benefit individual learners day in and day out.
“We pride ourselves in providing exceptionally high academic instruction and have been recognized for that academic excellence,” Salazar-Zamora says. “In addition to high quality academics, I am proud that we place an equal emphasis on nurturing the whole child through opportunities to excel in fine arts and athletics, as well meeting students’ safety and social/emotional needs.”
The superintendent’s office can be a challenging place to be at times, but Salazar-Zamora says she keeps stress at bay by focusing on her commitment to honesty and transparency, and by focusing on positive results.
“Despite our best efforts to serve and provide a high quality product to our stakeholders, there is simply no way to keep everyone 100% happy,” she says. “However, I find that listening carefully and being honest about your rationale for decisions, motivations, constraints and concerns goes such a long way in helping the entire school community understand why and how things are unfolding.”
Dr. Steven Gutierrez, who serves as chief operating officer in Tomball ISD, says that Salazar-Zamora has been described as a rare person who can take care of hearts while also taking care of business. He feels proud of the district, and says that the superintendent serves as an exceptional leader.
“I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the depth at which Martha gets to know each member of Team Tomball and the impact that has on the culture of the district,” he says. “Dr. Salazar-Zamora understands that taking care of the people in the organization is taking care of the organization, and all the goals and metrics set forth as a mark of achievement.”
Salazar-Zamora has been a TASA member for more than 20 years, and in that time she has served on the Commissioner’s Cabinet, Executive Committee, Legislative Committee and Central Office Committee and worked with the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium and Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network. Her dedication to the organization represents her commitment to Texas public education, and she says that through TASA, she has had ample opportunities for learning and collaboration that have helped fuel her passion for bettering the state of education in general.
“In an industry infamous for its proverbial work ‘silos,’ TASA provides such an amazing platform to break down those silos and facilitates professional collegiality along with the organized support we all need to be a larger team of school administrators across the state,” she says. “Serving as a TASA-appointed mentor to new superintendents provides me an opportunity to give back to the educational community as much as the community has enriched me over the years.”
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