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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 Veronica Vijil, one of those Inspiring Leaders.

For more than two years, Dr. Veronica Vijil has served as superintendent of Fabens ISD, in the El Paso area. With a background in education that spans more than 30 years, Vijil is the first Latina superintendent in the district, and she says that she is exceptionally proud of the way Fabens ISD embraces the local community’s rich history.

“It’s fitting that as a farming community, our school calendar embeds a day when we celebrate the work of Cesar Chavez with lessons that promote social justice and civil rights,” Vijil says. “We are a rural school district located along the U.S.-Mexico border. We consistently look for areas to expand programs and opportunities for all students.”

Outside of her work in Fabens, Vijil is also an active member of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS), a group through which she serves as a mentor, recently to Linda Garcia, assistant principal at Kyle Elementary School in Hays ISD.

“I was very fortunate to be paired with Dr. Vijil as part of the TASA/TALAS mentoring program,” Garcia says. “What I have valued most about being her protégé is her ability to listen to my perspective and share her experience as a district leader to offer insight and advice. She has definitely helped build capacity in me as a school leader and I know that she will continue to do so with others in her area and around the state.”

While stress and work challenges are inevitable for any administrator, Vijil says she views them as learning opportunities.

“If I truly dedicate the time to be the reflective practitioner I need to be, then the personal and professional growth outweigh the challenges I have to overcome,” she says. “Surrounding myself with positive people is key to forging ahead.”

As an inspiring leader, Vijil is open to learning and growing, no matter what the source of knowledge or new information might be. Recently, a new staff member in Fabens told Vijil that a successful leader must first be able to follow, and the words resonated with her.

“We have to put egos aside and understand that there is much to learn from others,” Vijil says. “I seek out colleagues with whom I can exchange ideas, vent, and learn. There is a synergy that is created when a group of peers work toward a common goal. Through TALAS, I have the extreme pleasure of mentoring protégés like Linda Garcia and Eva Quiñones; as a person who listens intently to the numerous mentors and colleagues with whom I have connected, I become a better mentor to them.”