In July 2021, TASA launched the Executive Superintendent program, which was designed to provide TASA members with access to an extensive and diverse cadre of experienced former superintendents — TASA Executive Superintendents — with an array of combined expertise. The program combines the previous superintendent-in-residence and member services representative programs. Through the program, TASA members have access to 10 executive superintendents, each dedicated to serving administrators in two ESC regions. These executive superintendents serve as an extension of TASA staff and are on hand to support TASA members in a variety of ways, with an emphasis on helping new superintendents navigate the role. As seasoned administrators, these superintendents are able to listen and provide support based on their own experiences. Below we introduce you to the TASA Executive Superintendent for ESC Regions 10 and 11, Karen Rue.
Karen Rue retired from education after a 37-year career, with 14 of those years spent at the superintendent’s desks in Tuloso-Midway and Northwest ISDs. She got her start as a classroom teacher in Port Arthur, with a goal of helping children have the kind of lives they dreamed of.
“Like any other starry-eyed college graduate who wants a job, but also thinks she can save the world, I wanted to be a teacher,” Rue says. “I wanted to make an impact and help kids.”
Once Rue realized she could make an even larger impact from an administrative role, she became an assistant principal, principal, executive director for elementary education, and finally, superintendent.
“I realized as a classroom teacher, I could impact the kids in my classes, but as a principal, I could get my work done through teachers, and impact students throughout the school. That changes your perspective when you realize there’s a greater opportunity to support kids in a different way.”
Rue joined TASA while working in Katy ISD in the mid-to-late 1990s, and wound up taking a leadership role in the association, serving as TASA president and a founding member of the Public Education Visioning Institute. She says TASA has helped her learn and grow as an administrator over the years.
“I could learn more and find ways to be more effective in my role as a superintendent,” Rue says. “I looked to TASA as my professional development, and it fed me and kept me motivated. It kept my fire alive.”
Of the many benefits Rue has found in TASA membership, she points to professional development and networking opportunities as highlights.
“Helping superintendents connect and grow and learn together is huge,” she says. “The other is the advocacy role that TASA plays in helping them stay aware of policy changes and what those impacts can be to their own systems so they can advocate for public education locally and regionally.”
Rue says she has enjoyed working with TASA staff, and seeing the commitment and pride that everyone in the association has for supporting educators across the state. She now serves as executive superintendent for regions 10 and 11, a natural progression from administration in that it allows her to continue to support public education and lend her experience and expertise to those who need it.
“I feel like my role provides support for superintendents who want to be more transformative in their work,” Rue says. “They want to lead their districts deeper into school transformation, and I feel like my role affords me the opportunity to help them out.”
Working as an executive superintendent also allows Rue to give back to the organization that supported her during her years as an administrator. Currently, she’s networking with aspiring superintendents, looking at their resumes and advising them on how to get noticed and make the move into the top office.
“I think as executive superintendents, we can help grow what is sorely needed: a really strong pool of superintendents who are focused on systems and system redesign,” she says. “We can help promote and develop and support the next generation of superintendents. They’re the ones who will step in, and we need them so desperately.”
Find contact information for all 10 TASA Executive Superintendents.