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TASA has named the 2019 recipients of the Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship, awarded annually since 2014 to outstanding doctoral students pursuing careers in educational leadership, with particular emphasis on the superintendency.

Each of the following recipients will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship during the TASA Midwinter Conference in Austin January 27-30:

Marny Doepken, curriculum coordinator for Clear Creek ISD in League City, is working toward her doctorate in global education leadership at Lamar University.

“Pursuing the superintendency allows me the opportunity to fulfill my responsibility to the students, community, state, country, and world I serve,” she wrote in her application. “While I work toward earning that position, I continue to hone my skills and expand my influence, striving to make a positive difference in the lives of many each day. … I believe that I am already becoming a transformational leader. Committed to improving students’ educational experiences to align with 21st century realities and a foreseeable future, I will lead conversation, exploration, and team development to bring future-readiness to any district or organization within which I work.”

Courtney Jerkins, coordinator of elementary science/social studies and English learners for Midway ISD near Waco, is working toward her doctorate in educational leadership from Baylor University.

“I am pursuing the superintendency because it is a culmination of all of the things that have shaped my life thus far: a desire to serve others, a passion for education, a desire to support students and teachers, and now a desire to work with entire communities to promote student success,” she wrote. “My experiences will be tools that I will use as a superintendent. I know that I will need a vision for the district and a strategic plan to ensure the vision is realized. I know that working with others and providing opportunities for shared leadership will be an important part of motivating stakeholders to work toward the vision. And, I know that I have a lot to learn. I’m eager to use the tools I have and gain new ones as I continue on this journey.”

The scholarship recognizes the leadership of Dr. Johnny L. Veselka, who dedicated nearly 44 years of service to the association, including 32 years as TASA’s executive director.