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TASA has named the 2021 recipients of its Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship, which has been awarded annually since 2014 to outstanding doctoral students pursuing careers in educational leadership, with particular emphasis on the superintendency.

The recipients were selected from among a pool of applicants by the TASA Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship Committee, a group of Texas school superintendents and other public school district administrators.

Each of the following recipients will receive a $2,500 scholarship and be recognized during the 2021 TASA Midwinter Conference, which will be conducted virtually January 25-27.

Cicely Alexander is working toward her doctorate in educational leadership at Texas Tech University.

“My job as executive principal/executive director of the Lubbock ISD in-district charter, coined the Lubbock Partnership Network (LPN), includes many duties that are expected of a traditional superintendent. …” she wrote in her application. “I am determined to apply all of my training, along with my close working relationship with [Lubbock ISD superintendent] Dr. Rollo to successfully lead a traditional school district as superintendent, in my due season. Of all the things that I have learned from Dr. Rollo, what resonates at my core is that the superintendent must push past politics and put personal and even adult agendas secondary. Primarily, every decision must have at its core, the best interest of students.”

Michelle Rinehart is working toward her doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

“Throughout my doctoral studies at HGSE, I have helped district leaders and teams solve seemingly intractable problems of practice, while continually growing my knowledge, skills, and leadership practice,” she wrote. “I am currently serving as a superintendent intern as part of a 500-hour superintendent practicum; next year, I will serve and learn throughout a 10-month residency with a Texas superintendent as I lead a capstone system-level leadership initiative within the district. … This integrated program has prepared me well for stepping into district and community service as a superintendent.”

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. The program is facilitated by TASA with the support of ClassLink, the program’s 2020-21 sponsor.