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TASA has named the 2023 recipients of its Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship, which the organization has 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 will be recognized during the 2023 TASA Midwinter Conference, to be held in Austin January 29-February 1.

Cassandra Chapa, chief of school leadership in Tyler ISD, is working toward her doctorate in education leadership from Southern Methodist University. “As a potential superintendent candidate, I value community. Learning from a family of educational leaders, I understand that leadership means making difficult decisions, but making decisions that are based on building community, not pride. By utilizing data-driven decision making practices, focusing on building leadership capacity, and maintaining a strong goal focus, I hope that I can ensure that the families, educators, and students of a potential community I may serve have the opportunity to thrive,” she wrote in her application.
Matthew Neighbors, executive director of secondary education in Galveston ISD, is working toward his doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University. “Coalescing teams of people and encouraging them to achieve more than they think is possible inspires me to lead. It is also part of my vision to promote an educational institution which impacts the community in positive ways. Having a growth mindset — both students and staff — is a necessity. Achieve. Impact. Grow. These are the driving forces behind my desire to be a superintendent,” he wrote in his application.

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 its 2022-23 sponsors: GPD Group, PBK, and Trusted Capital Group (TCG) – A Hub International Company.