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TASA has named the 2024 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 2024 TASA Midwinter Conference, to be held in Austin January 28-31.

Jennifer Spears, principal of Popham Elementary in Del Valle ISD, is working toward her doctorate from the University of Texas Cooperative Superintendency Program. “As a Hispanic female, I want to be a role model for all students. I want my students to view themselves as capable leaders in society,” she wrote in her application. “As a future superintendent, I aim to positively impact students’ lives by showing commitment and loyalty to my community’s needs. Working with my community was the reason that led to my interest in the superintendency.”
Lorie Squalls, an area superintendent in Richardson ISD, is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from Dallas Baptist University. “As an aspiring superintendent, I would welcome the opportunity to lead with the priorities of advocacy, capacity building, learner-centered outcomes, and innovation, and to leverage my strengths to design and implement strategic plans to help develop effective educators and effective leaders to ensure positive outcomes for learners,” she wrote in her application. “I would ensure that learners had opportunities to pursue their interests and understand that success can look different for everyone.”

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 2023-24 sponsors: PBK, ThoughtExchange, and Trusted Capital Group (TCG) – A Hub International Company.