Thursday, August 4, 2016
Austin, TX/Lancaster ISD - Five school boards from across Texas have been selected as Honor School Boards as part of the 2016 Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) School Board Awards. Each year, the program recognizes outstanding Texas school boards for commitment and service that has made a positive impact on Texas public school students.
“We congratulate Lancaster ISD and the committed, forward-leading members of its board for the honor given them by the selection committee,” says Region 10 Executive Director Gordon Taylor. As Superintendent McFarland points out in Lancaster’s submission, the board and the district have overcome a wealth of obstacles on the way to success. Region 10 salutes you for all you’ve accomplished – and what we know you will continue to accomplish as you work together for the good of your students.”
Prior to making the top five, Region 10 selected the Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees as its Outstanding Board of the Year. Superintendent of Schools and Region 10 2014 Superintendent of the Year Dr. Michael D. McFarland was glad to nominate the Board for consideration.
“When you look at the criteria for Honor Board and you think about the role of the Board, I felt like their service has been exemplary. I just wanted to make sure that they got the attention and recognition they deserve,” he said. “As public servants, you often get the recognition when things are not going well but may seldom get the same recognition when things are going well. Our Board has worked in concert with district administrators, principals and teachers, and for that, I believe that the recognition is well-deserved.”
Now that the Board’s effort is being recognized beyond the region, Dr. McFarland is excited about the opportunity to highlight the trustees at the state level.
“We have an excellent Team of 8. They have provided exemplary leadership and it is great to see that they are being recognized at the state level. Now the state will know what I have known for quite some time—that we have an outstanding Team of 8.”
Board President Ty G. Jones said that the recognition by the region and state provides acknowledgement that the Board and district are doing some things well. “It also will allow for us to reflect and develop systems and procedures to allow for sustainability to ensure that our students are in an environment which will foster and yield academic success,” he said. “I am hopeful it will allow us to develop additional partnerships to assist us in realizing our vision that all students achieve self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy.”
Trustee Ellen Clark said that she feels humbled and appreciative of the hard work of the district’s staff and students who have transformed Lancaster ISD.
“People from outside the district know how good this district has become and maybe this will let the community know the impact of such a school district on the quality of life in Lancaster,” she said.
As a Leadership TASB graduate, Ms. Clark often interacts with trustees from throughout the area and state.
“I realize that there are many boards that have shown outstanding leadership,” she said. “Over the years, I have learned a lot from board members from other districts who were willing to share their knowledge and experiences.”
Since 1971, the TASA program has honored Texas school district boards of trustees that have demonstrated dedication to student achievement and that put students first. The five school boards selected as 2016 Texas Honor School Boards are:
- Denver City ISD, Region 17, Gary Davis, superintendent
- Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, Region 11, Jim F. Chadwell, superintendent
- Lancaster ISD, Region 10, Michael McFarland, superintendent
- Robstown ISD, Region 2, Maria Vidaurri, superintendent
- Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, Region 20, Greg Gibson, superintendent
The five boards are now finalists for the program’s highest honor: 2016 Outstanding School Board. They will be interviewed at the TASA/TASB Convention in Houston, then one board will be named Outstanding School Board during the convention’s second general session at 10:30 a.m., September 24.
The other Honor Boards, as well as the regional winners, will also be recognized during the conference. The 10 boards to be recognized as Regional Honor Boards are:
- Aquilla ISD, Region 12, David Edison, superintendent
- Comanche ISD, Region 14, Rick Howard, superintendent
- Early ISD, Region 15, Wes Beck, superintendent
- Friendswood ISD, Region 4, Trish Hanks, superintendent
- Knippa ISD, Region 20, Jeff Cottrill, superintendent
- Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD, Region 5, Pauline Hargrove, superintendent
- Navarro ISD, Region 13, Dee Carter, superintendent
- Reagan County ISD, Region 18, Steve Long, superintendent
- Roma ISD, Region 1, Carlos Guzman, superintendent
- Waco ISD, Region 12, Bonny Cain, superintendent
The five Honor Boards were selected by a committee of Texas school superintendents, chaired by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD superintendent Mark Henry, whose school board was named the Outstanding School Board for 2015. The selection committee’s decisions were based on specific criteria, including support for educational performance, support for educational improvement projects, commitment to a code of ethics, and maintenance of harmonious and supportive relationships among board members.
Trustee Cynthia Corbin-Jarvis said that this recognition confirms that the Board is on the right track.
“It shows that, as a team, we have our fingers on the pulse of education to ensure that our students are successful.”
Ensuring student success is a driving factor for many of the district’s trustees.
“I serve as a Lancaster ISD Board of Trustee because I am a supporter of local public schools,” Trustee Larhonda Mays said. “I want our students to reach their highest potential as it’s relates to their career aspirations.”
TASA is the professional association for Texas school administrators, providing networking and professional learning opportunities, legislative advocacy, and targeted communications to support the work of superintendents and other school leaders. The organization’s mission is to promote, provide and develop leaders who create and sustain student-centered schools and develop future-ready students