Five school boards from across the state were selected today as Honor School Boards in the Texas Association of School Administrators’ annual School Board Awards Program. The program has recognized outstanding Texas school boards for their commitment to schoolchildren and their communities since 1971.
The statewide Honor School Boards, listed with their superintendents and nominating education service center regions are:
- Barbers Hill ISD, Superintendent Greg Poole, Region 4
- Copperas Cove ISD, Superintendent Rose Cameron, Region 12
- Denton ISD, Superintendent Ray Braswell, Region 11
- Lubbock ISD, Superintendent Karen Garza, Region 17
- Ysleta ISD, Superintendent Michael Zolkoski, Region 19
The Honor Boards were selected by a committee of nine Texas school superintendents from a field of regional finalists 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.
Gonzalo Salazar, superintendent of Los Fresnos CISD and chair of this year’s selection committee, said narrowing the finalists down to five Honor Boards was difficult.
“Looking at these school boards, it’s clear that there are a lot of good things happening in our public schools,” Salazar said. “There is a lot of innovation going on and everyone has student achievement at the forefront.”
The selection committee praised the Barbers Hill school board for its commitment to excellence, demonstrated through dedication to initiatives like the National Teacher Certification Program and multiple instructional supports for academic programs. The committee also noted that Barbers Hill’s 100 percent senior graduation rate is “phenomenal.”
Copperas Cove’s board drew kudos for its use of social media to communicate with the public and a commitment to training, which in turn demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence. The committee also commended Copperas Cove for fiscal management, including building a new school out of general funds.
Denton’s school board impressed the committee with their involvement and dedication. Five of the seven board members are graduates of the Texas Association of School Board’s program Leadership TASB, and all board members are active advocates for public schools, both in the community and among lawmakers. The board also demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence with 85 percent of Denton’s graduates pursuing post-secondary education.
Lubbock ISD’s board stood out for it’s laser focus on improvement, including its resolve to carry out a strategic plan that sets high standards and delivers a road map to achieve those standards. The committee was also impressed with the board’s willingness to make tough but necessary decisions, even if they aren’t popular ones, and a commitment to innovation in the classroom.
The committee called Ysleta’s academic performance “outstanding” and noted that student achievement was particularly remarkable when considering Ysleta’s population of 82 percent economically disadvantaged and 95 percent minority. Committee members said there is clear evidence of a cohesive board and praised the relationship between board members and the superintendent.
Salazar said its clear that the Honor School Boards are working hard even in the face of shrinking resources.
“I’m so impressed with the commitment from these school boards,” he said.
The selection committee will interview all five Honor Boards in person on Sept. 30 at the TASA/TASB Convention in Austin. The Texas Outstanding School Board will be announced at the convention’s First General Session at 4 p.m., Sept. 30.
All five Honor Boards and the regional finalists will be recognized at the General Session. The remaining regional finalists are:
- Point Isabel ISD, Superintendent Estella R. Pineda, ESC 1
- Carthage ISD, Superintendent J. Glenn Hambrick, ESC 7
- Hutto ISD, Superintendent Douglas Killian, ESC 13
- Lytle ISD, Superintendent Michelle Carroll Smith, ESC 20