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Superintendent Message (March 06, 2017)

Board vacancy, State of the District and Distinguished Teachers of the Year

March 06, 2017

Dear SAISD Staff,

As you may have heard in the news, our School Board is in the process of filling the seat vacated by District 6 Trustee Olga Hernandez, who resigned Feb. 21. At its Feb. 24 special board meeting, the Board voted to fill the seat by appointment, after conducting an application process to identify candidates. Information about the process is available on our District website, and applications will be taken until noon on Friday (March 10). Whoever is appointed will serve in that position through the end of the term, in May 2019.

These types of situations often can distract from the important work at hand. Let’s not allow that to happen. Let’s keep the momentum and focus on the good that is happening in our District because of you and your commitment to our plan for excellence. I was proud to be able to stand before business leaders on Feb. 22, during the annual State of the District event (it drew more than 300 people), and share with them the innovative initiatives we are rolling out – much of what I have been sharing with you in recent messages and which are included in this Blueprint for Excellence update document. We are thankful for the business community’s continued support of our effort to transform SAISD into a district of excellence.

On Feb. 16, we announced our three Distinguished Teachers of the Year and are proud to have them as models of excellence in our District. I want to congratulate Andrea Lucas from Lamar Elementary; Christian Stephanie Aguilera from the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (for middle school) and Luz Perez, from Edison High School. I hope you can take a few minutes to read more about these three educators.

Also, one of our Distinguished Teachers of the Year from last year, Karen Harris, was honored last week at a reception as one of 19 exceptional teachers in the San Antonio area chosen as finalists for the 2016-17 Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The prize recognizes outstanding performance in public education, and we are proud to have Ms. Harris, who is a science teacher for middle school grades at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy, representing our District. The award is sponsored by Trinity University, as well as the H-E-B Grocery Company. The winners will be announced in April.

We have so many great educators in our District, and together, they represent a spectrum of teaching experience. We have novice teachers with loads of talent and a strong drive to develop. We have veteran teachers with equal talent and drive, as well as finely honed teaching skills and extensive knowledge that puts them in a unique position to help grow others, and our District. These are just two examples; there are great educators across the spectrum, and we are working to develop even more. I mentioned the new Master Teachers program in previous messages. We held our first information sessions for internal applicants to this program on March 2, drawing about 60 educators. We are excited by the high level of interest in this program, which will provide teachers with the training and resources needed to achieve even greater mastery in their field and to help others along this path.

I also want to mention we will hold our annual Kindergarten Roundup on March 7-9. This is a critical enrollment area for us as we work to attract more families to our District and keep those that already are with us. Continuing to expand and diversify our educational offerings will help our efforts, and another critical factor is the school environment, ensuring that families feel welcomed and that they know they are our valued partners in education. Roundup times and kindergarten information can be found on this District webpage.

In closing, I want to reiterate that we have much to be proud of in SAISD. Every day there are student successes, some big, some small. Regardless of their size, they happen because of you. Let’s remember that. Thank you for your continued hard work and for your drive in helping us to create an excellent SAISD.