Lockhart ISD named Region 13 Board of the Year



The Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees was named 2022 Region 13 Board of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators. The region comprises a total of 57 school districts. The announcement follows a period of bold innovation for the district under the leadership of President Michael Wright, Vice President Warren Burnett, Secretary Tom Guyton, Dr. Barbara Sanchez, Rene Rayos, Sam Lockhart, and Rebecca Pulliam.

In a letter nominating the Board for the award, Superintendent Mark Estrada wrote, “Leadership is the critical ingredient for success in any organization. It makes the difference between employees being heard or muted, feeling valued or taken for granted, and feeling empowered or restrained. Leadership impacts whether team members take risks toward creative solutions or retreat into the stagnation of familiarity. Indeed, excellent leadership is the pre-condition for excellence in outcomes, and our Board truly exemplifies this.” 

“It is an honor to be selected as Region 13’s School Board of the Year,” Wright said. “We have a dedicated team of seven board members that work with our superintendent and his team to implement the goals and visions of Lockhart ISD. Together, we are creating an environment where our students thrive and our staff are recognized and valued for their indispensable role in the success of our district.”

Lockhart ISD defines excellent leadership by three core values: having a LockHeart for People, being Locked on Excellence, and UnLocking potential in ourselves and others. The LISD Board’s LockHeart for People resulted in their decision to build internet towers to provide free service to families without access, provide free school supplies to all Pre-K – 12th-grade students, and a recent historic unanimous vote to provide up to 8 percent raises for teachers, double-digit raises for hourly employees, and provide staff with self-funded district health insurance to save staff up to $1,500 a month in premiums. Additionally, the Board voted to support the Live Love Lockhart affordable housing for teachers initiative as well as the “Drive.Pair.Share” carpooling initiative. Their commitment to being #LockedOnExcellence resulted in exceeding a goal of 75 percent of students growing by 1.5 years in reading while in a pandemic year, increasing the average campus score in the A-F system from 71 in

2019 to 81 in 2022, and all elementary campuses earned a B for the first time ever. Their belief in UnLocking Potential paved the way for the school district leadership to participate in a transformative partnership with The Holdsworth Center to build a pipeline of leadership within the district.

“At a time when many districts are facing understandable setbacks and difficulties in the wake of the pandemic, ours is thriving because of the conditions for excellence set by our Board,” Estrada said. “While each brings an individual and unique point of view to governance, they are bound together by a shared vision and anchored by the three district core values. We are fortunate to have their leadership because of the demonstrated and measurable difference it has made for our students, staff, and community.”

Created by the Texas Association of School Administrators in 1971, the School Board Awards Program recognizes school boards that have demonstrated outstanding dedication to serving the students of Texas. 

The rigorous application process requires evidence of 10 criteria: functions as a policy-making body; adherence to adopted board policies; support for educational performance in accordance with state-established standards; support for educational improvement projects and school transformation initiatives; commitment to a code of ethics; provision of financial support for the school system; participation in workshops and other performance improvement programs; placement of the welfare of children served by the school system above personal or political motives; public relations efforts, including community awareness; and maintenance of harmonious and supportive relationships among board members. 

TASA’s School Board Awards Committee, appointed by the TASA president, will now review the regional winners’ entries across Texas and selects up to five boards to be recognized as Honor Boards at the state level.

Then, in the fall at the TASA/TASB Convention, the School Board Awards Committee interviews each of the Honor Boards to select the Outstanding School Board, which is named during the convention in late September. 

“The leadership team and I are ecstatic to see our Board recognized for all of their hard work, bold vision, innovative leadership, and commitment to our Lions. Their leadership is why students in Lockhart ISD are at such an advantage,” Estrada said.


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