The Roar Report: Superintendent reflects on 2019


This season not only marks the beginning of a new year, but also a new decade for Lockhart Lions.
In 2010, LISD had a student enrollment of 4,684 students. Now, in 2020, LISD student enrollment totals over 6,200 students. Projections by the district’s professional demographer anticipates an additional 2,000 students over this next decade. Many have discovered what we have known for a long time–Lockhart is a wonderful community in which to live, learn, and lead. 
As we reflect upon what all students and staff have accomplished this past year, there is so much of which we can be so proud. 
Plum Creek Elementary School’s Roarbot Robotics team created the original  FIRST Lego League team in Lockhart ISD in 2013. Seven years later, this month, LISD is proud to now host 40 teams from across Texas at the Lockhart FIRST Lego League qualifier! 
At the beginning of 2019, The University of Texas at Austin College of Education Institute for Public School Initiatives awarded Lockhart Independent School District with $2.7 million through the UT Austin Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) grant program. This enabled all Lockhart Junior High School students to access long-term support to prepare them for success all the way through their first year of college. 
We welcomed Athletics Director and Head Football Coach Todd Moebes to the Lion team, whose leadership in the district’s athletics programs has helped evolve the program to better support and prepare our Lions for success. We are proud of the fact that all of our fall sports teams made it to the playoffs this school year, and we look forward to seeing how our Lions continue to grow.  
We bid farewell to Kenneth Vise as director of bands, but welcomed him to his new role as fine arts coordinator to help the district to continue to expand the opportunities for Lions and prepare them to be competitive across the state. Additionally, he helped us roll out full art and music programs at all elementary schools. James Crowley joined the Lions family as the new director of bands, and we are excited to see our Lions continue to grow under his leadership. The excellence is echoed in the theater and choir programs who have made their marks among the best in Texas. 
The Holdsworth Center, a leadership institute founded by H-E-B CEO and Chairman Charles Butt, selected six school districts for the second cohort of a 5-year partnership focused upon helping public school districts grow their pipeline of inspiring leaders so that teachers thrive and students excel on every campus.  LISD was one of those six and the smallest school district to be selected for the program. As a result of the work in the district’s first year in the program, LISD is very close to establishing a leadership definition, with the input of staff, that will set the expectation for all leaders in the school district. 
Last month, The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation announced 30 finalist school districts for the second cohort of the Raising Blended Learners demonstration initiative, and Lockhart ISD is one of those finalists. Finalists will be notified in April if they are selected for the top 20. If LISD is selected, we will receive $300,000 and technical support!
LISD ended the year with the announcement our finance department earned the rating of “superior” by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for financial integrity for the 17th year in a row, but this year, they earned a score of a perfect 100 while doing so.  We are proud of the job Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen and her staff are doing in making sure the school district is making the best choices in managing school district funds to benefit students and staff at the highest standard of excellence. 
These are just a sampling of the many accomplishments of which we can be so very proud as Lions. What is more exciting is knowing we will only continue to grow, excel, and achieve in 2020, and indeed, in this next decade. We need your support and partnership to chart this course together. 
Soon, you will receive an invitation to provide feedback about the outcome of the November bond election. It will be emailed to all parents and staff, and a link will also be provided on the district’s website at and Facebook and Twitter. We would like to learn from you to help us prepare for the next steps in meeting the challenge of fast-growth in a way that supports optimal learning for our Lions, providing excellence in education our students deserve. We are asking for everyone in the community to participate in this important and ongoing discussion.
Our staff will have another opportunity to weigh in on the school district’s leadership definition this month. Teams of staff and leaders have been working to narrow in on that definition based on the feedback obtained through Thoughtexchange and focus groups conducted over the past few months. We are eager to get feedback on this evolving definition to ensure we are on the right path. 
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire LISD leadership team, thank you for all you do to support the school district. It is with your support that we are able to provide our Lions incredible opportunities to prepare them for success. This new year before us is promising, and as we work together in 2020, I am certain it will be the best year yet! 

Mark Estrada
Superintendent of Schools


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