Interim Austin ISD Superintendent Likely to Become Permanent
District won’t hold a national search
It looks like there will be a new, permanent superintendent at Austin ISD by early December. And it'll probably be the current interim super – Matias Segura.
Segura has served as interim super since December of last year and has a term ending on June 30, 2024. From the beginning, he's been praised by community members and the AISD Board of Trustees as an even-keeled presence, a clear communicator, and a capable manager.
Near the end of Thursday's meeting, the board voted to approve the profile of the new superintendent they seek. Trustee Candace Hunter moved that the profile include "a prioritization of special education, with specific reference to inclusive practices and a focus placed on multilingual education, more emphasis on staff morale, and an equity statement around gender identity and sexual orientation." The board unanimously approved the motion.
Next, Trustee Arati Singh spoke about the options available to the board in hiring a new superintendent. "One option is to conduct a full national search, which takes several months," Singh said. "Another option is to post the permanent superintendent position now, if it seems a full national search with a search firm is not necessary. When school boards do this it is often because a strong candidate has been identified already."
Singh went on to describe how a pair of outreach efforts by the board, one in the spring and one in the fall, had revealed overwhelming community support for Segura. Trustee Lynn Boswell moved to authorize the posting of the superintendent position from Nov. 17 through Dec. 7 at 5pm – a mere three weeks. "We will consider the applications that we receive in executive session on December 7," she said.
Earlier in the meeting, the trustees addressed community concerns about changes to the district's top five priorities, which it refers to as its "scorecard." Community members Leticia Anderson and Helen Miller asked the board not to remove priorities targeting the improved performance of economically disadvantaged African American students. The concerns followed the Nov. 9 board meeting in which the trustees learned they would have to "retool" several of the priorities on the scorecard so that they would align with the Lone Star Governance model that the board has adopted, as well as with state law.
After hearing the messages from Anderson and Miller, Hunter asked Segura to clarify that although the board was making changes to the scorecard, it would not stop prioritizing the success of economically disadvantaged students. Segura responded that, yes, the scorecard was being modified in the short term to meet the demands of the Texas Education Agency, but it would be re-created from scratch in the spring. And meanwhile, the board can still monitor the performance of economically disadvantaged groups.
"Supporting Black students, understanding that there are gaps, has been a focus of ours," Segura said. "I do not feel that because it's not on the scorecard that we will not be able to make significant progress. But I do understand the concerns."
Hunter followed by assuring the community that the board remains committed to improving the education of economically disadvantaged students. Singh clarified that there are two sets of goals under discussion: scorecard goals and growth progress measures. "I just want to be super clear that even though the overall goals may have changed to make the scorecard Lone Star Governance compliant, the goal progress measures – the very specific data around economically disadvantaged Black students and economically disadvantaged Hispanic students – those goal progress measures can be preserved."