Austin Independent School District
stephanie elizalde

Profiles May June 2022

June 9, 2022

Dallas district chooses next superintendent

Less than two years after she departed for another job, the Dallas school board has asked a former administrator to return to the district as superintendent.

The board announced in May that it has named Stephanie Elizalde as the lone finalist for district's top job.

Elizalde was the chief of School Leadership in the Dallas district until August 2020, when she was hired as superintendent of the Austin (Texas) district. Dallas is the state's second-largest district and has nearly twice as many students as Austin--153,784 compared with 80,718, according to the Texas Edcuation Agency.

The state of Texas requires school boards to wait 21 days before they can offer prospective superintendents a contract for employment.

Elizalde would replace Michael Hinojosa, who announced earlier this year that he was relinquishing the superintendent's job.

A native Texan, Elizalde is a third-generation public school educator who has served in various roles such as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and deputy chief. 

Austin school board president Geronimo Rodriguez expressed appreciation to Elizalde for her brief tenure there.

“Thank you to Dr. Elizalde for her steadfast leadership through what has been an unprecedented and challenging two years,” Rodriguez said. “Her commitment to our...mission allowed our community to safely move through the pandemic and stay laser-focused on academic achievement.”

Open enrollment for all students is coming to Kansas

Starting in June 2024, Kansas students will be allowed to go to any public school district in the state, as long as space is available.

Gov. Laura Kelly has signed legislation creating open enrollment in all of the state's districts The Kansas City Star reports.

The law directs school districts to develop guidelines spelling out how many total students the district can handle, and how many nonresident students they can accept into each grade. Once districts determine their capacity, families can begin applying to transfer their students to the school of their choice. If the number of applicants exceeds the spaces available, a district will have to randomly select students before July 15 each year. 

Students who successfully enroll in a new district will be able to remain there until they graduate.

Non-resident students can be denied admittance to a district only if there is not enough space. They cannot be admitted or denied on the basis of ethnicity, gender, income, nationality or for having a disabling condition. School districts also can’t admit students for their athletic ability or measure of achievement. If a student is denied enrollment, the school is required to send the family a note explaining their decision.

Some high-performing districts in more affluents communities voiced opposition to open enrollment. They fear their schools will be overwhelmed with transfer requests from non-residents.

DeKalb County (Ga.) district fires superintendent after less than 2 years

The DeKalb County (Ga.) School Board has fired its district superintendent after less than two years on the job.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the board approved a separation agreement in April with Cheryl Watson-Harris, effective immediately. She was DeKalb’s sixth superintendent in a decade.

Watson-Harris had been serving as first deputy chancellor for the New York City Department of Education in June 2020 when the DeKalb County Board hired her.

After Watson-Harris was dismissed, the board said its relationship with Watson-Harris had been “deteriorating for some time to the point the association became irreconcilable.”

“The Board lost confidence in Mrs. Watson-Harris’ ability to provide the leadership the district needs in the face of significant challenges,” the board's statement said.

Watson-Harris said the board's action "blindsided" her. “I was unaware that my contract for employment would be discussed."

Vasanne Tinsley has been named interim superintendent. She was formerly deputy superintendent of student support and intervention.

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