Austin ISD names lone finalist for next superintendent

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a late Tuesday night meeting, the Austin ISD voted to approve Stephanie Elizalde as the lone finalist for its next superintendent.

Elizalde has been with Dallas ISD since 2011, in several positions, including, most recently as Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership.

In 2015, she assumed the position of Chief of School Leadership. In this position, she provided direction for instructional programs at the district’s 227 schools, with a focus on increasing achievement and improving instruction.

Elizalde holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a doctorate from UT Austin.

If she ends up accepting the position, she will take over once outgoing Superintendent Paul Cruz leaves August 31. Tuesday night’s votes fell 7-2, with the two votes being abstaining members.

Jayme Mathias and LaTisha Anderson both abstained, with Anderson saying she didn’t think Elizalde was the best candidate.

KXAN’s Alex Caprariello attended the virtual session, saying that one trustee said Tuesday that it was only the second time they’d interviewed Elizalde.

Austin ISD’s next superintendent will face the added pressure of the district’s first full school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 21, the district still plans to begin classes August 18 — with the first three weeks being online-only.

Districts statewide are facing pressure from teachers and staff over timelines for reopening — or whether schools should even open for in-person learning.

On Saturday, July 18, teachers and school employees gathered in downtown Austin to protest both Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency’s plan for reopening schools.

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