Texarkana Independent School District’s top administrator, Paul Norton, is one of five public school administrators from across Texas selected as a state finalist for the annual Superintendent of the Year (SOTY) award sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Since 1984, the SOTY program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership.
Other finalists include: Mary Ann Whiteker, Hudson ISD; Reggy Spencer, Colorado ISD; Sylvia Hopp, San Elizario ISD; and Kevin Brown, Alamo Heights ISD.
The state selection committee, which interviewed regional winners August 14-15 in Austin, targeted such issues as business engagement, teacher retention, diversity of the state’s student population, philosophy, educational leadership, challenges facing local school districts, and advocacy on behalf of public education.
Norton, superintendent of Texarkana ISD for four years, serves approximately 7,100 students. He has 16 years of administrative experience. Noted was the district’s emphasis on college and career readiness, resulting in increases in dual-credit enrollment and ACT participation. Steps to strengthen early childhood and pre-K programs also were cited. Norton earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University and master’s degree at Texas A&M University. He is on the Region 8 ESC executive regional advisory council, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and is a charter member of the Northeast Texas Alliance of Black School Educators and active in other state and national groups.
Candidates are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving educational quality, ability to build effective employee relations, student performance, and commitment to public involvement in education. Superintendents from any of Texas’ 1,029 local school districts are eligible for nomination by their school boards. Local nominees are submitted to a regional selection committee, which chooses one nominee to send to the state selection committee.
The 2015 Superintendent of the Year will be announced October 3 at the TASA/TASB Convention in Austin. The winning superintendent will receive an award from Balfour, program underwriter.
TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local public school districts. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve approximately 5.2 million students.