NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - One man with the Texas Education Agency is attempting to help school districts and school boards across the state focus on improving student outcomes.
His name is A.J. Crabill. He's TEA's Deputy Commissioner of Governance. Crabill is not one to reserve time for media, but instead to devote hours to school boards.
"How are you doing A.J.," said Nacogdoches ISD Superintendent Sandra Dowdy.
A.J. Crabill was greeted warmly by the NISD superintendent and board members.
"So very proud to have you back in Nacogdoches, sir," said Pam Fitch, an NISD board member.
A sense of respect has developed in regards to Crabill's effort to achieve school improvement, system support, and innovation. It's what "improvement required" school districts must adhere to.
"We have to continue training," Dowdy said. "We have to continue goal setting and monitoring those goals to make sure we're on the right track."
At today's governance workshop Crabill opted out of granting media interviews. His attention is on guiding current and prospective board members to select ways to better serve students and their families.
"Of thinking about how a district organizes itself," Crabill said. "Conceptually at a very high level. We refer to ideas of this nature as theories of action."
Discussion centered around the board's interest in "earned autonomy," a concept of giving educators, primarily principals, flexibility in decision making.
"We're putting all our eggs in the campus leadership basket," Crabill said.
The basket he spoke of includes hiring and firing privileges and a say so on budgets and instructional framework. They all go a long way in attracting outstanding leadership.
"If I'm the best principal in all of Texas I don't want to go to work for a place where I'm told every single step of the job," Crabill said. "I want to work for a place where I'm told, 'This is the hill you got to go conquer. You take a team and figure out how to conquer the hill.'"
The hill NISD must conquer is to adopt a course of action that will lead to such improvement that a state district takeover can be avoided. Crabill may be the one to help the educators reach the summit.
Crabill also spoke to district educators at tonight's INSPIRE banquet where awards and special recognitions were handed out.