During its July 21 meeting, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees:

View the entire agenda. Watch the livestream video.

Resolute Recruitment Efforts Highlight Closing Staffing Gaps

During Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D.’s, report to the Board, Chief Human Resources Officer Karie Lynn Eggeling demonstrated how LISD’s recruitment efforts have helped close staffing gaps. Though numbers are changing hourly, as of Thursday evening, the district is looking to fill 200 campus staff positions and 402 non-campus positions. Thanks to new approaches in recruitment like weekly virtual job fairs, informational sessions on alternative certifications, expanding our reach internationally, among other things, staff has filled half of vacancies in only a few weeks. The LISD careers webpage lists the positions that still need to be filled.  

Listening to Community Concerns, Board Reviews 2021-22 School Quality Survey Results

The results from the 2021-22 parent and student School Quality Surveys were discussed in-depth at Thursday’s meeting. This year, special attention was given to ensure survey questions aligned with the LISD Strategic Plan and our Graduate Profile. Topics included the areas of school quality, well-being and engagement, empowered student learning, student experience, safety and behavior, LISD graduate profile, equitable access, transportation and facilities, and more. These high quality questions can be used in surveys over the next five years to allow for consistent comparisons. 

The survey results demonstrated that more than two-thirds of LISD parents and students feel like they have adults on their campus that will respond to their needs and higher rates showed that they felt as though they could get help and that they felt valued by their teachers for their diverse perspectives. 

Teaching Practitioner Mentality, DEI Discusses Leadership Development

“We have no agenda, except for making sure every single student every day has increased access and opportunity.”

The Chief of Diversity Equity and Inclusion DeWayne Street shared his office’s efforts over the past seven months. In the spring he started his tenure by visiting campuses and creating partnerships with campus leadership. Through that time, he believes campus leaders are growing in their understanding that his office is designed to be a partner and resource. 

Over the summer, Street hosted two-hour micro-workshops “Ethical Leadership is Inclusive Leadership” with LISD leaders and hosted advisory sessions with district and campus leaders. 

The DEI office continues to:

  • Serve as an internal consultant for LISD leadership and staff
  • Work with the Chief of Schools and Area Superintendents to incorporate DEI campus goals into the Campus Improvement Plan structure
  • Tailor trainings for departments based on operational needs 
  • Prepare to administer a cultural competency survey to instructional staff (request) at the beginning, middle and end of year
  • Create ongoing plans through the fall of 2022

Street plans to roll out a multimedia presentation entitled “The Power of Perception” which will look deeper into some real issues that a lot of practitioners need to confront in a non-judgemental way, to make sure that their leadership is inclusive and impactful.

Highlighting Schools of Choice, Staff Shares Current Status of the Long Range Plan 

The Board received an update regarding the Long Range Planning Committee’s 10-year plan. Benefits of this plan include postponing High School #8 and Elementary School #34 indefinitely, deferring construction of multiple schools and identifying areas to host schools of choice.

“The Board has agreed to have a workshop to have the opportunity to truly dive into the long-range plan before sending a draft out to the community for additional input,” said Board President Trish Bode. “We realize this means the CFAC committee will have a draft version as we gather community input but there are many facets involved over a long period of time and we want to be on the same page as we move forward– taking the time needed to ask questions and digest the information.” 

One area of focus includes Schools of Choice. A School of Choice is a public school offering specialized educational opportunities that utilize a non-conventional approach, designed to meet the diverse needs and interests of students throughout the LISD community in order to:

  • Provide choice and equitable access for students
  • Optimize varied educational opportunities for all students
  • Maximize efficiency in the use of school facilities, transportation, and other capital and operational resources

Some possible schools of choice are STEM grades 9-12, health professions high school, fine arts school K-8, design school grades K-12, mastery based learning school, international business high school, and Ready, Set, Teach Academy grades K-12. 

There are plans to host community forums around the long-range plan in August and September. In September, the Long-Range Planning committee will reconvene to review input from the community forums and the 10-year plan will be presented during a Board meeting.

Board Approves Citizens’ Facility Advisory Committee Process Timeline and Charters 

Using a 10-year Long Range Plan as a guiding document should enable a Citizens’ Facility Advisory Committee to prepare for a bond election.

With growing interest in holding a bond election in May 2023, the Board approved the Citizens’ Facility Advisory Committee process and timeline. CFAC will be made up of a steering committee and six subcommittees: high school, middle school, elementary school, information technology, ancillary and security. 

The purpose of CFAC is to develop a three to five-year facility plan to meet the needs of our fast-growth school district in conjunction with the work conducted to create the district’s Long Range Plan. Facility considerations will include advising the Board on the number of buildings needed, by when, and recommended ancillary space (such as athletic, science, arts, and other support spaces) including technology infrastructure.

In mid-August, the steering committee will begin looking for 220 community volunteers from across all feeder patterns to fill the subcommittees. The CFAC timeline is as follows: 

  • September: Kick-off meetings will begin,
  • Mid-November: Recommendations from subcommittees to the steering committee 
  • January 2023: Recommendations will be brought to the Board of Trustees 
  • Feb. 17, 2023: deadline to call an election
  • May 6, 2023: Election day

Board Approves Bond Oversight Committee Recommendations 

Savings from previous bond programs are helping fund projects up for consideration. The Board approved more than $80 million in reallocation to address district facilities needs as follows:

  • Elementary School #30
  • Portables (2 years: 2022–23 and 2023–24)
  • Major Maintenance (2 years: 2022–23 and 2023–24)
  • HVAC Design: Cedar Park HS, Vista Ridge HS, Running Brushy MS
  • Redesign Elementary Prototype to accommodate up to 1,000 students *
  • Leander High School Masterplan Redesign

Aaron Johnson Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

Trustee Aaron Johnson announced that he will not seek re-election as a Leander ISD Board member in the November 2022 elections. 

“Education has been important to our family,” said Johnson. “Even while I was very young, I could see the power of education to transform lives and possibilities. I was elected in May 2011, and it has been my pleasure to represent our community in Place 6 on the Board ever since.”

“Aaron has been a staple in our growing district asking thought provoking questions since I have been on the board,” Bode said. “Being a fast growth destination district requires many hours from a trustee and their family so it is not lost on this board the hours of service he dedicated to the district and our students. We wish him and his family the very best in their future endeavors.”

“We appreciate the service Aaron has provided over the past 11 years as a Trustee for the Leander Independent School District. His sincere consideration and commitment to our students and their families over the years has contributed to the reason why we are a destination district,” said LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D.

Board Approves Area Superintendent and River Place Elementary School Principal Recommendations

The Board of Trustees approved the hirings of Area Superintendent and River Place Elementary School principal.

  • Cypress Elementary School Principal Kristen Alex will transition to the role of Area Superintendent. 
  • Lakeway Elementary School Assistant Principal Amy Sharp Ed.D will join the #1LISD family as River Place Elementary Principal.