Following Trustee Jim MacKay’s resignation, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees appointed Sade Fashokun to serve until a November 2022 election. Amid brightening COVID-19 data, Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., announced a return to the Yellow Phase of our safety protocols on Oct. 13. Meanwhile, our next elementary school has its first principal and could have a new name in December.

View the agenda here and the video hereView the outstanding, student-centered Spotlight on Learning from Grandview Hills Elementary here.

Board appoints Sade Fashokun to serve as Place 5 Trustee through November 2022   

The Board filled its vacant Place 5 seat by appointing Sade Fashokun to serve as a Trustee through November 2022. She will be sworn in and begin serving at the Oct. 21 Board meeting.  

Ms. Fashokun is a longtime volunteer and mentor with the district, having served as a Literacy Partner for seven years at Grandview Hills and Westside elementary schools and is the current PTA president at Westside. She also serves in leadership roles as a board and task force member with the city of Cedar Park. After more than 20 years with the Microsoft Corporation, Ms. Fashokun now owns an insurance business. She earned an undergraduate degree in computer science, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Carnegie Mellon University and a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Seattle University School of Law.

Trustees opted to fill the seat through an appointment due to the cost of a special election and the desire to have a complete, seven-member board. Holding a May 2022 election would cost between $100,000 – $200,000. The district will have five board seats open for election in November 2022. Candidates will run for the open Place 5 seat to finish the term left vacant by former Trustees Jim MacKay through November 2024. 

District to return to Yellow Phase of COVID-19 safety protocols on October 13

We are seeing encouraging signs that COVID-19 mitigation efforts are working, as our daily case rate districtwide is declining. Superintendent Gearing announced that on Oct. 13, Leander ISD will return to Phase Yellow of its COVID-10 safety protocols. The district’s weekly positive case numbers have declined for seven straight weeks and stands at its lowest level since early August. 

Changes include:

  • Masks are recommended for ALL individuals while indoors,
  • Normal water fountain use,
  • No limitations on the number of audience/spectators at extracurricular events.

“The numbers continue to fall, our daily (positive cases) average winding down all the way under 10,” Gearing said. “So, when kids come back to school on Wednesday of next week, we will be back in the Yellow response phase, and you can go to the website to see what that means exactly for our kids and staff.”

We ask for our community to continue to help us limit the spread on our campuses. Free COVID-19 testing at Gupton Stadium is open to students, staff and the public. 

State Accountability Report reflects challenges of 2020–21 school year

Amid a challenging instructional environment and an altered state assessment administration impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus for Leander ISD continues to be on the overall collection of learning for each and every child to determine the learning path for our students’ success. 

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) suspended its district and school state accountability rating process due to the pandemic, which saw roughly half of LISD students learn remotely. Within the annual accountability report, state assessment participation was heavily impacted by an option provided to the virtual students to not participate in STAAR testing during spring 2021. This option, provided by TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, resulted in only 65 percent of eligible STAAR tests actually being taken in Leander ISD. This decreased participation, in addition to the STAAR waiver in 2020, resulted in limited data within the report.   

Some other takeaways include:

  • 99% of seniors in 2019-20 graduated and 85% of these students graduated College, Career, or Military ready, the highest rate among comparable districts statewide.
  • 2022 state accountability will also be impacted due to the absence of tests in 2021, which will be reflected in Domain 2 (School Progress) and 3 (Closing the Gaps).
  • 2023 will bring a reset to the entire accountability system by TEA.

“Our Board will continue its relentless focus on academic achievement and deeper learning benchmarks to equip students and provide oversight and direction for the district,” Board President Trish Bode said. “Trustees asked for more conversation with leadership about how best to use this STAAR data and other data points in imagining what learning needs to look like for LISD students.” 

District selects experienced principal to open Elementary School 29, approves naming charter   

Trustees gave the green light for current Knowles Elementary School principal Lara Labbe-Maginel to lead the district’s newest elementary school when it opens in the Bryson subdivision in August 2022.

Based on policy CW (Local), the authority for naming schools lies with the Board of Trustees. The administration outlined a process and parameters for a Charter to name ES 29 and will offer the project charter at the Oct. 21 Board of Trustees meeting. We will start working to collect the community voice on naming nominations via a digital form and aim to bring a recommendation to a December Board meeting.

Construction on ES 29 is already underway and you can find an update on the progress as well as other construction going on around the district here.