Eight Leander Independent School District educators are furthering their careers and commitment to public education. They’ve graduating from Concordia University as part of the LISD Aspiring Leader Program (ALP).

Through this unique partnership, LISD teachers continue working for the district while earning the necessary requirements for career advancement to principal. All eight December graduates earned a Master’s in Educational Administration toward Principal Certification

“The highlight for me has been the bond that our cohort has formed both professionally and personally,” ALP graduate Gina Freeman said. Gina teaches second-grade at Reagan Elementary. “Our time together has broadened our perspectives and allowed us to lean in, listen, and learn from one another. This group has supported one another. We’ve invested time in one another’s successes. I am truly humbled to stand alongside each and every one of these aspiring leaders!”

Navigating Continuing Education During COVID Times

Through perseverance and resolution, these graduates met the unique challenge of completing ALP during the COVID-19 pandemic. They showed their agility to transition to virtual learning in their graduate courses, all while juggling the demands of their personal and professional lives.

“One of the truest tests of a leader is how they choose to handle adversity; the obstacles presented by the pandemic were certainly growth opportunities as an aspiring administrator,” Vandegrift High School band director Mike Howard said. “​Finishing the program has provided a great sense of accomplishment. The lens through which I view education and the running of our campus has broadened.”

This cohort represents the second group to complete their degrees through ALP. A combination of Concordia professors and LISD executive leaders teach the courses.

LISD Aspiring Leader Program graduates are:

  • Corrin Crawford-Montoya, Faubion Elementary kindergarten teacher
  • D’ Angela Fowler, Rutledge Elementary second-grade teacher
  • Gina Freeman, Reagan Elementary second-grade teacher
  • Mike Howard, Vandegrift High School band director
  • Kelly Looman, Danielson Middle School instructional coach
  • Colleen McAllister, Running Brushy Middle School SPED teacher
  • Sandy Moreno, Leander High School Spanish teacher
  • Mariella Yarritu-Sisk, Vandegrift High School Spanish teacher

Recommending LISD Aspiring Leader Program

Mike Howard

First of all, I highly recommend this program.  The care and effort taken by the Concordia professors toward the preparation of every individual was remarkable.  My biggest encouragement is to lean on the other members of your cohort, as they will be your support network throughout the program.  There will be moments that seem overwhelming and knowing that you have a team that you are working with makes it all work!

Gina Freeman

If you have the desire to become an instructional leader, this is such an amazing experience! The unique partnership between Leander ISD and Concordia University affords aspiring leaders the opportunity to learn from and network with influential, experienced, and transformative leaders. You will begin to see yourself as a leader from the onset and be thoroughly prepared for the next phase of your leadership journey when you graduate..