HOUSTON (June 23, 2023)—The Texas City ISD Board of Trustees has been named the Region 4 School Board of the Year for 2022–2023 as part of the annual Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) School Board Awards Program.
The Texas City ISD board was recognized for its dedication to creating a supportive, safe environment for both students and educators. To that end, the board has regularly met with teachers and students and has solicited feedback from students, parents, and staff members through end-of-year surveys. The board also has encouraged community participation in board meetings and has established a protocol for regular district- and campus-level meetings to ensure staff members, parents, business leaders, and community members are all heard. This immediate feedback allows the board to quickly address concerns and provide necessary support and resources.
"As the superintendent of Texas City ISD, I am incredibly proud and honored to congratulate our outstanding school board on being named the Region 4 Board of the Year,” said Dr. Melissa Duarte, superintendent, Texas City ISD. “I have witnessed firsthand the exceptional dedication, leadership, and commitment that the Board has demonstrated in serving the students, staff, and families of our school district. This prestigious recognition is a testament to their unwavering commitment, tireless dedication, and visionary leadership to providing the best possible education for our students.”
The board also oversaw the 2016–2017 annexation of La Marque ISD into Texas City ISD. Following the destruction of three of the La Marque schools in Hurricane Harvey, 42 percent of Texas City schools received failing ratings from the state. However, through the board’s concerted effort to reform and improve instruction, by 2022, all schools in the district received passing ratings and the district had improved from a C to a B. Texas City also received an Early College High School Grant Award through the Texas Education Agency, which allowed the district to launch the first Early College High School in Galveston County.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to our board for their collaborative spirit, strategic decision-making, and unwavering focus on students. Their impact will continue to shape the future of Texas City ISD for generations to come,” said Duarte. “Together, we have achieved remarkable milestones and transformed countless lives through education. I am truly privileged to work alongside such an extraordinary group of individuals who consistently put our students first. With their guidance, I have no doubt that we will continue to soar to new heights, inspiring and empowering students and their families in Texas City ISD."
Additionally, the board oversaw the passage of a $158.6 million bond in 2022. The bond includes the construction of a high school campus that will be the new home of La Marque High School, an Early Childhood Center, an agriculture barn, and a new STEM/robotics center. The bond also includes renovations to existing facilities, funding for career and technology enhancements, and more than $1 million for safety and security improvements.
In an effort to increase student academic performance and state funding, Texas City ISD engaged in social media campaigns and Reach Out walking events to gather information about ways the district could support families who experienced barriers to enrolling their children in school and families with student attendance struggles. The information collected during these walks was distributed to campus leadership to determine whether further supports and follow-up were needed. The district received a Superior rating from the state for the 2020–2021 School FIRST Report and received the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Finance Reporting for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2021.
“We are honored to be able to recognize the dedication and hard work of the members of the Texas City ISD Board of Trustees for their unfailing commitment to excellence in service for children,” said Dr. Rodney Watson, executive director, Region 4 Education Service Center. “We congratulate them on the well-deserved recognition and wish them the best on their nomination.”
Melba Anderson, president; Nakisha Paul, vice president; members Mable Pratt, Lori Carnes, Dickey Campbell, Hal Biery, and Mike Matranga; and Dr. Melissa Duarte, superintendent, were serving the Texas City ISD community as board members at the time of the board’s nomination.
The Texas Outstanding School Board will be announced Saturday, September 30, during txEDCON23, the TASA/TASB Convention, held September 29 through October 1 in Dallas.
About the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards School Board Awards Program
TASA created the School Board Awards Program in 1971 to recognize school boards whose dedication and ethical service have made a positive impact on the schoolchildren of Texas. Each year eligible Texas school superintendents nominate their boards of trustees by submitting information that meets the award criteria and guidelines to their Regional Education Service Center School Board Awards coordinator by a June deadline.
The ESC executive director appoints a selection committee made up of five TASA members in the region, including the region’s TASA Executive Committee member or another member designated by the TASA president. (No committee member can be from a district that has nominated its board.)
Each regional selection committee reviews all district nominations from within the region. If an ESC receives nominations from districts having fewer than 1,000 students, the selection committee must forward one nomination from that size category as well as one nomination, if any received, from districts having more than 1,000 students, provided such nominations meet all guidelines and are considered acceptable. If the service center receives nominations in one size category only, the selection committee must choose one board to represent the region.
ESCs submit regional winners to TASA by a July deadline. TASA’s School Board Awards Committee, appointed by the TASA president, reviews the regional winners’ entries and selects up to five boards to be recognized as Honor Boards. Then, in the fall at the TASA|TASB Convention, the School Board Awards Committee interviews each of the Honor Boards to select the Outstanding School Board, which is named during the convention.
About Region 4 Education Service Center
Region 4 Education Service Center (Region 4), located in Houston, is one of 20 service centers established by the Texas Legislature in 1967. The purposes of the service centers, as presented in legislation, are to assist school districts in improving student performance, to enable school districts to operate more efficiently and economically, and to implement initiatives assigned by the Legislature or Commissioner of Education. The core purpose of Region 4 is to provide excellence in service for children.
Region 4 serves an eight-county area comprising 48 public school districts and 41 open-enrollment charter schools. As the largest service center in Texas, Region 4 serves an education community of more than 1.2 million students, more than 165,000 professional educators, and 1,500 campuses.