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Gonzalez earns Master Trustee Distinction from Leadership TASB

Posted Date: 6/27/24 (4:34 PM)

After a year of hard work and deep dives into education advocacy and board governance, the 33 members of the Leadership TASB Class of 2024 celebrated at a special graduation ceremony held June 21 during Summer Leadership Institute in Fort Worth, including Pasadena ISD Board assistant secretary, Paola Gonzalez.

The board members, who hail from districts large and small across Texas, successfully completed the rigorous program, earning the title of Master Trustee. They now join the ranks of the more than 1,000 Texas board members who have participated in the leadership training program in its more than 30-year history. 


“Leadership TASB affords trustees a unique opportunity to experience other districts and interact with trustees from across the state,” said Gonzalez.


Shelli Conway, an Anna ISD trustee, member of LTASB Class of 2020, and the 2024 board president of the LTASB Alumni Association was the emcee for the evening.  


“For these trustees, tonight actually celebrates a beginning and not an end,” Conway said. “Tonight is a commencement, the beginning or start of something new. Your journey as local guardians of the education of Texas schoolchildren takes a turn tonight, and there are more than 5.5 million children counting on you.” 


The graduates were joined by family, friends, and fellow board members, who were dressed to impress at the festive event, which included a graduation ceremony, dinner, and dancing. 


During the ceremony, Robert Long, III, LTASB program director and director of Board Development Services, recounted the journey the trustees went on over the year.  


“They have pushed boundaries, transcended challenges, and exceeded expectations in fulfilling the requirements set forth by our program,” Long said. “With remarkable dedication they have embraced our vision to cultivate leaders who champion public education and who seek innovative solutions to the complexities facing our schools today.” 


The LTASB Class of 2024 met for the first time in September 2023 at txEDCON23 in Dallas. Participants in LTASB are chosen through a competitive application process with a maximum of 36 trustees selected each year based on criteria including dedication to board service and participation within their school districts and communities. Over the year-long program, which included four visits to locations across the state, trustees learned about innovative education programs, gained deeper knowledge of board governance, and learned how to advocate on behalf of their districts.  


“The immersion cohort style of learning is like no other training TASB offers,” said Gonzalez. “ Becoming a master trustee was of utmost importance to me because I want to be the very best advocate, leader, and public servant that I can be for the students, educators, staff and community of Pasadena ISD”

One thing all the LTASB graduates agreed upon is the importance of taking what they learned and using it to advocate on behalf of Texas public school students. 

Tammy Hawkins, vice president of the Ector County ISD school board, said she sits on several boards and that participating in LTASB was “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life.” 


Traveling across the state and visiting different districts and talking with other trustees helped her see how districts share the same problems and challenges. 

“I believe I am the first ever Leadership TASB Participant/Graduate from Pasadena ISD,” said Gonzalez. 


Gonzalez added that there is an application and selection process. “I highly encourage every Board member in Texas that is eligible to apply for this opportunity.”