Contributed Photo: Mary Ann Whiteker (r) receives award from TASB's Gloria Casas

Huge congratulations are in order for Mary Ann Whiteker of Hudson ISD, she was named 2015 Superintendent of the Year (SOTY) by the Texas Association of School Boards in Austin on October 3.   According to a press release from the Texas Association of School Boards, Whiteker was selected for the prestigious award from a group of state finalists that included Paul Norton, Texarkana ISD, Region 8; Reggy Spencer, Colorado ISD, Region 14; Sylvia Hopp, San Elizario ISD, Region 19; and Kevin Brown, Alamo Heights ISD, Region 20.

Serving approximately 2,800 students, Whiteker has led Hudson ISD for more than 21 years and has 30 years of experience in education administration. The state selection committee noted her slow, steady, and thoughtful approach to evaluation of all programs to ensure sustainability and her focus on a service-driven culture by requiring every school organization to incorporate community service to lift up their fellow students and community.

Whiteker was described as embracing a philosophy of individualized educational opportunities tailored to the unique needs of each student. The committee also noted her passionate belief that education is the great equalizer and her efforts to build a solid foundation in language and fluency at the primary level that minimizes the need for intervention later. Whiteker is a member of the Commissioner’s Superintendents Cabinet and has served on the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) executive committee, Region 7 ESC executive board, and as president of the Texas Association of Community Schools. Whiteker earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Superintendent of the Year candidates are chosen for their dedication to improving educational quality, board-superintendent relations, student achievement, and commitment to public support and involvement in education. Superintendents are nominated by their local school boards. District nominees are submitted to a regional selection committee that forwards a nominee to the state selection committee. Whiteker received an award and a Superintendent of the Year ring from Balfour, program underwriter. State finalists also received an award from Balfour.

Regional winners nominated by the regional selection committees are Alda Benavides, La Joya ISD, Region 1; Lynn Burton, Orange Grove ISD, Region 2; Patricia Montgomery, Angleton ISD, Region 4; John Valastro, Lumberton ISD, Region 5; Todd Stephens, Magnolia ISD, Region 6; Blake Cooper, Commerce ISD, Region 10; Frank Molinar, White Settlement ISD, Region 11; Diane Frost, Corsicana ISD, Region 12; Douglas Killian, Hutto ISD, Region 13; David Walker, Christoval ISD, Region 15; Kyle Lynch, Canadian ISD, Region 16; Gilbert Trevino, Floydada ISD, Region 17; and David Carr, Stanton ISD, Region 18.

TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local public school districts. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.2 million students.