AUSTIN (KXAN) – Eanes ISD Superintendent Dr Tom Leonard on Tuesday announced his retirement plans at the end of the 2021-2022 school year in a meeting with school district leaders.
The Eanes Independent School District Board will immediately begin its search for a new superintendent. Leonard said he expects the board to announce a candidate for the job this winter, who will work with Leonard during the transition until the new superintendent is installed in July.
Leonard has worked for four decades in education, ranging from teacher, coach, vice-principal and superintendent. He joined Eanes ISD as superintendent in 2014.
âMy mom always said to me, ‘Leave the garden a little better than you found it,’â Leonard said. âWe have been very successful and academically as strong as any district in the state of Texas and the United States. I’m just really proud to be a small part of it all.
Leonard said he privately considered retiring two years ago, but has stayed on to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. He and the school board have faced criticism from parents for enforcing a mask warrant for all students, staff and visitors to schools in the district.
Leonard said the tough decisions were made as the district chose to follow health officials.
âIf we were talking about masks, people were upset,â Leonard said. âIf we said no masks, other people were upset. There was no place you were going to make everyone happy. I wish I could have. But we did, I believe, take care of the children, we surrendered in person as soon as the authorities allowed us to do so. “
Leonard said the priorities the new superintendent will focus on will be decided by the school district in January and the board will review its current policies and determine what changes need to be made.
One of the priorities set by the district last year was diversity and inclusion. Following complaints of racism and discrimination, the district set up an online reporting system for people who anonymously report any incidents in the district and hired Dr Mark Gooden as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. who participated in staff training.
âIt’s a great community,â Leonard said. âWe are not perfect. I don’t think there is a perfect community in the world. but it’s a big community and I stay focused on it.
The school district board will meet on Monday, October 25 to discuss selecting a research firm that will help with the transition.
During Leonard’s tenure, some of his accomplishments include adding new programs to Westlake High School and elementary schools in the district, as well as successfully supporting the adoption of two bonds used to update the technology and improve facilities.
âFocus on all the good that we have here,â Leonard said. âWe won’t all agree on everything. It will never change. But we really should be grateful for an amazing community with amazing resources. It’s not about a superintendent, it’s not about trustees, it’s about children. We should be able to focus on the children.