Alvord ISD Superintendent Bill Branum was one of three finalists to be Region 11′s nominee for Texas School Superintendent of the Year.The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) presents the honor at its annual convention. This year’s gathering will be held in Austin Sept. 28-30.
The five finalists for this year’s award are Ren Guti rrez of Edinburg CISD, Greg Smith of Clear Creek ISD, Charles Dupre of Pflugerville ISD, Dennis McEntire of Presidio ISD and Michael Zolkoski of Ysleta ISD.
Region 11′s three finalists were Branum, Northwest ISD’s Karen Rue and G. Wayne Rotan of Glen Rose ISD. Rotan was the region’s nominee.
Each of Texas’ 20 Educational Service Center regions interviews two or three nominees before selecting their choice for the award. Alvord ISD board member and former board president Kevin Wood said for a small, 2A district like Alvord to have its superintendent among the finalists is remarkable.
“When you look at the schools in Region 11, to have our superintendent selected over those from districts like Southlake, Grapevine-Colleyville, Birdville, etc. is actually an amazing feat,” he said. “We were extremely fortunate and most pleased for Mr. Branum to be a regional finalist.”
Since 1984, the program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership.
The state selection committee interviewed regional winners Aug. 24-25 in Austin, focusing on such issues as the demands for America’s workforce, public education funding and the pending school finance lawsuit, successful board relationships, technology integration and academic excellence.
Branum came to Alvord ISD in July of 2008 while the district was in the midst of a $6 million bond-funded building program. He was able to build consensus among the board and staff, assemble a budget that supported a strong instructional program and complete the building program while opening a new middle school campus. Alvord ISD was rated “Exemplary” by the Texas Education Agency at the end of his first year, for the first time in its history.
Key qualities cited in his nomination were his visibility daily on each campus and his ability to effectively communicate. He was also praised as a “living example of high standards of ethics, honesty and integrity” in his dealings with various school and community groups.
Branum earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and received his master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, then finished his administrative certifications at UNT. He began his career as a science teacher and coach, sharing two state runner-up and two state championships, and has been a superintendent for several State and National Blue Ribbon Schools.
Prior to coming to Alvord, he worked in Lewisville, Abilene, Southlake, Katy and Columbia-Brazoria school districts, serving as a science teacher at the middle and high school levels, head coach, athletic coordinator, middle school assistant principal, personnel officer, finance officer, high school principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.