Superintendent

http://www.leanderisd.org/users/0001/images/Supt/2016/Supt-Lone-Finalist_200.jpg
Dan Troxell, Ph.D.

Dr. Dan Troxell became Leander ISD's superintendent of schools Aug. 29, 2016. Before coming to LISD, Troxell served as superintendent of Kerrville ISD for 14 years. During his tenure in KISD, Troxell provided the service leadership that led to significant improvements in academic programs, the completion of numerous building programs, and sound fiscal management. Troxell was named Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards in 2008.

As a district, KISD was one of 24 Texas school systems, out of more than 1,200, to earn the distinction designation for postsecondary readiness. KISD is also one of ten districts that has earned the post-secondary designation for two consecutive years, as well winning many other state and national accolades.

Prior to his tenure in KISD, Troxell served as an assistant superintendent in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, in suburban Houston. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts with honors, and subsequently a Ph.D., from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, Troxell earned a master’s degree in education from Texas State University in San Marcos. He began his career in education as a middle school teacher, later serving as a middle and high school assistant principal, and as a high school principal.

Troxell was named the 2006 Region 20 Advocate of the Gifted, and in 1997, he was named the Dallas Morning News reader-selected Best Principal. During his career, he has taught courses in school finance as an adjunct professor and as a part-time professor at Schreiner University, Sam Houston State University and the University of Houston.

Troxell serves on the Texas Association of School Administrators Legislative Committee, the UIL Legislative Council, which he chaired in 2013-2014, and the Texas Association of School Boards Risk Management Fund Board. Troxell is also active in local organizations and serves on the board for the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation.

Troxell and his wife, Shelley, have two sons.

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Current Superintendent Column
A Closer Look at the 2017-18 Calendar

Week of: Feb. 20, 2017


Developing the district calendar each year may seem like a formulaic procedure that only requires shifting school days around standing holidays. However, in practice, it is a lengthy and involved process. Our goal is to create a calendar that prioritizes student learning and success, while also balancing adherence to a number of state mandates, weighing parent and staff input, and working around the natural calendar year. Occasionally, the elements stack against us and make it difficult to find a formula that meets everyone’s needs; 2017-18 is one of those years. We understand the impact our calendar has on work schedules, family travels, etc., so let me shed some light on how we arrived at the current, approved calendar.

We start with a set of guidelines we call our “non-negotiables.” These are requirements set by the Texas legislature through the Education Code that all public school districts must follow. Non-negotiables include: the requirement that teachers work a minimum of 187 days, including 11 in-service (staff development) days; students are required to receive 75,600 minutes of instruction, which is 176 days in LISD due to the length of our school day; students may not start school earlier than the fourth Monday in August; two bad weather makeup days must be scheduled; and early release days may not exceed six. This year, the fourth Monday in August is the 28th, the first time in 11 years it has fallen so late in the month. Starting this late has made it difficult to fit all the teaching, learning, holiday and testing days into our calendar puzzle, without pushing the end of school to mid-June.

In addition to those mandates, we also take into consideration other issues like keeping the number of instructional days per semester as even as possible, working around testing days in the spring semester, trying to follow the same spring break schedule as the University of Texas, allowing one week of vacation for Thanksgiving, two weeks for the winter break and two days for our district Continuous Improvement Conference (CIC).

Once we have weighed those many factors, we begin the process of drafting and approving our calendar. From October through November, district administrators work with staff and community committees to collect their priorities and input that help shape the calendar. In December, a draft is presented to the Board of Trustees for their discussion and ultimately their approval. This year, because of the unusually difficult parameters, Board members spent several hours over several Board meetings discussing various options and working with staff to develop eight different calendar drafts. Feedback from parents and staff was collected and voiced after each draft was shared, which helped guide our Board of Trustees to approve a calendar during their Feb. 2 meeting that they felt best serves our students, staff and community.

You will notice a few changes from this year’s calendar to next, which I would like to highlight. Because Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Monday, we have opted to start the winter break on Wednesday, Dec. 20, to give our families adequate travel time ahead of the holiday, with staff returning on Wednesday, Jan. 3, and classes resuming Jan. 4. This mid-week break and return also helps relieve our working parents, where the original full-week holiday extended to Jan. 8. We have also eliminated early release days (except for high schools before the end of semester), replacing them with full staff development days to help minimize interruptions for parents. Additionally, we have moved our two-day staff CIC from the beginning of February to August prior to the start of school. This helps balance the number of holiday, bad weather and staff development days in the spring semester, and allows our staff time to apply the valuable knowledge they gain at the CIC throughout the entire school year.

The Board did discuss a new option called District of Innovation passed by the 84th Legislature in 2015 that may help ease scheduling restrictions, but the Board decided not to pursue it at this time. I will discuss the District of Innovation more in-depth in next week’s column.

While there is no one calendar scenario for 2017-18 that will be a perfect fit for everyone, I want you to know we have heard you and have made every possible effort to accommodate as many requests as possible. I would also like to take a moment to thank our Board of Trustees and staff for the many hours they spent working together and deftly navigating this complicated process, as well as all those who have spoken up to help us reach an amicable solution.

To download a copy of the approved 2017-18 LISD School Calendar, please click on the Calendars button on the left side of our website.