The chief of the Plano Independent School District said he has seen children grow up in the nearly 17 years he has headed the district.
Doug Otto will end his tenure as superintendent next week.
“It was remarkable to go to graduation several years ago, because those students were kindergartners when I first started,” Otto said.
In that time, the district has also grown. In 1995, Plano ISD had about 20,000 fewer students and 30 fewer buildings, he said.
Otto said teachers were his role models while growing up in a small Illinois farming community, which is what drew him toward a career in education.
He said he’s proud of the district’s accomplishments, naming a commitment to technology and new schools in every corner of the district among his most important legacies.
And he said the future of education in Plano is bright. The district’s recent commitment to building specialized academies is an example of a way to innovate in the way it educates its students, he said..
“We still have a lot to offer our communities,” he said.
But Otto also said he is leaving at a time when public education in Texas is at a crossroads, mostly because of state budget cuts.
“If we have to do this three or four years in a row, I really worry about what public education will look like,” he said.
Otto said he hopes the district can continue to move forward with the new redistricting plan.
Plano ISD is still searching for Otto’s replacement. The district plans for a permanent superintendent to start by the spring.