New Dallas ISD Superintendent Pledges More Support For Teachers

Stephanie Elizalde hopes to be in place, in charge by July

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The potential new leader of Dallas ISD is sharing some of her goals for the district moving forward. 

Stephanie Elizalde will take over for her longtime mentor Michael Hinojosa after the board approves her hire. 

"I'm not going to be Michael Hinojosa, that's something else Dr. Hinojosa taught me. I have to be Stephanie Elizalde."

She's more reserved than her mentor who led DISD with flair and flash but Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde says she's bringing his skill of listening to others before she acts, especially when it comes to figuring out the best ways to improve academics post-pandemic.

"I want to listen to what our teachers and staff and the community have to say. What are their thoughts about all the different variations of the calendar and so on and so forth before changes on time," said Elizalde.

You may not know her face but Dr. Elizalde was considered Dr. Hinojosa's right hand before leaving to take a job leading Austin ISD.  

She's often credited with being the driving force around Dallas' ability to turn around many of its failing schools. She says the secret is giving teachers time and support.

"We're all in existence to support the classroom teachers. It doesn't mean the other positions aren't important, it does mean at the end of the day our principals are key to whether our teachers are getting everything we need," she added.

In Austin, Elizalde created more "planning periods" especially for elementary teachers so they could have the time to build better lesson plans. She wants to do the same thing here.

"We're going to have to be creative and not ask teachers to do all this professional development outside the school day," said Elizalde. 

One thing she is willing to take a position on right now is data, and testing. NBC 5 recently reported on the stress and pressure teachers say it causes. Dr. Elizalde says she gets it.

"If you don't do anything with the data, whatever it was you used to collect it, we should stop immediately," she added.

"I'm going to throw out something I think is an issue in Dallas, the number of assessments we're giving our kids, separate from even the state-required assessments, we really need to think which assessments are we giving, why are we giving them, and what are we doing with the data," Elizalde said.

Repeatedly Dr. Elizalde said she's going to listen first and make decisions together saying it's important the team all buys into the goals whatever they are.

She plans to be at the reigns of the district by July.   

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