TEXARKANA — Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools for Texarkana Independent School District, was chosen last evening, Wednesday, June 17, 2020 as the Lone Finalist for Lake Travis Independent School District Superintendent of Schools.
The Lake Travis ISD Board of Trustees will vote to formally name him on July 8, 2020 following a state-mandated 21-day waiting period.
“For 9 years, TISD has excelled under the servant leadership of Superintendent Paul Norton,” said Fred Norton, Jr. President of TISD Board of Trustees. “During his tenure the rigor of curriculum continued to increase, along with student academic performance.
“Paul and his leadership team focused first on recruitment of the best and brightest teachers for our classrooms and then, once they became a part of our Tiger Family, attention turned to the creative means to retain them. These measures have proven highly successful and help make TISD the place to be, whether you are a student, parent, teacher or district constituent,” Norton continued.
“Paul’s legacy will be one of making a great school district even better, and our challenge will be to find the right person to pick up where his influence ends. It is with mixed emotions that we bid farewell to our valued friend and leader for, while we will miss the warmth of his personality, his professionalism and his profound love for our students, we are excited for Lake Travis ISD and the impact his servant leadership will have there.”
Paul Norton became a member of the Tiger Family in 2001 as Associate Principal of Texas High School and was named Principal of THS in 2003. He was selected as TISD Superintendent of Schools in June 2011.
Norton has taught as an Adjunct Professor for TAMU-T on Public School Management and Organization to students working toward their Principal Certification. He was named the Region VIII High School Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and was honored as the Principal of the Year by the TISD Volunteers in Public Schools. In 2015, Norton was named Region VIII Education Service Center Superintendent of the Year and shortly thereafter was named one of five State Finalists for Texas Superintendent of the Year. He received the President’s Award from the Greater Texarkana Branch of the NAACP and also was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Acts of Kindness Leadership Award in January 2016.
“Unequivocally, the experiences I have had and been afforded at TISD are unmatched to any others,” said Paul Norton. “The support within this community for TISD is incredible. It has been my privilege to facilitate discussions and opportunities for this district as well as for this community,” continued Norton.
“The focus of my time with TISD was to have our schools and the district give students unique opportunities that cannot be found at any other school district in our area. We have achieved those and so much more.”
“Working with the TISD Board of Trustees as a ‘Team of Eight’ to lead our district towards excellence is so very easy when you have dedicated members who are progressive, innovative and passionate about student programming, growth and experiences. The TISD Leadership and Administrative group is by far some of the top professionals in their fields. They do not just put forth a daily effort. The put forth 200% each day, every day, all year. Our educators are fervent about student success and growth of the whole child. I can honestly tell you, TISD is the place to be and was the place to be for me, my family and my professional growth.”
While being a vital member of the TISD leadership team, Paul Norton has presented key district programs to the Texas Education Agency School Improvement Conference, Texas Association of Secondary School Principal’s Conference, Texas Association of School Administrators Mid-Winter Conference, the TASA/TASB Conference, STEM Connect for Success Conference at Ohio State University, the Greater Foundation of Texas Conference, as well as the Congressional Field Hearing Leader’s Luncheon.
He has served the Texarkana community through his civic work as an American Red Cross volunteer, member of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Membership Recruitment Committee, Texas A&M University-Texarkana Tuition Review Committee and Alumni Association Board of Directors, American Heart Association Heart Ball Silent Auction Co-Chairman, Recruitment Chairman for Texarkana College Tight Lies Rising Star Open Pro-Am and American Cancer Society Golf Tournament Co-Chairman and Team Recruitment Chairman. He is a graduate of Leadership Texarkana, currently serving as President. Norton is Treasurer for the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, member of the Wilbur Smith Rotary Club, Texas A&M University-Texarkana Eagle Athletic Association and Fellowship Bible Church, where he serves as an Elder.
During Norton’s tenure as Superintendent, he successfully led the District to a victorious November 2014 Bond Election featuring an 8.6¢ tax increase. Funds were used to address overcrowding due to enrollment increases and expected enrollment growth. Bond monies allowed for the construction of two new schools – Sixth Grade Center @ Texas Middle School and Waggoner Creek Elementary. Both facilities opened in August 2016.
Additional successes under Norton’s leadership include:
*Enrollment increase of 24.5%;
*General fund balance increase of 27.5%;
*30-year lease agreement with Texarkana College and $2 million in renovations for the Texas High TigerShark premier swim program;
*Field turf installation at Tiger Stadium, THS Multi-Purpose Facility, Track & Field replacement and field turf installation for THS Track;
*Remodel of Constructional Technology building to a multi-functioning dance studio for Texas HighSteppers along with a testing center and new housing for Tigervision at no additional costs to taxpayers;
*Elementary realignment of Dunbar Early Education Center (Pre-Kindergarten), Theron Jones Early Literacy Center (Grades K-2) and Westlawn Elementary (Grades 3-5) attendance zones in order to provide the best possible instructional environment for students as the State of Texas standards and rigor expected of students continued to increase;
*Leading TISD to District of Innovation (DOI) status from the Texas Education Agency. The DOI concept was passed by the 84th Legislative Session in HB 1842 in 2015 and gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. School districts in Texas with the DOI status can seek exemptions from certain requirements of the state plan therefore allowing for more local school district control;
*Full integration of the FranklinCovey’s Leader in Me program at all TISD campuses. The whole-school transformation model and process empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. It is based on secular principles and practices of personal, interpersonal and organizational effectiveness. To date, four TISD elementary campuses have achieved the prestigious Lighthouse certification;
*Nine consecutive years of highest possible rating with the Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for demonstrating quality performance in the management of school districts’ financial resources;
*Opening of TISD’s online school, eSchool Prep, for grades 5-11. The tuition-free school gives parents a choice to access the curriculum and tools provided by K12 Inc, the nation’s leading provider of proprietary K-12 curriculum and online education programs. Since the opening in Fall 2019, enrollment is now at 1,901 students;
*Development of Texas High School College & Career Readiness Program to assist students in their preparation for post-secondary plans. Since the inception in 2004, scholarship totals for graduating seniors have went from $3.6 million to $17.8 million, dual credit classes have increased from 8 to 90 and THS now offers students the opportunity to receive their Associate Degree in General Studies while at the same time earning their high school diploma.
Professionally, Norton is a member of Texas Association of School Administrators and a graduate of their Future Ready Superintendent Academy. He serves on the Texas Policy Committee on Public Education, Texas Curriculum Management Program Cooperative Board and is the Region VIII ESC Commissioner’s Representative for the TASA Cabinet of Superintendents. Norton is also a member of the National, Texas and Northeast Texas Alliances of Black School Educators, serving as their local President.
He was a member of Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, serving on their Board of Directors and taking on the volunteer task of Assistant Coordinator and Coordinator for Region VIII ESC. Norton was also a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals during his principalship years.
TISD will name an Interim Superintendent at their July 21, 2020 regular Board of Trustees meeting. Details of a Superintendent search will be announced at that time.