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Two-time Texas State graduate named superintendent

Two-time Texas State graduate named Superintendent

by Emma Carberry
Outreach Coordinator, College of Education

August 16, 2018

Texas State alumnus Mark Estrada is living proof that hard work pays off. This past July, after six years of leadership with Lockhart ISD, he became superintendent of the district. Estrada, who holds both a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Texas State, has proven himself a great asset to the district since he started as the principal of Plum Creek Elementary in 2012.

As principal of Plum Creek, Estrada introduced the district to a variety of firsts, including creating the first National Elementary Honor Society, the first Lego League Robotics team, and the first Parent Teacher Association in the district. Estrada attended the Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013 and became the principal at Lockhart Junior High School the following year. There, he decreased student discipline by 60 percent, and created a new teacher professional development program, effectively reducing teacher turnover by 50 percent. In 2016, after Estrada concurrently served as the interim principal at Lockhart High School’s ML Cisneros Freshman Campus, he was promoted to assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

Dr. Maneka Brooks
Mark Estrada

This was a natural step for the ambitious Estrada who created a curriculum management plan in his new role that led to double-digit growth in STAAR progress for fourth and eight graders in the district this past spring. His initiatives as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, including implementing the Lockhart ISD Visionary Instructional Plan and securing $1.89 million in University of Texas at Austin GEAR UP grants, ultimately led to the district receiving the state designation as a District of Innovation. Estrada’s work in the district made him a natural fit for the superintendent position, for which he was named lone finalist in June 2018. “The Board is incredibly excited and proud to select Mr. Estrada as the new superintendent,” said Lockhart ISD Board President Brenda Spillmann following the announcement, “After seeing the impact of his leadership both in campuses and at the district level, we are confident he will continue to challenge students and teachers to even higher levels of achievement.”

Estrada, who also serves on the Texas State University College of Education Advisory Board, says his time at Texas State prepared him well for the transition into this position. “The education, training, and support that I received during and after my time at Texas State positioned me well to be a successful teacher and education and community leader,” he shares. He remembers fondly the mentorship that was offered to him by College of Education faculty and the unique educational environment that Texas State offers. “I will always be thankful for how Texas State prepared me in a safe culture that embraced diversity of ideas and set my path after graduation with new knowledge ready for any challenge,” he says, “I am truly proud to be a Bobcat and hope to reflect the values of my university every day with my actions as a superintendent of schools.”

Estrada officially signed his contract with Lockhart ISD on July 3, 2018 surrounded by family. He marked the occasion on his Twitter account, where he shares his love for education with others, stating that he is “ready to ensure each student and staff member is challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.”