Alamo Heights Independent School District trustees on Tuesday named Dana Bashara as the lone finalist candidate to be the district’s next superintendent. Outgoing Superintendent Kevin Brown will depart to become the executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators at the end of June.
Bashara serves as AHISD’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for elementary education in the small district, which serves about 4,800 students. She has been in that role since 2010 and has spent her entire education career in Alamo Heights.
After the board unanimously voted to name Bashara its lone finalist – effectively giving her the job – on Tuesday morning, she said she felt immense gratitude for her selection.
“I’ve got a lot of emotion going on here,” she said Tuesday to the board and district staff members. “I am just honored and humbled to be your finalist for the position of superintendent and my heart is so full of gratitude. … My gratitude spans to all the faces in this room.”
Bashara previously served as director of personnel and public information. Before that, she had been the assistant principal and then principal at Cambridge Elementary School and assistant principal at Alamo Heights Junior High School. She started her career in education as a fifth-grade teacher at Woodridge Elementary.
Bashara has worked under Brown for the majority of his time as superintendent. She said her past experience working closely with the board and Brown will allow her to transition smoothly into the superintendent office. She plans on immersing herself in bond and building planning to better understand that aspect of the job, but said she is more than familiar with curriculum at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Bashara has four children at four of Alamo Heights’ five campuses, spanning ages from a kindergartener to a high schooler.
Bashara told the Rivard Report that Alamo Heights is both her “professional and personal home.”
“I’m personally invested in a big way,” she said.
AHISD Board President John Tippit said Bashara will begin the transition into her new job “starting today,” working alongside Brown to prepare for her July 1 start date. He said the board looked for candidates that exhibited “proven leadership skills, someone with a true passion for the students for this district, strong moral and ethical conduct, exceptional communication skills, but also outstanding relational skills.”
He said the board also valued prior experience as a superintendent, but not to the point that the most qualified candidates, including Bashara, would be discounted.
The board reviewed both internal and external candidates but kept “coming back to [Bashara,]” Tippit said.
Brown described Bashara as the “most qualified candidate the board could possibly have, the best equipped.”
Texas law mandates that school districts name a lone superintendent finalist and then wait at least 21 days before taking a vote to finalize the choice. However, AHISD officials said they do not expect to vote on Bashara’s appointment after the waiting period, simply naming her superintendent.
Brown served as Alamo Heights superintendent for 10 years. The typical superintendent serves between three and four years in a district, according to research from the Brookings Institute.
“I am very hopeful for as long a term as Dr. Brown, if not longer,” said Bashara, who has so far spent 22 years in Alamo Heights.
If approved, Bashara will become Bexar County’s second female superintendent. Prior to her selection, just one of the 15 superintendents was a woman.
“I feel so fortunate to be in this district and work for [Brown who] truly understands some of the flexibilities that needed to be afforded to a woman who is in an executive role, even in the assistant superintendency or principalship,” she said. “Women who are driven, who are at that executive level are women who are going to get the job done, but sometimes need a little bit of flexibility in a typical day.”