Northside Independent School District chief Brian Woods was named the 2018 Superintendent of the Year at a Texas Association of School Boards meeting Friday in Austin.

Woods was one of five finalists up for the award and ultimately beat out his peers in Port Arthur, Willis, Shallowater, and Clint ISDs.

“Dr. Woods is always the first one to say that this is all of us, that it takes all of us to be successful, yet he is so very humble because his leadership has been a tremendous asset to Northside, and not just to Northside,” the district’s Board President M’Lissa Chumbley said. “He is a strong, strong advocate of children in the state of Texas.”

Chumbley, who has served on the board for more than 20 years, first met Woods when he was a teacher at Marshall High School. Woods began his teaching career at Marshall in 1992 as a social studies teacher and later helped open O’Connor High School as the assistant principal. Later, Woods became the vice principal and principal at Clark High School, the district’s assistant superintendent for secondary administration, and deputy superintendent.

In July 2012, Woods became superintendent of Northside ISD, San Antonio’s largest public school district with around 106,000 students. He currently serves as vice president of the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Chumbley said she believes Woods is an extraordinary leader in the way that he advocates for students on an individual basis, but also legislatively with the governor, lieutenant governor, and statehouse committees.

The board president recalled contacting Woods early on in his role as superintendent. Chumbley was concerned about a student who had experienced some personal trauma, and Woods, who oversees Texas’ fourth largest school district, devoted care and attention to this one child’s problems.

“He took the time to work with me and with social services and to try to make sure that the child was taken care of, and he didn’t have to do that,” Chumbley said. “He cares about each [student], and he cares about all of them.”

While Northside has no current plans to celebrate the news, Chumbley said the board will be sure to plan something to cheer on Woods’ accomplishment.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.