Dallas ISD chief of school leadership Stephanie Elizalde is the lone finalist for the superintendent’s spot at Austin ISD, the district announced late Tuesday night.
The Austin ISD school board voted Tuesday after a search that began in February when current Superintendent Paul Cruz announced he was resigning. A consulting firm was hired to gather community feedback over the summer, as well as find candidates for the position.
Sixty-four candidates and two rounds of interviews later, Elizalde was chosen Tuesday night as the lone finalist. She cannot be named superintendent until after the state-mandated 21-day waiting period is over, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Elizalde was first Dallas ISD’s STEM coordinator, and prior to that was a teacher and administrator in schools in San Antonio ISD and Southwest ISD. She was named chief of school leadership in 2015, and oversaw campus leadership for the district’s schools.
She also recently received her doctorate in education leadership and policy.
“She is the right person at the right time,” board President Geronimo Rodriguez said.
“She has a track record of being one of those women who gets stuff done,” said trustee Arati Singh, according to the Statesman. “Out of all the candidates, I felt like she was the one who was going to be very able to hit the ground running and get a team together and get stuff done that we need to do while also listening to our community.”
Two school board members abstained from the vote, saying they were not convinced she was the strongest candidate.
“My abstention does not mean no. I just do not believe she was the strongest candidate,” trustee LaTisha Anderson said.
While the news caught many by surprise Tuesday night, Dallas ISD school board trustee Dan Micciche was quick to congratulate Elizalde.
The Austin job is the second superintendent position Elizalde has applied for. Earlier this year, Elizalde was one of eight finalists for the top job with Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Elizalde’s imminent departure marks the third cabinet-level position to be filled by the district, as chief academic officer Ivonne Durant retired this summer, and Deputy Superintendent of Operations Scott Layne’s retirement will go into effect at the end of August.