Dr. Folks named finalist in state Superintendent of the Year competition

August 30, 2011

Northside Superintendent John Folks has been selected as one of five finalists across the state for the Superintendent of the Year in the annual competition sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards.

The top superintendent will be announced in Austin on Oct. 1 at the annual convention for the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Earlier this year, Folks was named the Region 20 Superintendent of the Year.

"I'm honored they would select me," Folks said. "It's really a recognition of the thousands of Northside employees and all that they do for children."

The other four finalists are: Thomas Price, Jr., Splendora ISD; Gayle Stinson, Lake Dallas ISD; Sharon Shields, La Vega ISD; and Michael Steck, Veribest ISD. Superintendents from all 1,000-plus schools districts in the state are eligible to be nominated.

Candidates are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving the quality of education in their school districts, commitment to public support, involvement in education and ability to build good employee relations among teachers and staff members.

"It takes lots of people to make NISD the successful school district that it is, but the man at the helm provides the leadership, inspiration and guidance needed to be successful," Karen Freeman, NISD Board President, said. "People all around Texas know about Northside ISD and they know about our quality leader. This school board is very proud of Superintendent John Folks.

"NISD is an extremely diverse school district, but despite the challenges, it is a school district that has earned a Recognized rating under the state's accountability system for five years in a row, as well as earned fiscal management awards from the state," Freeman said. "That is because of Dr. Folks' leadership and passion for our students."

The screening committee described Folks as a "true statesman at the forefront of advocacy efforts for public education and the children of Texas. His commitments to career and college readiness were cited along with a focus on cross-cultural effectiveness in each school. The result has been narrowed achievement gaps between various student groups."

Before coming to Northside, Folks served as superintendent of Spring ISD in Houston and also as the Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is Past President of the Texas Association of School Administrators and serves on the Executive and Legislative committees. He currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Fast Growth School Coalition, on the Board of Directors of the Texas Academic Decathlon, and the Texas Education Reform Foundation/Texas Education Reform Caucus. Dr. Folks also is a Past President of the Texas School Alliance and a Past President of the Texas Association of Suburban/Mid-Urban Schools. Dr. Folks is active in the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and serves on two of its Public Affairs Council committees - the State and Federal Legislative Committee and the Education Committee. He also is a member of the P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County and serves on the Board of Directors of the Alamo Public Telecommunications Council.