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Wallace Foundation Selects UT Austin, State Partners to Develop Equity-Focused School Leaders

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Photo by Marsha Miller.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Wallace Foundation selected The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at San Antonio and the Texas Education Agency as co-partners to locally support leadership development efforts and address equity issues in public education.

The Wallace Foundation’s ongoing initiative seeks to build evidence-based principal pipelines that will empower current and future principals to support student achievement, create a positive impact on students and advance each district’s vision of equity in schools. This award is part of an $8.2 million, multiyear grant to the San Antonio Independent School District, along with seven other school districts nationwide, as part of a $102 million, five-year project.

“The Texas Leadership Academy faculty and I are honored to be part of this outstanding initiative focused on the current and future success of school districts, and San Antonio ISD is the perfect partner to help bring it to life,” said Debra Cantu, an associate professor of practice in the College of Education and the co-director of the Texas Principal Leadership Academy.

Each chosen district in the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative includes a District Partnership Team composed of local community organizations, two university leader-preparation programs, and the state education agency to develop its own local definition of equity to define what an equity-centered leader needs to be able to do. The University of Texas at Austin was chosen as part of the San Antonio ISD Partnership Team that includes UT San Antonio and the TEA. Work began this fall.

“We are very excited to partner with UT Austin and UT San Antonio as we work with the Wallace Foundation to both develop and enhance our principal pipeline with an equity lens so that we may grow and place the best principals in our schools,” said Daniel Girard, an assistant superintendent of San Antonio ISD. “UT Austin has a proven track record of preparing highly qualified school-based administrators as a national model, and we are confident that this partnership will have a lasting benefit for the students, teachers, administrators and families of San Antonio ISD.”

The seven other large, high-needs districts are: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, N.C.; Baltimore City Public Schools, Md.; Columbus City Schools, Ohio; District of Columbia Public Schools; Fresno Unified School District, Calif.; Jefferson County Public Schools, Ky.; and Portland Public Schools, Ore. Each District Partnership Team will receive grants over five years.

Each school district was selected through a rigorous, competitive process, has at least five high-needs high schools and more than 48,000 students, and has provided evidence of strong support for the effort from local educators and leaders.