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Dr. Elaine Howard Officially Appointed Superintendent of Sharyland ISD by the Board

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Dr. Elaine Howard. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Dr. Elaine Howard. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

On April 22, 2024, the Sharyland Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees approved Dr. Elaine Howard as the new superintendent. This follows her initial nomination as the lone finalist during the board’s meeting on March 25, 2024.

Dr. Howard comes to Sharyland ISD from Boerne ISD, where she served as the Deputy Superintendent. Her educational philosophy is rooted in a personal narrative of overcoming the ‘unteachable’ label, which fuels her dedication to fostering inclusive learning environments. “If you have ever been told you are ‘unteachable’ or do not belong, you are faced with the choice to believe what you are being told or prove them wrong. I chose to prove them wrong,” Dr. Howard shared, emphasizing her commitment to creating spaces where every student can thrive.

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Naxiely Lopez-Puente, Director of Communications and External Affairs at Mission Economic Development Corporation; Kenia L. Gomez, Media Relations City of Mission; (no name); Mission City Commissioner Marissa Ortega Gerlach; Maritza Venecia, Vice President of the Sharyland ISD Board; (no name); Mission Chief of Police Cesar Torres and Assistant Chief Reynaldo Perez. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

With a rich history of leadership across various districts in the San Antonio and Austin areas, including Judson ISD and Hays CISD, Dr. Howard has managed student populations ranging from 11,000 to 22,000. Her career has spanned roles from a classroom teacher to positions in district administration, such as Coordinator of Professional Development, Executive Director, and Chief of Human Resources.

During an exclusive interview with Texas Border Business, Dr. Howard shared her insights into the district’s challenges and opportunities. When asked if she had researched the district’s challenges and whether she had any specific ideas to implement, Dr. Howard responded with a clear vision aligned with community and board expectations.

“Yeah, and I want to make sure that everything that I will approach and get to work will be the vision of the school board and our community,” Dr. Howard explained. She highlighted a key area of focus: “I know that right now, the idea of making sure that our facilities, the buildings, the equipment, and the computers that our students are using are comparable to what they would get in universities. And so that will be one of the things I focus on, ensuring that the resources keep getting to the kids.”

Dr. Howard’s commitment to enhancing educational infrastructure reflects her forward-thinking approach to ensuring that Sharyland ISD students receive the best educational tools, aligning their learning environments with higher education standards.

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In response to questions about her confidence during the application process for the superintendent position at Sharyland ISD, Dr. Elaine Howard provided a glimpse into her motivation and admiration for the district. She was asked if she felt sure about securing the job when she applied.

Dr. Howard responded with humility and determination: “I don’t want to say I was sure, but I knew I wanted to be a part of this. Everything about the school district is solid and robust.” She elaborated on her admiration for the community’s engagement and the students’ achievements, saying, “The community that supports this school district and the kids are some of the best performers, the best athletes, and the most intellectual, academically strong students in the state.”

Her enthusiasm was evident as she discussed her commitment to the district: “And I knew I was going to do whatever I could to get down there and work with that school district.” 

Her appointment marks a significant transition for Sharyland ISD. It follows the retirement of the outgoing superintendent, Dr. Maria Vidaurri, who will conclude a distinguished 39-year career in education later this summer.

Dr. Howard’s leadership philosophy extends beyond the classroom. She advocates for educational opportunities in diverse settings, including athletic fields, music halls, and community spaces, emphasizing her rounded approach to student development. For her, innovation in education involves not just technology but also creative strategies to make learning vibrant and relevant for students.

Outside of her professional life, Dr. Howard cherishes her family connections and is excited to integrate deeply into the Sharyland ISD community, which she now proudly calls home.

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