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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Maria M. Vidaurri Reflects on Six Years as Superintendent of Sharyland ISD   

A Lifetime of Excellence

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Maria M. Vidaurri. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Maria M. Vidaurri. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

In a heartfelt and emotional farewell speech at the Texas Regional Bank branch in Mission, Mrs. Maria M. Vidaurri marked the end of her tenure as Superintendent of Sharyland Independent School District (SISD). Her words resonated deeply with the audience as she reflected on her journey and looked ahead to a new chapter.

Maria M. Vidaurri’s emotional farewell speech at the Texas Regional Bank branch in Mission marked the end of her tenure as Superintendent of Sharyland Independent School District (SISD). Her leadership legacy and commitment to student success resonate deeply as she prepares for her next chapter. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

After six years of dedicated leadership, Vidaurri will retire in June 2024. Her tenure has been marked by a deep commitment to student success and a clear vision for excellence, leaving a permanent impact on the district she has served with passion and integrity.

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Maria Vidaurri, originally from Premont, Texas, comes from a family of educators. Her mother was a coach, and her father taught science, instilling in her a deep respect for education from a young age. “My mother retired at 55, but she went back to work in education until she was about 75 years old,” she shared. Her father’s focus on relationships and her mother’s dedication to hard work shaped Vidaurri’s career, giving her a unique perspective on education. “My dad taught me that relationships are at the heart of moving any organization forward. My mother emphasized punctuality and dedication to the job.”

Maria M. Vidaurri with the School Board. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

These qualities guided her path as an educator and eventually as a superintendent. Over the past six years, she has led Sharyland ISD with a persistent vision, fostering a culture of excellence among students and staff.

After a fulfilling career, Mrs. Vidaurri announced her retirement, effective June 2024. “It was time to dedicate my time to my family, grandbabies, and husband,” she said. With an aging mother suffering from dementia, she felt the need to spend more time with her loved ones. “I’d like to spend as much time with her as possible.”

Reflecting on the response she received from staff after her retirement announcement, Mrs. Vidaurri was touched by their appreciation. “You always ask yourself, ‘Did I do enough? Did I make a difference?’ So, to hear from the staff today makes me feel very warm and has filled my heart up,” she said. “At the end of the day, my job has always been to serve these kids. It’s been great.”

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Vidaurri emphasized the district’s commitment to excellence during her six-year tenure. “We have a vision of excellence, our tradition at Sharyland ISD. We always strive to reach that vision, whether it’s the adults in the organization or the students,” she said. “Whether it be on the field during practice or practicing for a state assessment test, our kids always give it their all, and so do our adults. As educators, we want to ensure we never let anybody down.”

Vidaurri believes the biggest highlight of her tenure has been the collective effort to improve systems continuously. “We always strive to improve our systems, which sets us apart,” she noted.

Vidaurri understands that a superintendent’s work is only accomplished with others. “We have a team of seven board members, which becomes a team of eight, including the superintendent,” she said. “Their guidance, leadership, and innovation help the superintendent and guide them in their work.”

Over the past six years, the Sharyland ISD board’s commitment to students and Vidaurri helped her grow professionally and personally. “Not all superintendents get to say that, but this board has allowed me that opportunity.”

As she prepares to retire, Vidaurri leaves a legacy of excellence and a district well-positioned for continued success. Her leadership will be remembered for its warmth, integrity, and focus on student achievement.

“It was just doing what I love doing,” she said of her career. “You always ask yourself, ‘Did I do enough? Did I make a difference?’ Together, we have made a significant impact.

“I guess it’s the end of an era of what we do, right?” Vidaurri shared. “I know I’m not going to stop. I will continue working and advocating for public education, but it will be at something other than this degree.”

Vidaurri is known for her commitment to the district’s students, staff, and families. Her leadership improved academic standards and fostered a culture of collaboration and unity across the district’s campuses.

As superintendent, she cultivated an environment that prioritized student success. Under her guidance, SISD implemented innovative educational programs, achieved significant academic milestones, and adopted community engagement. She took pride in the district’s leaders, describing them as the most “incredible leaders at our campus and in our district.”

“To say goodbye to that fun that we had, the work we did, it’s tough. It’s tough, but I’m happy for them and Sharyland ISD because the board’s not changing. The board is still committed, and the new leader will come in, and they’ll have those same opportunities to do and hopefully better.”

Though she is stepping down from her role, Vidaurri isn’t stepping away from education. After officially departing in June, she plans to venture into educational consulting, assisting school districts and boards in strategic planning.

“I will be working with the board of trustees and with school districts, helping them achieve better strategic planning,” she said. “If they’re having some issues, how can I help them improve their improvement?”

Vidaurri will focus her consulting efforts on the San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Rio Grande Valley areas. Her wealth of experience and her passion for fostering positive change will undoubtedly make her an asset to the districts she serves.

Reflecting on her time at Sharyland ISD, Vidaurri expressed deep gratitude for the community that supported her and the opportunity to lead such a dedicated team.

“I want to end by saying that the Sharyland community is unique. It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing. And this has been an honor of a lifetime.”

Her departure marks the close of a significant chapter for Sharyland ISD. Still, her legacy of leadership and dedication will continue to shape the district for years to come.

Written by Roberto Hugo González, the 2009 SBA Journalist of the Year Award Winner & The 2009 and 2012 Paul Harris Award recipient.

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