Bret A. Champion, Ed.D.
Dr. Bret A. Champion became Leander ISD’s Superintendent of Schools on February 1, 2008. He is a former Leander ISD teacher, assistant principal and principal, and most recently served as Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services. Dr. Champion is in his 20th year with Leander ISD.
Champion was a member of the second corps of the "Teach For America" program – which recruits and trains teachers to serve in low-income communities. Dr. Champion’s first teaching positions were in inner-city schools in Houston, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Texas, his Masters in Education (M.Ed.) from Texas State University, and his BA in English Literature from the University of Houston.
Dr. Champion’s wife, Marcee, is an adjunct professor at Austin Community College. Their sons are Alan, who is a college student and Nicholas, who attends school in Leander ISD.
If you have specific area questions, a good first place to start is our web page listing phone numbers and email addresses of those people who might best address your question or concern.
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Current Superintendent Column
Week of: September 1, 2014
New Year and New Beginnings
Nothing speaks to new beginnings and fresh starts quite like the first few days of school. New school supplies, new teachers, new schedules, new bus routes, new campuses. Everything is different than it was the year before and ripe with possibility.
During my campus visits on the first days of school last week, I enjoyed seeing students and teachers settle in to the new routines of the 2014-15 school year. Too often, we don’t stop and recognize that a lot of preparation goes into making those first days run smoothly. Leading the charge in all of the behind-the-scenes planning are Leander ISD’s fantastic principals. These 39 men and women have spent countless hours preparing their teachers, staff and buildings for another successful school year.
It goes without saying that principals play essential roles in making great schools. During the summer months, they are busy hiring new staff, setting up classrooms, moving furniture, shelving books and tearing down boxes, literally doing whatever it takes to support their students and staff. When school starts, our principals make themselves available to their campus families and are often seen doing everything from greeting students as they arrive in the morning to helping with parent pick-up in the afternoon. In the evenings, our principals are out supporting their students in after-school activities like games, competitions and performances, cheering right alongside parents.
Principals are, in many ways, where the rubber-meets-the road in LISD. Principals must ensure that the individual goals of their campuses align with those of the district. They set the academic tone and culture for their schools. Their vision, dedication and determination are central forces that drive student achievement.
Since the spring of last year, LISD has welcomed eight new principals into our ranks: Tol Wilhite at Deer Creek Elementary; Bobbie Steiner at Faubion Elementary; Lara Labbe-Maginel at Knowles Elementary; Beth Mohler at Rutledge Elementary; Tracie Montanio at Westside Elementary; Chris Simpson at Wiley Middle School; John Sloan at Cedar Park High School; and Tiffany Terrell-Spicer at Leander High School. We are excited that these awesome principals are part of the LISD family and know that they will continue the tradition of doing whatever it takes to lead their campuses toward success. I often brag that we have the best principals in the state in Leander ISD, and I’m proud to work alongside them.
Speaking of new beginnings, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Ellen Skoviera, LISD’s long-time assistant superintendent of business and operations. After 38 years in education, 20 of which were faithfully served in LISD, Ellen is beginning a new chapter in her life and will be retiring at the end of this fall.
If you haven’t had the chance to know Ellen, you have missed an opportunity to know a tremendously talented woman. Ellen is skilled in navigating the twists and turns of school district operations, which is no easy feat. Ellen leads development of the district’s budget and oversees payroll, attendance boundaries, construction, student transfers, transportation, technology, custodial services and more. What people may not realize is that she is thought of as a Renaissance woman more than anything else, because I don’t think there’s anything she can’t do exceptionally well, whether it’s serving as a student mentor, sewing, mastering her calligraphy skills or lending her talents to a worthy non-profit.
Ellen’s retirement will leave enormous shoes to fill. During her time in LISD, Ellen was part of a forward-thinking team that, under the guidance of our Boards of Trustees, led the district through our record-setting growth when we opened two, sometimes three, schools a year, while successfully adhering to LISD’s twin philosophies to stay ahead of the growth and to keep our district’s tax rate as low as possible. Under her leadership, LISD earned numerous financial awards including Superior Achievement in the Schools Financial Accountability System (FIRST) for 10 straight years and the Government Finance Officers Association & Association of School Business Officials International Awards for Excellence for the district’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 15 straight years.
Ellen’s professional accomplishments underscore her deep personal commitment to always do what’s best for students. Yet these noteworthy accolades pale in comparison to her kind heart and generous spirit, because first and foremost, Ellen is a friend to many. I have had the privilege of working with Ellen for much of my professional career, and I can say with absolute certainty that I am better for it.
On behalf of LISD, we all wish Ellen the very best in her new beginnings and well-deserved retirement.
|State of the District Presentation- December 2013|
|Presentation to Local Real Estate Agents - April 2014|
|Presentation to Leander Chamber of Commerce - April 2014|
|Presentation to Cedar Park Leadership - May 2014|
|Leadership Leander Program Presentation - July 2014|
|Cedar Park Chamber - Education Panel Presentation - August 13, 2014|