September 2015

Benitez will continue TASPA’s tradition of training, support

Rose Benitez, TASPA’s new executive director, comes to the job well-prepared, with a doctorate in educational administration and a career in public education including 14 years as an HR administrator. She has seen the growth in TASPA’s professional development offerings and membership firsthand and her goal is to continue the trend.
 
Benitez
In her first two months on the job, she intends to spend time assessing what TASPA is doing and “…not disrupt anything already in place!”
 
“My predecessor, Melva Cárdenas, did an excellent job of leaving things well-organized so the planning process has been very smooth and everything is ready to go. These are big footsteps to fill but I’m glad that she paved the way that can only lead to better things…the path is there,” Benitez said.
 
She will continue to provide stakeholder input for school HR administrators as needed and share information on potential new laws and regulations that could impact HR operations with members.

Her thoughts on Texas Education HR Day

One of Cárdenas’ key achievements was the establishment of Texas Education HR Day. This year’s date for school leaders and the public to recognize the work of school HR department workers is Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
 
Benitez said that setting a day aside to show appreciation is important because “…HR administrators and staff touch everything that happens in a school district with regard to employees from the time they’re hired to the time they leave, from well-being to risk management to benefits to salaries to work environment. I would hope that superintendents and boards take the opportunity to acknowledge the work of their HR administrators and staff during the recognition portion of a board meeting.”
 
HR departments also usually have some sort of internal celebration that day to show appreciation for the work of the staff. “HR takes the day to be thankful for the work of staff. It’s all those employment specialists who make the first impression on people when they come in to apply. Plus the benefits specialists. All those working in support roles,” Benitez said.

Spring might bring new training

TASPA’s professional development options will continue as planned, with Benitez taking time during the fall to evaluate the new training offerings TASPA could provide, possibly including training on the new state model teacher and principal evaluations. TASPA’s popular documentation workshops aren’t going away and training on handling employee grievances will likely be expanded based on attendee feedback.
 
Benitez says training on conducting educator misconduct investigations is already in the works. After her December retirement she was approached for advice on the topic so she wrote a plan of action and started developing a presentation. She’s in the process of trying to find a district to host an initial workshop on the topic to allow her to hone the material for future training.
 
“I’ve been developing this training using my experience handling a myriad of cases including investigation of allegations, knowing where the decision points are,” Benitez said. “For HR administrators, handling the difficult conversations, the difficult employee situations, those are the kinds of things they are looking for,” Benitez said.