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Celebrating Success

Graduation cap in hand

Of all the months in a school year, May was always one of my favorites because of the focus on student success and achievement.

Typically, I would give my family a heads up about working nights and weekends to either organize or attend many of the celebrations, whether it was handing out awards for academics or athletics or perhaps celebrating scholarships and volunteering. The culmination, of course, was graduation, which in a large district usually extends over several days and truly represents the goal of what we do in public education: launching well-prepared students into the world and into the next steps of their journeys — whether college, career, or military service.

This time of year is busy for school administrators but also for school boards, whose members will see their calendars fill up with events and opportunities to congratulate and cheer on the Class of 2024, their families, and all of the teachers and staff, for a job well done. I’ve never heard a school board member complain about this part of the job, even when it includes attending outdoor graduations in blistering heat or drenching rain. These are the moments that inspire, motivate, and sustain them, in spite of all the challenges that accompany school board service.

Our James B. Crow Honoree

Just look at this year’s winner of the James B. Crow Innovation in Governance Award, Northside ISD-Bexar County Trustee Bobby Blount. He was first elected to his board in 1999 and has served continuously since then — about 25 years to be exact. That’s at least 600 school board meetings, not including workshops or special meetings. Add on all the other district celebrations, activities, performances, games, and, of course, graduations, and you begin to wonder where any one person would have the time, energy, and enthusiasm for such servant leadership. None of this includes the challenges of juggling a full-time job with volunteer board service or balancing the demands of raising children or caring for family or taking on other community leadership roles.

Next time I’m feeling overscheduled, I’ll just remember to keep my mouth shut.

Yet when Blount was asked how he’s still going strong after 25 years, his answer was simple: “To really move the needle, it takes time and effort, so that’s why I continue to serve,” he said.

Dedication and Service

In a month when we are celebrating so much good work happening in school districts across the state, it seems especially fitting to also recognize school board members like Blount who are leading the way and providing the dedication and governance that make student success possible. As Blount noted, this isn’t work that happens overnight. Rather, it takes the relentless commitment of volunteers who put kids first. Every time. Every opportunity. For as long as it takes.

That’s especially challenging today, when a few may view school board service as a steppingstone to other ambitions or positions. Blount, on the other hand, just steps up, as do so many other school board members across Texas. Upon learning about his selection for the Crow award, he humbly noted, “There are so many individuals who are doing so many great things for our public schools.”

Those are very true words and should provide encouragement as we move into this month of celebrations and graduations. No matter the challenges facing public education, whether difficult budgets or polarized politics, there’s so much to make us all proud. This year’s winner of the James B. Crow Award is a good example of how showing up — in this case for 25 years — can move the needle for students. Thank you, Bobby!

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Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield
Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield
Deputy Executive Director

Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield was named deputy executive director in 2022 after joining TASB as its associate executive director (AED) for Communications, Marketing, and Events. She previously worked as the chief innovation and communications officer for Spring ISD, located north of Houston, where she oversaw several key departments including communications, family and community engagement, research and accountability, counseling, and school improvement. 

Prior to serving Spring ISD, Dunne-Oldfield served as the chief communications officer for Houston ISD. Before moving into the education sector, she was the executive vice-president of Communications and Corporate Responsibility for BBVA Compass. 

Dunne-Oldfield earned a bachelor’s degree in history from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in educational human resource development from Texas A&M University.