Temple ISD Leader Wins 2022 Superintendent of the Year Award
San Antonio— Bobby Ott of Temple ISD was named Superintendent of the Year (SOTY) by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) in a special presentation at the annual convention hosted by TASB and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).
Ott, whose district is in Region 12, was selected for the prestigious award from a group of five state finalists that included Jenny McGown, Klein ISD, Region 4; Thurston Lamb, Henderson ISD, Region 7; Doug Killian, Pflugerville ISD, Region 13; and Scott Muri, Ector County ISD, Region 18.
In naming Ott as the winner of this year’s award, the eight-member selection committee commended his work in cultivating authentic connections with the children, families, and businesses in his district, which serves nearly 8,500 students across 15 campuses in the Central Texas region.
“As a committee of school board trustees from across the state, we all understand the hard work and commitment needed to be a successful public school superintendent," said Dripping Springs ISD Trustee Mary Jane Hetrick, who chaired the TASB selection committee. "What we saw in all of these state finalists was a unique ability to turn challenges into opportunities with a relentless focus on improving the lives of their students through a quality education. We were all inspired by their accomplishments and just so grateful for everything they are doing on behalf of Texas public schoolchildren.”
Hetrick said the committee was particularly impressed with how Ott had partnered with businesses in the community to prepare students for life after graduation. In addition, they noted his work in inspiring a love of learning not just among the children enrolled in Temple ISD, but among parents and grandparents as well.
“He truly sees education as a way to transform lives, so his approach is about lifting up entire families,” Hetrick said. “He prioritizes a personalized learning experience for every student in the district through portfolio-based assessments and a local accountability system that reflects the needs of his community.”
Sponsored by TASB and underwritten by Balfour, the SOTY program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership since 1984.
Candidates are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving educational quality, ability to build effective employee relations, student performance, and commitment to public involvement in education. The district of the SOTY winner receives a $5,000 check and the superintendent is given a special ring. The districts of each of the finalists receive $1,000, also given by Balfour.
In his remarks before an audience of thousands at the TASA | TASB Convention, Ott said he was honored to receive the award and commended all the regional winners and state finalists for their work on behalf of Texas public school children. He also thanked his family, his board, and his Temple ISD community for their support.
“It’s a place where diversity is given, inclusion is a deliberate choice, and our service is defined by compassion, love, and innovation, and I am so proud to be there,” he said. “You’re only as good as your team and in this case, we’re blessed to have the team that serves and governs Temple ISD.”
He noted that the greatest impact a superintendent can have is caring about each and every student. “The number one service you can provide your community, that everyone in your community should know about their superintendent,” he said, “is that you love their children. It’s that simple. If you love their children, you can bring people to the table.”
Over his 24-year career as an education leader, Ott has worked in military, rural, urban, suburban, and fast-growth districts. His previous positions include assistant and deputy superintendent within the school districts of Temple, Copperas Cove, and Killeen. He also served as an executive leader for both the Texas Education Agency and The University of Texas at Austin.
During Ott’s tenure as Temple ISD superintendent, the district has seen progress in closing student achievement gaps, particularly at the elementary level and among students receiving special education services, as well as English language learners. In May, he was also successful in leading the passage of a $164.8 million bond program in Temple ISD, the largest ever in the district.
Ott holds a doctorate in school administration from The University of Texas at Austin and completed both his master’s and undergraduate degree from Angelo State University.
The selection of a Superintendent of the Year is the culmination of a nine-month process that begins in January when school boards across the state start to prepare their superintendent nomination, which must be approved by resolution. Recommended superintendents are then interviewed by regional selection committees, with finalists from each Texas education service center (ESC) region being announced in June. Each ESC finalist is then brought forward for interviews by the state selection committee, which narrows the pool to five state finalists announced in August.
The naming of the Superintendent of the Year is a highlight of the annual TASA | TASB Convention, held each year in the fall to promote excellence in Texas public education.
“We’re honored to be able to partner with TASA in hosting this event and being able to present the Superintendent of the Year Award because it’s truly an honor to be able to recognize the outstanding leadership we have in our Texas public schools,” said TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell. “It’s also a reflection of the important relationship between school boards and their superintendents, who must work successfully as a team to advance excellent student outcomes and strong governance in their districts. Our whole mission at TASB is to support this work so that public schools, and the students they serve, are successful.”
The 15 regional superintendents of the year were also recognized at the event. They are:
- Tony Lara, South Texas ISD, Region 1
- José Moreno, Robstown ISD, Region 2
- Micah Dyer, Cuero ISD, Region 3
- Lisa Meysembourg, Woodville ISD, Region 5
- Jeff Burke, Splendora ISD, Region 6
- Jason McCullough, Mount Vernon ISD, Region 8
- Tony Bushong, City View ISD, Region 9
- Doug Williams, Sunnyvale ISD, Region 10
- Taylor Williams, Slidell ISD, Region 11
- David Young, Abilene ISD, Region 14
- O.K. (Buddy) Wolfenbarger III, Comstock ISD, Region 15
- Darryl Flusche, Canyon ISD, Region 16
- Chris Smith, Brownfield ISD, Region 17
- Jeannie Meza-Chavez, San Elizario ISD, Region 19
- Saul Hinojosa, Somerset ISD, Region 20
TASB is a nonprofit organization established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.4 million public school students.