Dr. Lupita Hinojosa makes first State of the District address as Spring ISD Superintendent
On Tuesday morning in front of an audience of nearly 300 community members, business partners, local faith leaders, elected officials and district leaders, Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa shared her thoughts on the recent success and potential opportunities in the future for Spring ISD.
Held at the Randall Reed Center at Spring ISD’s Planet Ford Stadium facility, this year's Spring ISD State of the District was the first such event held since February of 2020. It was also Hinojosa’s first time delivering the State of the District presentation after being named superintendent in January 2022.
During her remarks, Hinojosa highlighted the contributions of many people and organizations, emphasizing how those contributions of time, talent, and resources had helped Spring ISD thrive.
“The future really looks bright for our students,” Hinojosa said. “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts, from every single student – 34,200 students – thank you for your continued partnership, thank you for your continued support.”
That optimistic outlook was shared by Spring Early College Academy Principal Kristine Guidry, who was attending both in her role as a district administrator and to cheer on one of her seniors, Mihael Mendo, who played piano as one of the student performers before the superintendent took the stage.
“I think the upward trajectory that we continue to see throughout the district is just exciting,” Guidry said, “and in terms of where we’re headed and what we’re capable of doing, there’s even more still yet to be seen.”
During her welcoming remarks, Board President Justine Durant reflected on her years as a trustee and expressed her excitement for the district’s future.
“I have served on the school board since 2006, and I have never been more excited to be involved with this district than I am today,” Durant told attendees. “We’ve come through a difficult last few years, and we have emerged for the better. Our students are thriving, the district is growing, and it’s an incredible time to be in Spring ISD.”
The attendees were a mix of longtime community partners and parent volunteers together with members of Spring ISD’s Education Foundation, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Advisory Board, and Ministerial Alliance.
Hinojosa said it was those very people that helped Spring ISD continue on its upward trajectory.
“Our board president always talks about how it takes a village to raise a child,” Hinojosa said during the opening of her presentation. “It takes a village to do what’s right for kids, and today it’s a time to celebrate that village.”
Celebrating success, looking to the future
With much to celebrate across the district – including the district’s rise in 2022 to an overall ‘B’ rating from the Texas Education Agency for the first time in a decade – Hinojosa recounted some of the highlights of Spring ISD’s successes and initiatives that are currently shaping the day-to-day work of the district to support opportunities, choice and academic rigor for Spring ISD students.
From the expansion of full-day Pre-K to all campuses, to the establishment of innovative new schools of choice and specialty programs such as the School for International Studies at Bammel, the International Baccalaureate program at Springwoods Village Middle School, the Claughton Middle School Polytechnic and Dekaney High School P-Tech programs, and Momentum High School, Hinojosa demonstrated the district’s ongoing commitment to growing stronger, advancing academic success, and offering more school and pathway choices for students, no matter the obstacles.
That includes the district’s evolving relationship with Lone Star College-North Harris, which now supports 91 dual-credit courses for Spring ISD students and offers extensive co-opportunities for students to work toward earning their associate degree before graduating from high school, essentially offering two free years of college, along with a host of valuable industry certifications and more than 30 CTE pathways for students to choose from at schools across the district.
Extracurriculars also continue to shine, Hinojosa explained, with nationally recognized performing and visual arts programs and both state and national achievements across a range of sports and athletics programs. Meanwhile, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees set the trend in the Houston area last year for higher teacher salaries and starting teacher pay, adding nearly 750 new teachers for the 2022-23 school year with attractive recruitment, retention, and staff development programs.
All of these advancements are planned for and organized by the district’s new five-year strategic plan, Every Student—Every Teacher—Every Day. Launched last summer, the plan will serve as Spring ISD’s blueprint for ensuring excellent, equitable outcomes across the district and guiding Spring ISD’s work and major initiatives through 2027. A major part of the plan is equity, which is of special importance for district leaders.
“Regardless of what work we’re doing,” Hinojosa said, “whether we’re looking at student achievement, whether we’re looking at selecting curriculum, or whether we’re looking at our budget, we always put our equity lens on it, and we ensure that we provide what students need and what schools need.”
Community members in attendance – who recently passed all three measures of the district’s $850 million bond – agreed that Spring ISD is headed in the right direction.
“The district is in a really good place at this point, and I think we’re helmed right now by a leader who actually has the pulse on things and who is very transparent,” said Cyrus Johnson, a parent with a daughter who attends Roberson Middle School and a member of the 2022 Bond Steering Committee. “I think transparency is the most important thing that you can have, and I would encourage any parent who has a child in the district to participate. It’s been very rewarding.”
Former Spring ISD social studies teacher Dr. Thomas Fagen, who now serves on the Spring ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors, said he was excited to see the district’s growth and development, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“I’m a retiree from Spring ISD – I worked at Westfield High School and I retired in 2015 – and to be honest, this is amazing,” Fagen said. “Spring is at a new level, and going from ‘B’ to ‘A!’ What you see here is all the evidence that you need to have.”
He emphasized the importance of spreading the good news about all the positive things happening in Spring ISD, saying he was glad for the chance to be in attendance at this year’s State of the District event.
“We are a community district,” Fagen said, “and things like this bring the community in and let them see what we’re doing.”
The event ended on a personal note, as Hinojosa recounted the story of her parents’ immigration to the U.S. from Mexico in search of a life of greater opportunity for their children – including the opportunities made possible by education.
“I was only successful because of the amazing education that I received,” Hinojosa said, “and so I see it as my responsibility. Our leaders that are here, our principals that are here, we see that responsibility. And so, thank you for your confidence.”