WACO – Teague ISD Superintendent Christopher Skinner has been named the 2023 Region 12 Superintendent of the Year and regional nominee for the Texas Superintendent of the Year.
Skinner has served as superintendent of Teague ISD since 2017 and previously as a principal and director of facilities and transportation over the last 13 years. Teague ISD has three campuses and is home to 1,215 students in Freestone County. Before joining TISD, Skinner worked in Dew ISD, for the Texas Correctional Industries, and at Sam Houston State University. The longtime Teague Lion and his parents are also graduates of Teague High School.
"We are pleased to recognize Mr. Skinner as one of the top superintendents in the state of Texas," Executive Director of Education Service Center Region 12 Dr. Jerry Maze said. "A committee of school board members from around the region chose him for his unwavering leadership and commitment to providing the best education and support to Teague ISD students!"
"His compassion and concern for Teague ISD are remarkable, and it shows every day through his unwavering support, forward-thinking decisions, and interactions with students, staff, and our community," Teague ISD Board President Jeff Gonzales said. Our board is extremely proud to see him selected as Region 12 Superintendent of the Year, a wonderful recognition for the whole school district."
Leadership, management, and school climate significantly impact the success of staff and students in Teague ISD. Skinner's philosophy is to set high expectations and goals for the district and to match those with timely support and guidance. While his title is superintendent, he works as a true instructional and servant leader across all school operations and often alongside staff in the trenches. The leader of the Teague Lions is known for working hard and making tough decisions that focus on doing what is best for students and Teague ISD. Skinner is always planning for the future and working on ways to ensure the growth and success of each leader, teacher and student. He believes in consistent coaching and support to grow and make a difference in each life.
Playing an integral part in school improvement and instructional leadership, the superintendent serves as an administrator, coach, and mentor for administrators and teachers. He has faced multiple adversities during his time as superintendent, including work to move the elementary campus from an Improvement Required status to a campus that is now excelling and helping Teague Lion Academy move from an Improvement Required rating to a "B" rating. Under his leadership, work continues to improve scores and academic successes across the junior and high school campuses. Skinner's hands-on involvement focuses on professional development, instructional practices, curriculum, alignment, and data-driven instruction at all levels. Teague ISD moved from a "C" rating in 2018 to an "A" rating for the 2022 accountability cycle, an immense task where Skinner was integral in every step of the process. Skinner's confidence in making decisions and his ability to work proactively prove to be the reasons behind his positive impact on school improvement. From investing in professional development to meet the varied needs of all learners to coaching teachers individually toward better instruction and intervention, he sets the tone for high academic expectations. The school leader consistently visits campuses to conduct instructional walks in classrooms and have coaching conversations with teachers and administrators. He strongly emphasizes professional development, growth, and creating opportunities for students. According to Board President Gonzales, growing and developing exceptional teachers and administrators is a strength for Skinner and a luxury for TISD.
Following his philosophy of school and community being a family, the culture he has established at Teague ISD exemplifies and magnifies that belief. He takes time to listen to staff, students, and parents and any concerns or areas of need that they may have. He knows his staff and creates opportunities to allow them to grow and become even more successful with his leadership.
Skinner works closely and openly with the school board, and through his intentional leadership, they have established trust, respect, shared values, and high expectations for student achievement. Skinner provides opportunities to board members to help them grow as individuals and collectively. Members report that he keeps the board informed and provides an open and collaborative environment. His philosophy is that student outcomes only change when adult behaviors change, and the trust and willingness to adapt between Skinner and the school board has been instrumental in enabling that to occur within Teague ISD.
The TISD leader works to ensure that the district's fiscal matters are steady and stable as decisions are made for staff and students, and does so without sacrificing what is best for students. Over the past few years, Skinner and the board have adopted budgets prioritizing purposeful spending and fund management, allowing the district to put funds into and increase the budget to over $2.3 million. Prudent fiscal management has allowed staff to enjoy three percent raises, increased stipends, and invest money into current staff. His short-term and long-range plans maintain the district's financial matters. Skinner's insight and vision also include a keen eye for planning for future needs in operations, staffing, and facilities.
Coming from a mindset of school and community as a family unit, he seeks ways to cultivate relationships and promote involvement within the school district, creating an environment of trust and a team mentality for all involved. He goes above and beyond traditional expectations of involvement, such as open houses and planning committees, finding ways to include the community in intentional conversations, meetings, and events. The Teague Lion frequently attends meetings of local government and civic organizations and seeks ways to cultivate relationships with groups and individuals who represent the diverse and ever-changing needs of the community. Skinner's practices have led the community to know him as being accessible, forthright, fair-minded, and in touch with the issues and expectations of the community. He utilizes staff and community feedback to recognize potential concerns and handle them thoughtfully and expeditiously, garnering trust and confidence with all stakeholders.
"The trust and respect that he has fostered cultivates a sense of belonging in the school community among students and their families, forging an amazing school climate that creates exceptional opportunities for Teague ISD," Gonzales said.
Skinner, a trusted and influential mentor and leader, serves by example. The school leader serves as the regional director for the Texas Association of Rural Schools, as chair of the Community Wide Leaders Group, and as a mentor to other school superintendents. The TISD graduate is married to Audra who he met while attending Teague ISD and they have two grown children, Austin and Ally. He holds a master's in educational leadership and superintendent certification from Stephen F. Austin and a bachelor's in science from Sam Houston State University.
Education Service Center Region 12, a provider of professional development and services to educators and school staff in Central Texas, will recognize Skinner and regional educators of the year in the coming months. The regional awardees will interview with a state selection committee in August and five finalists will be chosen. The Texas Superintendent of the Year will be announced in late September.
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