ESC Region 12
News & Announcements
Falls County School Leader Selected as Region 12 Superintendent of the Year
2024 Regional Superintendent of the Year Dr. Darryl J. Henson Marlin ISD ESC Region 12 GraphicMarlin ISD Superintendent Dr. Darryl J. Henson has been named the 2024 Region 12 Superintendent of the Year and regional nominee for Texas Superintendent of the Year. Henson was nominated by the Marlin ISD Board of Managers and selected from a slate of candidates by a committee of Region 12 area school board members. 

“Region 12 is privileged to have exceptional leaders who are paving the way for excellence in education,” said Kenny Berry, Executive Director of Education Service Center Region 12. “It is a true honor to acknowledge Dr. Darryl J. Henson for his outstanding leadership and commitment to public education. His work in Marlin ISD is positively impacting the lives of students and the community.”

Henson has served as superintendent of Marlin ISD since 2020 and has served as an educator for a total of 18 years. Prior to joining Marlin ISD, Henson served as the Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership at Cedar Hill ISD. Henson has also worked for Houston ISD, Ysleta ISD, Lockhart ISD, Pflugerville ISD and Austin ISD. 

“Having worked alongside Dr. Henson since May 2020, I’ve come to admire the leadership, ethical and personal qualities he possesses,” said Billy Johnson, President of the Marlin ISD Board of Managers. “His relentlessness to ensure that all students receive a quality education and that the narrative of our district and community change forever make him an ideal candidate for Superintendent of the Year.”

When searching for a superintendent in 2020, the Marlin ISD Board of Managers recognized they needed a superintendent who was knowledgeable in instruction but also had a love of people. They found that in Henson, who has embraced the Marlin community, Johnson said. The community trusts Henson’s vision, leadership and heart, and he has become a model for students and educators.

Marlin ISD has three campuses and is home to 925 students in Falls County. As superintendent of Marlin ISD, Henson’s vision for the district is to provide students with the necessary academic and life skills to turn their potential into performance. Since he stepped into his role four years ago, the district has made strides academically, athletically and culturally. He is genuinely proud of the students, faculty and Marlin community, Henson said. 

Henson’s strengths as a superintendent lie in his persistence to achieve goals. He has worked to improve the district's image with his dependability, fairness and honesty. He never gives up and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure all Marlin ISD students have the opportunity and resources to succeed.

Until recently, the district repeatedly struggled to meet state academic standards. After joining the district in 2020, Henson has worked to encourage the academic and social success of students and motivate faculty and staff to reach their instructional potential. With this work, Henson helped lead the district to an overall B accountability rating in 2022, regaining the district’s full accreditation status for the first time since 2015. The district’s accountability rating of 86 was also a 30-point increase from its 2019 rating, which was the highest student growth in the state from 2015 to 2022. 

Recent academic achievement in the district has led the Texas Education Agency to initiate the process of transitioning Marlin ISD back to a locally elected Board of Trustees. Marlin ISD is one of the only districts that have begun transitioning back to local governance after being under TEA intervention. Henson’s relentlessness in making sure all students have access to quality education is helping change the narrative of Marlin ISD.

Additionally, Henson communicates effectively with the Board of Managers and community to keep everyone well informed. He shares weekly board reports and initiates individual meetings with board members. Under Henson’s leadership, Marlin ISD has also earned the highest rating on financial audits. He has worked to ensure the district's needs are met financially and strategically by adopting a balanced budget, securing additional grant funding and more. Henson also communicates the district’s finances in a way that is easy for the board and community to understand. His engagement and authenticity were key factors in the passing of  Marlin ISD’s $32 million bond in 2022, which provided for facility and security upgrades. This bond was the first one passed by Marlin ISD since 1998. 

Henson leads by example, inspiring his team to think outside the norm through his engaging, flexible and adaptive leadership style. He showcased his lead-by-example mindset through Marlin ISD’s response to the teacher shortage. Instead of letting the shortage negatively impact the district or stall progress, Marlin ISD administrators returned to the classroom to teach and support student growth. Henson served as a 6th-grade math teacher while continuing to fulfill his responsibilities as superintendent.

“Though the journey to academic and organizational excellence is hard, arduous and challenging, I believe that the pressure of changing the trajectory of students’ lives is a privilege,” Henson said in his application. 

He’s shifted the culture of Marlin ISD to one focused on clarity, recognition and support. He knows every employee’s name and celebrates them often, positively impacting the district's climate. Additionally, Henson is an advocate for the Marlin community. He leads with courage and integrity, which has helped shine a positive light on the district and the surrounding community. Henson stands up for students despite any backlash he may face. He is committed to protecting the dignity and emotional well-being of all Marlin ISD students.

“He can always be seen supporting our students from the classroom to the sidelines, to the barn,” Johnson said. “Dr. Henson truly loves his students and Marlin, Texas.”

Henson earned his Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. He holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Texas at Austin.

Henson is a member of the Commissioner of Education’s Rural Superintendent Council. He is also involved in various professional organizations, including the Texas Association of Community Schools, the Texas Association of Rural Schools, the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Texas Education Policy Institute and the Thompson Executive Leadership Institute Superintendent Academy. Henson is also an active member of several community organizations, including the Rotary Club of Marlin, Lion’s Club, Marlin Chamber of Commerce and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Falls County. 

ESC Region 12 will recognize Henson and other regional educators of the year in the coming months. The regional superintendents of the year will interview with a state selection committee in August, and five finalists will be selected. The Texas Association of School Boards will announce the Texas Superintendent of the Year in late September.