January 15, 2018


With the release of the movie Darkest Hour, Sir Winston Churchill is a “hot” commodity once again. It seems that every generation, his name and reputation flow in and out of our national attention. Since this movie is getting so much Oscar attention, we may be talking about Churchill longer than usual.

Sir Winston is a particularly interesting study. While he was born into an aristocratic family, his life was far from easy. Because he was such an active and difficult child, Winston was sent to Harrows, a boarding school, as a child. He was terribly homesick and would write long letters begging his mother to visit him. For some reason, she seldom made the trip for a visit. Some now think he had ADHD, and that, combined with a heavy lisp, made making friends difficult. From all accounts, he was a depressed, sad, and lonely child. His academic record was decidedly mixed. He could be an excellent student in academic endeavors he enjoyed, but was a miserably poor student when the topics bored him. In fact, he failed the entrance exam for the Royal Military Academy twice and finally gained acceptance by applying to the cavalry rather than the infantry because it had a lower entrance standard.

As a young man, Winston’s fortunes did not improve significantly. His proposals for marriage to two different young ladies were rejected. He was fired from his first cabinet post. He lost three political elections between 1922 and 1924 and five elections during his lifetime. In 1922 he described his situation this way: “I found myself without an office, without a seat (in parliament), without a party, and without an appendix.” Did I mention that he was criticized by other politicians so often that he switched political parties twice?

Yet, Sir Winston Churchill is considered one of the greatest leaders, especially a wartime leader, of all times. Why? Because for every setback, for every failure, through self-will and character he rebounded. Eventually, a marriage proposal was accepted and a beautiful marriage with five children resulted. He served England not once but twice successfully as its Prime Minister. At times it seemed that it was only Churchill’s dogged determination and fighting spirit that lead the allies to victory in World War II.

In 1941, after England had been fighting the Nazis for two years, Churchill was invited to return to Harrows, his old school, to address the boys. In his address, Winston offered the boys some words of advice that are remembered even today: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” So, there’s your “why” he is such a memorable leader!

Those words delivered by Sir Winston Churchill to the young boys at his old boarding school during the dark days of World War II are a tribute to you, also. Texas school superintendents do not know how to give in. When you are questioned about your commitment to students, you “never give in”, and you keep meeting each child where he/she is to provide each with the best shot at success. When you are attacked for the high property taxes your patrons are accessed, you “never give in”, and you keep making decisions that are best for your school. When you are bombarded with public information requests and you are criticized for trying to create a culture of voting in your school, you “never give in”. Regardless of the challenge or roadblock that comes, you “never give in”.

While there may never be a movie made of your life, each of you have some Winston Churchill in you. Your grit, your determination, and your dedication make you memorable. Your communities are blessed that you lead their schools!!


We are discovering that there may be a secret that only a few TACS members know. Did you know that TACS awarded almost $100,000 in scholarships to students who attended TACS member schools last year? Well, it’s true. Maybe you need more information!

The TACS Academic Challenge has a twenty-four-year history of providing additional money for college or advanced training to students in Texas’s small and mid-sized schools. Over the years it has evolved into a two-division contest with students from A, AA, and AAA schools competing against each other and those from 4A, 5A, and 6A in another division. Students answer questions based on their math, science, English and social studies TEKS. Schools that have participated in the contest have learned that good, solid classroom instruction is all that is necessary to be successful.

Last year over $83,000 was awarded to Texas high school students through the TACS Academic Challenge. The contests are fast-paced and exciting. Area contests are held in the spring with the state contest in April. It is not too late to participate in the 2018 contests! For more information about the TACS Academic Challenge just click here or contact the contest director at

Also, thanks to several of our corporate partners, TACS awards sixteen $1,000 scholarships to outstanding and deserving high school seniors. If your school district is a member of TACS, your seniors are eligible to apply for one of these scholarships. By clicking here, you can learn more about the program.

Why not extend the benefits of TACS membership by participating in these scholarship programs?


Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that 20 school systems will participate in a pilot to develop its own local academic accountability system. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will oversee a small-scale pilot program in the 2017–2018 academic year.

Established by House Bill 22 and passed during the 85th Texas Legislature earlier this year, the local accountability system program allows an independent school district (ISD) or public school charter to develop plans locally that evaluate its campuses.

The TACS schools participating in the 2017-2018 pilot are: Bullard ISD; Canadian ISD; Jonesboro ISD; Lyford ISD; Point Isabel ISD; San Saba ISD; Sharyland ISD; Snyder ISD; and Sunnyvale ISD.

Participating districts will be required to attend four monthly meetings hosted by TEA in the spring of 2018 as part of the local plan development. Once a plan receives TEA approval, districts and charter schools may use locally developed domains and indicators in conjunction with the three state-mandated domains to assign overall A–F ratings for each of its campuses.

Approved local accountability systems will be available for use beginning with the 2018–2019 school year.

For more information about the local accountability systems established by House Bill 22, visit the TEA website at

TACS is encouraged by the inclusion of these exemplary school districts in the accountability system pilot!


TASA has named the 2018 recipients of the Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship, awarded annually since 2014 to outstanding doctoral students pursuing careers in educational leadership, with particular emphasis on the superintendency. Each of the following recipients will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship during the TASA Midwinter Conference in Austin January 28-31. Two of the recipients serve in TACS school districts.

Elmer Avellaneda, executive director of special programs for Corsicana ISD, is working toward his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies at Tarleton State University. 
Mya Kendrick-Mercer, director of elementary staffing for Round Rock ISD, is working toward her doctorate in educational leadership and policy from The University of Texas at Austin. 
Tanya Larkin, superintendent of Pampa ISD, is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University.

TACS sends our congratulations to these accomplished and dedicated educators with best wishes to Mr. Avellaneda from the Corsicana ISD and Ms. Larkin, the superintendent of the Pampa ISD. Read more.


LAST DAY TO REGISTER – February 5th is in 20 days!

FIRST DAY FOR EARLY VOTING – February 20th is in 35 days!

ELECTION DAY – March 6th is in 49 days!



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Texas Association of Community Schools
1011 San Jacinto Blvd., Ste. 204
Austin, Texas 78701-2431
Phone: (512) 440-8227
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