Dear Lewisville ISD Community:
It is with a sad heart that I announce my retirement effective January 31, 2015.
I have had a great career beginning in 1980. I have loved every minute of it. I want to thank the administrators and boards that have given me the chance to serve their children: Splendora, Lancaster, Sunray, Tuloso-Midway, Birdville and Lewisville. It has been an honor to serve all of those districts.
I am proud to have been a founding member of the Texas Visioning Institute. It has been rewarding to see how that quiet work began with 35 superintendents who believed there was a better way to educate children than the numbing and stifling mediocrity of the high stakes accountability system, has led to the crumbling of the testing edifice.
I particularly want to thank the LISD Board of Trustees for offering me this incredible opportunity to lead this amazing district, and my talented Leadership Team. I am proud of what we have done: put the district on sound financial footing even with the deep state cuts in 2011; reorganization and streamlining of administration; creation of a powerful, state-of-the-art technology infrastructure that has provided digital resources in the hands of all students; fulfillment of the 2008 Bond with the completion of the Westside Aquatics Center and the design and building of the world class Flower Mound and Marcus Ninth-Grade Campuses and the rebuild of the new Griffin Middle School and Camey Elementary School. We have seen student achievement continue to rise on AP exams, SAT and ACT, that exceed state and national averages. We revolutionized communication and opened up our district to massive community involvement in every significant area.
Most significantly, our Board embraced a vision I described to them when they hired me, and the process that brought thousands of community members to create the Strategic Design. The vision, “All of our students enjoy thriving, productive lives in a future they create,” has been inspirational for me, the community, staff and students.
Because of our Board’s leadership and the incredible support of the community to realize this vision, we have seen an amazing transformation in our classrooms throughout the district. I have to thank the incredibly talented central office staff, principals and especially the teachers, who are the most talented and gifted I have seen, who have brought vision to reality in designing engaging and transformative work for our students. I have seen things happening in classroom after classroom I thought I would never see. It is a testament of what can happen when you free such gifted professionals from the thralldom of high stakes testing and give them an opportunity to do what they got into this profession to do: be creative, engage students and lead them to truly profound learning. I believe Lewisville ISD is the most innovative and progressive district in the nation and leads the way for world class learning in this century.
I have tried to focus my entire career on doing what’s best for children. Last week may be the most amazing week I have experienced in my career. I saw Flower Mound, Hebron and Marcus take three out of 10 places in the State Marching Band Finals and then earn the top two places for the second straight year; the 1:X(tm) initiative was named an Apple Distinguished Program and on Saturday I watched The Colony, Flower Mound, Marcus and Hebron compete in the Cross Country State Meet and see The Hebron girls take state, Marcus second and The Colony third. It was an amazing week for a district that continuously distinguishes itself. It is also, perhaps, a fitting time to leave.
It is hard to say goodbye, but it has to happen sometime. I have had a great career, the best job in the world. No one has been luckier than I and I am very thankful. I will miss everyone, especially the wonderful staff, the principals and the teachers.
Mostly, I will miss all of the children. It has been a privilege to serve the young people of Texas and I have cherished my relationships with them. After 36 years, it continues to be a blessing to see their brilliance.
Stephen F. Waddell, E.D.
Lewisville ISD Superintendent of Schools