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Tomball Independent School District

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora Named Finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora Named Finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year

TOMBALL –  Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora, Superintendent of Tomball ISD and the Region 4 Superintendent of the Year, has been named a Top 5 Finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year, announced by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). 

Superintendent of the Year Finalist

As the Region 4 nominee for the 2023 Texas Superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), Salazar-Zamora was selected among 19 Regional Superintendents interviewed, and just one of five selected as a Finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year. The candidates, who were interviewed by a panel of school board members across the State, were evaluated on their work in improving student outcomes, developing a strong team-of-eight relationship, advocacy, and their ongoing commitment to innovation and leadership. 

The five finalists are:

  • Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora, Tomball ISD, Region 4
  • Wade Stanford, Westwood ISD, Region 7
  • Jim F. Chadwell, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, Region 11
  • Sheri Blakenship, Hereford ISD, Region 16
  • Jose Lopez, Kermit ISD, Region 18

The award will be announced at the txEDCON23 TASA | TASB Convention in September.

“Our goal with the Superintendent of the Year program is to honor the outstanding talent we have leading our Texas public schools,” said TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell. “Serving as a superintendent is one of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs in the world, and we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate these accomplished and committed leaders who do so much for our students.”

The Tomball ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution during the April Board Meeting to nominate Salazar-Zamora for Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Superintendent of the Year for 2023 (SOTY).

“While managing our fast-growth district, Dr. Z has helped establish TISD as a leader in the region,” said Lee McLeod, President, Tomball ISD Board of Trustees. “She's helped develop new programs like Two-Way Dual Language, an early College High School, and innovative CTE initiatives, all while embodying what she refers to as Superpowers: grace, patience, love and a commitment to community. The Board of Trustees is overjoyed that "the word is out" and our Superpowered Superintendent is being recognized for her efforts to make TISD the destination that it is. We are so proud!”

Salazar-Zamora brings over 36 years of experience in education and has served TISD as Superintendent of Schools since 2017. Prior to being named Superintendent, she worked as the District’s Chief Academic Officer for three years.

Recognized as a State Finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Salazar-Zamora not only leads a fast growth district, but one of the highest academic achieving districts in the State of Texas, all while maintaining strong financial management practices.

As the Team Tomball leader, Dr. Salazar-Zamora has elevated Tomball ISD into the Top Ranked School District in the Houston area, while also being honored as a 2023 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards finalist in both Large School District and Outstanding School Board categories, the only school district in Texas recognized for one than one award.

Under Dr. Salazar-Zamora’s leadership, Tomball ISD continues to set the bar high with innovative programs and initiatives that are student-centered and intentional. Since 2017, she has led the implementation of Tomball Star Academy, the District’s early college high school, Tomball ISD’s Two-Way Dual Language Academy, the District’s first P-TECH focused on healthcare, a Pre-K Center for young learners, the state-of-the-art Tomball ISD Stadium and Event Center, along with the opening of several campuses and CTE programs which are in place to accommodate the fast growth and high-demand for young talent happening in the Tomball area.

Salazar-Zamora without a doubt has put Tomball ISD on the map as a pillar of excellence through leadership and a continuous drive for high achievement and innovation. 

“Dr. Salazar-Zamora leads with her heart and always demonstrates a relentless approach to growth,” said Dr. Amy Schindewolf, Tomball ISD Chief of Staff and School Leadership. “As a life-long learner, she inspires others with her visionary mindset, and is so deserving of this honor. I’m thankful I have had the opportunity to work and learn alongside her knowing she genuinely cares for all students, staff, families and our community. We are lucky to have her as our leader in Tomball ISD.”

Whether it was implementing Strategic Plan 2025, or the passing of Bond 2021, Salazar-Zamora has been forced to make critical decisions that ultimately impact the future of Tomball ISD. She spearheaded the purchase of a commercial/industrial complex, valued at over $400 million today, for just $37.5 million to become a multi-purpose educational facility now named the Tomball Innovation Center, all while maintaining solid financial ratings.

Salazar-Zamora balances the pursuit of academic success and the management of student growth with fiscal responsibility. In fact, because of this, TISD is consistently recognized by TXSmartSchools as a coveted “Five Star'' District. Under her leadership, TISD has been committed to significantly higher standards in financial reporting and has received multiple awards for transparency, financial statement presentations and disclosures. Notably, a very small percentage of school districts throughout the state have received the high ratings in financial excellence that sets TISD apart. 

In addition to strong finances, and in order to support high academic achievement, Salazar-Zamora is intentionally focused on the learning excitement within the school atmosphere, specifically related to the Professional Learning Community (PLC) process. Because of that focus, Tomball ISD is a Model PLC District by Solution Tree, only one of four districts in Texas and one of just 32 in the nation with that distinction. Also, 11 TISD campuses have been recognized as Model PLC campuses. In addition to the PLC process, TISD has implemented Great Expectations (GE), a strong character education program at all elementary and intermediate campuses with 11 earning the highest recognition as GE Model Schools. 

Leading nearly 23,000 students and over 3,100 employees district-wide, Dr. Salazar-Zamora was named one of Houston’s Top 30 Influential Women this year and remains committed to the growth of public education and the impact it plays in our local community by serving her time on numerous boards. She currently is a member of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner’s Cabinet, Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) President-Elect, President of Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC), the Texas Representative on the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Executive Committee, Vice President of The Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE), a member of the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) Tomball Board of Trustees, a Board Member for the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce,  and Past President of Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS).

Her representation and her ability to provide valuable insight by serving on these committees and executive boards has positively impacted Tomball ISD, the community of Tomball, and education as a whole.   

Salazar-Zamora is a role model and a positive influence in public education, serving as the first female Superintendent of TISD and the first Hispanic Superintendent of Tomball ISD. 

“I am extremely grateful to work alongside such passionate educators in Tomball ISD who put their whole heart into their work each and every day,” said Salazar-Zamora. “I am honored and humbled to have been named a State Finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year and want to thank the TISD Board of Trustees for the initial nomination, and most importantly, for supporting and believing in a progressive mindset and relentless pursuit of constant growth. This recognition is a culmination of the critical but amazing work that continues to happen all across Tomball ISD as well as our commitment to always putting students first." 

According to TASB, the Superintendent of the Year (SOTY) award program has honored outstanding administrators for achievement and excellence in public school administration. These school leaders are chosen for their strong leadership skills, dedication to improving the quality of education in their districts, and commitment to public support and involvement in education.

Tomball ISD educates students to become responsible, productive citizens by providing innovative, individually rigorous, and personally valuable educational experiences. Founded in 1908, Tomball ISD now encompasses 83 square miles in northwest Harris County and southwest Montgomery County, and is located approximately 30 miles from downtown Houston. The district currently educates nearly 23,000 students at 23 campuses.