Jeff Arnett started as Eanes ISD’s superintendent on June 1 but served as the deputy superintendent of EISD since 2016.

He has several years of experience in public education and holds a doctorate in educational leadership along with master’s degrees in education and corporate communications. Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Arnett about priorities for the district, his vision for EISD and what he wants parents to know going into the school year. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you become an educator?

My first degree was in communications, and that’s something I’ve always been drawn to. What attracted me to education is the realization that to be a good educator or teacher, you also have to be a good communicator, and to be a good communicator, you have to be a good teacher.

What stands out to you about Eanes ISD?

We are the best school district in Texas. There are a number of benchmarks and measures that we consistently are either at the top of the list or near the top of the list.

In the next year, what are some major areas of focus for you and why?

I want this to be the best district it can be for those who have chosen to be here. ... Our teachers have choices; there are a lot of really fine school districts throughout the Austin area, but this is where they’ve selected to be. We want to honor that choice and we also want them to stay here. ... The most important leadership role in a school district is not in the superintendent seat, but our campus principals. We want to do everything we can to support our principals and our assistant principals. We want to do what we can to create an environment where teachers see that they have a future here and that if they aspire to be in a leadership role, they can grow into that opportunity.

What experiences in your career have shaped your ability to increase student outcomes?

Having been a teacher myself, I know the rigors and the expectations of the classroom and what it takes to help students not only meet a certain academic proficiency and level, but also exceed that. Exceeding those levels is what our community often expects of our educators, so we work really hard with our principals and with our classroom teachers.

Do you have any specific goals or priorities in this upcoming year?

Our topical town hall meetings create opportunities for conversation around these very specific issues like school safety and security; library books; diversity, equity and inclusion; [and] school funding to give people the opportunity to have more of a two-way dialogue around these topics. We’re talking about listening dinners, where in a small, somewhat intimate setting, we can bring together people from different perspectives to hear each other’s stories and to develop those relationships of understanding.

Is there anything else that you would like to let the community know?

There is a legacy of educational excellence in Eanes that dates to 1870, and this is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of what is now Eanes ISD. To become superintendent at a time that coincides with that ... gives us an opportunity to re-engage families who have been here. Conversely, we have a lot of families who are new to our school district. We want to celebrate that diversity, too, and all the viewpoints and the perspectives that they bring now to our community. I am particularly excited about being superintendent of such a giving, supportive, and well-educated community of parents and teachers and staff who every day are doing whatever they can to make this the best possible place for our students.

Learn about Jeff Arnett

Superintendent Jeff Arnett has an array of experience both in and outside of Eanes ISD. From his time as a first grade teacher to now, he has dedicated his career to public education.

  • Six years as EISD deputy superintendent

  • Doctorate in education leadership

  • Master’s degrees in education and corporate communication

  • Chief communications officer for Barrington School District in Chicago

  • Director of communications, education and public programs for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

  • Director of communications, director of school and community relations and a first grade classroom teacher in several Missouri schools