Hutto ISD’s superintendent finalist has 30 years of experience in Texas public education

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One week after a six-hour interview session with a slate of candidates, Hutto ISD announced Celina Estrada Thomas as the lone finalist for the district’s superintendent position.

State law requires Hutto ISD to wait 21 days from the Sept. 29 decision until Estrada Thomas can sign a contract for the position.

“Dr. Estrada Thomas rose to the top of the candidate pool due to the depth of her experience and knowledge with curriculum and instruction,” Hutto ISD board President Connie Gooding said Friday in a press release.

The superintendent candidate brings with her a depth of experience in the Texas public education system. Here are four facts about Estrada Thomas’ education career experience:

1. Her education administrative experience spans over three decades.
Estrada Thomas has worked in the administrative side of public education since joining Brownsville ISD as the assistant principal of Gladys Porter High School in 1986. Since then, she has worked as an assistant principal, a principal for three ISDs, the director of human resources for Bastrop ISD and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Fredericksburg ISD.

In her role at Fredericksburg ISD, Estrada Thomas oversaw curriculum development from pre-K to 12th grade.

“The unique thing is we’re a small school district,” Estrada said. “You see the activity and alignment that has to be in place so kids don’t lose learning from one grade to another.”

2. Estrada Thomas has been a principal at four schools.
Since taking her first principal position at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock ISD in 1995, Estrada Thomas has worked as a principal at three other schools. When Estrada Thomas left Round Rock ISD in May 2002, she transitioned to Austin ISD, where she worked as the principal at J. Frank Dobie Middle School and now-shuttered Albert Sidney Johnston High School. From June 2008-June 2014, Estrada Thomas was principal at Bastrop High School.

3. She has been employed by five different ISDs.
Hutto ISD will be the sixth school district to recruit Estrada Thomas over the course of her career.

“One of the things I appreciate about Hutto is, despite the growth, they’ve really maintained some solid goals,” Estrada Thomas said. “[Hutto is] one of the few school districts that has a balanced budget. They’ve been good stewards.”

Besides her experience at Austin, Bastrop, Brownsville and Round Rock ISDs, Estrada Thomas currently works at Fredericksburg ISD.

4. Estrada Thomas received her doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Pan American University in Brownsville, Estrada Thomas received her doctoral degree in educational administration from UT in 1994. Estrada Thomas also has experience in educational research, having served as a research associate for the Intercultural Development Research Association, an education nonprofit based in San Antonio. She additionally worked as an educational specialist for the Texas Education Agency from July 1991-September 1992.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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