April 10 was Mark Faust’s 90th day as Northwest ISD superintendent, and he took the opportunity at the board of trustees' regular meeting to report on his first three months.

“From the boardroom to the book room, kids come first in this district,” Faust said. “I’ve had an opportunity to see that, and it’s the right way to do things for kids and for the community.”

Kids come first is one of the core beliefs of Northwest ISD. Faust went on to mention that he has seen significant evidence of the other three beliefs during his time on the job.

"We’re never done growing,” Faust said. “You’ve heard it from one of our guest speakers tonight that he sees success as a shared responsibility between students, families and schools, and I’ve seen evidence of that in my first three months here.”

Faust also said he has seen evidence of the fourth core belief—learning is influenced by environment—in the district’s approach to their facilities, both the existing ones and the new ones they hope to build in the future.

“With all the facilities that we have and the renovations we’re making and the new facilities that are being built, evidence of that is very much a part of our core beliefs in this district,” Faust said.

He also reflected on his leadership approach and how his interactions with students, staff and the community has been so far. Among the bullet points Faust discussed were:
  • Be approachable, sincere and compassionate;
  • Remain calm, positive and solutions-oriented;
  • Communicate frequently; and
  • Ask a multitude of questions, and be data-informed.
Two of the points that Faust expanded on were his responsibility to actively listen and the need to build relationships across the district.

“Active listening is the key piece to engage and connect with folks,” Faust said. “I’ve been intentional in building relationships across the district in all of our departments and all of our campuses and build them over time.”

Lastly, Faust reviewed how well he said he has done with his list of initial goals and objectives. While he mainly talked about the importance of building relationships with leaders in and out of the district, including the board of trustees, the Northwest Education Foundation, and state and local elected officials, he said the relationships he maintains with his principals are vital to ensure student success. To foster those, he has routinely conducted "excellence walks" with each principal where they discuss a multitude of topics about the school, including what each principal was most proud of at the school and what was one thing they did not want Faust to come in and mess up.

“The most important factor for a student’s education in our system is our teachers and our classrooms. Right after teachers, the most impactful on our student’s education is campus leadership. It’s really important to me that I build strong relationships and strong lines of communication between our campus principals, their leadership teams and my office.”