John Allison, Keller ISD associate superintendent of education, was named interim superintendent during a special meeting held June 28.

He will work with retired superintendent Rick Westfall, whose last day in the full-time role was June 30. Westfall will stay with KISD through Dec. 31 to assist in the transition of leadership. Westfall retired after six years of leading KISD and 31 total years in education.

Allison’s first day as interim superintendent was July 1. He started with KISD in July 2021, overseeing the education support systems, according to a news release.

He has experience as a superintendent and in various assistant superintendent roles in his education career. These include serving as a superintendent in two Kansas school districts and as deputy superintendent in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.

Allison recently sat down with Community Impact and shared thoughts on the 2023-24 school year. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What does the start of the school year mean for educators?

This is always a fun but kind of chaotic time because we know we've got kids coming here. It’s always exciting to have a new start.

How different will it be from you being the interim superintendent as opposed to being an assistant superintendent?

When you're acting in the role of superintendent, you're the face of the district and there's just a whole different set of responsibilities. So it's fun, I'm enjoying it. I had a couple of years where I wasn't in in this role, and that was nice, but to be able to do this, again is something I'm enjoying.

You've been a superintendent in a lot of places. What makes you want to keep doing this?

You know, it gives you a pretty broad perspective and an opportunity to see the the entire district. In my previous role I worked with campus leadership and curriculum instruction and those areas that support our campuses and it's a more narrow lens. I really enjoyed doing that. But as superintendent it's just a different scope and you get to see it from a different perspective.

For you, what does it mean to be the interim superintendent of Keller?

I'm glad that I'm able to help out as the district looks for for the next leader to have had some experience doing this. Being able to carry on what Dr. Westfall had put in motion, and just kind of keep us focused in and steady on what we need to be doing for our students when they search for a new leader.

What made you get into education and then administration?

Well, to be honest with education, I kind of back-doored into it. I didn't start off with education as my major. I was hoping to go to medical school and then hit a physics class. That was a clear, clear sign that probably wasn't in my future. I thought about what I wanted to do and who had impacted my life. Teachers and some of my coaches just came to the forefront. And I thought "OK, I'm gonna I'm going to take a couple education courses and see what I think." And as I got into it, I knew that's what I wanted to do.

Your interim role is through December. What mindset do you have going into this school year?

That's one of the great things about being in this profession is we get a reset every every fall with the new school year. You know, I don't know how long I'll be in this role. Whether the board will find the candidate, potentially by December or it'll be the end of the [school] year or how that's going to look. I will be working with the board on their goals. We've tried to focus on a couple areas, and that's focusing on TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills]-based instruction, and student engagement are two of our big goals for this year. And it's it's really just continuing to keep the great things Keller has been doing going and how do we kind of have a relentless pursuit of excellence? What's the next goal we can reach? That's what I think makes Keller so special is that that's the mindset of our staff here. It's not complacency, it's always, "We can continue to do better for our students and help them achieve higher goals."