Elizabeth Fagen Humble ISD superintendent[/caption]

How will you help Humble ISD handle the challenges of being in a high-growth district?

One of the very positive things about Humble ISD is they’ve really planned for their growth well. They have money set aside so they can build the next few schools. And then from there, it’s all about having a longer-term master capital plan that lays out both the growth needs of the district as well as the maintenance needs of the district. You can have all of that on your radar and create a really solid financial plan to take to the community.

Did the rapid backlash on social media after you were hired in May surprise you?

Yes and no. There have been some philosophical differences [at my previous district in Douglas County.] And as a result of those philosophical differences, there have been heated political exchanges. I don’t think everyone understands that the board sets the policy and the direction of the district and that the superintendent’s responsibility is to educate the board in the best interests of students and staff. And sometimes the board makes decisions that may not be your favorites, but what you do from that point is you implement them as well as you can in the best interests of the district.

Are you an advocate  of a public school voucher system or does it depend on the circumstances?

I think the question that [parents] have is “Are you just a pro school choice ideologue who—wherever you go—that’s what you want?” My answer to that is no. I’m not opposed to it—I think that it’s a means to accomplish certain ends, and if a community embraces it, there are good ways to do it and not so good ways to do it. I’m not a person who travels around and says “How do we do school choice?”

What are your goals for your tenure at HISD?

I want what’s best for each and every student. I want to be able to walk into a school and say “This is a wonderful place for students, and these are wonderful classrooms for students.” I see my role as working together with the community to define what is that portrait of a graduate. What is that experience that we want all students to have? And then, it’s my responsibility to support all of the talented folks in the district in moving where they are to where they want to be.

What do you hope stakeholders in HISD learn about you?

I hope they have the opportunity to see that I’m a normal person. I’m a parent, I’m a teacher [and] I’m the daughter of a teacher. I’m very passionate about education for students that prepares them for their lives. I’m very passionate about student engagement and making learning something that’s enjoyable so students want to do it for their entire life.