Pearland ISD Chief Academic Officer Nyla Watson, who has served the district for 41 years, announced her retirement at a school board meeting May 16.

In her role as chief academic officer, Watson lead developing the district’s curriculum framework and helping campuses excel in student performance, benchmark assessments, classroom coaching and teacher training.

Watson gave a farewell speech where she quoted Dolly Parton, a longtime supporter of children’s reading, as saying, “When you don't have any new stories, it's time to go.”

“I don't have any new PHS or ninth grade center stories, and I don't have any that you haven't heard about building the district,” she said. “So in the words of the great writer, philosopher and champion for reading, Dolly Parton: It's time for me to go and make new stories.”

After receiving her master's in humanities from University of Houston-Clear Lake, Watson joined the district as a journalism and photography teacher at Pearland High School, according to a PISD news release.

In Watson’s 41-year career, she served as assistant principal, associate principal and eventually was named the principal of the district’s first ninth grade center, now known as Turner College and Career High School. Most recently Watson was named chief academic officer in 2021.

PISD Superintendent Larry Berger compared Watson to an athletic coach who had built a solid coaching tree for the school district.

“There is no greater coach that I would say, maybe in public education, but definitely in Pearland ISD, that has a coaching tree of administrators, of educators, of people that she has helped model and grow to make a difference in Pearland ISD than Dr. Nyla Watson,” Berger said.

Watson’s last day with the school district is slated for the end of June. She looks forward to spending time with family, traveling and enjoying time on her ranch, according to the news release.