Schroder Retires After Four Decades in Education

Superintendent Retiring After Four Decades in Education

February 17, 2015 – After 43 years as an educator, the last 15 of those as Superintendent of Amarillo ISD, Rod Schroder has announced his retirement at the end of August. Schroder is known for his integrity, his compassion and his results-driven focus on seeing each and every student in AISD reach their potential. He leaves a legacy of outstanding leadership in the district, the community and across the state as a man of conviction, action and personal faith.

In a letter announcing his retirement to AISD staff this morning, Schroder said, “First and foremost I always considered myself a teacher. The educator’s work is significant. Students look up to us, and our responsibility to help them develop academically and socially is a very high calling. I am so thankful that 43 years ago I responded to God’s ‘nudge’ to be a teacher.”

“Rod Schroder is truly a 21st century educator. He recognizes that success for our students is not a one size fits all proposition. His vision encompasses the demands of an evolving workforce. For Rod, education is not static, but rather an ever-changing process,” said John Ben Blanchard, AISD School Board President.

“Rod has been a wonderful superintendent. We are truly sorry to see him go, but he is leaving the district in excellent shape and capable hands,” Blanchard continued.

Schroder and his leadership teams have faced significant challenges in the public eye, including the implementation of the modern accountability system, two bond elections in 2003 and 2013, a tax ratification election in 2008 and significant budget cuts to public education in 2011. On a more internal level, Schroder’s leadership focused on data driven decision making and a desire to work with teachers to improve the instructional process, the goal being to close the gaps and ensure students are learning what they need to become successful adults.

“Rod has a passion for all the students in our district, and has worked diligently to assure success for all by putting systems in place that improve student achievement for all of our kids. Having been a teacher first, he understands what has to happen in the classroom, not just at the campus level,” explained AISD School Board Member Anette Carlisle.

During Schroder’s tenure, the district’s academic performance continued to show growth and improvement. Most recently, the graduation rate rose to a high of 90 percent. Under the most rigorous accountability system yet, AISD students outperformed their peers in both the state and region. An independent study by the Education Resources Group found AISD to be a top performer in the 96th percentile for student performance and cost effectiveness of the largest 200 districts in the state.

“I cannot overstate the distinct honor and privilege it has been to work alongside Rod,” Chief Financial Officer Les Hoyt said. “Rod is a friend, mentor and oft-time prayer partner of whom I have the highest regard. The breadth of his knowledge and expertise regarding educational issues in Texas is unequaled, in my opinion.”

Schroder has been a part of AISD and the Amarillo community since 1973, when he was hired as a coach and teacher of math and physical science at Sam Houston Junior High School. From there, he moved to Amarillo High School where he coached and taught calculus and physics.

Eight years in the classroom and on the athletic field prepared Schroder to move into administration, first as AISD’s Assistant Athletic Director, and then into the position of Secondary Personnel Director. Prior to his becoming Superintendent in 2000, he was Assistant Superintendent of Personnel for nine years, responsible for all human resource functions in the district.

In addition to being a lead figure in the school district for many years, Schroder has also been a leader in the Amarillo community and the state public education community.  Among his achievements:

  • One of 35 founding superintendents of the Public Education Visioning Institute. 
  • Two-time president of the Texas School Alliance, a group of large Texas school districts advocating for efficiency and equity in public education.
  • Member of an Education Task Force for the state Commissioner of Education.
  • Testified numerous times on behalf of public education in front of House and Senate committees.
  • One of the first West Texas A&M University Graduates of Distinction.
  • Named 2011 Educator of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
  • 2003 United Way campaign co-chair and nine-year member of the United Way Community Council.
  • Founding member of Panhandle Twenty/20 and served on the Board of Directors of the Amarillo Area Foundation.
  • Region 16 Superintendent of the Year in 2003 and 2014.

“I am sure I am not alone in believing that Rod’s legacy will be felt both on a personal and organizational level,” Hoyt said. “One of his legacies will be putting AISD on the road to data driven, research based decision making. Everything he did was driven by the needs of our students.”

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