Education News

An Exit Interview With Outgoing Spring Branch Superintendent

After 10 years at the helm of the Spring Branch Independent School District, Superintendent Duncan Klussmann is preparing to step down.

 

Duncan Klussmann
Superintendent Duncan Klussmann will retire from Spring Branch school district this summer. He said he’s most proud of the initiative to double the number of students who pursue some higher education, whether that’s a technical certification, a two-year or four-year degree or military service. Photo courtesy of Spring Branch ISD

The Spring Branch Independent School District is preparing for a new superintendent and has picked a sole finalist for the job.

It marks a major change.

For the last 10 years, Superintendent Duncan Klussmann has led the district on the west side of Harris County and its 35,000 students. He announced his retirement late last year and is expected to step down this summer.

He recently sat down with News 88.7 Education Reporter Laura Isensee to talk about his tenure and his future plans.

 

Highlights from their conversation:

  • On his name being floated as a potential future Texas Education Commissioner:

     “I think we have a great commissioner right now. And I’m here to support the governor in any of the work that he’s doing. I’m here to support the commissioner. There are always a lot of rumors and I think the rumors are only about 5 percent accurate and so I’d tell you in this case it’s probably the same—it’s about 5 percent accurate. And at this point, I’ve not had any conversations with anyone in the governor’s office about what the future looks like as far as the commissioner’s role.”

  • On the district’s initiative to double the number of students who complete some form of higher education: 

    “I’m very proud of that because I think for a board and a community to accept a single-focus goal and for that goal to represent every kid in our system with the diversity we have in Spring Branch and that expectation being the same for all kids is very important … The thing that we can’t forget is that we can get more kids to fill out applications, we can get more kids accepted into higher education, we can get more kids on financial aid, but if they’re not academically prepared to do the work, we’ve not done them any service by just getting them to the institution. That’s where we have to back all the way down to pre-K and make sure we’re academically preparing kids.”

  • On the district’s three-and-half star rating from the state comptroller’s office for academic performance and financial management:

     “I think Spring Branch is a good district. I think we’re doing really good things here. I think, like any other organization, to be a great organization you have to continuously improve. I feel good about the work we’ve done over the last 10 years. But I think that we in Spring Branch are very transparent and open and we say we still have a lot of work to do to meet the needs of all the kids within our system. And I think that’s just something that you accept when you look at continuous improvement.”

 

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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