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Dr. Robert Duron
Dr. Robert Duron

We had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Robert Duron, Deputy Commissioner of Texas Education Agency (TEA), who spoke at the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) summer conference. Frequently he stated how the leadership at TEA needs input from superintendents and other leaders in the school districts. He encouraged the audience to get involved in focus groups and the other opportunities to share their feedback with the educational programs TEA sponsors.

He stated, “you are our customers and we are have to support you.” He spoke with a lot of passion for education and kids. His statements were very surprising to me. I have always thought of TEA as a big, evil corporation who didn’t seem to care about teachers, administrators, or kids. I saw them developing rules and structures that were difficult to follow and created policies that were unrealistic to implement on a campus without considering how they affect individuals. I was very amazed by Duron’s statement that reflected the servant leadership qualities we have at Dallas Baptist University. Duron continued with other statements like, “we are committed to you all” and “we are glad to serve you”. He had me rethink how I’ve always thought about TEA.

TASA Summer Conference 2012

Later at a small group session, one our my professors helped to clarify the relationship between the state legislature and TEA. He explained that TEA is the educational will of state and works for them. So went the state creates a law regarding something in education, TEA is responsible for developing the policy.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Duron in a small group at TEA. He gave many pearls of wisdom for campus and district level administrators that I’ve heard many times. Ideas like be visible in the hallways and classrooms, set clear expectations for the people who work for you, etc. He also stated, “be confident and humble. You aren’t as bad as they say you are, and you aren’t as good as they say you are either”.

As a school leader, I must behave the same way with confidence and humility. Each day I have the opportunity to lead many groups of people such as students, teachers, parents, community members, and peers. I have a great deal of influence and authority in my position. I have to use both confidence and humility to do my job in order to lead others effectively.

My biggest take away from Dr. Duron was don’t be afraid to confront those who aren’t meeting your expectations. He encouraged us to know to confront others because it helps grow our staff members. Again with confidence and humility, confrontation is skill that can move our learning organization forward. Jesus confronted many people throughout the gospels. He confronted not only the Pharisees and the ungodly, but His own disciplines also—the individuals who were the closet to Him. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6, ESV).