Jodi Duron is putting her multiple Baylor degrees to work as the superintendent of Elgin ISD, a district of more than 4,000 students east of Austin.
Jodi Isaac Duron, BSEd ’91, MSEd ’93, EdD ’00, has been superintendent of Elgin ISD since July 2012. The district serves 4,200 students in the rural town, located 20 miles east of Austin.
Did you always have an interest in the administrative side of education?
During my Baylor student teaching, as I experienced the school setting as a whole, I became interested in campus-level administration. I started the master’s program immediately after finishing my undergraduate work.
You earned your graduate degrees while continuing to teach and work?
Yes, and that was certainly challenging. I was an assistant principal when I started the doctoral program in 1995. Baylor had the wonderful Scholars of Practice cohort program for folks like me who were working full time but wanted to pursue advanced degrees. It was intensive but rewarding. But the Baylor experience is unique, because it’s like family. The professors really care about you and your future.
Your husband, Robert Duron, EdD ’00, went through the doctoral program with you and has also been a superintendent. How have you two handled dual careers?
Robert was a superintendent for nine years, so he has been my best mentor. He retired as superintendent of San Antonio ISD, then worked as deputy commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. In January he started at the Texas Association of School Boards. For many years I followed him as his career took us all over Texas. I was lucky to hold several great positions in Human Resources, which was my primary field of interest — in Clear Creek near Houston and Ysleta near El Paso. When we moved to San Antonio, I was hired in Comal to do exactly what I did not want to do, which was curriculum and instruction. But that experience was invaluable, because I learned so much, and it opened the door for me as superintendent in Elgin.
Were you ready for the job?
I was ready for a new challenge, and I absolutely love this job. It is rewarding, it is challenging and it is stressful. Just the weight of the responsibility is awesome, but I love being able to make a difference.
Tell me about your monthly “Coffee with the Superintendent.”
When I first started this job, I wanted to find a way to connect with our parents and community and listen to their concerns with no set agenda. It has allowed me to interact with a diverse group of parents that I might not have met otherwise. It has been one of the most beneficial experiences since I’ve been here.
What’s the hardest part of being a superintendent?
The hardest thing is recognizing the inequities that exist in education across the state and being responsible for providing the necessary resources, facilities and staff to offer a high-quality education, which our students deserve. Elgin ISD is one of the 600-plus school districts involved in the school finance lawsuit, and until the state reevaluates its priorities to adequately and equitably fund education, districts like Elgin will continue to struggle to meet the unique needs of its students.
—Photo by Sonia Browder