‘Education Is Truly My Passion’
DESOTO – DeSoto Concerned Citizens hosted DeSoto ISD Superintendent of Schools, Usamah Rodgers this past weekend at their meeting.
Rodgers is a newcomer to the district, but after her introductions including her mission, she is certainly not wasting any time in getting the ISD back in order.
Curt Krohn, President of CDC made opening remarks and introductions.
“We are your cheerleader, and we are behind you,” Krohn said before introducing Rodgers.
Referred to as serving in education from the bottom to the top, Rodgers came to DeSoto ISD from Dallas ISD as Deputy Chief Superintendent.
“It is my honor to serve in this position and it is something that I do not take lightly,” Rodgers said.
Making it personal, Rodgers showed photos of her grandmother, mother and children and said they meant much to her that her children “are continuing the legacy of the family in a beautiful way.”
Holding People Accountable
Rodgers is not new to the Best Southwest area. She was the founding principal of the Cedar Hill ISD Collegiate Academy. She described that experience as a lightning in the bottle because they did amazing things for students. In fact, they had a 100% graduation rate.
It is no wonder that school did so well, after all Rodgers has been playing school all her life even when she was a child. She would take paper home from school and play school in her neighborhood.
“The kids didn’t like playing school with me too much because I would give them homework and I wanted the homework back,” she said. “I have been holding people accountable for a very long time. Education is truly my passion, and I am truly blessed that every day for the last 29 years I have worked in a space where my passion and my professional intercepts.”
Why Desoto ISD
As to why Rodgers chose DeSoto ISD she said “It is really just the mission of the district – you have to have your personal beliefs aligned with the organization. My thought is this, if we are helping 100% of the students achieve their goals then all students have been served and served well so that mission resonates with me.”
She believes the job now is to remove barriers so students can be successful.
“Our job as campus leaders is to create the culture that is positive and that is nurturing and that we are cultivating teachers and setting them up for success,” she explained. “If our teachers are successful then our students are successful. Victory in the classroom is something that is extremely important.”
Rodgers said the district needs to be sure the students are equipped for whatever they want to do in life. She also stressed continuing to build on the successes they have had in the past.
One remarkable win for the district last week was the pay increase for every teacher that the DeSoto ISD voted to approve.
Now that is done, Rodgers said it is time for “active and aggressive recruitment of teachers. We need to get our students enrolled and talk about our branding and marketing with enrollment popups and other ideas to get students involved.”
Safety in DeSoto ISD
Rodgers said she would be remiss if she did not talk about safety and what they are doing about safety districtwide.
“We had a great meeting this week with the Glenn Heights and DeSoto Police Department,” she explained. “We are reviewing our plans and the gaps in our facility.”
The district will also be doing practices and other initiatives such as focus groups with students, parents and teachers talking about their concerns.
“At the ground floor just making sure all our schools are safe,” she added.
Final goals, Rodgers said that will be to partner “because it takes all of us working together for our district to be successful.”
And as superintendent, Rodgers sees her role as the liaison.
“We must keep the student’s needs at the heart of all the decision making we make,” she concluded. “This is going to take all of us collectively to ensure we are doing great things for our students.”