Tyler ISD Adds Chief Innovation Officer to its Leadership Team

A new Chief Innovation Officer is now part of the Tyler ISD leadership team.  Cassandra Chapa, current principal at Peete Elementary School and former principal at Ramey Elementary School, will take on the new role.

"We're excited the Board of Trustees accepted our appointment of Cassandra Chapa as Chief Innovation Officer," Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. "Her leadership at Peete and Ramey elementary schools has proven to us that she has the abilities and drive to implement high-quality instructional systems in support of student achievement."

The Chief Innovation Officer position is part of a larger design of the District's organizational strategy to reduce the span of control from the central office and house more support and resources at the campus level. Chapa will focus on new initiatives targeting a specific cluster of campuses where pockets of the District's most at-risk students attend school.

"I am humbled by the opportunity to create a model that will support teachers and engage students to lift them to their highest potential," Chapa said. "Our plan will begin with validating effective practices, as well as identifying specific needs to implement a more focused approach to daily instructional practices for these student populations. We want to lift student achievement to the next level and beyond."

The Chief Innovation Officer will oversee initiatives that include incorporating an Accelerated Campus Excellence (ACE) system similar to the successful models in Dallas, Richardson, and other school systems. Also, on the horizon is implementing a district-wide Lightning Improvement for Tyler (LIFT) action theory. LIFT will deploy tiered resource allocation, high-quality personnel investments, routine measurement and reporting, and other objectives that Tyler ISD feels are crucial to continued student improvement.

"Ms. Chapa will ultimately lead the cluster of campuses that house what we expect to be our most impacted elementary campuses coming out of the pandemic," Dr. Crawford said. "These campuses have performed admirably over the past five years or so. But we also understand that the pandemic's impact on communities that possess large pockets of at-risk students may lead to these students struggling academically and negatively affect our priority to close achievement gaps more than ever."

Chapa's prior experiences in Dallas ISD as part of its Fellows initiative, combined with effectiveness in improving systems at Peete and Ramey elementary schools, make her a positive fit for the role.

"While we are not hyper-urban like our peer districts in metropolitan areas," Crawford said, "we do exhibit some pockets that exhibit similar demographic and achievement characteristics."

Chapa came to Tyler ISD in 2016 as an instructional specialist in the bilingual department. In 2017, she moved into an administrative role serving as principal at Ramey Elementary School. Chapa has served as principal at Peete Elementary School since 2019. She will finish out the year as the principal at Peete and transition to her new role full-time this summer.