LHISD welcomes new Assistant Superintendent
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
Todd Washburn has been the places Liberty Hill is going. He understands where Liberty Hill has come from, and more importantly, has experienced the changes happening fast in his new school district.
Washburn joins Liberty Hill ISD as the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and School Leadership, and is thrilled by the opportunity he sees ahead.
“Liberty Hill really excited me because it really reminded me of Leander about 25 years ago,” he said. “I had a great experience there, spending 20 years of my 30-year career there. I grew as an educator and administrator in a fast-growth district and was really drawn to that in Liberty Hill. This is a great school district with really strong administration. I felt like my experience was just a great match for Liberty Hill.”
After receiving 61 applications for the assistant superintendent position, the district interviewed six applicants. Following interviews and background checks, Superintendent Steve Snell recommended to the School Board to hire Washburn.
“Mr. Washburn brings a wealth of experience from fast growth and high performing school districts,” said Snell.
Originally from the Midwest, Washburn spent the last 25 years in Central Texas.
“I went to a really small school in a small town,” Washburn said. “I am really drawn to that kind of community. My wife and I got married and moved from Ohio to El Paso, and started in a small school district just outside of El Paso.”
They moved to Central Texas and landed in Leander, back before Leander ISD was busting at the seams.
“When we started in Leander it was a small town,” Washburn said. “They had one high school, a middle school and four elementary schools, and we really just loved that small-town feel, but also loved the excitement of the growth that happens in small districts.”
Twenty years in Leander ISD – from 1995 to 2015 – gave Washburn a hand in helping the district grow from 10,000 to 36,000 students. After 2015 he moved on to a stint in Eanes ISD before taking on his new role in Liberty Hill.
“I’ve been a part of that fast-growth district where we’re opening a new campus almost every school year,” he said. “I love the extracurricular programs and Liberty Hill excels in those. You have that community feel – and with COVID it’s a little different – but you have that community spirit and community vibe. I think it’s an exciting time to be a part of this district.”
In his career, Washburn has had a hand in it all, from opening a middle school as a principal, being involved in many bond committees and attendance boundary committees. He’s been a classroom teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, district administrator and most recently he served one year as Superintendent of Dripping Springs ISD.
No matter the position, it all points back to that beginning in a classroom, and Washburn knows no matter what the role, it’s all about the education provided to students.
“It’s a special opportunity for me, especially as I started reflecting back on my first years in the classroom,” he said. “I was in a very small district and it didn’t really have a curriculum department per se, so really each teacher – working with their colleagues – was responsible for coming up with finding resources and developing their curriculum. I see this opportunity as really being able to support our teachers and help provide them with resources.”
Times change, technology changes, and while technology offers great new opportunities, the support for teachers is as critical as ever.
“Being able to work very closely with campus administrators, mentor them and support them is very appealing to me,” he said. “Teaching today is vastly different than when I started 30 years ago. I go back to even thinking when I started teaching we didn’t even have phones in our classrooms, let alone computers and e-mail and things. Obviously education has evolved since then.”
Liberty Hill has a strong curriculum and systems in place, but Washburn knows that is ever-changing.
“Curriculum is one of those things that continually evolves and is redesigned,” he said. “It is never a finished product because you always want to get feedback from teachers on what is working, what can we improve, what additional resources we need. I see it as a passion but a calling for me. I get energized when I have the opportunity to go into classrooms and see the connections our teachers make with their students.”
His wife, Beth, is also an educator, and they have two grown sons, TJ and Zac. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University, a master’s degree in educational administration, and his superintendent’s certification from Southwest Texas State University.
The next step for Washburn is what he calls one of the most important parts of his new role, and that’s relationship building. Those relationships are key to meeting that end goal, and that’s providing a strong education for students.
“I love kids. I love working with teachers,” he said. “I have a passion for education and I really want to provide the support and resources for our students and staff to be successful.”