Stephenson steps into leadership role on LHISD Board of Trustees
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
If Clint Stephenson is confident of one thing from his new position at the center of the dais as LHISD Board President, it’s that he can always pick out the smartest person in the room.
“We all feel like the smartest person in the room is the room,” he said. “That’s been good because I’ve learned a lot from a lot of great individuals.”
That belief that a board room full of elected members and school district administrators can come together to solve any problem and answer any challenge leaves Stephenson humbled to lead.
“I get to work with such a great group of selfless individuals,” Stephenson said. “That’s been very rewarding to me. It’s taken a whole lot more time than I anticipated in the beginning, but I really enjoy it and I love to serve. I’m all in and I feel like that’s the way everybody on the board feels as well. They dedicate themselves to it and everybody has got a lot of good input.”
Stephenson has been in Liberty Hill 22 years and has served three years on the LHISD Board of Trustees, and the opportunity to lead is one he felt right about.
“I’m excited about it,” he said of his new role. “We decided where we are as a district right now this would be a good fit for me. Anybody on the board could step into the president’s role. We just have a lot of really high-caliber, quality people on the board.”
Being prepared to lead in his new capacity is something he credits others for.
“Clay (Cole) has been just dynamite throughout his whole tenure here,” he said. “He is the standard as far as a president goes. I’ve been very glad to get to serve with Clay and to get to learn from him. He’s been a fantastic mentor, he and David Nix both for that matter.”
Beyond the board and district administration, Stephenson says what he believes is the best school district in Texas is what it is because of everyone in the community.
“Everybody is focused on the same thing, which is the kids,” he said. “It’s really good to serve with all of them. I view this as not just the best district in Central Texas, but in the state. That has to do with our parents, the faculty, kids, staff, everybody.”
The district has recently put a focus on learning what the community wants then developing a plan for the future to handle challenges of growth and change.
“One thing as a board that we were moving toward fairly recently is we wanted to get a strategic plan in place to get community involvement and buy-in and get their take on things because it’s not the board’s district,” Stephenson said. “It’s the community’s district.”
Amid the breakneck pace of growth, it is the ability to maintain certain things as they are that Stephenson sees as the biggest challenge.
“Number one is maintaining the culture that’s been created here,” he said. “Really the reason why a lot of people move here is the schools and the culture that’s been cultivated throughout the years. It’s not to say we can’t improve, but we don’t want to lose track of who we are as a community.”
For Stephenson, the best way to manage growth, maintain culture and continue on the right path is a solid foundation in two-way communication.
“Having the community take a seat at the table, listening to them – and I’ll say again, it’s their district, not this team of eight’s – because we need to get input from them,” he said. “We have to educate, and I mean share the information we have like our demographics, the community and let everyone know what’s coming.”