Superintendent's departure a true loss for VISD

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Dec. 21, 2017 at 6:06 p.m.
Updated Dec. 22, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Superintendent Robert Jaklich talks during the Better Together luncheon at the Victoria Independent School District conference center.

Superintendent Robert Jaklich talks during the Better Together luncheon at the Victoria Independent School District conference center.   Barclay Fernandez for The Victoria Advocate

For the past seven years, Superintendent Robert Jaklich has helped strengthen and redefine what it means to be "VISD proud."

It's no easy feat leading "612 square miles" of excellence, as Jaklich says, and anyone who knows Jaklich will quickly realize he never led on his own - he put his belief and faith in his team to help lead right alongside him.

Earlier this month, Jaklich announced his retirement effective Aug. 31.

This announcement leaves a momentary void for VISD, but we are confident that in the coming eight months, Jaklich and his team will seamlessly help the school district transition to its next leader.

We must not look at Jaklich's departure as a decision that will greatly impact how the school district operates.

Instead, we must believe in what Jaklich has built to continue the legacy of "Every Child, Every Classroom, Every Day."

This is the case with all superintendents. All leave their mark and contributions. Fortunately for VISD, the mark Jaklich will leave is one of the best in VISD history.

During Jaklich's time, he has helped improve 14 campuses to meet standards with the Texas Education Agency's rating system. This alone is an amazing accomplishment.

Jaklich will quickly tell you the hard work and dedication of the district's teachers and students led to this "Met Standard" designation.

And while he's right, we would like to add that it's through his infectious personality, strategic thinking and optimism that these teachers and students were able to work just that much smarter.

Jaklich's accolades and involvement in the education and community sectors help make him a great superintendent.

From serving on the UIL Legislative Council and the Region III Education Service Center Executive Committee to providing salary increases and creating new partnerships, Jaklich has set the bar for what a great superintendent looks like.

Let's not forget he was also named this year's Region 3 Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for the Texas Superintendent of the Year.

Accolades and titles aside, Jaklich's personality and willingness to be transparent are also things our community needs to realize will be missed.

Jaklich helped keep the lines of communication open across the board and also writes a weekly column in the Advocate to help keep our community informed about what our youngest residents are accomplishing.

We are proud of how transparent Jaklich has been during his seven years. We hope he, along with his trusted board, emphasizes the importance of keeping that style of leadership at the forefront for the next superintendent.

Keeping this optimism and transparency alive and well is demanding considering what a trying year our community has had.

From Hurricane Harvey to a $141.2M bond election that failed, this has truly been a difficult year.

Keeping with that transparency, Jaklich has not hidden behind the bond's failure.

Had the bond passed, he said, he would have stayed the two more years needed to be sure the bond's measures were completed.

Creating another bond proposal and restarting the process would take longer than Jaklich planned to stay. That could take up to five years, so it's admirable, if regrettable, that Jaklich thinks it's best to announce his decision now to let the school board make the best plans possible without him.

We wish Jaklich the best as he spends his retirement enjoying life with family.

To keep with the fashion of Jaklich's style of quoting other leaders in his Sunday columns, we believe Ronald Reagan said it best during an interview with Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes": "The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things."

Thank you, Mr. Jaklich, for creating a legacy and team that will continue making VISD and our community truly proud.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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