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Dr. Hafedh Azaiez named Region One Superintendent of the Year


Dr. Hafedh Azaiez can add another academic accolade to his list of accomplishments.

Dr. Azaiez, who served as the Donna Independent School District’s leader for the past three years, was named Region One Superintendent of the Year for 2021. The award, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), recognizes outstanding Texas superintendents for achievement and excellence in public school administration. Dr. Azaiez was selected based on the significant contributions and improvements he made across Donna ISD.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been chosen for this prestigious recognition,” Dr. Azaiez said. “What our district accomplished over the last three years is nothing short of amazing and a lot of credit goes out to everyone involved. I truly thank Region One for recognizing the hard work put forth by everyone.”

When asked about the honor, Dr. Azaiez began by thanking his family and the Donna ISD community. “First and foremost, I would like to thank my family for their support and understanding,” he said. “I’d also like to thank the Donna ISD Board of Trustees and the entire Donna ISD family, from the students, staff, teachers, parents, and partners, for allowing me the opportunity to lead the district and be part of this tight knit community. I will forever be grateful. I’d also like to acknowledge my fellow superintendents and colleagues from across the region. Together, we collaborated, brainstormed and encouraged one another, especially during these tough pandemic times.”

As the superintendent, Dr. Azaiez was instrumental in bringing forth many major initiatives that helped take the district to the next level of excellence. Some of these include:

  • Rebranding Donna ISD,
  • Developing a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan that includes Donna ISD’s new vision,
  • Launching free full-day PreK-3 Program and universal free full-day PreK-4 Program,
  • Opening the Donna Early College High School,
  • Bringing in the specialized or magnet school concept,
  • Incorporating new high learning opportunities and Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses at our middle schools and high schools,
  • Streamlining business operations,
  • Implementing staff guidelines that led to a surplus of funding and pay raises for staff for three consecutive years,
  • Establishing new policies and procedures at the Business Office that led to the district’s Financial Integrity Rating going from an F to a perfect score of 100 in the last two years,
  • Improving the district’s academic rating from a C in TEA’s A-F system to a solid B over the course of one year,
  • Starting the annual College and Career Fair for all grade levels,
  • Creating the annual Superintendent’s Student Scholarship Golf Tournament,
  • Upgrading the online registration platform,
  • Developing a comprehensive Learn and Lead Safely Plan to confront the COVID-19 crisis, which included:
    • Instituting a robust distance-learning platform,
    • Investing in one-to-one electronic devices for all our students and teachers,
    • Rolling out a Registration on Wheels Program and,
    • Introducing a Meals on Wheels Program in neighborhoods, which helped the district garner the #1 spot in Texas in the 2021 Kroger School Food Rankings this year.
  • Joining TEA’s system of Great Schools Network, Teacher Incentive Allotment Program and Resilience Program.

Dr. Azaiez’s other accomplishments include Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Executive Committee Member (2021-2023), Sam Houston University School of Education Distinguished Educator of the Year Award (2020), TASA Inspiring Leader (2020), Member of TASA Cabinet of Superintendents under TEA Commissioner Mike Morath (2019-2020), Houston ISD First Year Principal of the Year Award Nominee (2011), and Houston ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year (2007) among others.

All regional winners from across the state will be interviewed and five finalists will be chosen by TASB’s State Selection Committee in August. The state winner will be announced at the 2021 TASB Convention in September.