Frenship ISD welcomed Dr. Lilia Náñez, Ed. D. as the Executive Director of Leadership Development this year. In a position that is new to the district, Dr. Náñez brings a wealth of educational and leadership experience.
Dr. Náñez’s primary role is to coach principals in instructional leadership. Her secondary responsibility is to serve as supervisor for all campus principals and to ensure that there is a cohesive frame of thinking that aligns with the FISD Strategic Plan across all campuses.
“The idea of adding an Executive Director of Leadership Development was generated in response to the work of our 2016 strategic designing process,” said Dr. Michelle McCord, FISD Superintendent. “Our strategic design committee determined that the development of leadership is a critically important skill for all learners. According to Leithwood & Jantzi (2006) and Marzano, Waters, & McNulty (2005), effective leadership has been established as a critical component of high-achieving schools and has been empirically linked to student learning.”
The role of principal at any campus is complex. They are the executive leader in charge of managing their staff, student behavior, processes and organizational structure. Principals must be administrators, managers, teachers and curriculum leaders. In this balancing act, they must be able to effectively move from one role to another and Dr. Náñez serves as the coach through this process.
“Frenship has highly successful and skilled campus and district leaders,” said McCord. “That said, in recent years, the role of a teacher, principal, and district administrator has become increasingly complex. Given the proven connection between effective leadership and enhanced student learning, we made the decision to be very purposeful in defining what excellence in leadership looks like in Frenship. We provide leadership training and support for our principals and other campus and district leaders that is aligned with the vision, mission, and beliefs of FISD.”
Instructional leadership involves setting clear goals, managing curriculum, monitoring lesson plans, allocating resources and evaluating teachers regularly to promote student learning and growth.
“My main goal is to develop a relationship with each principal individually,” said Náñez. “It’s earned, not automatic. I have direct contact with each principal, but the coaching extends to the assistant principals and everyone else.”
Dr. Náñez has built a career enhancing school districts. After graduating college with a bachelor’s in accounting, she thought being a CPA was her future. But then she married a school teacher. Her husband was a band director in the small Texas school district of Terrell Co. ISD.
“As you can imagine, there were no CPA jobs available in this small town,” said Náñez. “So I took a job as the school secretary making $6,000 per year. My superintendent leveraged my abilities and I became in charge of PEIMS, food services and then I began working with kids. I choreographed the color guard routine and began sponsoring various UIL events.”
After her time in Terrell Co. ISD, Dr. Náñez spent time at Midland ISD in bilingual education teaching third and fourth grades. She pursued her master’s degree in counseling and eventually obtained a doctorate in education.
Dr. Náñez spent the next several years “flipping” schools. She took economically disadvantaged districts with the lowest rankings to enhanced student academic performance on every level, higher attendance and overall improved statistics as compared to the state. She spent much of her time speaking at conferences on the topic of “How to Flip a School.”
After seeing much success in education, Dr. Náñez was recruited into private industry and served as an account executive for a publishing company that covered five states. In her time there, she was a content specialist and traveled to 130 districts, both large and small.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Náñez. “It gave me the opportunity to learn about the curriculum, leadership and organizational structure of each district. Leadership affects the climate and culture of an organization – from how the grounds look when you arrive to how the staff treats you when you walk in the door.”
After applying her strengths in the corporate world, Dr. Náñez was eager to re-enter education and joined the Frenship family.
“I feel like education and leading these principals is my calling,” said Náñez. “Guiding and enabling leaders to do what’s best for kids is my passion and my niche.”
When Dr. Náñez isn’t pouring into the administration at FISD, she spends time with her husband, Nacho, of 31 years who is also in education. They have two sons and a daughter-in-law, all of Lubbock.
“Dr. Nañez brings a proven record of success to Frenship,” said McCord. “However, Dr. Nañez’s most inspiring quality is her enthusiasm and passion for learning and service to others. I am confident that Dr. Nañez is a perfect fit for this vital role.”