‘I feel like I can trust you’: Austin County officially hires Segura as superintendent

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Matías Segura, who has led the Austin district in an interim capacity for more than a year, will be the next permanent superintendent for the 73,000-student district.

Board members, who voted unanimously to approve Segura’s contract, hope the appointment will bring stability to a district that has seen significant leadership changes in the past four years.

Segura takes on the position as the district deals with several critical needs, including funding constraints, an ongoing post-pandemic academic recovery, a $2.4 billion bond offering, and state-mandated oversight of the district’s chronic special education deficiencies.

After a unanimous vote, board members praised Segura.

President Arati Singh told Segura: “I feel I can trust you.” “There is trust in this council.”

He said Vice President Kevin Foster has “complete faith and trust” in Segura.

While trustees noted they heard concerns that Segura had no educational background, which is typical for supervisors, they reiterated their support for him.

“You are a product of AISD and this really helps you understand what we are facing,” said board member Ofelia Zapata.

“I feel really thrilled,” Segura said. “I’m really calm and focused, just knowing that these are really critical things that need to be determined.”

District 1 School Board member Candice Hunter said she voted in favor of Segura’s contract because his appointment will help the district move forward and address any upcoming challenges.

“This is the administration, this is the time for change, for revolutionary, transformative change for our children,” Hunter said.

Segura will make $362,250 in the position, according to him a contract, which was released Thursday evening. His contract will begin on February 15 and run until August 31, 2028.

Segura’s path to the position was different from the typical search path for a superintendent.

The district’s leadership has been in question since June 2022, when Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde left Austin to run the Dallas district. She joined the Austin district in August 2020, after longtime Superintendent Paul Cruz resigned.

Anthony Mays took over as interim superintendent during the summer of 2022, but left that December to take a job as superintendent in the Aleph School District in southwest Houston.

Segura took over the interim position in January 2023, with the goal of leading the district for six months while board members can begin the search for a new leader. The board later extended his contract six months later.

In the fall, the board decided to forego a national search — a typical procedure when districts search for superintendents — and instead publish a request. At the time, board members said they had a promising internal candidate.

On December 14, the board selected Segura as its top choice for superintendent. It is common in Texas for school boards to nominate only one candidate for superintendent. Texas counties must wait 21 days between naming a finalist and offering a contract.

Segura, a graduate of Bowie High School, has been with the district since 2018. Before taking over as superintendent in January 2023, he served as chief operations officer, overseeing construction, facilities and maintenance. He largely led the launch of the $1.1 billion bond package approved by voters in 2017.

During a question-and-answer session Saturday at Marshall Middle School, several parents and community members in attendance indicated they were optimistic about Segura’s tenure as superintendent. During the session, students, parents and others asked Segura questions about school safety, long-range planning and special education.

Margarita Acuña Mintzer, who has two children, ages 6 and 7, in the area, likes that Segura seems open about the constraints he’s working under.

“I think it’s real,” Acuña-Mintzer said. “I think he knows the area.”

Anton Meurisse also felt that Segura presented himself as someone who had “no fluff”. This year is Morris’s first as a parent in the Austin area. His daughter attends Northeast Early College High School.

“He earned my trust today,” Morris said Saturday. “He seems to have a comprehensive understanding of the area and its needs.”

In the interim role, Segura makes $315,908.90 annually, plus a cell phone stipend of $720 and a travel stipend of $9,000, according to district records.

Segura expects to receive his superintendent’s certification by June, according to his application. Because Segura has not yet received certification, the district is seeking a waiver from the Texas Education Agency.

This article originally appeared on the Austin American-Statesman website: The Austin School Board appoints Matías Segura as superintendent

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