Impact theme of Leadership University

Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri talks about leaders' responsibility during his welcome remarks at Leadership University Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at Crossroads Fellowship. Nearly 300 leaders from across the district participated. (Ruth Campbell/Odessa American)

With panel discussions and breakout sessions, impact is the main theme of Ector County ISD’s Leadership University which goes through Thursday.

The event was held at Crossroads Fellowship.

Almost 300 leaders from across the district heard from — or will hear from — colleagues, officials from University of Texas Permian Basin, educators and motivators from outside Odessa and business people.

In his welcome remarks, Superintendent Scott Muri talked about making an impact on people you see every day.

“As a leader, we have a responsibility for the type of impact we have on people. No one else owns the impact that we have. It is your responsibility,” Muri said.

“Are people better after you’ve impacted them? Are they different because of the impact you’ve had on them? As leaders we have a responsibly to positively impact the people around us. Whether family or friends or staff or … the 4,200 members of this family, or people in our community, we have a moral imperative to positively impact the students that we serve,” he added.

He noted that it may not be a direct impact, but the effects are still felt.

Extrapolating on that, Muri said there will be a bond issue this fall, if the board approves calling it, that will profoundly impact the students ECISD serves for generations.

“You as leaders in this organization have the ability to impact our community before they ever make a decision about that bond,” Muri said.

He noted that you have to know what you’re doing to be a good leader. Whether it’s a department director, an executive director, a principal or associate superintendent, you have to know what you’re doing.

Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri makes a point at Leadership University Wednesday at Crossroads Fellowship. He talked about the impact of leaders in the district. (Ruth Campbell/Odessa American)

“There’s a whole bunch of people that depend upon you to know what you’re doing,” Muri said.

“You need content knowledge, but you also have to know how to lead. It’s one thing to have a title … but it’s another thing to guide people on a journey. Do you have the skill set necessary to lead and impact people? That’s knowledge as well, so our opportunity as leaders is to make sure we have content knowledge … and leadership knowledge,” he added.

It doesn’t stop at the end of this week, it’s a conjugal process because as educators they are lifelong learners.

Starting this year for the first time, there will be a principal incentive allotment. A teacher incentive allotment has been in place the last three years enabling teachers to earn more than $100,000 a year.

Two-hundred-fifty-six teachers qualified for the teacher incentive allotment.

With the principal incentive allotment, six or seven campus leaders will be recognized at the end of this year, depending on data, Muri said.

Those principals will earn up to $25,000 in additional compensation “because they know what they’re doing. They have the knowledge and the skills to lead and they know their content knowledge, they’re experts in their field and the impact on their school will be profound.”

On top of that, Muri said, ECISD has been invited to apply for a $4 million U.S. Department of Education grant.

Muri said they will find out in September if they were awarded.

He added that it focuses on talent development at high-need schools and recognizes highly effective teachers and leaders.

It will target 10 of the district’s highest need schools in terms of poverty. Muri said the grant is highly competitive and states can apply. One of the district’s competitors is the Texas Education Agency.

He urged attendees to be relentless in their pursuit of excellence and to be fearless.

He said 67 percent of ECISD students live in poverty and more than 2,000 are homeless.

Muri got choked up when he talked about a previous district he taught in where some of the children who attended had horrible lives.

He also told attendees to be intentional by listening and offering support even in small ways.