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Dallas ISD Names Stephanie Elizalde Lone Finalist for Superintendent

Dallas ISD trustees paved the way for Elizalde to lead the district after Michael Hinojosa’s departure. She last worked in the district as chief of school leadership.
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Courtesy of Dallas ISD

If all goes as planned, Dallas ISD’s new superintendent will be an extremely familiar face, and one that has a couple of years of experience at the top spot under her belt.

In a called meeting Wednesday night, the district’s board of trustees (including new trustee District 4 trustee Camile White) unanimously named Dr. Stephanie Elizalde as its lone finalist to replace Dr. Michael Hinojosa, who announced his retirement in January. Elizalde had served as the district’s chief of school leadership before decamping to Austin ISD in July 2020, where she served as superintendent.

Since January, the board has been focused on a timeline that would name a finalist by summer, so that the new hire could be on deck for the first day of school.

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Stephanie Elizalde | Courtesy of Dallas ISD

Elizalde was first Dallas ISD’s STEM coordinator, and prior to that was a teacher and administrator in schools in San Antonio ISD and neighboring Southwest ISD. She was named chief of school leadership in 2015 and oversaw campus leadership for the district’s schools. She also received a doctorate in education leadership and policy in 2020.

Now that trustees have named their finalist, there is a 21-day state-mandated waiting period before the district can officially name Elizalde its new superintendent. By naming her the finalist Wednesday, the board will be able to meet and name her superintendent before the district goes on its traditional July break.

Hinojosa will stay until December as emeritus superintendent, the district said, to help with the transition.

Hinojosa’s announcement caps off a 42-year career as an educator, from being a teacher, coach, assistant principal, central office staff member, and superintendent for five different districts in both Texas and Georgia — including two separate stints as superintendent at Dallas ISD.

In January, he told reporters that his decision boiled down to a desire to see new blood continue the work of improving the district. There is broad speculation that he is planning to run for mayor, but he has refused to discuss that publicly until he is no longer with the district.

“I could’ve finished my contract,” he said. “But they (school board trustees) need to find someone who can keep this magic going for 10 years and 20 years.”

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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