Changes Continue for DISD Leadership

Brian Lusk. (Courtesy photo by DISD)
Brian Lusk. (Courtesy photo by DISD)

A longtime Dallas ISD educator with a record of improving student and campus achievement is rising in the ranks of the evolving school leadership department.

The district promoted Brian Lusk to deputy chief of school leadership in November. He replaces Israel Cordero, who was promoted in October to chief of strategic initiatives and external relations.

The moves are the latest adjustments to a leadership structure announced in September 2015.

Lusk will work with the other deputy, Pam Lear, to support efforts by the district’s 20 feeder pattern executive directors to continue improving student performance.

“Two years ago, we had 43 schools that did not meet the state accountability standards, and then the following year, it was 37, and this year, it was 21,” said Stephanie Elizalde, chief of school leadership. “Zero would be a really nice number to have, but we will certainly take the downward trajectory.”

Statewide, 7,684 campuses earned a Met Standard or Met Alternative Standard rating in 2016, while 445 were rated Improvement Required, according to the Texas Education Agency. 544 campuses were labeled Not Rated.

In Preston Hollow, Hillcrest High School and Benjamin Franklin Middle School earned the Met Standard rating. Their feeder elementary campuses, including Preston Hollow Elementary, did also.

Elizalde cited Lusk’s experience in the district and success as an executive director as factors in his promotion. He taught five years with the district and is in his sixteenth year as an administrator.

“I think results are important when you are leading,” Elizalde said. “What have you actually been able to do?”

When Lusk became executive director of the H. Grady Spruce High School Feeder Pattern in 2014, three of the schools were rated as Improvement Required, she said.

“Two years later none of his schools are Improvement Required,” Elizalde said, adding that distinctions earned by the pattern’s campuses increased from eight in 2014 to 26 in 2016.

Before reconfiguring its management structure in 2015, DISD was divided into five divisions. The transition of responsibilities from five assistant superintendents to two deputy chiefs was aimed at improving efficiency and communication, district leaders said.

Elizalde and Cordero served as those deputies initially.

Elizalde was promoted to chief of school leadership in December 2015.

In June 2016, the district announced the promotion of Lear, formerly executive director of the L.G. Pinkston feeder pattern, to deputy chief.

In his new position, Cordero adds responsibilities for governmental relations and reports to Deputy Superintendent Ivan Duran.

Cordero will continue to oversee expansion of the collegiate academies program into more high schools while assuming responsibility for the Dallas Education Foundation and Volunteer and Partnership Services, the district announced.

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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