Chief Academic Officer Martha Salazar-Zamora was named as the lone finalist in the search for a new superintendent for Tomball ISD during a special TISD board meeting Thursday evening.
"I am overwhelmed with joy—I'm so excited, and I'm grateful for this board for giving me this opportunity," Salazar-Zamora said. "I've been in public education for 30 years, and to have this opportunity in a district that I care so much about in a community that I live in … it means the world to me. It's like my professional dream come true."
Salazar-Zamora has worked in TISD since 2014 and previously served as a superintendent in her hometown of Kingsville and has also worked with Round Rock and Houston ISDs. During her tenure, the district has implemented several new initiatives, including the district of innovation designation and an early college high school program partnership with Lone Star College-Tomball.
"To have the opportunity to work with the people in this room … this district has been so fortunate to have leaders that really are [student-focused] and to be able to work with them and support all they're doing, it filled my heart with joy," she said.
There is a brief waiting period before Salazar-Zamora will take over. TISD Superintendent Huey Kinchen, who will officially retire March 31, said he was pleased the school board chose someone already deeply involved in district affairs.
"I was hoping for it—it would be hard to find someone better than her, but I was ecstatic because I think she's the right person for the job," Kinchen said. "She's a good fit; she knows the district; she's done a lot of great things since she's been here; [and] she understands our needs. We won't miss a beat, and I think that's what so important is the fact she is intimately involved in all aspects of the district so our district can continue to get better and better."
Kinchen said Salazar-Zamora will begin training for her new role over the next month and a half before his retirement.
"Between now and March 31, we'll be working together, and everything we're doing from my desk she'll be involved with," he said. "And of course I'm always available because I'm staying in the district. I came here because I wanted to retire."