ALAMO HEIGHTS — Alamo Heights Independent School District’s recently appointed first female superintendent is no stranger to the community she is serving.
Dana Bashara has worked at AHISD for more than 22 years, starting as a fifth-grade teacher at Woodridge Elementary School and working her way up to an administrative position.
Despite a lengthy tenure in education management, Bashara said the classroom is still close to her heart.
“Teaching is the essence to my being, it’s kind of my happy place,” said Bashara, whose last job was assistant superintendent for elementary education. “I loved the time spent in the classroom. And I feel the decisions I make in my administrative role should always reflect teaching in the classroom.”
She added, “A passion of mine, ever since serving as a principal, is recruiting and hiring incredible teachers.”
Bashara takes over from Kevin Brown, superintendent since 2008. Brown is the new executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators. His last day with AHISD was June 30.
A spokeswoman said Bashara is the first female superintendent in the history of AHISD, which traces its beginnings to 1909. The first female athletic director was hired in 2016.
A search of local districts indicates there is only one other female superintendent in the greater San Antonio area — Gail Siller at Fort Sam Houston Independent School District. However, she is retiring Aug. 31.
Bashara will oversee a property-rich district with more than 4,700 students.
Parents said they are looking forward to her leadership.
“I am thrilled to have Dana leading AHISD. Not only is she a homegrown leader who understands the progressive style that our district is known for, but she’s also a mom who, last year, had kids at four of the five campuses in Alamo Heights,” said Brooke Meabon, the past president of the Howard Early Childhood Center PTO.
“She understands the needs of our children and their education on a personal level. More importantly, with women leadership representing less than 1.5 percent of school administrators across the U.S., Dana’s promotion shows how much Alamo Heights is paving the way for the future,” Meabon added.
Alamo Heights trustees conducted a nationwide search for a new superintendent and reviewed dozens of resumes, ultimately deciding on Bashara.
“Having a female superintendent could add a different view on public education in our district. I am extremely excited to have her as our children’s superintendent,” said Monnie Dulaney, whose daughter will be a first-grader at Cambridge Elementary School.
Bashara grew up in Pittsburgh in a neighborhood very much like Alamo Heights, where she could walk to her high school.
“It was a close-knit community,” said Bashara, who graduated from Baldwin High School in 1992.
Bashara, who was named an assistant superintendent in 2010, also served as director of personnel and public information for two years beginning in July 2008. In addition, she was Cambridge Elementary School principal and assistant principal, and an assistant principal at Alamo Heights Junior School.
She holds a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A & M University.
Brown said his successor is the right person for the job.
“Dr. Bashara is an incredibly talented and dedicated leader,” Brown said. “Dana has the integrity, vision, people skills and expertise that will make her one of the best superintendents in Texas. She is uniquely qualified to take AHISD to the next level. Her commitment to the work we have done these past 10 years with our Strategic Plan and Profile of a Learner, as well as everything else in the district, is truly remarkable.”
Don’t expect her to be serious all the time, a colleague said.
“She is also great about getting us to ‘lighten up and laugh’ with an occasional quip here and there,” said Susan Peery, Howard principal. “Her laughter is contagious, and so is her passion for kids.”
In 1996, Bashara married G. Collier Bashara, who grew up in Alamo Heights and attended AHISD schools. They have three daughters, Sadie Mae, Ainslie and Addison, and a son, Grady.