As Judson Independent School District’s first permanent female superintendent in its history, Jeanette Ball wants to show just how fulfilling learning can be.
“My parents instilled in me from early on the power of education and how an education can truly make a difference,” she said.
The school board unanimously approved her as the district’s new top administrator on July 16.
Replacing Carl A. Montoya, Ball comes to JISD after a five-year superintendent stint at the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. Classes start Aug. 20.
“I am extremely excited to be here and I cannot wait to meet our staff and this proud Judson community,” Ball said during the special board meeting July 16.
Members of her family were present for the selection announcement, including husband, Joe.
Ball left a rural school district of some 4,700 students to oversee a growing educational system of more than 23,000 learners.
Before working in Uvalde, the Schreiner University grad taught at Southwest Independent School District from 1998 to 2013 as an instructor and principal before eventually moving into the district’s administration.
JISD trustee Richard LaFoille said he was immediately impressed with the career educator during her first interview for the job.
“She came to us with a complete written policy of what she wanted to do for Judson,” LaFoille said. “When she got up to speak, she commanded your attention. I don’t think anyone in the room had any doubts. She will take Judson where it belongs.”
LaFoille, who was first elected to the JISD board in 2004, noted the district for many years was primarily known by its sports achievements, particularly football.
Upon becoming a board member, the five-decade resident said he wanted JISD to be recognized for academics as well.
“I got into this because of providing education for children,” LaFoille said. “When I got in, Judson was all about sports. Now, we are converting more to education, with initiatives like the Judson Early College Academy.”
JECA opened in 2009 on the Alamo College’s Northeast Lakeview College campus. Its students attend classes there during their high school years, and upon graduation, they also earn an associate’s degree from Northeast Lakeview.
Twenty-two candidates applied for the JISD superintendent’s post. Before Ball’s hiring, Ann Dixon was its only other female superintendent from December 2004 to May 2005, on an interim basis.
Ball’s hiring brings the number of female superintendents in the 15 Bexar County school districts to two. Alamo Heights promoted Dana Bashara from assistant superintendent to superintendent in June.
Gail Siller retired this summer after serving 14 years as the top educational leader at Fort Sam Houston Independent School District.
Ball’s predecessor, Montoya, helped JISD pass two major bonds for construction and improvements in facilities during his three-year tenure.
He also assisted in launching Judson’s newest high school, Veterans Memorial; facilitated the expansion of the district’s science, technology, engineering and math curriculum; and supported dual credit/advanced placement and career technology programs.
Montoya’s salary was $230,000 for the 2017-18 school year. Ball’s salary in Uvalde CISD was $162,260 for the same time.
Her annual salary at JISD is $245,000. The contract period is from July 16 to July 15, 2021, with an option of extending the agreement at the board’s discretion.