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Superintendent Reflects on Value of TCU

Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD Superintendent Jim Chadwell, Ed.D.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Superintendent Jim Chadwell never planned on a career in education when he started classes at TCU. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from TCU in 1991 and planned to go to law school, but he started on a new path after taking an education class.

The Value of TCU

Chadwell began teaching in 1993 and earned a Master of School Administration in 1996. He waited until the doctorate in educational leadership program was approved at TCU and earned his Doctor of Education in 2010—the same year he joined Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD as superintendent. Over his 23-year career, he has received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Altötting, Germany and been named High School Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals; Texas Educational Theatre Association Administrator of the Year; and Career and Technology Association of Texas – Area 2 Administrator of the Year.

He always had a drive for leadership, realizing early on that he wanted to become a superintendent. He credits TCU for developing him into the leader he always wanted to be.

“There is not a week that goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I was to be in the School of Education at TCU,” Chadwell said. “I couldn’t do what I am doing now without what I learned and experienced in my programs.”

Learning to Lead

Chadwell said he believes in preparing students to be leaders. He said TCU helped him find his voice and facilitated his desire to study abroad in Germany, instead of making him fit into a predetermined plan.

He said his experiences at TCU and in local schools prepared him for the challenges of leading a district and facilitating organizational change. His current focus is his district’s Strategic Plan, Aspire 2022, and bringing the school community together. Despite earning many accolades, he said working on the plan is a career high because it’s not about him. After serving as a teacher, coach, principal, executive director for instruction and deputy superintendent, he still identifies as a teacher with administrative responsibilities.

“I believe that teachers that are developed like I was are able to apply learning to everything they do and be leaders in their organizations,” he said.

He is now helping create future leaders by partnering with faculty for literacy, leadership and policy initiatives. One example is his district’s participation in TCU’s LiiNK program, led by Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences professor Debbie Rhea. The initiative is based on research showing that increased physical activity and recess in schools leads to improved academic performance.