Cornelio Gonzalez, superintendent of the Tuloso-Midway Independent School District, has been chosen as one of 24 superintendents in Texas to receive a scholarship to participate in the Lamar University Superintendent Academy, a highly acclaimed advanced leadership training program on Lamar's Beaumont campus.

The academy provides senior level executive training for superintendents recognized as leaders among their peers, Lamar University officials said. The scholarship pays all tuition, fees, training costs, materials, and travel to New York to attend a Comparative Education Seminar at Columbia University.

According to executive director Bob Thompson, participation in the academy is by invitation only. The 24 superintendents were chosen from a list of about 100 nominees from throughout Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

"To be selected is an honor not only to the superintendent, but also to his or her board and district," Thompson said. "Without the support of forward-looking boards, and a quality district, no superintendent could have achieved the level of success and recognition necessary to be nominated and selected to the academy."

At the academy, Gonzalez will review the latest technology for enhancing student learning, participate in advanced leadership training from some of the nation's foremost trainers of company executives, and get experience in the Decision Support Center, a high tech laboratory for improving the speed and quality of management decision making, Lamar University officials said. Gonzalez said he will also have the opportunity to visit other school districts to review practices that have helped make those districts successful.

"It is very unusual that you have the opportunity to meet other superintendents from other states," Gonzalez said. "We have the chance to listen to each other's ideas."

Thompson says the knowledge superintendents glean from work in the academy is immediately applicable to any district, regardless of size or location. To assist the districts in incorporating these management concepts, the academy will host a three-day spring conference for academy superintendents and their boards where they will be led through joint leadership training and planning activities. They will also meet with boards and superintendents from similar sized districts to share ideas for increasing student achievement and developing a vision for the future, Lamar University officials said.

The year-long academy is designed to provide the most professional growth opportunities with the least amount of time away from the district. During the year, superintendents meet on five different weekends at Lamar University. The schedule is planned so that one-third of the training will be on Saturdays or during the summer when school is not in session, Thompson said.

Gonzalez said while he looks forward to the opportunity and bringing what he learns back to the district, he is just happy to have been chosen for the program.

"I feel humbled that I was selected," Gonzalez said.