GISD • Rising to Challenges

As the City of Georgetown evolved new levels of flexibility and adaptability in 2020, GISD, for its part, was no exception. The leaders of both believe the continued success of our District is the result of a school system and a city that have maintained a commitment and mission to prepare students for the future in the best of times. 

Dr. Brent says, “If we look at GISD through the lens of COVID and Winter Storm Uri—not the best of times—we validate who we truly are as a District, and our beliefs as a learning organization.” 

Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder agrees, “Every emergent or developing challenge was similarly addressed through collaborative teams, empowered by leadership, and supported by so many in Georgetown, all of whom still relish the small-town feel of our city, and the schools, which are a foundation of that community.” 

At the helm since 2014, Dr. Brent says he immediately knew Georgetown would be the city he and his family would call home. “I am proud of our leadership and our team because we have always endeavored to ensure our employees were on the same mission we had for students; to be leaders, capable of growth and constant learning on their own. All of this was truly manifested over the past year in ways we couldn’t have imagined.” 


As the District navigated re-opening schools during the pandemic, and again after the ice storm, Dr. Brent invited leaders from all sectors of the community who gave time and energy to solve problems and get the work done. “Everyone involved was focused on the good of the team,” Dr. Brent says. 

When schools were shut down last year, the community came together to provide food for students, prepare the technology, and adapt to virtual learning in a very short time. “For many weeks,” Dr. Brent says, “there were many rooms, filled with 15-20 people, solving multiple problems simultaneously; parents, chamber members, PTA presidents, community leaders, teachers, and District leaders. Today, we continue to solicit feedback, and honor the beliefs and values of the District while staying focused on the best experiences in the safest environment possible.” 

His enthusiasm for his leadership teams is palpable. He singled out Director of Operations, Kirby Campbell, who has served GISD from the ground up. “During the lockdown, I just told Kirby we have to make sure we are feeding the kids. He set to work, and we were soon feeding students and family members in overwhelming numbers. He did the same during the ice storm. I called Kirby every morning and asked him where I needed to be. He gave me a list of schools and tasks, we checked pipes and infrastructure personally, and did not lose a day of instruction. That is the kind of empowerment that demonstrates that we are who we want to be. ” 

Councilman Kevin Pitts, Mayor Josh Schroeder, and Trustee Andy Webb clearing branches and brush around the city after the ice storm.

Mayor Schroeder agrees, “It does not surprise me to see our school operations and learning continue with as much consistency and strength as they have in the past year. While City leadership worked to keep people safe, keep the economy going, and try not to overreach its authority, the school district also had to educate kids. Shutting down is not an option for them, so Dr. Brent had to figure out how to keep going during a pandemic and snowpocalypse. Thanks to his leadership, and the tenacity of the people he places his trust in, GISD was up and running immediately after the ice storm; other Districts had to stay closed for several days to address issues caused by the storm. ” 

“What seemed particularly daunting, truly revealed the strength of our community.”  

~Fred Brent

Dr. Brent admits that leading in such a season is understandably stressful. “Having to make many significant decisions is the job, and it is reasonable that not everyone will be happy. More than anything, I remain committed to providing direction and creating opportunities to bring the best thinkers from across the District to be part of every decision.”