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Denton ISD Trustees Name Dr. Susannah Holbert O’Bara Lone Finalist

The Denton Independent School District Board of School Trustees named Dr. Susannah Holbert O’Bara, Acting Superintendent of Schools, the lone finalist for the district’s top leadership position on Tuesday, July 2, 2024. By law, the Board of Trustees must enact a 21-day waiting period before naming a permanent replacement for the Superintendent position.

Anticipating that the Trustees will take official action on July 30, Dr. O'Bara will become the first female Superintendent in the district’s 142-year history.

“Dr. O’Bara is a lifelong resident of our community, which gives her an all-encompassing understanding of our unique, vibrant culture,” said Barbara Burns, President of the Board of Trustees. “As a graduate, teacher and parent in our district, she understands the needs of our families and excels in seeking solutions to our challenges. Her passion for student learning and staff support have positioned her to be the leader our organization needs to keep us moving forward.”

On June 18, the Board of Trustees named Dr. O’Bara the Acting Superintendent and hosted candidate interviews on July 2. Dr. O’Bara will replace Dr. Jamie Wilson, who was named Superintendent – Emeritus on June 18, allowing for a smooth leadership transition based on the district’s succession plan.

Before being named Acting Superintendent, Dr. O’Bara served as the Deputy Superintendent of the district, overseeing district curriculum, instruction, staff development and academic programs.

A lifelong Denton resident, Dr. O’Bara has extensive knowledge of Denton ISD and its history of academic excellence. Growing up, she attended Borman Elementary, Calhoun Junior High School (now Middle) and graduated from Denton High School when the campus was on Fulton Street. She served more than seven years as a classroom educator, working at Wilson (now Shultz) Elementary and Ginnings Elementary before moving to be an inaugural member of the McMath Middle School staff.

Dr. O’Bara’s first leadership opportunity was to serve as an Assistant Principal of Ginnings Elementary for six years. After serving one year as the Assistant Principal of Hawk Elementary, she accepted the principalship of the campus, a role she held for almost a decade.

In 2013, Dr. O’Bara was named a finalist for the Texas National Distinguished Principal Award, and during that time she earned a reputation for being a leader of teachers.

In 2015, she served as the first Area Superintendent of Academic Programs for the Guyer High Zone, expanding her leadership and acumen of secondary education. In addition, she supervised the district’s Health Services and Fine Arts Departments.

As an Area Superintendent, Dr. O’Bara collaborated with district and campus leaders to refocus and energize efforts to ensure all Denton ISD graduates are prepared for college, career, and life. In addition, she also developed Denton ISD’s leadership profile, which serves to identify and build on various traits the district seeks in members of its leadership team. 

In 2021, Dr. O’Bara was elevated to lead the Academic Programs Division, where she oversaw the academic programs and operations of all 43 of Denton ISD’s campuses. Her instructional acumen has led to her becoming one of the most sought-after assessment consultants in the region. She has worked in various states to develop and implement sustaining assessment practices that garner student success through achievement. 

Dr. O’Bara transitioned to the Deputy Superintendent’s role in 2023 and assumed all oversight of the district’s curriculum, instruction and staff development – including special education and bilingual education. She brings a vast knowledge of the district's academic practices and procedures and has presented professional development opportunities at numerous school districts across the state, as well as several state conferences.

As the district grows at an unprecedented rate, Dr. O’Bara’s knowledge of the local communities will continue to propel Denton ISD. She helped design and establish a vision for new elementary schools built in the district – along with commensurate High School No. 5 and the district’s second advanced technology center – which will be built in the town of Cross Roads as a result of the 2023 bond referendum. 

Dr. O’Bara received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas Woman’s University. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of North Texas.