“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of collaborative work involving input from and support of parents, staff and the community,” said Board President Tom Sharpe. “We are grateful for the efforts put forth by so many stakeholders who contributed to the selection process and helped our district reach this very important decision. Dr. Rockwood has a proven track record as a visionary, goal-oriented leader with exceptional communication skills, an unwavering commitment to academic rigor and an innate ability to build relationships and strengthen culture. Those who know him best have all remarked on his keen ability to provide systemic organizational structure, think strategically, monitor and improve the educational achievement of every student, and establish and strengthen relationships with those around him, all towards the end goal of cultivating a strong culture of excellence.”
Dr. Rockwood currently serves as the Lake Dallas ISD Superintendent where, during his two-year tenure, he has led the district to new academic heights. This includes earning record state accountability ratings at every elementary campus, while the high school was simultaneously named one of the U.S. News & World Reports ‘Best High Schools’ in the country. He has emphasized the importance of post-secondary readiness as the College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) score increased from a B to an A and achievement on AP exams almost doubled. Dr. Rockwood also launched the district’s first-ever strategic plan, balanced the budget, renovated multiple campuses, built new facilities, and increased transparency through strategic communications.
Prior to Lake Dallas ISD, Dr. Rockwood served as the Deputy Superintendent in one of the state’s fastest growing 6A school districts—Lamar CISD. In this role, he was responsible for supporting academic, operational, and financial initiatives that resulted in an A-rating from the state. Dr. Rockwood also led the successful passage of $1.35 billion in bond funds, numerous school rezonings, land purchases and multiple stakeholder advisory committees as the district grew from 24,000 to 40,000 students. He was also instrumental in creating and facilitating the districtwide leadership development initiatives for more than 6,000 employees. Over the years, Dr. Rockwood has served in additional central office roles in Lamar CISD, as well as Sheldon ISD, including Chief of Staff, Executive Director, and Communications & Public Information Officer.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Rockwood to HPISD,” said Sharpe. “His enthusiasm for developing leaders, combined with his quick intellect and extensive experience in various district roles, will enable him to integrate quickly into HPISD and guide the district in coming years.”
Dr. Rockwood holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Texas A&M, a Master of Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University, a Doctor of Education in K-12 Educational Leadership from Baylor University, and holds a Texas Superintendent certificate. As a result of his work in Lake Dallas ISD, Dr. Rockwood has been recently recognized by the National School Public Relations Association as one of 25 ‘2022 National Superintendents to Watch,’ he is a Dallas Business Journal ‘40 Under 40’ recipient for successful business leadership in the Metroplex, and he is currently a District Leadership Fellow with the Southern Methodist University Institute for Leadership Impact.
“Leading in Highland Park ISD is a privilege and honor for myself and my family," said Dr. Mike Rockwood. "It is clear to me that the Park Cities are full of caring and committed individuals who want the very best for our students. I’m so excited to honor and build upon HPISD’s tradition of excellence to ensure our future is brighter than ever.”
He and his wife Jené, who works in the oil and gas industry as the Global Director of Marketing at Impact Fluid Solutions, have three children Mikayla, Luke and Lauren. Two of their children are school age and will attend HPISD schools.
The process to select HPISD’s ninth superintendent began in October 2022. The board hired Hazard Young and Attea Associates (HYA) in November to facilitate the search. Within 30 days, HYA launched a community-wide survey and conducted focus groups with community members, business leaders, elected officials, teachers, students, administrators, and support staff to gather community input on the desired characteristics for a new superintendent. More than 2,000 individuals participated in the process either through in-person focus groups or as respondents to the online survey. HYA presented its findings to the Board of Trustees at the Dec. 13 board meeting, and the Superintendent Leadership Profile was published on the district’s website.
The board, with the help of HYA, spent countless hours identifying an initial pool of over 100 candidates, narrowing it to a robust pool of more than 30 highly-qualified applicants, vetting each based on a myriad of information provided by HYA for trustees to review, interviewing a smaller set of candidates, and deliberating over finalists.
The HPISD School Board’s Lone Finalist vote Monday, March 27 begins a 21-day waiting period required by Texas law. The Board is expected to vote on the final selection at their April 18 board meeting. Once approved, Dr. Rockwood will become only the ninth superintendent of Highland Park ISD following Dr. Tom Trigg.