Sitting across the table, Tonya Lott is all smiles. “This is a huge honor,” she says. “Only six people from across the state are selected to sit on this committee.”
Lott, an Information Systems Specialist for Bastrop ISD, has taken a coveted position on the Steering Committee for Skyward, the student management system used by 90% of districts in Texas. In addition, she will serve on the Human Resources Subcommittee to review requests for enhancements submitted by Texas Skyward districts. It will be a massive undertaking and a huge responsibility, but Lott says she’s up for the challenge.
The folks at Skyward were already familiar with Lott. They took notice of her work ethic and attitude long ago when she worked in Lockhart ISD. She exhibited a relentless spirit of helping co-workers and clients, even when she wasn’t on the clock, which prompted Skyward to steal her away from that district.
In her role at Skyward, Lott taught classes at the Texas Skyward User Group conference and traveled the country training and consulting with Skyward clients outside of Texas. She became a pro at its functionality. Her affable spirit, good humor, and can-do attitude created many friends along the way, including in Bastrop where she had interviewed for a job several years back. When an Information Systems Specialist position came open, Bastrop remembered Tonya, and when they invited her to interview again, she jumped at the chance. Two years into her new role in Bastrop ISD, she’s still loving every minute.
Her work at BISD is different than what she was doing at Skyward, but she loves the people she works with and appreciates a renewed balance between her professional and personal life. Her smile gets bigger as she tells this part of her story. She’s clearly happy at this stage of her life.
Skyward followed a careful selection process in choosing Tonya for the Steering Committee. To serve requires an application, a strong letter of endorsement from a supervisor, a nomination from the Executive Committee, and then a final approval. Lott now has a three-year commitment to fulfill on the Steering Committee, which will meet four times a year.
The committee will receive input from school districts about how to make the Skyward software better. Lott’s work will focus primarily in the area of human resources so she will hear from personnel departments in school districts across the state. If the committee believes a request is a valid reason to change the Skyward software, the recommendation will move up the ladder to the Executive Committee, which will then consider the request and submit to Skyward. After that, it’s a process of programming, testing, and implementation, a process that could take three to four years to complete.
For these reasons and more, the Texas Skyward User Group Steering Committee is an elite group of minds charged with improving the lives of people in school districts across the state. As she talks about her newest challenge of serving on the Steering Committee, Lott’s eyes widen with curiosity. “It will be fun being on the forefront of technology and changing the way Texas Skyward works. It’s nice to know that my input will be valued.” It’s obvious she is proud to serve.
We feel the same, Tonya. We feel the same.