Superintendent of Schools

Nelson leads LISD into the 21st century

Dr. A. Marcus Nelson is currently Superintendent of Schools for the Laredo Independent School District.  This urban school system serves over 25,500 students on 33 campuses including 20 elementary schools, four middle schools, three comprehensive high schools, three magnet schools, an alternative education academy, a nationally recognized Early College High School located on the campus of Texas A&M International University, and the new Jose A. Valdez High School, non-traditional high school. Laredo, Texas is located on the North bank of the Rio Grande River and is the U.S. principal port of transportation entry into Mexico.

Since his arrival in 2009, Laredo ISD has accomplished several noteworthy achievements. He has reorganized the central office for higher efficiency, reduced the district personnel costs by over $2 million, and improved academic achievement to exceptional levels including having one of the few exemplary high schools in the State of Texas.  In 2010, Laredo ISD reached unprecedented academic gains with 43% of the schools earning the state’s top recognized and exemplary ratings. Dr. Nelson has also launched the district's Non-Traditional High School that is specifically designed to meet the needs of students who have not been successful in LISD comprehensive high schools. This online credit recovery program personalizes the education for every student and recaptures students who have dropped out of high school for various reasons. 

Nelson elevated the academic rigor in Laredo ISD by creating a college readiness initiative, which improved the number of Advanced Placement Exams taken by LISD students over 47%. This leadership has also produced substantial increases in test scores, student attendance, the number of college scholarships, and graduation rates.  The district now provides universal pre-kindergarten for children beginning at three years of age. All high school students receive a laptop computer.  He also created the “Hammer Bowl” which recognizes the oldest football rivalry in Laredo.

In November, 2013, a bond referendum of $125 million was approved by record-breaking 75% of LISD’s voters.  This transaction has provided the school district with a performing arts center, a swimming pool, a baseball field, a renovated middle school, and a new elementary school.  A few months later, the district’s bond rating was upgraded to AA- from A+.

Prior to his position at Laredo ISD, Dr. Nelson served as the Chief Academic Officer and second-in-command for the Judson Independent School District.  During his tenure at Judson ISD, Nelson was part of a senior leadership team that was responsible for quadrupling the number of Recognized/Exemplary campuses according to the Texas Education Agency.  Over the course of his career, he has also served as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher, middle school vice principal, high school assistant principal, high school principal, and Director of Secondary Schools.

At each stage of his career, Dr. Nelson has been an agent for change and instructional alignment.  As an award-winning urban Superintendent and nationally renowned former high school principal, Dr. Nelson has inspired audiences throughout the country with his powerful message of positive thinking, team work, and resiliency.  This San Antonio native has earned several college degrees including an undergraduate degree from Abilene Christian University, two master’s degrees, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University – Commerce.

Dr. Nelson has found ways to be a leader outside the classroom as well.  In 2011, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) recognized Dr. Nelson with the Tejano Achiever Award in Laredo, Texas for his extraordinary community service.  In 2006, Dr. Nelson was awarded the “Change The World” Award from Abilene Christian University (ACU).  This honor was given to 100 alumni that “quietly make a difference in small and large ways in their communities and throughout the world.”  In 2009, he received the coveted Grover C. Morlan Award given annually by ACU’s Department of Education and Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society.  Recipients are alumni who have made significant contributions or improvements in the field of education.  Dr. Nelson was also recognized as the 2013 Young Alumnus of the Year at ACU and 2014 Region One Superintendent of the Year. He was named Superintendent of the Year for the State of Texas in September 2014, by the Texas Association of School Boards. The Texas Computer Education Association also named him the 2015 Superintendent of the Year.

Dr. Nelson’s commitment to public education is evident in his work with various organizations devoted to supporting underprivileged students and their communities.  He is currently an advisory member of the Board of Directors for Laredo Boys and Girls Clubs and an active member of the Laredo Kiwanis Club, LULAC, and the Laredo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  While working in Austin area schools, Dr. Nelson served as a board member for the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Austin Area and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.  In addition, he is a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., a fraternal organization dedicated to uplifting their respective chapter cities.

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