Dr. Rodney E. Watson

Dr. Rodney E. Watson, Raytown South High Class of 1990

Dr. Rodney E. WatsonDr. Rodney E. Watson graduated from Raytown South High School in 1990. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and music education from Northwest Missouri State University, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Webster University, a Ed.S. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Urban Leadership & Policy Analysis and Curriculum & Instruction.

In his early career, he served as principal in the Hickman Mills and Lee’s Summit school districts. His love for helping urban students took him to the Houston Independent School District, where he served as Area Superintendent, Regional Superintendent, and Chief Human Resources Officer. Houston ISD is the largest district in Texas and the seventh largest in the nation, with more than 210,000 students and 30,000 employees.

Dr. Watson currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools in the Spring Independent School District in Houston, Texas, serving 36,500 students, 38 schools, and 5,000 employees.

He strongly believes that the school district is only as strong as the community and the community only as strong as the school district. Therefore, the district and community must work together to realize collective goals. His tenure in Spring ISD has been a testament to that. Since the launch of Spring ISD’s Every Child 2020 strategic plan, parent volunteer hours increased by 107%, parent organization participation by 51%, faith-based organizations’ connections to schools by 10%, and social media engagement by 218%. His dynamic approach combines the ability to accurately assess current organizational needs with a clear vision for the future, one that aims to make school better and communities stronger.

In 2012, Dr. Watson received the Phi Delta Kappa Leadership Award and in 2014, the University of Missouri Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2017, he received the Texas A&M Dean’s Roundtable Transformational Leader Award and the Achievement through Leadership Foundation, Educator Excellence Award. In addition, he received the Distinguished Administrator Award from the Texas Music Educator Association and the Dr. Thomas Randle Demonstration District Spotlight Award from the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators in 2018. In 2021, Watson was named National Superintendent of the Year by the National School Foundation Association.

His professional affiliations include work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Association of Black School Administrators, and the American Counseling Association. Dr. Watson is the past Board Chair for the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as the Board Chair for Northwest Assistance Ministries in Houston, TX and Executive Pastor at Wellspring Church International in Richmond, TX.

Dr. Watson and his wife Shanel have enjoyed 25 blessed years of marriage, and together they have four beautiful children: Chandler, Simone, Elise and RJ.