Dr. John Horn
John Horn retired from a 38-year career in public education in June 2001 when he retired as superintendent of the Mesquite Independent School District in Dallas County,Texas, a position he held for 15 years.
He served eight years at the helm of the Allen ISD in Collin County Texas, prior to becoming superintendent in Mesquite. Both of these districts were fast-growing requiring multiple bond programs and continuous construction of schools. He considers his greatest accomplishments however, cultivating a culture of life long learning, development of leaders at all levels, and building capacities to embrace and utilize emerging technologies to enhance learning and operational efficiencies.
The Professional Development Center in Mesquite was one of the first in the state and is evidence of his commitment to continuous development of employees. Jointly designing and leasing a part of that facility to Texas A&M Commerce for their Metro Campus is testament to the value he placed on continuing formal education, and on partnerships as well.
He began his teaching career in Ozona, Texas and then moved to Mesquite where he taught 6th grade. While teaching he invented manipulative devices for teaching math for which he was granted two United States patents.
He later served in other leadership roles in Mesquite including
assistant principal, elementary principal, and administrative assistant to the
superintendent. He left Mesquite to become superintendent in Allen in 1978.
He is a graduate of Commerce High School and holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Doctorate in Education from the University of North Texas.
Dr. Horn was named the Texas Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators in 1995 and represented Texas at the American Association of School Administrators. The Texas Association of School Boards named him one of the top five superintendents in Texas in 1993.
In 1998, the Mesquite Independent School District Board of Trustees honored Dr. Horn by naming the district’s fifth high school after him. Dr. John D. Horn High School opened in the fall of 2000. He takes great delight in dawning cap and gown annually to lead the senior class processional in for graduation ceremonies. He has said that when visiting the school he has to “pinch” himself to believe that it is really his name on the school.
Dr. Horn was the 1999 recipient the Golden Deeds for Education Award as named by the Administrative Leadership Institute, which is co-sponsored by the Texas A&M University Department of Educational Administration and the Texas Association of School Administrators.
For his outstanding accomplishments in public education Texas A&M University-Commerce awarded him Distinguished Alumnus status in 2002.
He is very proud of his role in developing the national award-winning Texas Professional Development and Technology Centers in conjunction with Texas A&M University-Commerce in the early nineties. This partnership focused on a field-based approach to pre-service development of teachers.
He is widely respected as a talented presenter and trainer at conferences and leadership development seminars and occasionally assists school boards in searches for superintendents.
Dr. Horn has served on a number of state committees and headed several state organizations. Examples include:
Past president of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA)
Board Chair of the Texas Center of Educational Research
Governor’s appointee to the Task Force on Vocational Education and served on the original board for Texas Academy of Math & Science as the governor’s appointee
Board chairman of the Texas Leadership Center
Chairman of the State Board of Educator Certification Advisory Committee on Superintendent Certification.
Board of Directors member for the Texas Business and Education Coalition
President of the Equity Center
One of the thirteen founding leaders of the the Association of Texas Professional Educators
In 2004 he became a Senior Associate at the Schlechty Center based in Louisville, KY, a non-profit organization committed to student engagement and school transformation. In partnership with the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Schlechty Center he has led the development of a network of Standard Bearer school districts focused on creating greater student engagement and building organizational capacities to change to meet new expectations for all students to learn at high levels.
He was the lead designer and facilitator for the group of 35 Texas superintendents established by TASA who met over two years to develop a set of principles on which to shape educational policy and practice to meet the needs of the digital generation. He was the lead author of their their document published in 2008 entitled: A New Vision for Public Education in Texas. This work frames the transformational work now permeating the state where over two-thirds of the school boards in Texas have adopted its principles as a guide to a new accountability system and providing the experiences that more effectively meet the needs of 21st century learners.
Dr. Horn is an avid reader of professional articles and books and a wide range of other materials. His interests include, beekeeping, woodworking, American Indian Artifacts, gardening, and antique tractors.
And if you want to bring a twinkle to his eyes, ask him about his seven grandchildren. Daughter Katrina, is Director of Staff Development in Rockwall ISD, and son Greg is engaged in agri-business/ranching and establishing cowboy churches.
Dr. Horn and his wife Lynda reside at their family ranch located near Commerce in Hunt County Texas. Lynda retired from the Dallas County Community College District as Coordinator of Construction Services in 2000.