BEEVILLE, Texas — A superintendent in the Coastal Bend is making his mark as the first Black superintendent of his district.
Travis Fanning is from Atlanta, Ga., and before coming to the Coastal Bend, he served as an assistant superintendent in Houston.
Now, in his second year as the Beeville ISD superintendent, Fanning is making history.
He said his love and passion for education started when he was working in a mathematics lab at Alabama A&M University.
“So I decided I was going to go ahead and become a math teacher," he said. "So I went ahead and changed my major to be a math teacher. So, I had a math degree with specialization with secondary 'ed.' And so I chose that path, and haven’t regretted it since."
As a leader in the school district, Fanning said he believes in being present in the community and giving back.
“I see him in the community and he is visible," said Moreno Junior High sixth-grade math and math intervention teacher Angelika Benavidez. "You know, he hosts community meetings where people can come in and discuss issues in the school in the community; how to better ourselves as a whole, and I think that is wonderful."
Involving the community is important for Fanning, who believes in setting an example for behavior.
"I think that it's extremely important that people see that leaders are not just about being the figure heads, but they are also about truly investing in the lives of others, and wanting to change the trajectory of their community," Fanning said.
And he hopes to be able to be the model for kids wanting to pursue a career in education administration.
“There were some black leaders growing up but there wasn’t a lot as far as the rankings of assistant superintendents or superintendents," he said. "So for me, it's important for me to be visible in our community and be visible among our students to let them know they too can achieve their dreams and they can do anything they put their mind to coupled with hard work, and coupled with the support of those who paved the road for them.”
As a superintendent, Fanning said he is a fan of public education for many reasons.
“Because I believe that public education is one of those few outlets that accept all students no matter how they are or where they come from," he said. "And our goal is to always educate and truly invest in them and I believe that we have the power to change the trajectory of, not just Bee County and Beeville, but also change the trajectory of our state and our nation."
His work is inspirational for students and staff coming in contact with Fanning, Benavidez said.
“Those goals that he has he has achieved them and he has become successful for himself," Benavidez said. "I mean that is fabulous. That right there is Black excellence."
Fanning answers the question of what Black excellence means to him.
“I believe that Black excellence for me, is being the Superintendent at Beeville Independent School District and representing the Coastal Bend and representing the Black community," he said. "But not only the black community but serving all of our students, serving the 3,005 students that we have in Beeville so that they can see the positive things that I have within me, but also to help ignite the possibilities to them as well.”
Fanning is working on his doctoral degree from Baylor University in Educational Leadership.
If you would like to nominate someone for Coastal Bend Black Excellence you can fill out the form here.