Waco ISD Superintendent
Dr. A. Marcus Nelson is the current Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent of Schools for the Waco Independent School District. This urban school system serves approximately 15,000 students on 26 campuses including 15 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 2 comprehensive high schools, 1 non-traditional high school, and 2 area-wide career and technical campuses.
Prior to coming to Waco in June of 2017, Dr. Nelson served as the Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent of Schools for the Laredo Independent School District where in 2014, he was named Superintendent of the Year for the state by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). He has also served as the Chief Academic Officer and second-in-command for the Judson Independent School District (a suburb of San Antonio). 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.
When Nelson became Waco ISD’s superintendent, six of the district’s campuses were rated “Improvement Required,” and five of those had failed to meet state standards for five or more years in a row. After Nelson’s first year in Waco ISD, all but one of the campuses were rated “Met Standard.” Capitalizing on the energy and momentum following the improvement in campus accountability ratings, Nelson introduced five bold changes to transform the district’s underperforming campuses and improve instruction at all levels across the district: a focus on early childhood education; a comprehensive districtwide literacy plan; enhanced special programs; differentiated instruction through blended learning; and coordinated wrap-around services. Additionally under Nelson’s leadership, the district was selected as a finalist for the Holdsworth Center’s prestigious District Leadership Program in the fall of 2018 and continues in that selection process. The Holdsworth Center was founded by Charles Butt and offers this innovative and engaging program to cultivate a pipeline of dynamic and inspired educational leaders so that teachers thrive and students excel in every classroom.
At each stage of his career, Nelson has been an agent for change and instructional alignment. As an award-winning urban superintendent and nationally renowned former high school principal, Nelson has inspired audiences throughout the country with his powerful message of positive thinking, teamwork 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.
Nelson has found ways to be a leader outside the classroom as well. In 2011, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) recognized Nelson with the Tejano Achiever Award in Laredo for his extraordinary community service. In 2006, 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. Nelson has also been recognized as the 2013 Young Alumnus of the Year at ACU. In 2015, the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) selected Nelson as the top superintendent in the state for his contribution to the field of instructional technology.
Nelson’s commitment to public education is evident in his work with various organizations devoted to supporting underprivileged students and their communities. He has served as a member of the board of directors for Laredo Boys and Girls Clubs and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Waco, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, NAACP, LULAC, and the Waco Chamber of Commerce. While working in Austin area schools, Nelson served as a board member for both the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Austin Area and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.
A. Marcus Nelson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Executive Secretary to the Superintendent