IDEA moves toward re-consolidating superintendent, CEO roles

Collin Sewell (Courtesy: Idea Public Schools) and Dr. Jeff Cottrill (Courtesy: Idea Public Schools)

IDEA Public Schools wants the Texas Education Agency to re-consolidate the district’s CEO and superintendent roles into one position.

The organization’s board of directors voted to approve amendments to its organizational leadership structure in February, a release from IDEA says, and will seek approval of those changes from the TEA on June 1.

The change would result in Board Chair Collin Sewell stepping down as volunteer acting CEO but remaining chair while Jeff Cottrill — who’s been superintendent since mid-2022 — assumes both roles.

“We have full faith in Jeff in this combined role because he is a visionary leader who leads with his heart and is laser-focused on student outcomes,” Sewell wrote in the release. “Under Jeff’s leadership, IDEA will continue to harvest positive results for our students and families.”

The change would also result in the creation of a position as president that would answer to Cottrill and lead the organization’s non-instructional departments, overseeing areas like information systems technology, advancement, human assets, staffing, campus operations, and marketing and communications.

IDEA’s board of directors also proposed the appointment of a chief schools officer overseeing area and regional superintendents, the release read, and Cottrill will soon begin the process of identifying individuals to fill both positions following TEA’s approval of the amendments to the organization’s charter.

“I am incredibly excited and honored for the opportunity to continue to serve our students and families in this new capacity,” Cottrill wrote. “The future is bright at IDEA Public Schools as we align our organization’s core value to drive excellence in every classroom, for every student.”

The proposed changes follow a period of leadership instability at IDEA that appears to have come to an end when Cottrill, a former TEA official, took the helm last year. The CEO and superintendent roles were split during that turmoil, in 2021.