Conroe ISD Superintendent
Mothers, fathers, historical figures, trailblazers, authors, poets, musicians—this is a typical list from which most people describe their role models.
But not Don Stockton, superintendent of schools at Conroe ISD. Although he tries to find something to admire in everybody, he admires everything in George Bailey—the fictional character in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“He’s in his hometown, he has some problems, but everyone comes together to help him,” Stockton said. “I joke with people that George Bailey is my hero, but he really kind of is.”
It is not so much the character Stockton admires as the way an entire town rallies for the good of the community. That, Stockton said, is how he sees Conroe ISD—and it is the reason why 27 years of his 29-year career in education have been in Montgomery County.
Stockton did not begin his career as a teacher. In fact, he was a business major at Purdue University, where he was also quarterback of the Boilermaker football team. A shoulder injury that resulted in two surgeries ended his dreams of going pro, and a lack of excitement while looking at job opportunities ended his dreams of corporate America.
“I thought long and hard about what was meaningful to me,” Stockton said. “The answer was the teachers and coaches I’d had growing up.”
Stockton changed his major, a sudden decision, but one made with confidence. That established a pattern he has since continued. When something feels right, Stockton does not waste time.
For example, about 28 years ago, Stockton, who lived in Indiana, was visiting his brother in The Woodlands. While shooting hoops at Knox Junior High School, his brother said to Stockton “You ought to move down here and teach.”
Stockton did, and he eventually came full circle on that moment, this time as principal at Knox from 1994-96.
In addition, when he was a teacher and a coach at Travis Junior High School, he met a new teacher named Kara. Two days later, they had their first date. Five months later, they were married.
After just four months in the role of interim superintendent, Stockton officially landed the job. That was 10 years ago, and even today, Stockton still seems somewhat surprised at the path his career has taken.
“I never foresaw any of this,” Stockton said. “When I became a teacher, I wanted to impact kids. My goal was not to become a principal or a superintendent. I taught, and I loved teaching. But then somebody told me I could impact even more kids that way.”
Stockton still has the opportunity to teach in the classroom by regularly visiting any of the district’s 56 campuses—approximately 300 visits a year. Along with every Conroe ISD administrator, Stockton substitute teaches twice a year. Most recently, he was at the helm of a fourth-grade class at Austin Elementary.
“God has blessed my life so much,” Stockton said. “I feel like I’m living the dream.”