Presently, upwards of 500 school districts belong to TARS. The numbers are growing and the course remains steady. TARS is active with and respected by the state leadership. The association participates by testifying before committees and its membership carries concerns to their legislators as well as other associations.


  • To protect the “small school formulas/adjustment,”
  • To protect the valuation of agricultural land according to its productivity only, and
  • To fight efforts toward consolidation of small school districts.


Texas Association of Rural Schools (TARS) President, Robert Dillard of Littlefield ISD, would like to announce the hiring of Mr. Michael Lee as Executive Director for the organization. Mr. Lee will be assisted by Leigh Ann Glaze, retired superintendent from San Saba ISD.

After 27 years of service to public education, Lee retired as superintendent from Booker ISD in September, 2012. Since retirement, he has remained active in education by serving on the Board of Directors for Region 16, serving on the Board of Trustees for Booker ISD, teaching pre-calculus at Spearman High School and is currently finishing a 14-month term as interim superintendent for Higgins ISD. While at Higgins ISD, Lee has assisted the Board of Trustees in weathering the drastic reduction in funding due to a dramatic drop in property values, and the consequences of decisions made by the State Legislature. Lee is a veteran in the political arena and passionate about his advocacy for public schools. His experience includes leading the efforts to eliminate the intrusive District Effectiveness and Compliance (DEC) visits from the Texas Education Agency, has led efforts to pass a bill that eliminated audits for leavers and compensatory education, while also making the use of compensatory education dollars easier, and leading efforts to pass a bill that allows communities in sparsely-populated rural counties the ability to use sales tax dollars to support current retail, which was particularly important for the City of Booker which supported the school district he led. Lee served on the TASA Legislative Committee, TASA Commissioner’s Cabinet, TASA Executive Committee and was a director for TARS.

Glaze retired as superintendent from San Saba ISD in December 2016 after 27 years of service in public education. Glaze has also been involved in the political process having testified before the Legislature through the years on several occasions, while serving on various committees and boards that include, TASA Executive Committee, Texas Mentor Superintendent, a Director for TACS, Director TASB Risk Management, and a former Director for TARS. Glaze currently serves on the Board of Directors for Education Service Center Region 15 in San Angelo. Mrs. Glaze brings a variety of experiences and skills that will support the future of TARS. Having worked as assistant superintendent and superintendent over the past 20 years and serving on state level educational committees, she has acquired a working knowledge of how to better impact schools through state-level processes.

Upon learning of his selection as Executive Director for TARS, Lee stated that it will be an honor to work on the behalf of Texas Rural Schools and on behalf of Rural Communities. Having worked under the financial framework of both Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 and the associated problems with both categories of schools, Lee and Glaze will focus on finding solutions that will benefit all rural schools. “Bill Grusendorf has done an amazing job to establish and grow TARS into the excellent organization it is today. His shoes will be very hard to fill. Now it is our job to work just as hard to grow the services of TARS and to remain vigilant as we work to fully fund legislation that eliminates the 300 square mile penalty sooner, rather than later, and to also work for other solutions to help all rural school districts.” Mr. Grusendorf will be honored for his service at a future date.

The purpose of TARS is twofold: “To impact the state’s school finance and property tax systems so to ensure equitable distribution of educational resources and tax burdens, and to become involved both directly and indirectly in the policy-making and administrative processes of federal, state and local entities.” Mr. Lee and Mrs. Glaze will work diligently to advance this purpose on behalf of the children of Rural Texas.

Grusendorf Executive Director

Wm C “Bill” Grusendorf
TARS Founder & CEO


Membership Benefits Include:

  • One Year Membership (September 1st – August 31st)
  • TARS E-Newsletter with weekly updates during legislative years
  • Organizational opportunities for political growth and involvement
  • “Around the Clock” representation of the needs of small schools

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