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Executive Director

Photograph of Michael Lee, TARS Executive Director

What an honor to represent the Texas Association of Rural Schools! I have always admired Bill Grusendorf for founding such a strong organization and what he accomplished for Rural Schools during his tenure. Any school district that receives the small school adjustment, and now the 300 square mile penalty phase out, has him to thank. He was instrumental in these and many other accomplishments. Bill Grusendorf championed for Rural Districts and now TARS must continue to defend these accomplishments and find more ways to benefit our students.


I have seen many changes since the inception of TARS and where we are today in promoting our Rural School Districts. The largest change is in the State Legislature. As the population continues to increase in the urban areas, and the number of Rural Legislators continues to decrease, the obstacles grow more challenging. We must keep our message out front and proclaim the wonderful accomplishments our students in Rural Schools achieve. 


As one traverses the halls of the State Capitol, the need for strong advocacy for our districts is readily apparent. I look forward to working on your behalf with Cynthia Bayuk-Bishop, Associate Director, to represent TARS and rural school priorities.  We look forward to growing TARS to better meet your needs and represent your interests. 


Please know that we will work to find ways to benefit your schools as we move through the legislative sessions.


Thank you for this opportunity to represent you and the Rural Students of Texas!


Michael Lee

Executive Director