HOUSTON – July 23, 2020 – At its Annual Conference Awards Luncheon this spring, the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) recognized 41 educational organizations across the state – including Spring ISD – for following best practices in the area of purchasing operations.
“There’s no better way to achieve professional purchasing operations than to share best practices throughout the state and document your district’s policies and procedures,” said TASBO Executive Director Tracy Ginsburg in a statement. “We could not be more pleased with the growing recognition of the important work all of our honorees do to streamline operations, comply with regulations and set the standard for how to utilize taxpayer dollars.”
The Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations was established by TASBO to recognize Texas school districts, open-enrollment charter schools and education services centers that demonstrate a strong commitment to professional standards in their acquisition of goods and services on behalf of their local communities. Spring ISD has received the honor 11 times.
Since shortly after that awards luncheon, the Spring ISD Procurement Department, under Executive Director Phillip Ellison, has been hard at work to meet the changing needs of the district and its campuses for goods and services throughout the pandemic. Like other district departments, the Procurement team had to adapt to working remotely and communicating with colleagues, customers and vendors in new ways.
“I think we’ve been busier now than we’ve ever been,” Ellison said. “We had to shift all of our procurement needs to COVID and accommodating an online environment, a virtual environment, and so there were new contracts that were needed for that – and not just needed but needed immediately, to accommodate students’ online learning needs.”
He credited the individual members of the department with being flexible over the recent months, adapting quickly to changing circumstances and supporting each other while keeping their shared commitment to service excellence front and center.
“My team never skipped a beat,” Ellison said. “They’ve done a fantastic job, and that just goes to the level of professionalism the team has.”
In addition to the group’s Award of Merit, just before the COVID-19 closures Ellison was also honored by TASBO as one of just three finalists across the state for the organization’s Commitment to Excellence Award, its highest individual honor.
“I was very humbled to be among the short list of finalists,” said Ellison, crediting the department’s three operational pillars – compliance, customer service and value creation – with helping to keep him and his team grounded and on point, no matter what.
“You just have to stay focused on why we’re here,” he said. “You know, that’s the bottom line, is ensuring everything that we do we’re keeping that in mind – knowing that what we do is for our students.”
Ellison explained that the annual Award of Merit application process helps drive the Procurement team to grow and improve. He also expressed the department’s gratitude to Spring ISD Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks, whose leadership and support Ellison said were instrumental in the department’s success.
“This requires we continue to review our processes, to continue striving to be the best department we can be,” he said. “It keeps us diligent.”