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MISD Performing Arts Center Named After Innovative, Beloved Former Superintendent

Mansfield ISD honored former superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas by making him the namesake of the district’s performing arts center. The official dedication ceremony was held on Dec. 2.

Under Dr. Vaszauskas’ leadership from 2013 to 2019, Mansfield ISD received an “A” rating from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). His innovation and advocacy for student success also earned him the honor of being named the Region 11 Superintendent of the Year in 2017 and one of the top five finalists for Texas Superintendent of the Year. 

In addition to those worthy accomplishments, Dr. Vaszauskas worked to propel the district’s fine arts program during his time as superintendent. He championed for MISD to start an orchestra program and developed a vision to turn the performing arts center into a community hub featuring award-winning artists and communitywide events.

“Building that center into what it is today happened under him, and I think that’s part of what makes it so special and why his name should be on the building,” said Dr. Kimberley Cantu, MISD Superintendent of Schools. “The Center was his hub. It was his happy place. I think occasionally it was his hideout. It’s just a part of who he is,” said Dr. Cantu.

Dr. Vaszauskas’ dream became a reality as he worked with the center’s leadership to schedule concerts performed by big names in entertainment, such as actress and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth and gospel megastar Kirk Franklin. Each of those concerts featured Mansfield ISD fine arts students performing alongside industry stars.

“The great thing about Dr. V is he dares to dream; and anything is possible, which is so great and is a great definition of this place,” said Flo Torres, director of the performing arts center.

The momentum Dr. Vaszauskas began building for the center continues to grow as thousands of community members visit each year for district events such as the annual Back-to-School Bash and Toys for Tots drive. Going forward, the vital hub to the district and Mansfield ISD community will be known as the Dr. Jim Vaszauskas Center for the Performing Arts.

“Looking back on our years in Mansfield, we have so many great memories associated with that building,” said Cindy Vaszauskas, Dr. Vaszauskas’ wife. “Some of our favorite things we’ve done over the years have been in that building.”

MISD sought community input about the naming of six facilities in March 2021. Nearly 2,000 suggestions were submitted. The suggestions were then studied by a committee, and recommendations were brought to the MISD School Board for approval.

Dr. Vaszauskas was unanimously approved by the trustees to be the namesake of the MISD Center for the Performing Arts in May 2021.

View the dedication ceremony photo gallery.

 

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