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Board to discuss superintendent search

November 25, 2018 GMT

Representatives from the superintendent search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea Associates will meet with the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss what the quest for a new school chief will look like.

The special meeting will be held in the first floor board room of the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave.

Items on the agenda include discussion of the superintendent search process, discussion and possible action to approve the calendar and general process for the search and a closed session.

Jim Nelson has been serving as the interim superintendent since former Superintendent Tom Crowe stepped down in August. His resignation took effect Sept. 1.

“We’re supposed to have all three of the HYA representatives there,” Board President Doyle Woodall said.

He said HYA sent the board an email with a lot of homework and items to read.

Tuesday’s meeting, he said, is basically to identify the public meetings they want to have and who the board wants to participate in them, such as the Odessa Chamber of Commerce and Education Foundation.

Woodall said he’d like to see the firm meet with other leadership in the county and community members who want to ask questions or offer input. The process also will include what the trustees are looking for.

He added that he wants to find someone who fits ECISD and can sustain “the positive things that we’re doing and implement things in areas that are needed” to help the school district grow and improve.

Woodall said he’d like to see a superintendent who can back up their previous accomplishments with data.

“We need data to prove that person can be effective in the environment we have in Ector County,” Woodall added.

He and board member Steve Brown said they don’t think keeping Nelson as superintendent is an option.

“Mr. Nelson is kind of helping us out over this rough patch we’re going through right now,” Woodall said.

He added that Nelson isn’t interested in a long-term situation and that Nelson is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren. Woodall said Nelson came in to help ECISD because he’s from Odessa and Ector County and wanted to help.

“That topic hasn’t even been bought up by anyone,” Woodall said.

Woodall said the new superintendent does not have to be from Texas.

He said the state ranks 42nd in per pupil spending and floats between 38th and 39th in effectively educating students.

Woodall said ECISD is looking for a superintendent that can help all students be successful “in spite of the current state leadership.”

“We have to find someone that has that fire in their belly, that truly, truly believes in public education, and again, has the data to support the things we need to see done in Ector County,” Woodall said.

He added that reading scores have to be increased.

“We’ve got kids in eighth grade that never missed a day of school, but don’t know how to read,” Woodall said.

He added that Nelson has put some people in place that are very qualified and have tremendous amounts of data on their ability to make needed changes.

Brown didn’t want to say too much about the meeting. He said Woodall is supposed to be the spokesman for the board on this matter.

“It’s really an introductory meeting,” Brown said.

He said his expectation is that a timeline will be formulated and more specifics tackled on the search.