By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News
The Leander ISD Board of Trustees is starting the search process for a new superintendent after Bret Champion announced on Apr. 28 that he is resigning July 1 to become the new superintendent of Klein ISD in Houston.
Champion has served as LISD superintendent since 2008, leading during a period of rapid growth that has consistently placed LISD among the fastest-growing districts in the state.
“The ability to succeed and grow at the same time, those are often difficult to do,” said LISD Board President Will Streit. “His biggest accomplishment has been helping us to manage that balance.”
Klein ISD in Harris County, Houston is also a fast-growth district with 50,000 students. By comparison, LISD has approximately 37,000 students.
The LISD Board of Trustees has met twice since Champion’s announcement, on May 2 and May 5. At the May 5 meeting, the board reviewed six proposals from superintendent search firms and voted to interview two of the firms – Thompson & Horton, and Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. Those interviews will take place on May 12 and May 16 and both will be open to the public, Streit said.
“I would anticipate that if we select one, we will select one within the next week,” Streit said Monday. “Once we do that, we will have a better sense of timing and next steps because that’s something that we will jointly develop with input from the search firm.”
The second task for the board is to select an interim superintendent. Also at the May 5 meeting, the board moved that the superintendent selection process will not allow for the interim superintendent to be considered as a candidate for the superintendent of schools position.
“As you look at candidates externally, they are often hesitant to apply for a position if the interim is also a candidate,” Streit said. “In their mind, it gives a signal that the interim may have preference. It decreases the quality of the pool of candidates.”
It also may affect the willingness of someone to serve as interim superintendent, Streit added.
The LISD website now has a page dedicated solely to the superintendent search, to keep the community up-to-date, Streit said.
“One of our goals in this process will be to do as much in open session as we can to aid in transparency and community insight,” he said.
Qualities looking for
When it comes to the qualities they will be looking for in a candidate, Streit said four qualities that stand out to him are a record of academic excellence, community involvement, students’ success and leadership ability.
He said the incoming superintendent will face the continuing challenge of maintaining student success in a fast-growth district.
“(He or she must) continue to drive student success across the entire spectrum of students while at the same time the district continues to grow,” Streit said.
Champion to be missed
Streit said while the board is sad to see Champion leave the district, they are very excited for him.
“Bret Champion has been a part of our district for more than 20 years, and he will be greatly missed,” Streit on LISD’s website. “We will continue to drive forward our shared vision of ensuring student success.”
Champion said the decision to leave LISD was a difficult one.
“The decision to leave Leander ISD was the most difficult professional decision I’ve ever had to make,” Champion said in a statement posted on the LISD website. “This is Marcee’s and my home, the place our boys were educated, and a spot where we have made deep friendships. With both boys in college now, when the unique opportunity to lead Klein ISD opened up, we decided to start a new adventure!”