Dr Mike Moses. He's a former state education commissioner and Dallas superintendent. He's conducted about 20 superintendent searches, so naturally the Nacogdoches native is who the school board calls for guidance. "We like to come back to this area and we want it to be prosperous for young people," said the man who has a middle school named in his honor.
Moses knows the potential, but recognizes the challenges primarily poor finances, lagging student performance and personnel issues. "Some people would say Nacogdoches has had some turmoil. I could look at 1,031 school districts in Texas and I could find turmoil in probably 30 or 40 of them, so I don't know if its damage control. I think it is putting your best foot forward to make sure there is going to be great leadership," said Moses.
Moses began by listening to three focus groups. Their opinion has merit. Vanessa Hooper, director of school nutrition was invited. "They want trust. They want patience. They want strength in the new superintendent," she said. Rev. Alex Don Mills said, "The superintendent must have communication skills. They must have a good working relationship with the people."
The community must sell itself, enough to even steal a candidate away from another district. It faces competition with seven districts needing a superintendent. Moses is confident that there will be educators interested in the job, but superintendents don't come cheap. This is something the board and taxpayers must understand. "You don't have to be at the top of the market, but don't be at the bottom either. Be competitive," advised Moses.
This is one employment the board doesn't want to mess up. Board president Phil Mahar said, "We want to prove to the taxpayers that we're going to have effective efficient leadership that listens to the community and is basically responsible and wants to provide an education environment for all our children."