Presidio ISD School Board hopes to hire new superintendent by early spring

PRESIDIO — At a special-called meeting of the Presidio ISD School Board on November 13, trustees set goals and intentions for hiring a new superintendent, which they hope to accomplish before the busy final weeks of the school year. The position will be formally posted and advertised on January 8. 

Shortly after former Superintendent Ray Vasquez resigned in May, former Blue Devil coach and administrator Carmen Rubner assumed the role on a temporary basis for the start of the 2023-24 school year. This year has also seen some shake-ups down the chain of command, with new principals at Presidio High School and Lucy Rede Franco Middle School. 

Doug Karr, consultant for Arrow Educational Services, is helping guide the district through the daunting process. He has successfully consulted superintendent searches at Presidio ISD before, playing a supporting role in hiring former superintendent Vasquez in 2019. More recently, he guided Alpine ISD toward hiring Dr. Michelle Rinehart. 

Karr explained that all superintendent searches are different and cater to the district’s individual needs. At November’s special meeting, he presented board trustees with a list of attractive candidate qualities and asked them to set their priorities. 

Presidio ISD board members decided that their top priority was hiring someone who was a “collaborator,” willing to serve as a liaison between staff, students and the community at large. Rounding out the top three, the trustees also wanted to see a “visionary” leader with “high moral standards and ethics.” 

The opening will be announced in January to coincide with performance reviews and a time educators typically start looking for job opportunities. Interviews will take place through the month of February, in hopes of getting the district’s final selection onboarded and ready to go by the time the summer budget season rolls around. “There’s a method to the madness,” he said. 

Though the position will be advertised far and wide, Karr stressed that the search would not be closed to internal candidates hoping to assume the role. “It’s wide open,” he said. 

He explained that superintendent salaries are customized to the candidate but more or less follow state guidelines. The Texas Association of School Boards conducts a salary study every year that tracks and makes recommendations based on the number of students in a district — a number that school districts are not necessarily “locked into,” but provide a blueprint. (Former Superintendent Vasquez topped out around $150,000.) 

Though the district has fretted about attracting out-of-town talent in the past, Karr felt that Presidio’s remote location wouldn’t repel quality candidates — Vasquez was an outside hire, transferring to the district from small-town Brownwood ISD. “Not everybody in the world wants to move to Presidio, but the last time I helped with the search we got a lot of interest in the job and good applicants,” he said. “I don’t think the location will be detrimental.” 

Certain details of the search process — such as who will be selected for interviews — will be kept private, in part to protect those applying from outside the district who don’t want to announce to their existing employers that they are looking to relocate. 

Despite that, Karr and the board of trustees were hoping that the community will engage with the process by participating in a survey that will be posted on the district’s website when the search formally commences. “We would love to have the input,” he said.