WISD School Board

Waco ISD board President Pat Atkins (left), shown with Trustee Larry Perez during the March meeting when the board accepted A. Marcus Nelson’s resignation, said the board is looking for a superintendent that interacts well with the community.

The Waco Independent School District has opened the application process for its new superintendent, which the school board hopes to have in place soon after the start of next school year.

The board of trustees approved the process Thursday to permanently replace A. Marcus Nelson, who resigned in March after a misdemeanor marijuana possession arrest.

Applications are open through June 19. Trustees will review applications June 24 and start the first round of interviews with candidates July 16.

Follow-up interviews will be conducted July 22-24, and the board plans to vote to name the lone finalist July 31.

State law requires the school board to name the finalist or finalists for superintendent at least 21 days before officially voting to employ the person. The earliest the Waco school board could vote to hire a new superintendent would be Aug. 22, two days after the start of the 2019-20 school year.

The public is invited to fill out a leadership qualities survey, the results of which the board will consider while reviewing applications.

The Texas Association of School Boards’ Executive Search Services is conducting the superintendent search. TASB helped Waco ISD with its previous superintendent search, and under the firm’s contract, this search will be free to the district, minus expenses, because Nelson did not stay with the district for two years.

Veteran educator Hazel Rowe is serving as interim superintendent until a permanent replacement is hired. The board named her interim superintendent March 28, the same day it rehired TASB.

Board members briefly discussed characteristics they want to see in the next superintendent Thursday, including the willingness “to listen and learn and interact well with staff and community” and a “proven record of developing successful and effective professional relationships with businesses and community groups.”

“I think that’s what we’re looking for — somebody willing to go out there and listen and do that interaction with the community,” board President Pat Atkins said.

Nelson resigned March 21, two weeks after his arrest in Robertson County. He was returning from meeting with the Houston Independent School District board about its vacant superintendent position. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper stopped Nelson for a traffic violation and found less than 2 ounces of marijuana in his vehicle.

Nelson entered a pretrial diversion program that will drop the charge if he avoids trouble for 90 days.

Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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