LISD board votes to target Dr. Wilcox as interim superintendent - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Longview school board votes to target James Wilcox as interim superintendent

UPDATE (4:02p.m.) -  KLTV 7 spoke to Longview ISD Board President Sam Satterwhite who said he spoke with Dr. James Wilcox this afternoon and said Wilcox expressed interest in the opportunity to become interim superintendent. 

"I hope that he does come back," Satterwhite said. "Because nobody could do a better job as interim as Wilcox."

Satterwhite said a decision will not be made until the next board meeting on February 6.

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - (3:58p.m.) - KLTV 7 has confirmed the Longview ISD school board has voted unanimously to approach Dr. James Wilcox with an offer to come back to the school district as interim superintendent.

If accepted, Wilcox would lead an effort to find a permanent person to lead the district.

The board first voted Wednesday to hire an interim and went into executive session to discuss who would fill that role. Later in open session, they announced Dr. Wilcox as their choice and tapped board president Sam Satterwhite to approach Wilcox about returning.

According to the school district, a salary would have to be negotiated, but interim superintendents generally make less than their permanent counterparts.

"Any interim superintendent is going to cost less than a full-time person. So there is a definite savings to local taxpayers," Satterwhite said. "But with someone like James (Wilcox), we would be able to make a seamless transition, because he knows this district like the back of his hand."

Added Trustee Dr. Chris Mack "We are going to have to hire somebody. I think we get a lot more for our money if we hire someone who can come in and hit the ground running."

Wilcox tendered his notice of retirement to trustees in December. It took effect December 31, at which time Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo stepped in as interim superintendent.

"It's difficult enough to work one of those positions, but to work both of them simultaneously is a monumental task," Satterwhite said. "Andrea (Mayo) has been holding down the fort better than anyone else could, but it's not fair to expect her to continue doing both jobs."

Satterwhite said he had no specific timeframe as to when the board would hire an interim, but he said he would be moving quickly to begin negotiations.  A formal hiring could not take place until February 6, the next scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees. Because the job would be in an interim capacity, the district is not required to name a finalist.

"The last time we hired a (superintendent) search firm, it cost the district more than $31,500," Trustee Chris Mack said. "Dr. Wilcox is admired and respected across the state and knows as many qualified people as any firm."

Wilcox came to Longview from Waxahachie ISD in April, 2007. Though many new academic and career and technology programs, including districtwide International Baccalaureate and Montessori programs, were established under his watch, the highlight of Wilcox's tenure was a $267 million bond election that brought seven new elementary campuses, three new middle school campuses and extensive improvements at Longview High School. Wilcox also oversaw the district rezoning – reducing the previous 28 attendance zones to six – which paved the way for a federal court to relax a 40-year-old desegregation order.

Wilcox in December said he had not made immediate work plans, but intended to remain active in educational circles and Longview-area organizations. 

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