Longview ISD superintendent discusses plans to retire

Rather than a two-week notice, James Wilcox has given a two-year notice, and there’s a reason for that.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 4:42 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - He’s been the head of the Longview Independent School District for nearly two decades, and he’s announced he’s stepping down. But, rather than a two-week notice, James Wilcox has given a two-year notice, and there’s a reason for that.

James Wilcox became Longview ISD superintendent in 2007, and he’s announced he’s going to retire in December of 2025. Anybody who comes in to replace him will have to get very familiar with what’s going on, so when they actually do start working, they can hit the ground running.

“That was the goal and the thought behind giving the extended notification of when I wanted to retire,” Wilcox said.

He said he wanted to give the Board of Trustees plenty of time to find a replacement.

“We have a lot of irons in the fire here in Longview and a lot of different things that are going on that are unique here in Longview,” Wilcox said.

He feels one important topic is the international baccalaureate program. Wilcox said many schools don’t start offering this kind of program until high school, but LISD starts long before then.

“If you haven’t trained yourself all along, it’s a heavy lift for you to get there,” Wilcox said.

He said when he started at LISD the AG program had been abandoned.

“We’re now in the top ten percent in the state of Texas in the size of our agricultural program,” Wilcox said.

That’s partly because of their garden, which some districts in Texas would like to emulate, according to Wilcox. He said he feels the Montessori program is also high on the list.

“To take our head start kids, our three-year-olds, and put them in with our pre-K and our K and let them have a level playing field when they start reading,” Wilcox said.

Those are just three of the programs Wilcox’s replacement will have to understand, and they’ll also have to keep in mind the more technical aspects.

“TEA says we have a 100 percent rating on financial integrity,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox has always felt that students need to start out early to be ready for life after graduation.

KLTV 7′s Jamey Boyum has a conversation with Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox who has given notice that he plans on retiring in December of 2025.