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Longview ISD board of trustees names lone superintendent finalist

By Richard Yeakley
May 21, 2014 at 4:51 p.m.

Longview ISD trustees unanimously tapped an assistant superintendent with the district to become the school's chief officer Wednesday.

Horace Williams, who has been with the district since October, was named the lone finalist for the post that will be vacated with the departure of James Wilcox.

"As we discussed in our previous community meetings we looked at the experience in several different areas from curriculum, diversity, and the way of dealing with students of like nature as ours, and somebody who would be a good fit when looking at what would be in the best interest for the students of Longview," said board President Ted Beard of the assistant superintendent of educational services.

The decision came after about 2½ hours in executive session.

Trustee Chris Mack made the motion and John Preston seconded it.

The district has been searching for a superintendent since James Wilcox announced in November that he would leave the district by January 2015. The district must now wait 21 days before officially promoting Williams.

Wilcox was not in attendance during the public session of Wednesday's meeting.

Ten Longview residents and faculty waited through the meeting.

Williams was a Leverett's Chapel native who was superintendent of Cedar Hill ISD before coming to Longview ISD. His annual salary as assistant superintendent was $120,000, district spokesman Adam Holland said at the time of his hire.

"Horace has a long history of implementing positive academic change, and we couldn't be more pleased to have him working for the children of Longview ISD," James Wilcox said when he was brought on.

Williams served as superintendent of the 5A Dallas County-based school district from February 2007 until moving to Longview.

Before working at Cedar Hill ISD, Williams spent several years at other Texas school districts. He led Diboll ISD from January 2006 to January 2007 as superintendent and spent 14 years at Houston ISD as a teacher and then as a principal, Cedar Hill records show.

As assistant superintendent of educational services, Williams was tasked with helping improve the district's academic performance.

"As a part of the LISD family his role in the educational process has been one that is been positive as to student achievement," Beard said Wednesday.

When results of the first administration of state testing were released at the end of April, they showed Longview ISD's fifth-graders made significant strides in meeting standards, with passing percentages higher than peers in neighboring school districts.

Wilcox was first hired by Longview ISD in April 2007 from Waxahachie ISD. He retired Dec. 31, 2011.

On Feb. 6, 2012, the district rehired Wilcox as a part-time superintendent, citing that he would lead the charge in helping to gather and narrow the field of applicants for his successor.

The district first opened the superintendent position to internal candidates.

As of January, school officials said there had been no internal applicants for the district's chief despite having 22 employees with superintendent certifications - including Assistant Superintendent James Brewer, Assistant Superintendent Jody Clements, Deputy Superintendent Micah Lewis and Assistant Superintendent Horace Williams.

District officials said in mid-April that there were about 40 applicants for the job.

The district hired George McShan, sitting president of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees, for two days of work to help review applicants.



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