GLADEWATER — Sedric Clark says he is humbled and excited to begin his job as Gladewater ISD superintendent and that he really only has one goal: continued excellence.
"There are a lot of great things going on in Gladewater, and we just want to add to it," he said. "We want to make the good better and the better the best."
Clark was hired officially in a brief meeting Friday evening at the Gladewater ISD administration building, 22 days after school trustees named him the lone finalist for the superintendent's job. He was given a three-year contract starting with a June 5 start date, and his annual base salary is $135,000.
Clark will take over for J.P. Richardson, who took the top post in Tatum ISD in March. Richardson was Gladewater ISD superintendent since 2008.
In 2014-15, the latest figures available, Richardson's salary was about $156,000 annually.
The Gladewater ISD school board's vote was unanimous — after almost every trustee made the official motion to hire Clark at the same time.
"Everybody's fighting; everybody makes a motion," board President Jon Keller said amid laughter from his colleagues. "So we'll go with George Glenn makes a motion, Jon Rowe second. All in favor? That passes unanimously.
"We're extremely excited for Gladewater ISD and to have Mr. Clark," Keller said. "I know he's excited, and we'll get ready to get going and get him in district."
Clark said Friday that he was attracted to Gladewater ISD because it was close to Longview, and he liked its size. He said one of the most important things that factored into his decision was what's already going on in the district.
"I know I'm inheriting a great situation," he said. "So it's just upon me to keep things going and make it better."
Clark recently moved to Gladewater — the commute from Louisiana "wouldn't work," he said, joking. And while moving in, Clark said he got a nice surprise.
"I found out my next-door neighbor is the mother of two students that I had at Foster (Middle School), so she came and re-introduced herself to me," he said. "So those connections are still there."
Clark said his goals for the district will be established with the help of the school board, but he wants to make sure that students and teachers are taken care of.
"Those are first two priorities," he said. "To make sure our kids are taken care of and dream as big as they can and reach those dreams — and that our teachers know that they are appreciated for the work that they do to make sure those kids realize those things."
Clark comes to Gladewater ISD from Mansfield High School, where he was principal since 2010. He was chosen as the 2016 DeSoto Parish School System's Principal of the Year and the 2017 Louisiana Principal of the Year.
State officials cited a dramatic increase in Mansfield High School's graduation rate during Clark's tenure, from 66 percent to 96 percent.
Before his stint at Mansfield High School, Clark was principal at Foster Middle School in Longview ISD.