The board announced the selection at an April 28 board of trustees meeting.
“It’s commonly accepted among trustees across the state that the most important decision a board will ever make is the finding and hiring of a new superintendent,” said board President, Steven Smith. “That decision will have tremendous impact, as we know by the great leadership provided by Dr. Cain for the last 12 years.”
The board hired Houston-based executive search firm Thompson and Horton to assist in procuring the new superintendent.
In March trustees reviewed 50 applicants and resumes and narrowed down the search to six candidates. After the initial interviews, two candidates remained, Smith said. After second interviews, Champion was selected.
“I believe we found the best of these applicants for Klein ISD,” said board of trustee member Rick Mann.
For eight years Champion has served as superintendent from Leander ISD, located outside of Austin, Texas. The district has more than 37,000 students and 4,500 employees. Champion was the assistant superintendent, executive director, principal, assistant principal and teacher at the district prior to being superintendent. He has been employed by that district for more than 22 years.
Champion earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Houston, his Master of Education at Texas State University and his Doctor of Education at the University of Texas. He and his wife, Marcee, also an educator, have two sons in college.
“I am very aware that this is a strong community with focused families with incredible educators,” Champion said. “I’ve watched what’s happened with the recent floods and the way the community has had an amazing outpouring of support for each other. That’s not everywhere. This is a special place.”
He said after spending time in the area during the interview process that he and Marcee determined they wanted to be a part of the community.
Champion said that after getting to know Dr. Cain and witnessing his depth of character and love of the community, he has big shoes to fill.
“You will not find someone who burns with more of a passion to ensure that every student gets a quality education in the state of Texas than me,” he said. “We are doing amazing things here in Klein, but there’s always an opportunity to get better.”
He said he is interested in hearing the stories that make up Klein ISD, and he is a believer that educators need to listen in order to lead.
“We want this district to be a place where every pathway is available to every student and where truly every student is future ready,” he said.
Texas law requires a 21 day period between the naming of the finalist and the selection of a superintendent. The KISD board is scheduled to take a final vote on May 23.
Champion assumes the role on July 5. Cain’s last day as superintendent is June 30.
Cain’s wife, Susan, said she is looking forward to enjoying time with their grandchildren together. She is also anxious to take a planned river cruise in France.
“We’re trying to decide where to go after that—Hawaii or Alaska,” she said.