San Marcos CISD names lone superintendent finalist

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The San Marcos CISD board of trustees has named Michael A. Cardona the lone finalist for the district’s superintendent position. Trustees voted unanimously May 2 to name Cardona superintendent.

Cardona has been serving as chief school officer with Houston ISD since 2012. In that capacity he has overseen 42,000 students at 36 middle and high schools as well as 15 charter schools, according to an SMCISD news release.

The state requires a 21-day waiting period after which trustees are expected to offer Cardona a contract for employment.

Cardona said he was excited at the prospect of working with the board, the community and Texas State University to make San Marcos CISD a model school district.

“I want to … make sure that all our children are taken care of in the district and that when they graduate and they leave their parents, they can make the choice of what it is they want to do and we know with reasonable certainty that they’re going to be successful at whatever they do in life,” Cardona said.

According to the SMCISD news release, Cardona has been recognized throughout his career as a “turnaround administrator.” He has implemented measures that have led to increased passing rates and higher achievement scores, according to the news release.

Cardona previously served as a principal and assistant principal with North East Independent School District in San Antonio.

Board President Kathy Hansen said the district quickly narrowed the field of candidates to seven potential superintendents, whom she described as “very qualified.” Cardona stuck out because of his vast knowledge of San Marcos CISD.

“He has studied this district, studied each campus,” she said. “He knows the budget for each campus. He knows the staffing. He’s been to each school, all on his own before he came to the interview.”

The board spent nearly 14 hours interviewing candidates on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30.

“This man wants to be here,” Hansen said. “That’s what impressed us.”

The superintendent position came open when former superintendent Mark Eads announced in September in an email to trustees that he was “resigning from public education.” Eads was named the lone finalist for superintendent of Southside ISD in San Antonio in April, and his last day with San Marcos CISD was May 2.

The board also appointed Karen Griffith interim superintendent of SMCISD at the May 2 meeting. Griffith, who has served as assistant superintendent since 2014, will begin her term May 3. She will serve until Cardona officially joins the district, which Hansen said would likely be in early June.

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Brett Thorne reported on education, business, economic development and city government in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda from 2012 to 2017. Thorne attended Texas State University in San Marcos, where he graduated in 2010. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2012 and was promoted to editor in 2013.
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