The Hays CISD board of trustees unanimously approved three new district hires during its regular meeting Jan. 22.

The details

Pfluger Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Lara will become the first principal of Jim Cullen Elementary School, which is set to open in August for the 2024-25 school year. Lara has been with the district for nine years and was previously assistant principal at Lehman High School.

Superintendent Eric Wright said Lara stood out as a candidate for her experience in teaching at an International Baccalaureate campus, which will be piloted at Cullen Elementary and other campuses. These campuses will serve students identified as Gifted/Talented and other high-achieving students.

Mark Torres will become the athletic coordinator and head football coach for Hays High School. Torres is the head football coach for Pebble Hills High School in El Paso.

“I do believe wholeheartedly in three very important things: character, commitment and culture,” Torres said. “Those are the three things you have to fight for every single day because challenges come from all different directions. ... I hope that we can build on the success from Coach Shelton’s days and establish quite a reputation around the state of Texas on his behalf, and build it and make it better than it’s ever been.”

Alan Duerr, Hays CISD deputy chief technology officer, has been promoted to chief technology officer. Duerr has been with the district for 22 years in a variety of roles and was named Hays CISD Administrator of the Year in 2019.

“Under my leadership, the team will remain focused on customer service, using technology to its fullest capacity to enhance learning and activities in the classroom, cybersecurity, and maximizing resources to get the best deal for our taxpayers,” Duerr said in a news release.