Dripping Springs ISD appoints interim superintendent, approves 64-acre purchase

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The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees voted at its agenda review meeting Aug. 19 to approve the hire of Nola Wellman as interim superintendent for the district. Wellman temporarily fills the vacancy opened by former DSISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing, whose official resignation was accepted by the board at the meeting. Both votes were 6-0, with trustee Barbara Stroud absent.

“I just want to reiterate what I said to you all earlier,” said Gearing, “I’m very grateful for my time here in Dripping Springs. I’ve learned an incredible amount. I’ve made incredible friends here, and this place will always hold a very special place in my heart.”

Gearing will conclude his work for DSISD on Aug. 30. His resignation follows Leander ISD’s unanimous Aug. 15 vote to approve Gearing as LISD’s superintendent after he was announced as the lone finalist for the position July 25.

While Wellman’s official start does not come until Sept. 3, board President Carrie Kroll said the new interim superintendent would be present on Aug. 26 for the board of trustee’s next meeting. Additionally, Kroll said that Wellman would attend Rooster Springs Elementary School on Aug. 20 to welcome students on their first day of class.

Wellman comes to the district with experience in Texas and Colorado schools, including formerly serving as superintendent for Eanes ISD. The board voted unanimously to offer a contract to Wellman after an Aug. 15 special-called meeting in which multiple candidates for the position were considered.

Following the vote on Wellman’s appointment, Kroll outlined plans for the search process for a permanent superintendent, which will be led by the Texas Association of School Boards’ Executive Search Services. Kroll said the process will begin with the opportunity for community feedback through a survey, which is currently available on the district’s website, as well as several choices of in-person meetings Sept. 5. The survey will be active until Sept. 8.

Kroll also gave a tentative timeline for the process, naming Oct. 30 as a projected date to vote on a finalist for the position and Nov. 21 as the date of hire, in accordance with the state’s mandated 21-day waiting period between naming a finalist and hiring them.

Also at the Aug. 19 meeting, the board unanimously approved the purchase of a 64-acre tract from the Headwaters at Barton Creek Development in Dripping Springs for close to $1.72 million, as part of the district’s 2018 bond. According to verbiage from the meeting’s agenda, the property is “for the purposes of future school and related school facilities.”

“This is property that we believe is in the right portion of the district to allow us to plan for future schools in the district,” Gearing said.

Per the vote, the purchase will become official only after the district’s legal counsel has performed a line-by-line review of the purchase agreement and it is signed.

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Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.
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