Plano ISD to conduct internal search for next superintendent after accepting Sara Bonser's retirement letter

Plano ISD board.
Superintendent Sara Bonser (center) speaks during the emergency Jan. 27 meeting of the Plano ISD board of trustees. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)

Superintendent Sara Bonser (center) speaks during the emergency Jan. 27 meeting of the Plano ISD board of trustees. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Plano ISD board of trustees unanimously voted to accept Superintendent Sara Bonser's letter of retirement and begin an internal search of the district for her replacement during an emergency meeting Jan. 27.

Several board members said Bonser's retirement was being accepted "with great reluctance." Each of the trustees offered thanks for the superintendent's service to the district and understanding of her decision to spend more time with her family.

During the meeting, Bonser said her older sister was diagnosed with liver cancer last year.

"Over the winter break, we just didn't get the news that we had hoped for," Bonser said. "So with a lot of thought and prayer and conversation, I am going to live the values that I have always asked my staff to do, which is to put your family first. Because while I love being superintendent and I would only want to be a superintendent here—I have had my dream job in my hometown—this time with [my sister] is my priority."

Board President David Stolle said the district plans to celebrate Bonser's career and the role she has played in PISD's success at a later date.

"While there is a touch of sadness in the air, we are not saying goodbye today," Stolle said. "Today there is work to do, and there will be work to do every day to maintain and build upon what you and your teams and all of our teams in Plano ISD have established. And you will continue to be part of that work for the rest of the year and thereafter as we transition to a new leader."

Stolle then moved the board on to beginning the process of finding a new superintendent for the district. He explained the district usually does either an internal search of the district or an external search for outside applicants for the superintendent position. Trustee Angela Powell then motioned to post the position of superintendent for an internal search for candidates, and that motion was approved unanimously.

In addition to Bonser, PISD's district leadership team includes Theresa Williams, the deputy superintendent and chief operating officer, and five assistant superintendents. Those include Katrina Hasley, who is assistant superintendent for academic services; Beth Brockman, who serves as assistant superintendent for employee services; Selenda Anderson, who is assistant superintendent for student engagement and district services; Courtney Gober, who serves as assistant superintendent for student, family and community services; and Patrick Tanner, who is assistant superintendent for technology services.

"I'm proud that I served alongside the most hardworking, brilliant and committed staff in this state, region [and] country," Bonser said. "I [would] put this team up against anybody in the world in serving kids in public education. They are dedicated to [the district's students] and doing what is right for kids."

To help with the transition, Bonser said she will continue with her duties as superintendent through the end of the school year and in whatever way she is needed after that.

"There's never a time in the life of a superintendent when you can say the work is done," Bonser said. "We [all] believe in the work that we do and what that does for kids in our community. We value that, and that will not change. It was that way before I came, and it will be that way when I go."
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.