Eric Williams was named the lone superintendent finalist for Clear Creek ISD at a board of trustees workshop Nov. 9.
Williams would come to the district from Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, roughly an hour west of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Per Texas law, the board is now required to wait a minimum of 21 days before voting to appoint its lone finalist; a board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1, at which time the board will vote for Williams’ approval, board President Laura DuPont said. An official start date has not been determined, per a Nov. 9 CCISD media release.
The board narrowed its candidate pool first down to 80 people, then down to six, DuPont said. Those six candidates were interviewed and evaluated based on a leadership profile, which was put together based on a wide variety of feedback from community stakeholders and district leaders.
“We had the best of the best with substantial experience here as potential future leaders,” DuPont said.
The search started in July with board workshops focused on building understanding and cohesion around the process, DuPont said. From there, nearly 1,700 people participated in a survey, giving feedback about the ideal successor to current Superintendent Greg Smith. Between Sept. 9-12, individual interviews were conducted by national search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates with Smith, all board members and focus groups of stakeholders.
Of the original 80 candidates, about three-quarters of them were currently sitting superintendents, and about half came from Texas, DuPont said.
“Everyone we interviewed was just a fantastic candidate,” trustee Scott Bowen said, adding Williams stood out based on his passion for new learning strategies. “It just bled out of every single thing he said.”
Loudoun County Public Schools consists of about 82,000 students, 13,000 employees and a $1.3 billion budget in Leesburg, Virginia; the district grew by 9,000 students and 11 campuses during Williams’ 6 1/2-year tenure, per the media release. Under Williams’ leadership, the district opened three world-class academies in the areas of advanced technology and STEM, three computer science immersion schools in elementary education and new facilities to support enrollment growth, per the release.
Williams has more than 28 years of experience in education, including experience teaching social studies and English and experience teaching abroad in Brazil. The school district also consistently earns recognition for transparent, efficient budgeting and financial operations, per the release.
“Dr. Williams is uniquely suited to take us through and beyond our 2020-2025 strategic plan,” trustee Jennifer Broddle said at the Nov. 9 workshop. “He is thoughtful, methodical and wise...he offers an extreme depth of experience. We found him to be kind and humble.”
Other trustees pointed to Williams’ interview preparedness and preference for data-driven decision-making as selling points. Williams uses an approach grounded in listening and transparency, which falls in line with CCISD’s culture of establishing high expectations, DuPont said.
After Williams was unanimously approved as the finalist, he spoke at the workshop to thank the community for his selection.
“Clear Creek ISD clearly is a special place,” he said. “I am truly honored to follow in [Greg Smith’s] footsteps. ... I look forward to learning with and leading with each of you [on the board of trustees].”
Williams went on to praise the district’s students and teachers for their resilience and persistence amid the pandemic and encouraged the community to focus on forward progress in any capacity possible.
“In this difficult time, let's remember that our work is about progress, not perfection,” he said.