Following weeks of interviews, background checks and vetting of candidates, the Spring ISD board of trustees named Houston ISD administrator Rodney Watson the lone finalist to be the district's next superintendent.
"I'm extremely humbled and excited," Watson said. "This is a great district with a rich history. I look forward to building upon that history and continue to move student achievement forward. I'm really exited about working with parents and the community members about what they feel they need for the district."
Watson currently serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Houston ISD, which has more than 210,000 students and 30,000 employees. He has been an administrator with HISD since 2010 during which time he served as a school improvement officer and the chief school officer over 53 elementary schools.
"Dr. Watson, I want to say that I think you are well qualified and uniquely suited to be the next leader of our district," Spring ISD President Rhonda Faust said. "We're very excited, and look forward to continuing our discussion."
The Spring ISD board of trustees announced Watson as the lone finalist at a special board meeting June 2. Texas law requires a 21-day waiting period following the naming of the lone finalist to allow time for contractual negotiations.
David Thompson, co-founder of School Executive Consulting, the consulting firm helping the district with the search, said the board initially started with about 35 applicants before narrowing the list to seven applicants for the initial round of interviews. Thompson said the group was diverse, although most of the candidates resided in Texas. The board narrowed the group to two finalists before the last round of interviews and background checks.
The board can officially hire Watson June 23, Thompson said. Although the board could decide not to hire him during the 21-day process and go through the interview process again, he said he has never seen a school board reverse their decision.
"This process is arduous," Spring ISD Vice President Mel Smith said. "One of the things I look for is an intellect that is capable of managing an organization of this size. We clearly found that. I also was looking for someone who had a love of children, and we found that."
Smith and Faust also thanked Dalane Bouillion, who served as the interim superintendent since January after former Superintendent Ralph Draper resigned following nine years with the school district.
"I want to thank Dr. Bouillion for keeping our focus where it should be and keeping our district where it should be," Smith said.
Board member Deborah Jensen said she was confident in Watson's ability to lead the district through possible upcoming changes.
"We're going to be through some wonderful transformation and change," Jensen said. "It's not always going to be easy, but I want Dr. Watson to know that I feel very, very fortunate to have you here."
As a chief school officer for Houston ISD, Watson oversaw the operating budget and a capital expenditures budget of nearly $200 million for 53 elementary schools as well as the coordination and implementation of educational programs, support services and business for those campuses.
Before coming to HISD, Watson served as a campus principal with the Hickman Mills School District and the Lee's Summit School District in the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area.
For more information, visit www.springisd.org.