Milton R. Fields III stepped into the role of superintendent of Judson ISD in May. Fields graduated from Judson High School before serving in the military for 20 years. During his time working for the district, Fields was principal of Karen Wagner High School, assistant superintendent of operations, and deputy superintendent of student support services and administration. In an interview with Community Impact, he discussed his goals as superintendent and some of the anticipated challenges for the district. This interview has been edited for length, style and clarity.

Since this is your first full year as superintendent, what are your immediate goals for this school year?

I want to get to know the concerns of the community, and get to know the concerns of the students, faculty and staff. I would say that every day from now until December is kind of a new day in this position in terms of what I have to expect. We are all focused on what we can do to bring our [standardized test] scores up. We want to improve our communications with the community as well and make sure we have a good relationship with them, and most of all with the students.

What are some of your long term goals?

I would say [my] long term goals would be to give back to the community that created me, and be the inspiration for students that the teachers were for me. You really don’t know what you are learning until you have to pull on that information and you get out into the world, and a lot of what I learned from Judson made me who I am today. I just really want us to continue to be a family atmosphere. A lot of ISDs say that, but I can truly tell you that at Judson ISD, it is a family atmosphere.

What are some of the challenges that the district is facing?

I would say our biggest challenge is having seven municipalities that we report to. Having to go in and out of all those municipalities in terms of running our own school district. Some of our other challenges would be some of the challenges that you are seeing in other school districts. There was a group of students that came out of COVID. It was an unusual time, and that bubble has to work its way through in terms of getting those students academically prepared for graduation, and we are just trying to do the best we can in getting that done and to address those deficits that happened when they were just at home on a computer.

What would you like the community to know?

In terms of me, I would want them to know that I am a product of Judson. It came to my understanding that it wasn’t about being a superintendent, it was about being the superintendent of Judson and giving back to the community that helped create me. I think for Judson that is new. We have often gone outside of the district to bring somebody in, so to have someone homegrown is huge for Judson.

In terms of the district, I would say that we have white-collar people, but this is a blue-collar district. They work hard. The kids work hard, and people put in the time to do what needs to be done and get better. We serve a great community and a great group of kids. Once they realize how much you care about them, they will do anything for you. We just want to continue not to abuse or do anything to lose that trust of the students and the community.