San Angelo - “Strong school boards want strong superintendents.”
That was the closing pitch that Dr. Mike Moses and Mr. David Thompson gave to the San Angelo ISD Board of Education when they presented their services from their search firm at a workshop Monday afternoon the SAISD Board of Trustees held to help replace Dr. Carl Dethloff, who announced his retirement effective in January.
Moses and Thompson represented Thompson & Horton, a full-service law firm whose mission is to provide the highest quality personalized legal service to public and private schools. Because of that mission, the school board hired the firm to help find the next superintendent for SAISD.
Throughout his career, Dr. Moses has been the superintendent at Lubbock ISD, commissioner of the Texas Education Agency under George W. Bush, and superintendent of Dallas ISD. Mr. Thompson is Partner at the law firm’s Houston office. He serves as legislative counsel for the Texas Association of School Administrators, Houston Independent School District, and other school districts. He has been actively involved in most legislative activities affecting public education over the past 30-plus years.
In their presentation to the Trustees, the men talked about the 200 searches their firm has done for different school districts around Texas, including Lubbock’s, Kerrville’s, and San Antonio Northside’s ISDs.
Even though they have conducted several searches for different districts, the men clarified that the firm only serves a small group of selected communities each year. Currently, in addition to SAISD, the firm is conducting a search for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD as well as a district near the coast that they didn’t specify.
Moses and Thompson laid out that their clients would not be the candidates but rather the school board and presented a suggested timeline to have a new superintendent in place by January. That proposed timeline would start as soon as July 27th, with interviews happening mid to late October.
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The law firm would also conduct focus groups with members selected by Trustees, including parents, teachers, nonparent taxpayers, and other civic leaders.
The men stressed the need for confidentiality not for the sake of secrecy but to allow the best candidates to be included in the process:
Both men said the position in San Angelo is an attractive one given the excellent medical facilities in town, Angelo State, and the school district’s programs as positives.
In their proposal, the firm would charge $24,000 plus any expenses to the school district. Expenses include travel expenses to any potential candidates who come to San Angelo.
Why this matters: Thompson and Horton is a respected firm with a lot of experience filling superintendents in different school districts around the state. Given this experience, the firm has an extensive Rolodex of potential candidates. Their expertise will help the Board of Trustees select the best person for the job. Additionally, their cost is very reasonable.