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Arlington school superintendent's abrupt departure is finalized

Posted Friday, Jun. 08, 2012

By Shirley Jinkins

ARLINGTON -- Just like that, school Superintendent Jerry McCullough's long career with the Arlington school district ended with a quick and dispassionate 6-0 vote Thursday night.

The vote on a separation agreement came just before 9 p.m. at the school board meeting.

"We appreciate Mr. McCullough's service and dedication to AISD," board President Peter Baron said. "Throughout his 43 years of service he has positively impacted thousands and thousands of students, and we wish him well."

McCullough was not present. No reason for the separation agreement was offered.

A copy of the agreement provided after the meeting shows that McCullough will remain on administrative leave with pay and benefits until his contract ends Jan. 14. He will receive accrued-leave benefits and be reimbursed for expenses incurred through Monday.

In the next motion, Deputy Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos was appointed interim superintendent, again on a 6-0 vote.

A round of applause greeted the announcement.

"I appreciate this opportunity to serve AISD in this capacity," Cavazos said. "Our primary task is to ensure that every student in Arlington receives a remarkable education."

Baron said, "This board has great confidence in you as we move forward."

The change at the top of the district unfolded quickly.

McCullough's possible exit first came to light late Friday, when the agenda for the school board's Tuesday workshop was posted. An item on the closed-session agenda stood out: "superintendent's contract status."

The board and McCullough were not forthcoming on the item during a long weekend of graduation ceremonies. Nor was it discussed during Tuesday's open-session workshop.

The board did discuss the preliminary 2012-13 budget, which could include a 2 percent across-the-board raise for employees.

There was some happy drama Thursday when Dustin Do, 16, of Sam Houston High School turned the key that started a BMW coupe. The car was a prize for perfect attendance, and students from the other five high schools had keys that didn't work. Do was the last to try.

"I thought my first car would be like a 2001 Concord," he said with a smile. He doesn't have his license -- yet.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657 Twitter: @startelegram

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