Trustees have agreed on the person they want as school superintendent and are expected to make their choice official Saturday.
“We are delighted and excited to be able to announce an excellent candidate to run our school district for hopefully many, many years to come,” school board President Norm Robbins said Friday.
“It will be the conclusion of an arduous process, but it has been very well worth it. We look forward to working with this person in hopes of making our school district the very finest it can be.”
Interim Superintendent Pat Linares, a former district educator, has led the district since Walter Dansby resigned June 2. Linares was not a candidate for the permanent position.
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State law requires trustees to vote in public for the finalist. A special meeting has been called for 10 a.m. Saturday.
After the vote, which is expected to be unanimous, 21 days must pass before the contract is finalized.
Linares, paid $150,000 for a six-month contract, is expected to stay on until the new superintendent is in place.
In August, trustees hired the consulting firm Ray & Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to conduct the search.
Dansby was paid a base salary of more than $338,000, making him one of the highest-paid superintendents in the state and one of the top-paid public officials in Tarrant County.
Dansby, the district’s first African-American superintendent, retired from the district Jan. 31, according to a buyout agreement. The deal included $306,000 in benefits when the resignation took effect and $356,398.63 on Jan. 31.
All told, Dansby’s buyout package was worth up to $892,899 including owed benefits and fringe benefits, according to district figures.
According to the 2013-14 annual report, the district had more than 84,000 students. It had almost 10,000 employees, making it the fifth-largest employer in Tarrant County, according to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
Yamil Berard, 817-390-7705
A half-century of Fort Worth school superintendents
Walter Dansby, 2012-14: The first African-American superintendent. He abruptly resigned June 2 after a contentious evaluation process. He grew up in the Stop Six neighborhood and began his career in 1974 as a Rosemont Middle School teacher and coach. He later coached at Paschal and Southwest high schools. He was an assistant principal at Paschal and a principal at O.D. Wyatt High before moving into district administration in the mid-1990s.
Melody Johnson, 2005-11: The first female superintendent. Hired from Providence, R.I., where she had been superintendent since 2002. She had also worked as a school administrator in San Antonio and had 36 years’ experience as an educator. Resigned in May 2011.
Thomas Tocco, 1994-2004: Hired in April 1994 from St. Charles Parish in suburban New Orleans. He drew criticism early on for promoting a woman he was dating to principal without telling the school board about the relationship. The woman later resigned, but Tocco refused to apologize or resign. The end of his tenure was marked by a construction billing scandal that cost the district $16 million. The board voted to reassign Tocco until his contract ran out.
Don Roberts, 1987-94: Began his education career in 1959 as a teacher, coach and administrator in Westin, Ore. Roberts’ Project C-Cubed (Community, Corporations and Classrooms) was applauded nationally and is considered one of his lasting achievements. In 1993, Roberts began to clash with teachers on the need to discipline students and announced his plans to resign later that year.
Carl Candoli, 1980-86: A University of Kansas professor, he was the first “outsider” to lead the district. Candoli’s forceful management style was seen as the antidote to a district “riddled with felonious activity,” according to then-school board President Richard O’Neal. Later, though, that same management style led to run-ins with trustees, employees and the media. Candoli resigned in 1986 after a school board ultimatum that he alter his “one-man-show” approach.
Gerald Ward, 1975-80: Began his career in education in 1950 as a teacher in the Fort Worth district, rising through the ranks to deputy superintendent in 1971. During Ward’s tenure, 16 people were indicted on charges of theft, bribery and perjury. Those charged included five employees; the rest were vendors who did business with the district. The investigation led to changes in the district’s purchasing system. Ward retired in 1980 and died in 1993.
Julius G. Truelson III, 1967-75: Started teaching and coaching at Riverside Junior-Senior High School in 1936 and taught and coached at several high schools. In 1967, he took a one-year appointment as superintendent while the board searched for a new leader. Six months later, his appointment was made permanent. Two integration plans took effect during his tenure, as well as the institution of a middle school program. Truelson was superintendent when the district began court-ordered busing in the early 1970s. He resigned in 1974, partly because of differences with board members. Truelson died in 2001.
Elden B. Busby, 1962-67: Began teaching in Fort Worth schools in 1931 and became principal in several high schools until 1946, when he joined the administration. In 1962, he was named the 11th superintendent of the district. Busby’s tenure was a time of great transition. In 1963, the school system integrated first-grade classes, and full integration was extended to all classes by September 1967.
Source: Star-Telegram archives