Keller Citizen

Northwest school trustees pick superintendent finalist

Ryder Warren of Midland has been named lone finalist for the Northwest school district superintendent
Ryder Warren of Midland has been named lone finalist for the Northwest school district superintendent Courtesy

Midland Superintendent Ryder Warren on Monday night was named the lone finalist for superintendent of the fast-growing Northwest school district.

Warren, 47, who has been the Midland school district’s superintendent since July 2010, will succeed outgoing Superintendent Karen Rue, whose last day with the district is July 31.

“After you get to know me, there’s very few times when I’m speechless,” Warren said. “But I am finding it hard to put into words how excited we are to be here in this school district.”

Under Texas law, a 21-day waiting period is required before a formal contract can be offered to the finalist. A special board meeting is scheduled for July 19 for Warren to be formally appointed superintendent.

Trustees voted 6-0 to approve Warren’s selection as lone finalist. Trustee Mel Fuller was absent. Board President Mark Schluter said Fuller was sorry to miss the meeting but he also agreed with the selection of Warren as the next superintendent.

“This is a district that does not need to change directions,” Warren said. “This is a district that is a leader in our state.”

Rue, who has served as Northwest superintendent since July 2005, announced her intention to retire in January.

“Dr. Rue has left quite an imprint on our community, in our schools — in the spirit of Northwest ISD,” Trustee Devonna Holland said. “That legacy will continue to live on.”

Said Warren: “Karen is absolutely second to no one. It is an honor to follow her. It’s terrifying, but it’s an honor.”

Rue was paid a base salary of $264,902 plus additional perks, such as a $10,000 annual car allowance. Conklin has said the superintendent finalist and the board will negotiate the new executive's salary, and it won't necessarily be the same amount Rue was making.

Of 40-plus applicants from 15 states, six candidates were selected by executive search firm HYA for interviews with the school board.

Three were brought back for a second round of interviews with trustees.

“To get to this point, the board members have had to put a lot of effort in,” Schluter said. “Our administration put a lot of effort into creating our profile for a superintendent. Our community told us exactly what they wanted in a superintendent.”

The Midland district is slightly larger than Northwest in terms of total enrollment but has a much lower population density. Midland, a 765-square-mile district, boasts two 6A high schools and a total enrollment of 24,000 students. Northwest covers 234 square miles and has about 21,000 students and three comprehensive high schools — two in Class 5A and one 6A — plus an accelerated high school.

Unlike Midland, Northwest has been growing rapidly with no end in sight. The district, which includes parts of Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties, is adding new students at a rate of 1,400 per school year.

Before Midland, Warren was superintendent in Marble Falls from 2003 to 2010 and before that in the Crane and Thorndale school districts.

He has a doctorate in education from Texas Tech University and certifications as a superintendent, mid-management administrator, secondary English teacher and secondary physical education teacher.

Warren and his wife, Jill, have been married 26 years. The couple has two sons, age 20 and 17, and an 18-year-old daughter.