After a search that literally went as far north as possible in the United States, Brock's newest superintendent comes from the Lone Star State.
Cade Smith has been selected as the lone finalist to become the new Brock superintendent, the Brock school board decided in its meeting Monday, April 9.
Per state law, the board must wait 21 days before a contract can be offered and the hiring is official. “Mr. Smith is an instructional and community leader with values that mirror those of the Brock community,” Board President Marty Ivey said. “He brings a collaborative approach to decision making and leadership, and his time spent in both small and large districts provides him with experiences and insight that will enable him to lead our district as it continues to grow.”
Smith will replace Scott Drillette, who is leaving to become the chief financial officer at Manor ISD near Austin. Drillette has been with the Brock ISD for a dozen years, the past three as superintendent.
"It’s been an incredible ride," said Drillette.
Smith comes to Brock from Georgetown ISD, where he has been the executive director campus leadership and operations. In all, he has been at Georgetown since 2013, serving the first three years as Georgetown High School principal.
Smith’s professional career began as a teacher and coach at Lockhart High School (four years), Kaufman High School (two years), and Allen High School (four years). While at Allen, Smith was on the coaching staff of the 5A, Division I, state champion football team, and later moved into a role as athletic academic advisor for the district.
Smith then moved into administration in the Frisco ISD (four years) as assistant principal and associate Principal at Frisco High School before going to Georgetown.
Smith was chosen from 94 applicants across the United States, Ivey said.
"We even conducted a Skype interview with a candidate from Alaska," he said.
"We decided we weren't going to go through any kind of search firm," Ivey said. "We figured if we put it on web sites superintendents would look at we'd get some applicants, and we couldn't believe the response. We couldn't have had a better group of applicants."
Smith is a graduate of Harlingen High School. He has a bachelor of science degree in exercise and sports science from Texas State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. He is completing his Ph.D., with an anticipated graduation this fall.
During his tenure in Georgetown, Smith performed a variety of tasks designed to improve the overall quality of education in the district, including the development of a community-based accountability system, implemented programs to improve the overall number of National Merit Scholars, and oversaw the development of a curriculum management plan. He also assisted the superintendent in the development of a proposed bond, led Georgetown ISD through rezoning of middle and elementary schools, directed a safety and security audit, and redesigned the emergency operations plan for the district.
Smith comes from a family of educators. His father, Dr. James Smith, was superintendent in the Kaufman, Harlingen, and Alief ISDs. His stepmother, Dr. Jenny Preston, was a superintendent at Graham and Allen ISD. His uncle, Leland Frase, was a superintendent at Longview Pine Tree and his aunt, Patsy Frase, was an assistant superintendent at Pine Tree.
Cade’s wife, Haley Smith works as a nurse practitioner, and they have two children, 9-year-old Callen James and 7-year-old Taylor Grace.
Drillette came to Brock as the high school principal in 2006. He then moved into the athletic director's role, later becoming assistant superintendent before taking over the superintendent's position.
When he came to Brock, the district had just over 700 students and is now almost double that size.
"Brock is an incredible district and community and I’ve been truly blessed to be a part of both for the past 12 years. During our time in Brock, my family and I became completely invested in all that makes this school district such a special place," he said. "Being a part of that growth and all the successes along the way has been extremely rewarding.
"Choosing favorite memories is really difficult, but I would have to say that my first ever state tournament trip as part of a school district when our girls basketball team won in 2009 was definitely a highlight. Also, winning the football state championship in 2015 was really special because that was the culmination of so many years of hard work by so many people, and having the opportunity to be a part of the program since its inception made it a little more personal for me.
Of course, watching my own kids grow up and graduate from Brock High School will always be memorable for me." Drillette's official final day is May 31.
"I really want to thank our school board for giving me the opportunity to serve as superintendent for the past three years at one of the best school districts in the state of Texas," he said. "They took a chance on me, and I’ve never taken the job for granted. My years at Brock have been the most rewarding in all my life. I am comfortable knowing that Brock will continue to be successful for years and years to come."