The Longview Independent School District (LISD) Board of Trustees is offering former Superintendent Dr. James E. Wilcox a second term as interim.  The panel has already unanimously voted to hire an interim superintendent and assigned Board President Dr. Sam Satterwhite the task of offering the post to Wilcox.  Salary has yet to be established, but interims typically earn less than full-time supers.
“Any interim superintendent is going to cost less than a full-time person, so there is a definite savings to local taxpayers,” said Satterwhite.  “But with someone like James [Wilcox] we would be able to make a seamless transition because he knows this district like the back of his hand.”
Trustee Dr. Chris Mack is equally enthusiastic about Wilcox’s hiring. “We are going to have to hire somebody.  I think we get a lot more for our money if we hire someone who can come in and hit the ground running.”
Wilcox formally informed the board of his retirement in December, with his retirement officially commencing Dec. 31.  At that point Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo became interim superintendent.
“It’s difficult enough to work one of these positions, but to work both of them simultaneously is a monumental task,” said Satterwhite.  “Andrea [Mayo] has been holding down the fort better than anyone else could, but it’s not fair to expect her to continue doing both jobs.”
According to Satterwhite the board does not yet have a schedule for hiring a full-time superintendent, but the panel is wasting no time in approaching this vital task.  The board’s next meeting is February 6, which is the earliest the interim can be formally hired.  With the position being an interim capacity the LISD is not required to name a finalist.  Should Wilcox accept the position he will be assigned to lead the search for his permanent replacement.
“The last time we hired a [superintendent] search firm it cost the district more than $31,500,” said Trustee Chris Mack.  “Dr. Wilcox is admired and respected across the state and knows as many qualified people as any firm.”
In April 2007 Wilcox left the Waxahachie ISD in order to accept his current position in Longview.  Since arriving he has implemented such career and technology programs as district-wide International Baccalaureate and Montessori programs, and oversaw a school bond election that raised $267 million for the establishment of seven new elementary campuses, three new middle school campuses and the funding for extensive improvements at Longview High School.  He furthermore directed a district rezoning that simplified 28 attendance zones into just six, enabling a federal court to relax a 40-year-old desegregation order.
At the time of his retirement announcement in December, Wilcox revealed he had no immediate vocational plans, but would definitely continue to be active in the local educational community and in civic organizations.