Dr. Darrell Myers, who has led Cleveland ISD for the past five years, is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year. He announced his retirement plans at the Cleveland ISD board meeting Monday night.
Myers, 59, plans to return to his family home in Polk County to spend time with his elderly parents and help around the family farm. He also hopes to travel with his wife of 37 years, Patty.
“This is my 21st year as a superintendent and I’ve been in school administration for 31 years. Most of my adult life has been in education, so I am a little apprehensive about retiring, but it’s the right time,” he said.
He leaves at a critical moment for Cleveland ISD as it is experiencing unprecedented growth and challenges not seen by previous administrations. In recent years, the growth prompted voters to pass two bonds to provide campus expansions and the construction of a new campus. The new superintendent will have to contend with taking over one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state.
“The challenges we’ve had in the past five years have been pretty drastic. They will continue to be here after I am gone, so there will never be a good time to retire,” he said.
With the district’s growth-related challenges, Myers said it is imperative that his replacement be hired well in advance of his retirement date. The district is preparing to post the position now and the board will begin candidate selection in the coming weeks.
Myers said the district’s goal is to have a new superintendent in place by spring, so the new superintendent can go through budgeting and staffing for the 2019-20 school year.
“We want to make sure that whoever comes in is part of the planning process … In addition to the budget, we do our staffing based on the projection of students we are expecting the next school year,” Myers said. “It’s pretty critical that whoever comes in has that information, so they have input on what needs to happen.”
Myers plans to spend his last two months with Cleveland ISD offering advice or answering any questions the new superintendent might have as they learn about the district.
When asked why the district chose to hire early and not put an interim in place during the selection process, Myers said Cleveland’s growth made the difference.
“With most school districts in Texas, a superintendent resigns and the district hires an interim while they go through the selection process for a new superintendent. In the situation we are in, however, that is not the best transition for Cleveland. It needs to be a smooth and effortless process,” he said. “We have a lot of issues we are dealing with regarding student growth, facilities and transportation. The person who comes in needs to be able to put their eyes on it and digest what is going on with the district while they have some informational support from me, so they understand where the district is and where it needs to go.”
The next step for Cleveland ISD is to host a series of meetings for the public, staff and faculty to help the board come up with a candidate profile.
“It will be what our community, staff and board want to see in the new superintendent. Then they will have a matrix with which to evaluate applicants,” he said.
According to Myers, the new superintendent will be blessed to have a friendly, cohesive board of trustees who are working for the greater good of the district.
“I am going to miss the board members. We have enjoyed great relationships. I hope that whoever comes in will appreciate that,” he said. “I hope I am leaving things better than I found them. I hope the next person who comes in will take it forward and leave it better than I left it for them.”
As he reflects on his five years with the district, Myers says his biggest achievements are actually the academic successes of Cleveland ISD students.
“I would like to believe we are heading in the right direction. We have brought the kids along academically. I’ve always said we have to do what is best for the kids. As long as we keep that first and foremost, then good things are going to happen for Cleveland ISD and its students,” he said.
By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org