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Medina ISD begins search for new superintendent

By Carolyn B. Edwards & MISD

The Medina ISD Board of Trustees has hired the Texas Association of School Boards Executive Search Services to assist with the important decision of hiring a new superintendent.
Butch Felkner, executive director for the TASB Executive Search Services will be in Medina most of the day Thursday, Oct. 9. He will be meeting with student leaders, district teachers and support staff, community members, board of trustee candidates, and the current board members.
Felkner will be inviting everyone in the Medina district to give input on the leadership qualifications and characteristics they want in the new superintendent.
The following meetings are scheduled:
3:00-3:30-Student Leaders-MISD Board Room
3:40-4:30-All District Employees-MISD Board Room
4:40-5:10-Parents and Community-Medina Community Library
5:10-5:50-Parents and Community-Medina Community Library
6:10-6:50-Parents and Community-MISD Board Room
7:00-8:00-Board of Trustees-MISD Board Room
The Superintendent search timeline calls for interviews starting in the middle of December and final interviews with finalists in the middle of January 2015.
The board is scheduled to name a sole finalist on Jan. 21, 2015, followed by a 21 day wait period to sign a contract in the middle of February 2015.
Since December 2013, the Medina ISD had been under the leadership of Interim Superintendent Dr. Jack Cockrill.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to hire Dr. Cockrill as interim following the announced retirement of Superintendent Ross Hord a week earlier.
Cockrill came on board when the district faced serious financial challenges exacerbated by decreasing attendance and the State's so-called Robin Hood School Finance Laws.
"My goal," said Cockrill, "is that by next September, we will have this district financially healthy." That was a goal that Cockrill and the district achieved.
"It's been my honor to be here and help out at a difficult time," said Cockrill. "I believe I've helped get a healthy budget, but it's always going to be a challenge; it's always going to be lean here."
Since most state funding is based on average daily attendance, Cockrill is happy to report that the Medina district has gained a few students this year.
Cockrill had previously served as superintendent for Gilmer ISD, Kerrville ISD and McKinney ISD. Since his retirement, he has worked as an interim superintendent for Ingram ISD, Boerne, Kerrville and Lockhart. He has also worked as a conservator and monitor for the Texas Education Agency.
Cockrill earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1961. He received a Master of Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1965. He then studied administrative services at the University of North Texas. He received his Doctorate of Education from Texas A&M University at Commerce in 1982.
Cockrill began his education career in Plano ISD in 1963 as a teacher, coach, and later as a principal, advancing to the position of Assistant Superintendent for Personnel. He then worked in Gilmer ISD, Kerrville ISD and McKinney ISD.
In 1992, he was named Region 10 Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year.
Cockrill said he will remain available in Medina until a new superintendent is found. "I want someone to walk into the office and say 'That's my chair!' and I'll be happy to get up and get out of it!" he said.
As to plans after a replacement is found, Cockrill admitted that he has been a total failure at "retirement." "I've been retired almost 13 years now, but have never in essence been retired," he said. "I never went looking for anything, but I've been happy about the opportunities I've had to help out."
Cockrill has personal ties to the Medina schools, with his daughter, Kim Richardson, teaching there, and two granddaughters who graduated from the high school and are now attending Texas A&M.