Monday, October 2, 2023

Northwest ISD names lone finalist for superintendent

On Tuesday night, the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name Dr. David Hicks as the lone finalist to be the next superintendent of the district.

Current Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren informed the district in September that he will retire at the end of the school year, and the district immediately began a search for his replacement. NISD selected Hicks, the current Sherman ISD superintendent who has 33 years of experience in public education.

Northwest ISD trustees guided their search based on survey data from the entire community as well as in-person and virtual meetings with key stakeholder groups, according to a news release from the district. Based on this input from across the community, trustees sought a candidate who met four key criteria:

  • Someone who has dealt with fast growth and changing demographics
  • Someone who has demonstrated success in student achievement across all school-related aspects
  • Someone with excellence communication skills to navigate the district’s 14 municipalities across three counties
  • Someone who has shown themselves to be fiscally responsible to ensure the financial stability of the district

Hicks has established a reputation of supporting students, educators and schools by focusing on strong learning environments that collaborate with the local community, according to Northwest ISD. He will lead Northwest ISD as it experiences booming enrollment. Demographic experts project Northwest ISD will add at least 2,500 students to its current enrollment figure during the 2022-2023 school year. With a landmass of 234 square miles that is only about a third occupied, the district anticipates similar fast growth for decades to come.

Hicks said Northwest ISD’s reputation for maintaining exceptional educational and extracurricular program offerings along with a close-knit community atmosphere makes it a destination for families to raise their children.

“Northwest ISD has an incredible reputation for attracting outstanding educators and providing a world-class education for its students,” he said. “I am excited to join the team and help further the district’s reputation for excellence. My granddaughter will one day be a Peterson Mustang, and my wife and I are looking forward to making NISD our new home.”

Hicks led Sherman ISD through an area of unprecedented growth, according to the NISD news release, uniting the community around a vision for a new state-of-the-art high school; prioritizing prudent management of financial resources resulting in consistent increases to the district’s fund balance; and developing innovative instructional programs, including AP and dual-credit courses.

“Children are the focus of everything we do as educators,” he said. “The potential to change the world happens every day inside the walls of our schools, and I am eager to live out Northwest ISD’s core belief that kids come first.”

Before becoming superintendent of Sherman ISD, Hicks served as area superintendent of secondary programs in Denton ISD. In that role, he supervised middle and high schools, including academics, athletics and fine arts. He also oversaw several growth-related matters at secondary schools. Prior to entering district administration ranks, he spent more than 20 years directly supporting students and teachers at the campus level. Hicks began his path in education as a middle school history teacher in Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD before transitioning into campus leadership. He served as principal or assistant principal at all campus levels – elementary, middle and high – in Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.

With its unanimous vote, the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees concludes a search process that contained feedback from all areas of the Northwest ISD community. Every community member had the opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey, in-person meeting or virtual meeting. Additionally, stakeholder groups such as student leadership teams, teachers, campus and district administrators, and locally elected government officials met with search firm Leasor Crass to provide direct input. This feedback led to the creation of a candidate profile that guided the school board’s pursuit for the next district leader.

Dr. Anne Davis-Simpson, president of the school board, said on behalf of its members that Hicks impressed the board during the interview process with his breadth of experience in multiple school districts.

“We personally met with six impressive candidates during this interview process after reviewing dozens of applications, and we believe we’ve come away with a leader who is a great fit with the qualities our community desires,” she said. “Dr. Hicks is a leader who puts kids first, which is our top priority. He truly values the work teachers and support staff perform. We were equally impressed with his ability to relate to families and communicate effectively.”

Hicks earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Texas, where he also earned his master’s degree in educational administration. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Dallas.

Because of state law, Hicks will remain the lone finalist for superintendent for 21 days before the school board can officially offer him the position. Tentatively, he will begin in the role in May and work with Ryder to execute a smooth transition.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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