Friday, February 3, 2023

Northwest ISD names Foust as lone finalist for superintendent

The Northwest ISD Board of Trustees has unanimously endorsed its choice for the next leader of the school district, voting 7-0 to name Dr. Mark Foust as lone finalist for the superintendent position.

Foust brings experience maintaining high academic and extracurricular standards while managing fast growth, according to a news release from the district. For the past six years, Foust has served as superintendent of Kerrville ISD, where he has earned a reputation as a strong instructional leader who places student needs first. During his tenure as superintendent, Kerrville ISD implemented new STEM instructional programs, expanded career and technical education opportunities, and passed a significant bond program to revitalize schools. Kerrville ISD earned distinction as an HEB Excellence in Education Small District State Finalist and a top-10 UIL Lone Star Cup finisher during his tenure.

Prior to joining Kerrville ISD, Foust spent the first 21 years of his professional career in Fort Bend ISD, a fast-growth school district in the Houston area. He began his career as an English teacher and coach in 1995 before becoming an associate principal and principal at the high school level. He transitioned into a district leadership role as an assistant superintendent overseeing three high school feeder patterns before serving as chief of schools and overseeing educational services at all 74 schools in the district.

Foust has earned accolades for his leadership, including serving as a Texas Association of School Administrators mentor for new superintendents, receiving a nomination for ESC Region 20 Superintendent of the Year and assisting in the cultivation of a pilot program for a small district category in the Holdsworth Center for Learning Campus Leadership Program.

Foust said Northwest ISD has a rich history of providing exceptional educational opportunities for students and has earned an impeccable reputation for strong academic, athletic, fine arts and extracurricular programs. He called the district a “point of pride and prestige for the 14 cities, municipalities and towns it serves.”

“Northwest ISD is a destination school district in Texas – it is a highly sought-after place for families to raise their children, and a district where teachers and staff team with other incredibly talented people to serve all children in the community,” Foust said. “I look forward to Northwest ISD continuing to be a strong leader in preparing children for the next chapters of their lives and providing families with the best educational environment in the state.”

Trustees announced the selection at their board meeting on Monday night following an application review process, three rounds of interviews and internal deliberations. Following the unexpected passing of former superintendent Dr. David Hicks, trustees again relied on the same community input provided in 2021 to guide their search process.

This input shaped a candidate profile focused on four key areas: success in student achievement across all school-related aspects, fast-growth school district experience, fiscal responsibility and excellent communication skills. Throughout each step of the superintendent search process, trustees sought these qualities to adhere to the input provided by the district’s community.

Dr. Anne Davis-Simpson, president of the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees, said on behalf of its members that Foust’s background aligns with the board and community’s vision to move Northwest ISD forward.

“During our search, we received applications from dozens of highly qualified candidates and interviewed several well-regarded leaders, and Dr. Foust repeatedly impressed the board with his background and how it matched our community’s input,” she said. “Throughout the search process, Dr. Foust’s actions and background emphasized our district’s first core belief that kids come first. He is a leader who understands the importance of developing every aspect of a student and respects the value a community brings to its schools.”

Once officially hired, Dr. Foust will lead the fastest-growing school district in North Texas as it experiences unprecedented growth in the years ahead. Northwest ISD’s total enrollment now grows at an annual rate of 2,000 additional students per year, which doubles the district’s previous year-over-year enrollment growth rates. With boundaries that encompass 234 square miles combined with the district’s reputation and a robust housing market, projections indicate the district’s growth will last for decades.

Foust earned his Doctor of Education in professional leadership from the University of Houston and his Master of Education in administration and supervision from the University of Houston-Victoria. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Texas A&M University.

As Foust prepares to lead Northwest ISD during a period of tremendous growth, he will meet with key groups – including students, families, teachers, school and district leaders, local government leaders, and more – over the next several months. A community reception to meet the new district leader will take place in January, with event details to come in the coming weeks.

“I am honored and excited to become part of the Northwest ISD community. Serving as superintendent of schools in this district is truly a blessing, and I look forward to continuing the strong traditions of excellence here,” he said. “I plan to work hand in hand with the Board of Trustees, staff and community to meet the needs of every student and ensure the highest quality of education for our nation’s most valuable resource, our children.”

In compliance with state law, Foust must remain the lone finalist for superintendent for 21 days before the school board can officially offer him the position. Tentatively, he will begin the role in January. At that time, Foust will lead day-to-day operations of Northwest ISD and collaborate with the school board to steer the long-term vision for the fastest-growing school district in North Texas.

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

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