Finalist named for top position in CFISD
School principals from across Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District were upbeat, even excited to meet their prospective new boss, Mark Henry, after a special May 23 school board meeting.
"The principals were pleased," said board president John Ogletree. "They're the ones who will go out and spread the word. We're glad they believe we've chosen the right person."
Henry is the sole finalist to replace outgoing Superintendent David Anthony, who is resigning to lead Raise Your Hand Texas, an education advocacy group. Texas law requires the board to wait at least 21 days between naming its finalist and signing an employment contract. Henry could begin work on July 18.
The decision to name Henry as finalist was unanimous. Ogletree described the search process as tedious but said it brought trustees closer together to put the district first.
Henry, who began his career as a classroom teacher and is nearing his 21st year as a school superintendent, leads the Galena Park Independent School District and impressed Cy-Fair board members with his dedication to educating children from diverse backgrounds.
Speaking about a recent visit to Galena Park schools, Ogletree said, "We are looking forward to you bringing that same passion, that same atmosphere to this district, and I think all our personnel and all our parents will be well-pleased. We're glad you're here."
Lida Woodul, the Cy-Fair board's most senior member, added, "Cy-Fair is changing. We have an evolving student population. We really wanted to find someone who can bring all our children to work at a higher level."
Galena Park ISD is listed as "recognized" in ratings just released by the Texas Education Agency. Enrollment is 22,000, with about three-fourths considered economically disadvantaged.
Henry attended the meeting with his wife, Cindy, who is principal at Pearland Junior High East. They have three children, two who are educators and one who is a student at the McCombs School of Business at University of Texas.
Henry called the Cy-Fair job opportunity "the greatest professional honor of my career."
He said Galena Park ISD's success stems from knowing who the students are and planning to meet their needs. Its teacher training program is among the best in the state, he said, because it trains teachers not only on what to teach but who they are teaching.
Henry said his real challenge will be getting to know the Cy-Fair area, which covers 178 square miles compared to 32 square miles for the Galena Park district. He doesn't foresee making big changes before becoming more familiar with the school district.
"I'm going to be listening, looking and learning for the first six months," he said. "I'll slowly put my stamp on the district."
He joined Galena Park ISD in 2004. While there, he was a finalist for Texas Superintendent of the Year, Region 4 Education Service Center Superintendent of the Year and Association of Texas Professional Educators Texas Administrator of the Year.
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