By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 LATEXO – The Latexo Independent School District Board of Trustees made it official on Thursday, March 7 as they announced Latexo High School Principal Michael Woodard was the lone finalist for the Latexo ISD superintendent’s position.

Latexo ISD Board President Kelly Nicol opened the meeting and informed those in attendance, “In our last meeting on Tuesday (March 5) – at about 10 pm – we named Mr. Michael Woodard as our lone finalist for the Latexo ISD superintendent’s position.”

“Mr. Woodard,” Nicol continued, “I would like you to step forward and introduce yourself and your family.”

The newly selected lone finalist introduced his wife, Misty, and the couple’s two children, Lauren and Michael Jr.

Following the introductions and once the meeting was adjourned, Woodard spoke to members of the media about his previous stops in education, as well as his new role within the school district.

“I’ve been in education for 16 years and 13 of those years have been in administration. I kind of got into education a little later in life. I’m 49-years-old and I’m 16 years into it. I like the leadership role, being with the kids and I love what I do,” Woodard said.

The soon-to-be superintendent said he graduated from Stephen F. Austin and took his first job in education with Trinity ISD. From there he went to Diboll for three years as the Head Girls’ Basketball Coach and Assistant Football Coach. His next stop was in Livingston where he stayed for eight years, first as an assistant principal and then later as principal.

“From there, I went to Zavalla for two years as a superintendent. Then I came to Crockett for two years as a principal at the junior high and then I walked in the doors here and I’ve been here ever since,” he explained.

Asked about the vision he had for the district, Woodard stressed he wanted to continue the district’s focus on academics and to expand the district’s CTE (career technical education) program.

“This will give our kids a chance to get a certification so when they graduate and walk out the door, they can go to work. We want to put good citizens back in the community that can give back to us,” he explained.

Concerning the district’s financial position, Woodard said it was in good shape but cautioned the state legislature and state comptroller’s office were looking at increasing recent property appraisals. He further said the district is in the initial stages of the appeal process for this matter.

Changing subjects, Woodard commented he felt Interim Superintendent Gary Gazaway had done “… a great job. He’s been a great role model and he was the right man to come in and keep the district going. I plan to keep on doing what he was doing. I told him not to forget my number because I would be calling him quite a bit. He’s a great guy and has been doing this for many, many years. He’s a great role model.”

As far as area residents, Woodard said, “Come in and see me and shake my hand. I have an open door policy. You can always come in and talk to me.”

Woodard is now in a 21-day waiting period, as required by law, before the LISD Board can formally hire him for the superintendent’s position. He indicated he expects to take over the superintendent’s role on April 1.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com