The Weslaco school board selected Austin-based firm JG Consulting to lead its superintendent search Wednesday evening.

The district has been without a permanent superintendent since early August when Priscilla Canales resigned and the board appointed Criselda “Cris” Valdez as interim.

Trustees selected JG out of half a dozen companies that presented search plans for the district.

“We thank all the search firms that came out today and presented. They were all very, very good at what they do, but it was a tough choice and we decided to go with JG,” Trustee Jesse Treviño said.

James Guerra, JG Consulting’s president and CEO, told the board his company works for districts nationwide but is currently only conducting one other search in Texas.

Former Harlingen CISD Superintendent Art Cavazos and former Brownsville ISD Interim Superintendent Sylvia Hatton will be attached to Weslaco’s search, he said.

Guerra particularly highlighted the capability of his firm’s education networking abilities, aided by a team of 12 retired superintendents who work for the firm in Texas.

The deal comes with a guarantee to not recruit whoever’s selected for the district in the future and a guarantee of a two-year commitment to the district from its future superintendent.

“Which, knock on wood, we far exceeded that with our previous placements,” Guerra said. “Should the superintendent serve less than two years, we will conduct the search in its entirety at no cost to the district.

“Our litmus test is to recruit talent that are committed for the long term.”

JG’s presentation included a video endorsement from one of the administrators they placed at a Valley school district, McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez. The company also placed Superintendent Nate Carman in San Benito and Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez in Donna, a post he left earlier this year.

The firm has conducted searches for other sizable Texas districts as well, including Houston ISD, Austin ISD and Lamar Consolidated.

The firm’s process usually includes in-person and remote meetings, Guerra said. It could spend weeks engaging with community members, staff, students and the board.

“So when we create a summary report, we’re going to synthesize all of these various things that we hear and present it to you,” Guerra said. “And that’s going to give you direction on what everyone is saying about what they’d like to see in the next superintendent, and that’s going to help us create the draft of the leadership profile.”

Guerra called that leadership profile the “North Star” of the project.

“That will be your rubric for how we as a firm and how you as a board will work with us and vice versa, our collaborative work together, in recruiting talent,” he said.

A typical search can last four to six months, Guerra said.

Canales, the former superintendent, resigned as the board began to receive rough drafts of a forensic audit launched early this year.

The final results of that audit sparked a termination last month, along with legal action against the district that likely prevented another termination.

Canales’ name was largely absent from that audit, although both of the individuals most significantly scrutinized by it served under her.

Those individuals were both in place in the administrative posts where their work was criticized prior to Canales joining the district.


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