Mercedes ISD reopens superintendent vacancy to applicants

Mercedes ISD Central Office Administrtion building on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Mercedes. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])
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I think we’re just very careful. We just want to get the right fit. And we want to get a consensus from seven board members.

The Mercedes school board voted Wednesday to reopen its superintendent vacancy to applicants for an additional 10 business days.

The board has discussed candidates for the position — often at length — at least three times in the past several months, most recently on April 19.

Those discussions take place behind closed doors, in executive session.

Board President Oscar Hernandez acknowledged after Wednesday’s meeting that the board is having a difficult time settling on a lone finalist.

“I think we’re just very careful,” he said. “We just want to get the right fit. And we want to get a consensus from seven board members.”

Hernandez noted the board has some newer members who haven’t yet been through a superintendent search process before.

“The board is still doing its job. It’s looking for answers to pressing issues … We just need that last piece of our success story,” he said.

Mercedes ISD’s superintendent search hasn’t been particularly vigorous — it essentially consists of posting a job vacancy on the district’s website.

The search has, however, been dramatic. The district has been without a permanent superintendent since Carolyn Mendiola’s departure following her arrest on charges she denies last June.

The board tapped longtime Mid-Valley educator Richard Rivera as interim that summer, but after the board jilted his application for the permanent superintendent late last year Rivera ditched the district for Weslaco ISD.

Carolyn Mendiola, Richard Rivera and Maria J. Chavez

The board inked a contract with Maria J. Chavez to serve as interim in January.

Hernandez has, throughout the search process, described lengthy board discussions as a sign of diligence.

“The board is looking for all options that they can actually utilize,” he said Wednesday.

The board may once again consider naming a lone finalist sometime this month, Hernandez said.

“The sooner the better,” he said.