Sharyland selects superintendent finalist

MISSION — The Sharyland school district board of trustees announced Maria Vidaurri as the sole finalist to replace current Superintendent Robert O’Connor after a special board meeting Wednesday.

Vidaurri, of Premont, is currently working as superintendent at the Robstown school district. She has led the district located near Corpus Christi for the past five years, according to a news release issued by Sharyland school district officials.

Part of her 33 years in education have also been spent in the Rio Grande Valley as Vidaurri formerly filled several administrative positions in the La Feria and Hidalgo school districts. She also has previous experience at Sharyland, where she worked for two years as federal programs director.

“Dr. Vidaurri is a proud graduate of Texas (A&M) University- Kingsville, where she earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education, Masters of Science in Educational Administration, Superintendent Certificate, and Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership,” the release states.

After announcing the lone finalist, the district is now required to wait 21 days to take any action on the employment of the candidate. Once this period is over, the district can move forward with offering a contract.

“They will be in negotiation of the contract but nothing can be approved for 21 days,” said Ivan Perez, school district attorney.

O’Connor officially retires in August 2018 due to health issues. He was hired to lead the Sharyland school district in July 2015, after his tenure as superintendent of the Marble Falls school district in Burnet County.

The board interviewed about eight candidates for superintendent out of 42 applicants, bringing back a few for a second round of interviews over the last month. The goal is to have a replacement by July to give O’Connor time to help Vidaurri with the transition during the summer.

“We did have ongoing background checks into the candidates, vetting the candidates, checking references and verifying references through those listed by the candidates and not listed,” Perez said.

The district hired the company Waterford School Services Inc. as consultants for the search which includes former Texas Commissioner of Education Felipe Alanis and Jesse Butler, retired superintendent and former professor of school finance at the University of Texas at Austin.

Perez was also part of the search thought the law firm Jones Galligan Key and Lozano, which has helped the Sharyland and other districts with similar searches.