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McAllen ISD board interviews superintendent candidates

McAllen Independent School District trustees interviewed four candidates for superintendent Tuesday as part of its exceptionally speedy superintendent search that Board President Debbie Crane Aliseda says has attracted quality applicants.

Trustees interviewed candidates behind closed doors in executive session for over eight hours Tuesday, but did not name a lone finalist.

Crane Aliseda said after the meeting that the board intends to meet again to discuss applicants at a special meeting on Oct. 16, where naming a finalist is a possibility.

The board originally hoped to conduct a second round of interviews and potentially name a lone finalist on Oct. 6.

“It’s the most important decision we’re going to make as trustees, and we want to make sure we do our due diligence,” Crane Aliseda said.

McAllen ISD has been without a permanent superintendent since J.A. Gonzalez left for Harlingen in July.

Concerns about a high-level administrative exodus at the district that surrounded Gonzalez’s departure spurred trustees to launch a monthlong superintendent search in September.

It was the shortest timeline the board could figure out and notably faster than the local norm for a search.

Trustees largely banked on McAllen ISD’s reputation drawing in candidates despite the relatively small-scale search. Crane Aliseda said it worked.

“Amazing. Incredibly accomplished, incredible academics behind them,” she said of Tuesday’s four interviewees. “You don’t realize — we live in McAllen, and you don’t realize what the rest of Texas thinks about McAllen until you see all the people that applied and then all the people that got interviewed, and then you realize that really people are dying to get into this district because we are so academically advanced.”

Current Interim Superintendent Rosalba De Hoyos told the Progress Times last month that she intended to apply for the permanent post.

Crane Aliseda declined to say how many applicants the district received overall, though she did note that the opening attracted candidates from farther afield than she expected.

“I don’t think that any of us realized how many people outside the Valley would be interested as well,” she said. “So I think that was a pleasant surprise for everybody. Since we didn’t hire a search firm, I think lots of people in the community just thought we’d get local applicants, and that’s not the case.”

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