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Marble Falls ISD experiencing leadership changes

eric penrod

Eric Penrod, the MFISD assistant superintendent of academic programs, was named the lone finalist for superintendent at Gatesville ISD in Central Texas northeast of Austin.

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — New principals on three campuses and recent central office administrator changes for the upcoming school year signal a shift in leadership and direction for the Marble Falls Independent School District, officials say.

A search is underway to replace outgoing Superintendent Rob O’Connor, who leaves in July to take a job at Sharyland ISD in South Texas.

A string of additional personnel changes have followed O’Connor’s departure announcement:

• Eric Penrod, the MFISD assistant superintendent of academic programs, was named the lone finalist for superintendent at Gatesville ISD in Central Texas northeast of Austin, according to a public statement May 20 by GISD after a special meeting. State law requires a 21-day waiting period for school boards before offering a contract to a superintendent candidate.

• Suzan Cox, a Leander ISD campus administrator, was chosen by MFISD trustees as the new principal at the Spicewood campus to begin the 2015-16 school year.

Outgoing Spicewood principal Leslie Baty, will move to central office to serve as interim assistant superintendent of academic programs, according to a statement on the MFISD website.

• Bethany Birdwell was promoted from assistant principal to principal at Highland Lakes Elementary School in Granite Shoals.

• Marble Falls Middle School Principal Brett Koch announced his retirement from education to work in his family’s business and departs at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

“With the new elementary school principals coming in and the new middle school principal coming in, they’re coming into a very strong educational and process base, so it’s an opportunity to infuse the district with fresh leadership and new ideas,” said Bruce Peckover, director of communications and career and technology education. “Based on the key elements that are already in place and working successfully for our staff, ultimately, good education comes down to great teachers, and we have great teachers in the Marble Falls school district.

“Now we just need to get the administrators in to remove obstacles, to help them and support them, and we’ll do great thing for our kids,” he added.

Among the administrators, Penrod has served the district for several years in various positions, including high school principal, director of secondary education and executive director of curriculum and instruction.

“My five years here have been amazing, both professionally and personally,” Penrod said in a statement on the district website. “The MFISD family is always focused on students and is one of the most dedicated faculties I have ever worked with in my professional career.”

In the case of the middle school principal, school officials will assemble a committee to begin the search process, Peckover said.

In central office, an incoming superintendent is expected to play a role in shaping administration leadership.

School board members could possibly choose a finalist for the superintendent position sometime in July, officials said.

Meanwhile, administrators expect to work with campus staff in preparation of the upcoming changes.

“Whenever there’s change, people always wonder, ‘What’s next?’ but the thing that I found is the Marble Falls area is a very supportive community, very high standards, and we all want great things for our community and our students, for our families,” Peckover said. “The district with these new leaders, I’m confident, will come in and continue that tradition.”

connie@thepicayune.com