GC: Q&A with VISD superintendent Bob Moore
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Superintendent Bob Moore was one busy person during the 2010-11 school year.
The Victoria school district saw the closing of Memorial High School and the construction, completion and opening of two new schools, Victoria East and Victoria West high schools. As superintendent, Moore is responsible for the education budget, results and educational experience of 13,600 students.
Moore sat down with us to talk about the year and a look forward to 2011-12.
Q: What kind of challenges did you run into with opening the two new high schools?
A: I've been superintendent of a number of school districts at bond elections and building schools, and I have never seen it so smooth in terms of the construction and the building up of new schools. It's really a pleasure. It could not have gone any smoother. I think one of the things that really allowed that to happen was the excitement from the community, as well as the teachers and staff, and most importantly, the students. They really took to the concept of having two smaller high schools, and the school spirit that was developed over the years was just tremendous.
Q: Do you remember what your initial thoughts were when you heard confirmation that the two schools were going to be built in Victoria?
A: Jubilation. I was just so excited because I knew what the results would be when the bond passed. It passed by 2-1 margin by the community. I think that happened because we did a lot of work and put a lot of thought into what the community wants in the public school system. The plan we put forth in the community was what the community had told they wanted to see in Victoria. We have done exactly what the community said in the bond.
Q: Now that the first year is marked in the history books, how do you anticipate the following years ahead?
A: I think it'll just get better and better. They have a healthy rivalry, and I think one thing that is most gratifying is the students support each other. Even though some are Warriors and others are Titans, they support each other. Whether they are on the field or they're in competition, they work very hard to win. No matter which season, football, basketball, volleyball, etc., when one team was playing you would see East or West players looking for support. It was just tremendous.
Q: What do you think you are most excited about for this year?
A: Just the continuation of the high spirits of the students and the staff.
Q: When you are not overseeing the school district and serving as superintendent, what are you doing in your spare time?
A: I spend a lot of time with family. I have a lot of family in Cuero and Austin. We have some ranch property over by Cuero, and we have cattle, and I take care of the cattle and garden, but mostly spend time with family.
Q: Is there any one thing you will miss most about having one main high school?
A: No, not really. There are so many advantages in terms of having two smaller schools. Research shows that smaller schools tend to do better in every way. And that has been my experience of 41 years. I've seen that typically smaller schools do better, and I think the thing that I really like best about smaller schools is the kids want to participate and be involved in everything. If you look at the co-curricular and extracurricular activities like sports, theater, arts, etc., we have more than doubled our participation than what we saw at Memorial.
Q: What did you do this summer vacation?
A: I went to Boise, Idaho, to see my mom. She's 90-years-old, and I took my grandson with me. It was a great time. We just took it easy out there. It's a beautiful place.
Q: Are there any changes in the district that you are planning on implementing or that are currently in the works?
A: We want to make sure that we maintain the class sizes - as small as possible -and accommodate for new growth. The economy is bringing it in to the Victoria area. I think we're in a good position to do that. We planned ahead, so if we have quality education programs and facilities, then businesses would relocate to Victoria or the Victoria area.
Q: If you had to choose one school to attend - as an incoming freshman - which would you choose, East or West?
A: It would make no difference. We have exactly the same buildings, and the same programs. Exactly. They are balanced in terms of student makeup, Hispanics, blacks, etc. We have the same percentages at East and West, so there's really no difference between the two schools.