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VISD Superintendent Bob Moore won't return next school year

By KBell
Feb. 20, 2012 at 2 p.m.
Updated Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.

Bob Moore

BOB MOORE'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Moore earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. He then pursued post-graduate studies in administration at the University of Houston-Victoria and Stephen F. Austin University.

His accomplishments while leading VISD include the following:

VISD's first Texas Education Agency Accountability Rating of recognized. Ten percent growth in graduation and completion rates. A $159 million bond package, overwhelmingly supported by voters, brought the construction of two new high schools, a middle school and two elementary schools, as well as resources to make improvements to existing campuses. Creation of smaller classrooms and schools. Concept of east and west learning communities, which include feeding patterns through elementary and middle schools.

Bob Moore will leave the Victoria school district with much more than the $159 million that meets the eye.

Under his six years of leadership, the district did construct two new high schools, a middle school, two elementary schools and a fine arts and aquatic center, thanks to an unprecedented bond election.

But much more than that, colleagues said Moore overhauled the inner workings of VISD, putting the district on the path to becoming what VISD Board President Tami Keeling called a "premier school district in Texas."

Moore, 66, announced on Monday his decision not to accept an extension of his contract because of ongoing health concerns. He will complete the current term of his contract, which ends in June.

"The decision not to return has been one of the toughest decisions in my life. The people and staff in Victoria are wonderful - so supportive of kids and making sure the right actions are taken for kids," Moore said in an email.

Keeling, who was one of four current board members who hired Moore, said his hiring came with a caveat: The district had to implement Moore's methodological strategy of systemic change.

Moore came to the district armed with a leadership model that he'd used in districts he'd led previously, which include districts in Oklahoma City, Mesa County Valley in Grand Junction, Colo., and Amarillo.

It was a model of assessment and goal-setting that Judy Phillips, CEO of Partnership for Excellence in North Carolina, has watched Moore implement for 10 to 15 years, she said. Phillips' organization helped put strategic systems in place in Victoria and other districts. She called Moore one of the most successful superintendents she's worked with.

"He brings a leadership style that allows others to understand what the goals are, and then he stays focused like a laser on working toward accomplishing those goals," Phillips said.

Though Keeling called his approach to overhauling the VISD system formal, specific and data-driven, Moore's goals have always been simple: create successful students and support teachers.

"Bob always said, 'So goes the school, so goes the town.' It's vital that you have quality education," Keeling said.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, said under Moore's leadership, VISD has gone a long way toward improving what Victoria has to offer.

"Bob did seek input from the community - and from the business community especially - and we have seen programs at VISD that will help students who take advantage of it be employed and be contributing citizens," Fowler said.

The community collaboration also involved Victoria College. For example, this school year, VISD launched the Early College Center, which allows students to graduate high school with an associate degree from VC.

Robby Burdge, who's on the VC board, said Moore has opened up the dialogue when it comes to education.

"He took the relationship between VISD and VC to another level, and I think that together that partnership has proved to be worthwhile," Burdge said. "Both visions were able to meet for, I think, the first time."

Moore, who has worked in education for 42 years, said he and his wife Jackie plan to spend time with their grandson in Austin and hang out in Cheapside watching cattle.

"I love every day because it is exciting to work with so many professionals doing their best for the children of Victoria. At this time, my health must come first, and I intend to focus on feeling better. I will always be available to support Victoria Independent School District in any way possible," he said.

Keeling said she expects VISD business to continue as usual and anticipates Moore will see the district through a transition to a new superintendent.

The board will vote at a special meeting Thursday on hiring a firm to conduct a search for a superintendent.

"Everybody on the board realizes the debt we owe to Bob for implementing a system that can sustain us whether he's here or not," Keeling said. "We'll be looking for another Bob, if such a thing is possible."

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