By SEAN BATURA
Downcast and stunned, San Marcos CISD trustees accepted Superintendent Patty Shafer’s resignation Monday night.
Upon emerging from a private room after 10 minutes of closed executive session, District 2 Trustee Margie Villalpando tearfully made a motion to accept Shafer’s resignation, which carried unanimously. District 1 Trustee David Castillo and District 3 Trustee Jesse Ponce were absent.
“I think all of us are quite surprised, and concerned and upset,” said District 4 Trustee Kathy Hansen just after Villalpando made the motion. “But we understand Dr. Shafer’s been with us for a while and been a superintendent for a while. This is going to be very hard … We’re going to miss you a lot.”
Shafer said she resigned to address family matters. Her last day with the district will be Dec. 31. Trustees may hire a consultant to aid them in the search for a new superintendent. Shafer said she will not participate in that search and will make no recommendations.
“It’s time to focus on my family more,” Shafer said. “There are a number of family situations that I need to attend to. Aging parents and other things in the family.”
After Villalpando made her motion, Shafer thanked trustees for the opportunity to help lead the district and expressed confidence they would find a strong leader to move the district forward.
“I just appreciate Dr. Shafer’s professionalism, and it’s been a real pleasure working with her,” said District 5 Trustee John Crowley. “And I’m sad to see her go, as well. But I certainly respect her decision and understand why she chose to move on to something different in her life. So I do wish you the best.”
Shafer said she hopes the district will have someone ready to replace her at the start of January for a smooth transition. Shafer said her successor faces some significant trials in the years ahead.
“There’s always challenges,” Shafer said. “Academically, there will continue to be. The accountability system gets more stringent both at the federal and the state level. Financially, there’s going to be challenges, it appears. And that’s — every district within the state’s going to have some of those challenges. So those will probably be the two biggest challenges that the successor has to work on.”
Shafer said difficulties the district faced when she became superintendent included the construction of new buildings, a campus realignment that involved shuffling students and classes to and from different schools, and maximizing the use of limited funds.
“This year, the fact that we made Recognized (in the Texas Education Agency school accountability rating system) is, I feel, a big accomplishment for the district, not just for myself,” Shafer said. “We’ve been able to keep the tax rate down and this year actually lower it two cents, which the board approved tonight. We finished a number of buildings, and the realignment that had to go along with that.”
Shafer said the district’s recent move to lay the groundwork for implementing high school academies is another achievement.
“I think that’s going to be an excellent, excellent direction for the district to go,” Shafer said.
Shafer became San Marcos CISD Superintendent in the spring of 2007. Before joining San Marcos CISD, Shafer served as the Deputy Director at the Region 4 Education Service Center (ESC) in Houston. Shafer served as superintendent of Liberty ISD from 2003 to 2005 and of Utopia ISD from 2001 to 2003. Before becoming a superintendent, Shafer was a math and English teacher, an elementary and secondary counselor, an elementary and middle school principal, and she served as Director of Instruction for Calhoun County ISD.
Shafer said she has been considering whether to resign “for a long time.” Shafer said her final decision was “very difficult” because of the relationships formed with what she said are “strong administrators” and “caring teachers” at San Marcos CISD, and she said it would be hard not to be part of the district’s team.
Asked whether she intends to play a future role in the education system in Texas, said Shafer: “I plan to. There’s some things already been suggested to me by different places. But I can’t imagine not doing something.”Email | Print