Following some unexpected shake-ups, several Texas school districts will spend the summer searching for new superintendents.

The new hires are needed to fill top administrator spots left open by retirements, moves to other districts, and even an arrest.

Superintendents are hired by the school district’s board of trustees. Often, trustees pay outside firms to conduct a search for candidates.

The candidates’ identities are usually kept secret, to shield applicants who are superintendents in other districts from criticism for job-hunting.

After interviewing candidates, trustees announce their pick: the “lone finalist” for the position.

State law requires a 21-day waiting period following the district’s announcement of a lone finalist before they are hired. That’s the only time a community has to vet a candidate.

Below are some of the Texas school districts searching for candidates to replace their outgoing superintendents.

Arlington ISD

Arlington ISD has been searching for a new top administrator since Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos announced his retirement in January after 11 years heading the Dallas-Fort Worth area district.

In May, trustees named Gregory-Portland ISD Superintendent Michelle Cavazos (no relation) as their lone finalist to replace him. But at the last minute she backed out and instead signed a new five-year contract with GPISD, leaving Arlington scrambling for a backup.

Marcelo Cavazos is scheduled to stay in his $376,000 a year superintendent position until August 31. His current five-year contract, which he signed just weeks before announcing his retirement, includes extra “longevity payments” that will add about $32,000 to his 2023 pay.

Arlington ISD is a B-rated district in Tarrant County with 76 schools serving about 56,000 students. Parents and teachers are concerned about increasing on-campus violence.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

Mark Henry, the highest-paid superintendent in Texas with a base salary of more than half a million dollars, announced his retirement in May after 12 years as CyFair ISD’s top administrator.

Henry intends to stay in the position until the end of 2023.

CyFair ISD, located in northwest Harris County, is the largest A-rated district in Texas, with 88 schools serving about 117,000 students.

Fort Davis ISD

Longtime Fort Davis ISD Superintendent Graydon Hicks III was the subject of a recent write-up on the financial woes of rural Texas school districts. The article said Hicks plans to retire this summer because he is “too tired to fight anymore.”

Hicks is paid a base salary of $97,000, according to Texas Education Agency data.

Fort Davis ISD is a tiny district in West Texas with one school serving fewer than 200 students.

Itasca ISD

Itasca ISD Superintendent Michael Stevens was arrested last week and charged with online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony, after allegedly traveling to Houston to have sex with a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl.

On Monday, trustees suspended Stevens and named former Superintendent Keith Boles as interim superintendent.

Itasca ISD is a B-rated district in Hill County with three schools serving around 650 students.

Keller ISD

Keller ISD Superintendent Rick Westfall announced Monday that he’s retiring after six years in the position. Over the past three years, conservative Keller voters have flipped the school board to a 6-1 pro-parent majority that will now choose Westfall’s replacement. His last day as superintendent is June 30, but he intends to stay on as a district employee until December 31.

Last year, Westfall signed a five-year contract that pays him a base salary of $285,000 plus escalating annual bonuses. His 7 percent bonus for 2023 amounts to an additional $20,000.

Keller ISD is a B-rated district in Tarrant County with 42 schools serving about 35,000 students.

Midlothian ISD

On June 1, Midlothian ISD Superintendent Jo Ann Fey was announced as the lone finalist for the superintendent position in Killeen ISD.

If Fey’s move is confirmed after the waiting period, Midlothian trustees will officially embark on a superintendent search to replace her. TEA data shows Midlothian paid Fey a base salary of $232,000.

Midlothian ISD in Ellis County is a B-rated district with 13 schools serving more than 10,000 students.

Other Texas school districts are already in the process of looking for new leadership. tracks active superintendent searches throughout the state.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.