Athens Review, Athens, Texas

November 15, 2012

Stiles new AISD boss

Lone finalist for Superintendent’s position named Thursday night

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Independent School District continued to move toward a smooth transition at the top when the board of trustees named Blake Stiles superintendent Thursday.

Stiles has been serving as interim superintendent since Dr. Robert Steeber stepped down in October.

Following a lengthy executive session,  President Rob Risko’s announcement removed any doubt as to the board’s leaning.

“I take great pleasure in nominating Blake Stiles as the lone finalist for the position of superintendent of schools for the Athens ISD,” Risko said.

The board approved the motion by a unanimous vote. The trustees action was followed by a warm round of applause by the audience.

State law requires that AISD wait 21 days from naming a lone finalist, before it can officially hire Stiles. The earliest the district can complete the hiring process is in the first week of December.

Meanwhile, Stiles will continue to lead the district as he has since Steeber resigned.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Stiles said, when named interim last month. “It makes me sad to see Dr. Steeber go. I appreciate the guidance he’s given me in this position. I like the direction Athens is moving, and think we’ve made a lot of progress in the last year. I’d like to continue with that progress.”

Stiles was named Assistant Superintendent in October, 2011, shortly after Steeber moved into the superintendent’s role. Before taking the number-two position with the AISD,  Stiles served as the principal of Howe High School for six years. He began his career in education in 1998, and had been was one of six finalists for the Muenster ISD superintendent position in 2010.

During his stay at Howe High School, the campus earned a Texas Education Agency exemplary rating in the 2009-2010 school year. He joined Howe ISD as an assistant principal in 2003, before being promoted to the principal position.

The selection of Stiles was a much smoother process than the search that followed the resignation of Fred Hayes last year.  Hayes, who had come to the AISD in 2006, accepted the superintendent’s position with the Nacogdoches ISD in May, 2011.

In August. the AISD trustees thought they had found the person to fill the position, only to have him withdraw his name. The board went back to the list of top candidates, and chose Steeber. This time, from the day the opening became official, the board seemed locked in on the choice of Stiles, both for the interim position and for lone finalist.

The trustees also tackled several other agenda items at the meeting Thursday. The board approved replacement of carpet for the District Support Center. Chief Financial Officer Randy Jones, and Director of Operations Barry Choate, explained that the DSC has extended the life of its floor covering, past the original target date for replacement.

Athens ISD uses a standard design carpet square for most of its floor covering, and will use that style to replace the old DSC carpet.

The district will cover about 1,712 square feet of floor at a cost of $30,000.

In other action at Thursday’s meeting, the district honored teachers and employees for the month. Those honored for November are:

• Glenn Linscomb - Bel Air Elementary School;

• Emily Wilkin - South Athens Elementary;

• Kim Storey - Athens Intermediate School;

• Brenda Jackson - Athens Middle School;

• Gerald Anthony - Athens High School;

• Lauren Bartlett Tilley - Early College High School; and

• David Glover - Operations.