Lee Joffre has succeeded Dr. Russell Marshall as superintendent of Mabank ISD.

Joffre, who most recently had the same position with Italy ISD, was unavailable for comment on Tuesday. But he told the Waxahachie Daily Light this month that he was attracted to MISD because of its “strong community support.”

“I originally applied because Mabank ISD has a reputation of being a forward-thinking school district,” he said. “I have enjoyed working with some of the best teachers in the profession. It is their work that has helped the district grow and achieve new heights.”

According to the Texas Education Agency, Italy ISD's enrollment is about 628. The Mabank ISD student population at six campuses is about 3,500 students.

Joffre spent eight years with Italy ISD. He told the Daily Light that leaving Italy was a hard decision. His children are 9 and 11 and involved in athletics, fine arts and academic competitions.

He was among dozens of candidates to apply for the Mabank ISD job, said Jim Dunlap of Arrow Educational Services, the firm that led the search for Marshall's successor. Marshall is president and CEO of Arrow.

“We originally had about 57 applicants from five or six states apply for the position,” Dunlap said. “The field of applicants was narrowed down to six applicants.”

Eventually, Joffre was named lone finalist. He started work at Mabank ISD on Monday.

After 16 years as superintendent of that school district, Marshall, 60, announced last year that he would retire by the end of the 2018-19 school year.