Waldrip takes in last weeks at CISD, district search for new superintendent yet to begin


New superintendent, Dr. Mike Waldrip prepares for the Living Well in Coppell kick-off in 2014 after his hire. Sidekick file photo.

On Monday afternoon, Superintendent Mike Waldrip was added to the list of Coppell ISD staff members that have tendered their resignations at the end of this school year.


In a letter to parents and faculty, Waldrip announced his departure from the district to accept the recently vacated superintendent position at Frisco ISD. Prior to his two years at CISD, Waldrip served as the deputy superintendent of administrative operations for FISD, a district he held various positions at since 2002.


Waldrip was offered the position on Monday after his second interview with FISD officials.


“I worked in Frisco for 12 years and I had a number of different jobs,” Waldrip said. “I guess a lot of it has to do with I’m drawn back there because I still have ties and colleagues and friends there. It’s appealing as a job because it’s a very challenging position. [Frisco ISD] is one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation.”


Waldrip’s resignation is effective June 30, however, the CISD Board of Trustees has yet to start processes for finding a replacement.


“At this point the Board has not had the opportunity to meet and discuss what that process will be,” Board President Anthony Hill said. “Obviously we would have meet in the near future, probably it is going to be early June. The process has to be developed by the board, and since this resignation just came about recently the board will have to take some time to go figure out what that process is in this particular situation.”


After meeting and developing a process for selecting candidates, Hill hopes to take input from parents and district faculty, much like they did in the search for next year’s Coppell High School principal.


Until that time, district officials have time to reflect on the three years Waldrip has spent at CISD and the contributions he made. Assistant superintendent Brad Hunt, who has seen the district through three different superintendents, says he will miss Waldrip’s drive for excellence.


“Even though he has only been here three years he has been a great supporter of me and I have really enjoyed working with him,” Hunt said. “I have really enjoyed working with him. I have developed a close working relationship with him, as well as a close friendship. He has a great sense of humor, he will be missed.”


Although the timing of the resignation falls in a period of great change for CISD, Hunt wants to reassure parents and faculty that the district will do what is best to maintain excellence.


“Change is good but it also brings a bevy of emotion: fear, sadness, happiness, anticipation,” Hunt said. “For people who are concerned, I hope they have the confidence in the school district and school board to find someone who will move the CISD forward.”


According to Hunt and Waldrip, the new hire will be faced with a number of issues to address or get caught up on, including student growth, the new ninth grade center, the new middle and elementary schools, managing bond projects and budget constraints.


“He or she will need to be mindful of the recent administrative changes that we have had,” Hunt said. “I also think there is kind of a disconnect between the school district and the community and I think that we need to rebuild that relationship to make sure that it’s strong and that people trust the district and there’s a high level of transparency.”


While Waldrip is willing to aid in filling in the new hire, he says there are enough knowledgeable people at the district to ensure a smooth transition.


“[I hope the new superintendent] will come in here and see Coppell as I saw it,” Waldrip said. “Coppell is a very innovative district and it is different in a lot of ways than some other districts in that regard. [The new hire should] be very open minded when they come here. Come in and listen and learn and understand the culture in Coppell.”


As of now, the Board is unsure of what they will be looking for in potential candidates, or whether they will primarily search inside or outside of the district. However, Waldrip is confident the torch will be passed to someone worthy.


“I think that we’ve hired people since I’ve been here that can continue that innovative culture and even grow it,” Waldrip said. “We have been able to rally the community around what’s going on with the changes in the district and come up with plans. We have done some really good things and I think the district is headed in a really great direction.”