Editorial – Opinion
By: Malcom Chakery
I am going to make an attempt at predicting who our next superintendent will be here in Grand Prairie as well as predict the name of the search firm that is selected to help find our next superintendent. I have been told that a search firm will be hired and that an RFP would go out. I have also been told that there will be community involvement in helping to find our next superintendent. Full disclosure I have not seen that RFP yet and that when the school district does post the RFP it should go here. An RFP (Request For Proposal) is what is needed so that several businesses can bid on winning the business. I figure worse case I am right. Let me explain. If I am right that would mean the entire process was rigged from the start. If I am wrong that is a good thing and that means the system works the way it should have. We can hope, right?
A search firm, in this case, would come in and help find, interview and propose the next superintendent to the school board in which they would vote on. I am making my first prediction that Grand Prairie ISD will hire Thompson & Horton LLP as their search firm. I am just guessing but the cost to hire a search firm will likely cost upwards of $100,000.
Let’s get to who I think our contestants are for the next superintendent.
#3 Dr. Lyle DuBus
Dr. Lyle DuBus joined Mexia ISD in January 2017. He had previously been superintendent in Harts Bluff ISD near Mount Pleasant, Texas. Previous to his service in Harts Bluff ISD he had been in Grand Prairie ISD for 14 years. During his tenure in Grand Prairie, he was a teacher, Executive Director, Assistant Superintendent, and Chief Operations Officer.
Dr. DuBus has two adult children Shawn and Shannon that reside in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and two grandsons. He has been happily married to Lisa Yoder-DuBus, a speech pathologist, for over 10 years.
#2 Tim Harkrider
Tim Harkrider is entering his seventh year as Superintendent of Willis ISD and his 19th year in education. Harkrider was the Principal of Willis High School for one year before being named head of schools. Prior to joining Willis ISD, Harkrider was a classroom teacher, coach, and administrator for eleven years in Grand Prairie ISD and White Settlement ISD, among others in the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Harkrider was named the Region 6 Superintendent of the Year in the Texas Association of School Boards Annual Program in 2018. Under Harkrider’s leadership, the district has seen an improvement in student performance, staff wellness, technology access, facilities improvement, and financial stability.
Harkrider, hailing from the small town of Carthage, Texas, originally attended The University of Texas at Austin on a baseball scholarship. After playing there for three years, he spent four years in the minors with the Anaheim Angels. The trajectory of his future was changed by a career-ending ankle injury that prevented him from advancing to the major leagues.
He holds a Bachelor of Science from Stephen F. Austin State University, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with Principal Certification from The University of Texas at Arlington, Superintendent Certification from Lamar University, and he is currently studying for his Doctoral degree at Sam Houston State University.
Harkrider and his wife, Toni, have three children – Dylan, 21; Reece, 17; and Meredith, 10.
#1 Dr. Bret Jimerson (My Finalist)
Dr. Bret Jimerson joined Burleson ISD as Superintendent prior to the 2013-2014 school year after serving two years as the superintendent for Willis ISD.
He began his career as an attorney and legal clerk for the law firm of Henslee, Fowler, Hepworth and Schwartz, L.L.P. (Ft. Worth and Austin) from 2000-2005. His education career began in White Settlement ISD as Executive Director of Human Resources & Technology/General Counsel/Teacher and then moved to the positions of Legal Counsel/Chief of Staff for the Grand Prairie ISD before assuming the role of Deputy Superintendent of Educational Operations.
Bret holds a Bachelor of Science degree from UTA; Master of Arts in Public Policy from Regent University in Virginia; Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law, Virginia; Master of Business Administration from TCU, and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from TCU.
He and his wife Paige have three daughters and a son attending schools in the Burleson ISD.
In closing, if I am right and I predict the correct search firm and superintendent the system is broken. If I am wrong we can have a little bit more faith in the system.