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December 31, 2019
MISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas recently announced he will retire on Dec. 31 in order for the school board and future superintendent Kimberly Cantu to progress policy for MISD. Dr. Vaszauskas originally scheduled his retirement for Feb. 5, 2020, and Deputy Superintendent Kimberly Cantu was unanimously named the lone finalist to succeed Dr. V as Superintendent of MISD on Nov. 20, 2019
“Dr. V has laid a road map for all of us to be future leaders. He is what everybody strives to be like and [Cantu] has worked closest with him,” Legacy Principal Dr. Shelly Butler said. “[Cantu’s] been around him for such a long time and he’s a teacher, so it’s like he’s just handing the reins over to one of his students.”
Dr. Cantu has worked in MISD for 21 of her 27 total years in public education. During that time she has worked as a coach, principal, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Cantu currently has all certifications required to serve as superintendent, and School Board President Karen Marcucci is optimistic that she will continue to create a better MISD.
“Without a doubt, [Dr. Cantu] has the skills and knowledge to keep us moving forward on our student outcome goals,” Marcucci said. “I have a lot of confidence in her leadership and believe she has the ability and dedication to Mansfield ISD to help us continue to be a destination district for families.”
As Dr. Vaszauskas approaches his retirement, Dr. Cantu reflects on the opportunities created during his time. She believes working with him has sufficiently prepared her to continue to promote the growth of the district.
“Anytime I get a chance to discuss the incredible accomplishments and future of our district, I’m thrilled,” Dr. Cantu said. “The opportunity to be considered by the Board for [Superintendent] has been both humbling and exciting. My time working directly with Dr. V has also been an amazing training ground.”
Photo by Madison Brown
Letter From The Editor
As a student in journalism, I have seen your impact and covered your involvement. From this, I have witnessed your passion for making MISD the best it can be. At a community meeting you held to discuss school safety, I saw how much you cared about making people feel certain that their children are safe at school and I knew that if you cared enough about the opinions of people in that room then you must love doing what you do and love the MISD community.
As a writer and editor of the newspaper, I go to, or at least watch, as many school board meetings as I can. Watching the way you lead the board and the community through those meetings has shown me how to be a leader.
MISD’s mission has been to be a great place to live, learn and teach, and from what I have seen your hard work is the reason MISD has reached that goal. Through the safety initiative and the social-emotional learning initiative, you have headed programs that have created a safe and healthy environment to live. Through the new STEM programs and emphasis on real-world opportunities, you have made MISD into a cutting-edge place for learning and career readiness. Through your willingness to listen to the concerns of teachers in the district and act to fix any problems, you have created a place where teachers can sculpt the minds of students instead of worrying about district policies.
Your impact on this district will be felt for years to come in the Mansfield community, in the lives of MISD students and in the state of Texas. On behalf of the Legacy newspaper staff, thank you for being open to questions and supporting student journalism. Thank you for your service and commitment to the lives of people in this district. We will miss you.
Dr. Vaszauskas’ letter to the MISD family is included below:
Dear MISD Family,
I want to keep you informed about the district’s transition to our new superintendent. Our School Board named Dr. Kim Cantu as the new superintendent at its December board meeting, and I am extremely excited about that choice. She has a 21-year history in our district as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, director, assistant superintendent, associate superintendent, and deputy superintendent. I truly believe she is the most qualified person in the state of Texas to lead our district and continue the strong record of academic achievement and fiscal responsibility we have developed in MISD.
In its search for a new superintendent, our School Board did a masterful job of gathering community and staff input; all who wanted to had an opportunity for their voices to be heard.
The Board intently studied thousands of responses to come up with a superintendent profile that represented feedback from students, parents, MISD employees, community members, community leaders, and elected officials.
The overwhelming majority of this feedback asked our Board to continue the direction we are going, to expand the social-emotional learning opportunities for our students, and to continue to provide choice opportunities for our parents and students.
With that community feedback as a reference point, our Board developed a rigorous and thorough interview process. Based on Dr. Cantu’s performance in the interview, her leadership skills and training, and her strong record of exemplary performance during her 21-year tenure in our district, the Board unanimously named her the new superintendent.
My original communication to you stated that I would retire on February 5, 2020. However, there are so many important decisions that need to be made (pre-K expansion; solutions to construction delays; key executive council openings; Vision 2030, etc.) that the Board, Dr. Cantu, and I believe it is in the best interest of the district to move forward now and not wait until February 5. The district cannot move forward on these critical decisions until Dr. Cantu is fully in place as superintendent.
Therefore, my official retirement date is now December 31, 2019, and, with my full support, Dr. Cantu will officially begin her tenure as MISD superintendent on January 1, 2020.
I am grateful and proud to have been a part of this MISD team for over 10 years. We are getting a marvelous new superintendent who knows our history and will lead this district in a collaborative, inclusive manner. There is no doubt that MISD’s best days are ahead of us.
One Team. One Dream. One Family.