Fort Sam Houston ISD's board of trustees has selected Gary Bates as its finalist for superintendent. Credit: Courtesy / Fort Sam ISD

Fort Sam Houston Independent School District’s board of trustees has chosen Gary Bates, superintendent of a small district outside of Houston, to be its next district leader. The board is expected to officially approve Bates hiring on July 26.

On Twitter, Bates said he was “extremely humbled and blessed” to be selected for the new role.

If approved, Bates will succeed retiring Superintendent Gail Siller, who is one of Bexar County’s longest-serving superintendents. She announced her retirement in early June after leading the 1,600-student military district for the past 14 years. Her retirement is effective Aug. 31 after a career in education spanning more than four decades.

Fort Sam Houston ISD is unusual because its attendance boundaries are confined to the military base north of downtown and southeast of Alamo Heights. A panel of military installation representatives recommends trustees for appointment, and the State Board of Education votes for final approval. Fort Sam Houston ISD’s five trustees hire the district’s superintendent.

The trustees interviewed four candidates initially and the two final candidates last Thursday before unanimously selecting Bates as their pick.

Bates has prior military experience, having served in the U.S. Naval Reserves from 1990 to 2010, according to Fort Sam Houston ISD.

For the past four years, Bates worked as the superintendent in Goodrich ISD, a district that serves nearly 230 students northeast of Houston. Bates was the first black superintendent in Polk County, where Goodrich is located, according to the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators.

Bates also has worked as a middle and high school principal and as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and Prairie View A&M University northwest of Houston.

Bates received his doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Prairie View A&M and his master’s and undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.