Southside ISD Superintendent Mark Eads
Southside ISD Superintendent Mark Eads Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Superintendent Mark Eads has led Southside Independent School District for more than three years, through a period of state intervention as the elected board of trustees was removed from power in favor of an appointed board of managers.

On Thursday night, those same managers approved Eads’ retirement, effective June 30, 2020.

“I can honestly say that my work with Southside ISD and the community has been the most rewarding experience in my educational career,” Eads wrote in a letter to the board. “My prayer is for SISD to be the model for others to follow.”

When the board of trustees voted to hire Eads at a May 2016 meeting, it was a turbulent time for the district. In February of the following year, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced plans for a state takeover of the small Bexar County school district because of issues with dysfunctional governance.

Morath had the power to appoint a new superintendent but decided to keep Eads in place.

Board President Dolores Sendejo, who serves as the interim superintendent in South San Antonio ISD, remarked how much she had learned from Eads in her time on Southside’s board.

“I can tell you just by sitting by Superintendent Eads these last couple of years to learn and have the opportunity to observe the conversations and how he interacts has been truly special,” Sendejo said as staff members teared up. “We are hoping that the [search] process is an effective one and whomever the next superintendent of schools for Southside ISD is going to come in here with that same passion and drive for our community.”

Eads came to Southside ISD with business and education experience, holding positions in Snyder, Medina Valley, and Tulosa Midway ISDs previously.

Board members approved using Texas Association of School Boards’ Executive Search Services as the superintendent search firm to find Eads’ replacement. Board members indicated they would want to name a lone finalist by next April.

Southside will begin transitioning back to elected governance no later than May 2020. The State expects Southside to be governed by an elected board in 2022.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.