Interim school leader impressed

‘Pedal to the metal’ time for Rockdale ISD in 2013-14

Interim Supt. Donald Denbow Interim Supt. Donald Denbow Donald Denbow, interim Rockdale ISD superintendent, has only been in the community a short time but he’s already convinced of one thing.

“You’ve got a tremendous group of people here in this school system,” Denbow said. “People who really care about kids.”

Denbow, who will complete his first month in the interim job next week, was hired by trustees after Vicki Bridges, the lone finalist in the search to replace Dr. Howell Wright, declined the position in July.

He was a fixture in Corsicana school life for more than 40 years, including six years as superintendent.

‘INTERVIEW’—Denbow had been out of education for three years, after retiring from the Corsicana ISD, and was working as a consultant for Claycomb Associates, the architectural firm which designed Rockdale Junior- High School.

“I was ready to do something else and the school board president, Lee Jenkins, called me and asked if I’d come to Rockdale for an interview to talk about this interim position,” he said.

“I think the only other time I’d ever been in Rockdale was when I was a senior in high school and we played in a basketball tourney here,” he said.

The interview took place and it was obviously a success on both sides.

“It didn’t even seem like an interview,” Denbow said. “It was just a very positive conversation with seven people who really put the needs of the kids first. I enjoyed it.”

So did the school board, which offered Denbow the job.

CHALLENGES—The position is envisioned as a temporary one, although almost full time, until the search for a new permanent superintendent can gear up again later this year.

Denbow’s tenure has gotten off to about the best start possible.

The week he moved into the Central Administration Building, the Texas Education Agency announced Rockdale ISD had met accountability standards for 2013, with Rockdale Junior-High School earning a “distinction” in one area.

That removed a two-year burden of “unacceptable” ratings from 2011. There were no ratings in 2012.

While the temptation may be to breathe a sigh of relief, Denbow says he’s challenging the district to “put the pedal to the metal.”

“Rockdale has turned the corner,” he said. “Now the task is to become even better and, from what I’ve seen, I know it can be done.”

“Rockdale has the staff, the administrators and certainly the commitment to do just that,” he said.

CRYSTAL BALL—Denbow knows there are uncertainties, especially in school finance.

“With Alcoa closing and the school finance questions, neither I nor anyone else has a crystal ball and can see what’s going to happen,” he said.

“That line between schools that have to give money to the state and those who get money back is a really gray area and that’s where we (Rockdale ISD) are,” he said.

“I’m so impressed with Rockdale schools,” he said. “In addition to the great personnel, the climate for the students is safe and the facilities are first rate.”

“And there are a lot of good people wishing us well,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Click here for digital edition
2013-09-12 digital edition

Copyright 2009-2017 Rockdale Reporter, All Rights Reserved.

Special Sections

Special Sections