Scott Dill

Scott Dill’s new role with the Houston School District will soon become a permanent one.

Dill, who was named “acting superintendent” of the district in December, was selected Saturday among five finalists as the new superintendent of Houston Schools. Dill’s official duties begin July 1.

Dr. Tom Dunn, president of the board, said the vote was 6-1 to hire Dill. The lone dissenter was Steve Pounds.

“I have visited with and met superintendents all across the country,” said board member Sharon Horbyk. “I believe he will be one of those superintendents who is considered a superstar. He has a passion for education, kids and the community. I think he is the total package.”

Dunn said choosing the right candidate was a “critical choice” for the district.

“We want to make sure the community knows the school wants to be a top 10 school,” Dunn said. “We understand that only comes from the leadership of this school. We are trying to provide the absolute best education for the kids.”

Dill joined the district in 2007 as middle school principal. He began splitting his time between the building and the superintendent’s office shortly after Dr. Dan Vandiver asked for and was granted a “professional leave of absence” on Dec. 5. Vandiver later resigned.

Before coming to Houston, Dill spent his first 10 years in education as library media specialist and technology director at Macks Creek Schools. His wife, Amy, is the Houston Elementary School principal.

Dunn said Dill’s “breadth of knowledge” was impressive during the interview process. The fact that he is already part of the district and working with the day-to-day responsibilities of the superintendent’s position also gave him an edge above other candidates, Horbyk said.

“Scott knows every building in our district from the floor to the ceiling. He knows the personnel, the kids, the facilities, the fleet of school buses,” Horbyk said. “Coming in with that knowledge allows him to hit the ground running.”

Each school board member received a Jan. 14 letter from Mayor Don Tottingham and the Houston City Council asking the board to “take your time and give careful consideration to this very important decision as it will have long term effects on our school, our city and the entire community.” The letter, which was accompanied with a signed petition by 23 citizens, also asked for a leader “who will demand excellence in the academics, athletics and extracurricular areas of the school; a leader who will restore pride in the school, the city and the community.”

Dunn said the board found that person.

“If there was any doubt that we needed to collect more information or talk to more people, we absolutely had the time to do that,” he said. “We didn’t rush to make a decision. Once we conducted the interviews and talked to people, we knew that it was time to make a decision.”

Dunn said the district has listed the vacant middle school principal position online. He said building administrative hirings across the state usually occur in February.

A date-by-date look at the steps that led to the positionbecoming vacant and subsequent hiring process:

  • Dec. 5 – Dr. Dan Vandiver, superintendent, requests and isgranted a “professional leave of absence.”
  • Dec. 12 – Scott Dill, middle school principal, is named “actingsuperintendent” of the district.
  • Dec. 28 – Vandiver and district reach separation agreement. Heis placed on administrative leave until his March 31resignation.
  • Dec. 29 – The vacant superintedent position is listed on theMissouri education website successlink.org. An application deadlineof Jan. 18 is established.
  • Jan. 18 – In closed session, the school board narrows a list of13 candidates to five finalists.
  • Jan. 21 – The board nterviews five finalists.
  • Jan. 22 – Dill named new superintendent.

I believe he will be one of those superintendents who isconsidered a superstar. He has a passion for education, kids andthe community. I think he is the total package.”

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