OUR VIEW: ECISD leaders set the tone in district - Odessa American: Our Opinion

OUR VIEW: ECISD leaders set the tone in district

Odessa American oanews@oaoa.com | Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2019 6:00 am

Many in education and in this community were thankful for the time that Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson gave to his former hometown.

Nelson, an attorney, former Texas education commissioner and executive director of the national AVID program, left the school district in June after serving about 10 months in the interim role.

He and his wife, Karen, took some time off and he will now do some consulting and other educational endeavors. Prior to leaving Odessa he said he was glad he came back to help his hometown during some difficult times.

He’s not nearly as glad about it as we are. His steady hand and knowledge of the complicated world of education were both much appreciated by Odessans.

It is no secret that ECISD has had a number of ups and downs. Poor test scores, crowded buildings and an enormous teacher shortage. Nelson did not solve any of those issues but he did offer straight talk and guidance on how to deal with them. Even though he served in the interim role for only a short time, he listened to the input and concerns of a lot of folks. And he made strategic changes in the district aimed at enabling teachers to be more effective and students to be more successful.

Just as important, Nelson’s presence afforded the school board the opportunity to conduct a successful search for a new leader for ECISD. We can’t thank him enough, and we wish him all the best.

As we say thanks and goodbye to Nelson, we wholeheartedly welcome new Superintendent Scott Muri, who took over the ECISD helm on July 1.

Muri previously told the OA that he stands on the shoulders of Nelson and looks forward to working with the board and becoming a part of the team of eight.

Muri said he appreciates all the work that is going on in the district and he can’t wait to dive in and do good work for the students.

“Thank you for this honor and I can’t wait to get started,” Muri said in June.

He will have his hands full as a recent report detailed that ECISD may be as many as 400 plus teachers short.

That’s a huge number of teachers to be short in this district of more than 33,000 students.

Test scores also came up lacking again this year in the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. While there were some bright spots in the test numbers, they remain behind state averages.

It’s a big job that Muri has taken on, but given his record and enthusiasm, we’re betting he is up to the task. We wish him well and encourage him to push hard to repair the things that are not working in the school district and to celebrate and encourage the many things that are.