Wichita Falls ISD approves new superintendent’s contract

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 10:32 AM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - It’s official. The new superintendent for the Wichita Falls Independent School District was officially hired on Tuesday.

“I’m telling y’all that on my first day is that the expectations are going to be met and that second piece is going to be there,” Dr. Donny Lee said. “We’re going to hold people accountable and we’re going to hold students accountable for high expectations.”

After two months of searching, the WFISD Board of Trustees named Lee as the new superintendent.

“Finance is number one because that’s the burning bush, but after we get that under control, the top area focus is going to be academic instruction and academic achievement for all students and that starts with the principles,” Lee said.

Lee is confident in his plan to recover the district’s financial problems, starting with recruiting chief financial officers.

“When you overestimate 800 students at $10,000 a student, you’re going to be in financial shambles and if you keep the staff the exact same,” Lee said. “So 85% of the budget is on payroll. So we understand the problem and now that we understand the problem, we can start working toward a solution. So, I think it’s definitely do-able and attainable.”

With a background in special education, academic achievement and physical management, Lee said he will be speaking first with teachers and principles before making changes to any programs if needed.

“I don’t ever come into any organization to make changes because I don’t know why the fence is up,” Lee said. “Sometimes it’s just you know, nobody’s been told what to do. I’m already hearing that, ‘well I didn’t know that was my job’ or ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to do that, no ones ever told me that.’ So, that goes back to ‘what are the expectations?’”

The board of trustees is confident that Lee is the right person for the position.

“We’re very impressed with Dr. Lee,” Bob Payton, WFISD board member, said. “His approach to addressing the issues that we face here in the district. He’s already done a lot of homework and has a good understanding of what he’s stepping into and the problems that we face.”

But they did acknowledge it will take some time to get things back in shape.

“It’s not going to get fixed overnight,” Payton said. “We still have concerns about costs with the new high schools but a lot of work has to be done to address everything and he’s ready for that.”

Before signing Lee’s contract, Mike Rucker, president of the board of trustees, spoke on behalf of the board and said they are confident that Lee’s background will be an asset to the district.

Lee is coming to Wichita Falls from the Buna Independent School District, a 3A district in Buna, Texas. He has served as the superintendent in Buna since April 2019, and was superintendent in Oakwood ISD and a high school principal in Frankston ISD before that.

WFISD officials said he earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University, where he also earned his master’s degree in educational administration. He also earned his bachelor’s degree in special education and kinesiology from Stephen F. Austin State University.

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