Superintendent searching

Staff offers up thoughts on potential new leader.

WFISD is in the hunt for a new superintendent.


WFISD is in the hunt for a new superintendent.

After the resignation of WFISD superintendent Michael Kuhrt last month, the district is on the hunt to fill the opening. Though Debbie Dipprey is the current interim superintendent, her role will not be permanent. 

Rider staff offered many aspects to be considered when filling this position. Government teacher Cleveland Wallerich deemed communication as a necessary attribute. 

“Communication, knowledge,” said Wallerich when asked about what attributes he believes the new superintendent should have. “Being in the classroom for a period of time, so they know what it’s like. 

“I would probably say openly communicating with the faculty and community about what’s really taking place and being more open with that.”

Assistant Principal Falesha Wood feels that there needs to be a larger emphasis on being present on the campuses to oversee how the schools are running, as well as reinforcing the WFISD’s culture. When asked what she would like to see from a new superintendent, Wood mentioned to “just create a sense of family and not division.”

 Science department head and Rider alum Bryce Henderson feels that a good superintendent needs to be empathetic to those who they are affecting.

“Someone that can listen well and who takes consideration to others’ ideas in decision making,” Henderson said. 

Though there are many challenges a superintendent faces on a daily basis, a major one for our future superintendent is the $9 million debt the district is currently facing. Another may be the consolidating of three campuses, Rider, Old High and Hirschi, to two new schools. 

“I think the biggest challenge is going to be merging the three schools into two schools in a way that’s fair and equitable for teachers, as well as students,” Henderson said. 

Though the large upcoming consolidating process may seem intimidating, parties see it more as an incentive than as a turnoff. Wallerich mentioned when new schools Rider and Hirschi were being built in the 1960s, “they got a lot of qualified applicants because you’re building these new facilities, so a lot of people want to come work in that type of district.”

Though the two others declined mentioning candidates, Henderson had multiple in mind.

“I think Mrs. Dipprey would be a great choice as a full-term superintendent,” Henderson said. “But if she’s not willing or interested, I think Dr. (Cody) Blair could be a good choice as well.”

Wood said whoever gets the position must realize it’s been a difficult last couple years and that was before district cuts were made. 

“A lot of our teachers were in a different place than before, before COVID,” she said. “Mental health was on the decline and now you have to work more for less, and that’s going to be hard but it’s doable because people love our kids so much.

“That’s what a lot of people on the outside of education don’t realize – we love our kids and we put everything that we have into the kids that we teach and the kids that come through our doors. But sometimes we’re not supported by parents or not supported by other people and entities. And it makes it really hard.”